Toy Stuck in the Toilet? Here’s the Old School Solution Part 2 of 2

If you’ve got a toy stuck in the toilet (or anything else), and you have tried a closet auger with no success, the next step is to pull the toilet.  This isn’t as hard as you may think as long as you follow these step by step instructions.

By the way, if you haven’t already read it, you may want to checkout Part 1 of this lesson before you go much further:

http://basicplumbingrepair.com/32/toys-in-the-toilet-heres-how-to-get-them-out-part-1-of-2/

Before you get started you need to have a few supplies.  Here’s what you need: a new wax ring (you can get one at any hardware store), an adjustable wrench, a putty knife, a pair of needle nose pliers, a pair of Channel Lock type pliers, a flashlight.  It might also be helpful to get a small inspection mirror from an auto parts store, but you may not need this.

OK let’s get started:

-Plunge the toilet and flush a few times to clean it out. Be patient, if there is a lot of toilet paper blocking the toilet you may need to plunge and flush for a little while to get the gross stuff out. (Sometimes, even after lots of plunging his may not be possible depending on the size and shape of the toy. If not, this is going to be ugly.)

-Turn the water off to the toilet

-Flush the toilet and hold the handle down to get all the water possible out of the tank

-Plunge the bowl to get as much water out as possible.  If this isn’t possible just go to the next step

-Get some rubber gloves and a sponge and soak the rest of the water out of the tank and bowl. (If you weren’t able to plunge the bowl clear this will be the worst part of the whole job.)

-Disconnect the water line where it connects to the tank.

-Pop off the plastic bolt covers with a putty knife (if there are covers).  Pay attention to how amy washers and spacers arte situated.

-Remove the nuts (pay attention to how any washers are situated).

-Rock the toilet back and forth a little and pull it up and off the floor.

-Now lean the toilet back onto the tank (carefully) so you can see inside the bottom.

-If you can see the toy, try to remove it.  Your needle nose or Channel Lock pliers might come in handy here.

-If you can’t get it out try using a closet auger to push it backwards from the bottom. If you don’t know what a closet auger is, it’s a special tool to unclog toilets.  You can get one at most hardware stores.

-Sometimes, if you can’t see what’s blocking the toilet, it helps to use a little mirror to look up inside the toilet (you can get one at the auto parts store)

-Once you get the toy (or whatever) out, scrape all the old wax off both the bowl and the floor flange with your putty knife.

-Put a new wax ring down and carefully replace the toilet, making sure to get the bolts lined up.

_Push the toilet down with a slightly twisting motion to squeeze the wax until it rests solidly on the floor.

-Now put the nuts and washers back the way they were. Be careful to tighten the nuts evenly and slowly so you don’t crack the china

-Next, connect the water back up and test everything for leaks.

_Flush some wadded up toilet paper through a few times to make sure everything works.

-Finally, pat yourself on the back, you just saved a good bit of money.

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99 comments to Toy Stuck in the Toilet? Here’s the Old School Solution Part 2 of 2

  • Elena

    My son flushed a little wooden bus (fits on the wooden tracks for the little trains). I can reach it, but it is jammed so tight that everything I’ve tried has just pushed it back a couple inches and made it tighter. I’m afraid using the auger will push it down into our pipes and cause serious problems. We can’t afford a plumber or new toilet. I’ve been avoiding pulling the toilet.

  • Molly

    My son flushed his training pants down the toilet. Would a closet auger work to grab that? Thank you!

  • Oh boy

    My sin flushed something down the toilet and as most kids do, he tried to avoid getting in trouble so wouldn’t tell me what it was. Assuming it was excessive toilet paper, I plunged and then used a snake. Then he told me about a Danimals yogurt container. It is logged now further and I am unsure if it maybe went into a pipe or something because now the pipes make sounds every time I turn on the kitchen sink or run the washer. Is this a plumber issue now or will these steps truly help my problem?

    • BTS

      I hate to say it, but you might need a plumber for this one. The plastic cup won’t dissolve and if it gets stuck in your system it could cause problems for sure.

