My Kid Flushed a Toy Down the Toilet! Now, What?
Around the Holidays we often get calls from parents stating that their toddler just flushed a toy down the toilet and now it is now working. Young children, especially toddlers, do a lot of silly things that can drive adults crazy. One of these behaviors you are likely to witness at some point is your toddler becoming so fascinated with the flushing action of your toilet that he or she tries to flush toys down it. This is obviously bad for a few reasons. It could cause a serious toilet clog that may require a call to a plumber. It will upset your toddler that their favorite toy is now gone. Your child may even get bolder and flush even more important things down the toilet. If this happens to you this season, here are some things you can do to try and retrieve it. If you can't get it out, contact the Forrest Anderson Team and we will be glad to help out.
Steps to Retrieve a Toy Down the Toilet
There are several DIY (do-it-yourself) fixes for homeowners who know little about plumbing, and we share those tips whenever possible. If your namesake flushes a toy down the toilet, it’s a sign your child is growing intellectually and exploring the world. That’s what you should remind yourself as you struggle to retrieve the stuck plaything. Try this:
If you risk an overflow (or if you’ve already had one), lift the tank lid and close the flapper (the thing on the chain). The water in the toilet tank is clean; you don’t need gloves.
Put paper towels/newspapers on the floor surrounding the toilet. Wear rubber gloves; reach in the toilet’s bowl, down into the drain to see if you can loosen the toy.
If not, try a plunger. The cheaper suction-cup plunger won’t work for this job. Use the kind of plunger that has a flange on the bottom; it seals better.
First, run the plunger under hot water. This softens the rubber and makes an even better seal.
Insert the plunger, making sure there’s a tight seal all around it, then push down slowly and pull up abruptly. It may take 20 good plunges to dislodge the toy and send it on its way. If that doesn’t work…
Calling in the Professionals
The next toilet repair steps involve a level of commitment, plumbing knowledge, bravery, and tools.
Get the water out of the tank; use dipping/scooping and towels to absorb the remainder.
Buy or borrow a “water closet auger” or a “snake.” This is not a regular toilet snake; the design is different. There’s a steel cable inside the tube and a crank-handle. This snake has an open, coiled head that is used to “hook” the toy down the toilet, and pull it out. Others are designed to push and grind through the clog, which might loosen it enough to float free and away.
While you’re cranking, when you feel some resistance, crank it a few more times and pull the cable out while keeping pressure on the crank. Hopefully, you snagged the toy and brought it up. And, hopefully, it can be washed.
Make sure everything works. Do a test flush and then do a couple more test flushes with wads of toilet paper to ensure it goes down and stays down.
Another online DIY site goes beyond the basics into removing the entire toilet. This involves turning the water off at the base (shut-off valve near the toilet), more tools, more time, and more plumbing knowledge than most people have today.