      Bryan

  • mag

    Hi there, I was cleaning my tiolet with a brissel round brush on a plastic stick and the head of the cleaning brush untwisted and is not stuck in the tiolet….I tried to reach in with my hand to remove it and I was able to feel some of the brissels but not enough to be able to grab it with my fingers to pull out….I also tried to drain out he water with a sponge and bucket and tied using needle nose pliers but because of the curves of the tiolet it could not reach….What else can I do without removing the tiolet.

  • Sue

    Hi,
    Thanks for all the great advice! My daughter flushed the toilet, reached for the toothpaste out of the basket on the back of the toilet (small bathroom, not much storage space) and just that quickly, accidentally dropped it into the toilet and it was gone. We went to the hardware store and bought an auger and a pair of rubber gloves. First, I tried reaching way up into the toilet to see if I could find it (gross) and that was unsuccessful. So then we used the auger. The toilet is flushing fine and we even flushed some toilet paper to make sure. So far so good! My toothpaste will not longer reside on the back of the toilet 🙂

  • I think I flushed the bar that holds tp down my toilet. When I flush the water rises to the top then slowly goes down (nothing in the toilet will flush down). I pulled the toilet and did not see anything plus used a snake to see if I could grab something. What do I do now?

  • Zack

    What if it isn’t a toy, but portable mouthwash container?

  • Zack

    Hi, I accidentally dropped and flushed a portable mouthwash, and th toilet won’t flush. I plunged it, And most of the water comes out slowly. But I have an auger, or what looks like one, but I’m not sure if it’s the right end. Its end looks like a spring, sort of. Also, pulling the toilet out, how long would it take to get it out? I was wondering about the bile since this is about a toy.

  • Rick

    Can you (or anyone) recomend a decent (or truly great) plunger.

    From time to time, my toilet will clog. I had a 20yo plunger that always did the trick. It was black and had the fold out rubber sleeve for toilets. When it failed, I went to home depot and bought another one that looks just like it, but it won’t seal and when I push down, it dosn’t “come back”. The rubber is too hard and even if I fill the toilet with hot tap water it still doesn’t soften up enough to make a seal. It wasn’t cheap either, and they wouldn’t take back or even exchange a used (but defective) plunger.

    I just had to pull the toilet and manually remove the “material” when it would have easily plunged out (it was 4am).

    Also, a cool technique of mine I would like to share, I have sometimes flushed a toilet bowl full of ice cubes down a slow toilet to knock out any remaining “stuff”. If it goes down, it is wonderful. If the ice gets stuck too, it will just melt eventually. Just don’t do the ice right after hot water, you might crack the bowl.

  • Steve

    This thread saved me a lot of time! My daughter accidently flushed a small can of hairspray down the toilet. I took it off, and shook it around for some time, but could not hear it clinking around. I figured it was too long and rigid to have made it into the pipe below. I did not have a closet auger, but retrofitted (cut the bristles down by a half inch or so) one of those auger-type things to clean out lint that builds up in the dryer exhaust pipe. I pushed it through the small hole at the bottom of the toilet, and viola, the hairspray can popped back into the toilet bowl!

    Thanks again!

  • Kristen

    I accedently knocked a small jar of vicks into the toilte while it was flushing.Tried plunging but that did not work. I’m not sure if the augar will work in a situation like this. Do you think we’re going to have to remove the whole toilte?

  • alicia

    Hey Brian…. My kids managed to drop a cap to a shaving cream bottle down a shower drain. We tried a wetdry vac with no success…. Any suggestions?

  • Joe

    Significant edit:

    The ballon was NOT inflated

  • Joe

    Edit UN inflated ballon

    Sorry for the significant typo

  • Joe

    Thanks for being on the web….

    My son flushed an
    in-flatted balloon.

    Two questions:
    1). Should I be worried?

    2). Solutions?

    I learned a long time ago about benign procrastination when involved in DIY home repair (think once, think twice, think three times, etc.) before doing anything.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated

  • Casey

    Hi, my daughter flushed a plastic ball down the toilet. I was able to get it out of the toilet by plunging it. All was great for about a week, now when we flush that toilet it drains really slow and backs up into the two bathtubs. One next to the toilet that got the ball stuck in it and the other tub is on the opposite side of the house.

    I have no clue what to do…

    • BTS

      Casey,

      Oops, it sounds like you pushed the ball into your drain pipes and now it is causing a blockage in your system. Unfortunately, it’s time to call a plumber.

      Bryan

  • Christan

    Thanks so much for this info. I searched on google for a while but wasn’t happy with the other advice I found. Your info is clear, easy to understand, and just what I needed. My 2yo flushed my keys down the toilet yesterday. (my house and car keys, car remote, and a key chain or two) I knew with the size, there was no way they would go all the way down. I don’t own a closet auger or any other type of drain snake and without car keys, I couldn’t just go get one. It was ALSO Christmas yesterday and I didn’t want to call a plumber on a holiday/weekend. Thanks to your advice, I pulled the toilet, got my keys back, and got everything put back together with no leaks. I just happened to have an extra wax ring in my garage from this fall when we remodeled our bathroom. (we bought one not realizing the toilet kit came with it)Pretty lucky. I emailed my husband to tell him of my adventures (he’s overseas) and he replied back that I might just be a plumber in the making, haha. I couldn’t have done it without this site. 🙂

  • Jenny

    My two year old flushed something down the toilet yesterday. Not quite sure what it was but both are toilets won’t flush now. The water just fills up but will eventually drain…eventually. So after reading your article, which was great btw, and following all the steps to no success, we decided to pull the toilet. Couldn’t find a damn thing! Is the drain supposed to be filled with water? So tomorrow may attempt pulling the other toilet. I think he flushed something down it awhile ago because for a few months every time you flushed one toilet the other would gurgle or lose water. Is it worth it to check the other toilet or do we need to call a pro? I’m afraid that the drain itself is clogged since both toilets are backed up. 🙁

  • Ting

    My son removed the lid of the back of the toilet and flushed a toy that way. What is the best way to remove the toy?

    • BTS

      Hey Ting,

      Sorry for the delay in responding, I am a one horse wagon here.

      I don’t remember ever hearing of your problem in over 25 years of working as a plumber. Here’s my suggestion:

      1st– Remove the flapper and look inside the passageway underneath. You might get lucky and be able to see the toy.

      If not you will need to remove the tank and try to see what you can find. Here’s a step by step guide on how:

      -Turn the water off

      -Flush the tank and hold the handle down until as much water as possible is out of the tank

      -Disconnect the water supply line form the bottom of the tank

      -Remove the nuts from the bolts holding the tank to the bowl (on bottom of the tank)

      -Remove the tank and carefully pour the remaining water into the bowl

      -Now look and see if you can see the toy (it may help to get a small inspection mirror from an auto parts or hardware store)

      -If you can see and retrieve the toy now, try to get it out with a pair of needlenose pliers or a coat hanger.

      -If you get it out just put the tank back on and reconnect the water (tighten the tank bolts in a “back and forth” pattern and be careful. You just want the tank tight enough so it doesn’t wobble or move and is level.)

      -Now turn the water back on and test for leaks.

      If, however, you were not able to get the toy out, don’t re-install the tank yet. Go ahead and pull the bowl up using the instructions in the above article. Now, turn the bowl upside down and see if you can shake the toy out of the opening in the top. (You might want to use two people for this).

      If you are able to get the toy out, great! Just put everything back together.

      If you are not able to get the toy out this way you are going to have to replace the toilet. That is not great news, but at least you have the toilet already pulled and you now know how to put the new one together and install it 🙂

      I really hope this helps. I realize it sounds like a pain in the neck but you have a very good chance of getting the toy out if you follow these instructions.

      It would be great if you let us know how it turns out.

      Good Luck,

      Bryan

  • […] – If it flushed OK now you are done. If not, check out this post on how to pull and reset a toilet: […]

  • Amber Rance

    Bryan, I’m in desperate need of your help! We flushed a plactic top down the toilet, it was pretty decent size so I’m sure it is stuck. Nothing goes down and the water is high and at a stand still. What should I do? I’m so bummed! I know this may be a ridiculous question, but if I try and pour acetone down will it dissolve the plastic? Would that ruin anything?

    • Bryan

      Hey Amber,

      I would NOT pour acetone or any other caustic chemical or acid down the toilet. The chances of that working are virtually zero and you will them have a big bowl of semi toxic waste to deal with in addition to a stopped up toilet. Here’s what I would do:

    • First, try to SLOWLY plunge the water out of the bowl. If this works, flush it again and plunge again to try to get the bowl as clean as possible.
    • If this does not work things are about to get ugly. You will need to dip as much water as you can out of the bowl. If its really nasty and you can spare $30 or so, go buy a small wet/dry vac and suck the bowl dry.
    • Then follow the directions in this post to pull the toilet and push the cap back out from the back side
    • I wish I had a magic bullet but I don’t. Again, PLEASE don’t try any nasty chemicals.

      Let us know how it goes.

      Thanks,

      Bryan

  • grateful d.i.y. repairman

    Thank You! Very helpful and just one more notch to add to my honey-do list.

  • Jem

    What happens if the mystery item remains a mystery? We’ve even replaced the toilet and are still having a flushing problem. Does that mean the item went into our household plumbing and should contact our homeowners insurance?

    • Bryan

      Jem,

      It sounds like the mystery item may indeed have have gone into your system and be causing a problem. You can try your homeowners insurance but in my experience most policies don’t cover plumbing problems or repairs. only repair of damage caused by a plumbing problem. Go figure. But, you should certainly call your insurance agent and ask because I could be wrong.

      As for your problem, it may be time to call a pro. It sounds like you need to have someone run an electric drain machine (we plumbers often call them a sewer machine) through the drain line from your toilet.

      Good luck.

      Bryan

  • Warren Westbo

    We accidentally flushed an Iron Out tablet. At first there was a partial blocking when attempting to flush which “cleared” after some effort with a plunger and several flushes.

    1. We are on a septic system. Do I need to be concerned with any potential blocking until the tablet is dissolved?

    2. What steps can we take to minimize this risk?

    3. Is the tablet light enough to be carried thru the main drain to the holding tank?

    Thanks!

    Thanks!

    • Bryan

      Hey Warren,

      First I would suggest trying to flush a big wad of toilet paper and see what happens. If it flushes fine then you have probably plunged the tablet out of the toilet. If not, the tablet may still be in the toilet and you need to pull the toilet and remove it.

      Now as to your questions:

      1- If the tablet is now in your drain line it is possible the tablet could cause some blockage until it is dissolved but at this point there isn’t much you can do unless you want to have a plumber come out and use a sewer machine (like a power snake) through the line.

      2- Not much now, but in the future I don’t recommend any of those tablets because of just this kind of situation. And the kind that go in the tank are even worse as they can really cause the working parts to fail. The chlorine tablets that are so widely advertised will eat flappers like candy.

      3- I wish I could give you a better answer but the truth is…maybe. You’ve got a 50/50 chance that you will never hear from the tablet again.

      Let us know how it turns out.

      Thanks,

      Bryan

  • Lauren

    Hey Bryan,
    Recently our master bath toilet has been getting clogged. Sometimes it clears itself and other’s it doesn’t. But eventually after using a plunger or pouring a bucket of water down it will clear the problem. But then after a couple of uses it gets clogged again. What should I do?

    • Bryan

      Hey Lauren,

      You may have something in there that is causing a partial blockage. The first thing I would do is get a closet auger (also called a toilet auger) and try that. If yo still have the problem you may need to pull the toilet up and see what’s in there.

      You Can Do It!

      Bryan

  • Bert

    Great Site!

    Ninja Dude has been rescued from the toilet abyss!

    Thanks!

  • emily

    I just removed a toy fish and put it back but the is a small leak downstairs in the furnace room and I don’t no why

  • A. Doss

    Hi. It is believed that a small Gatorade bottle is stuck in our toilet. We werent sure at first until a confirmation yesterday. We think it has reached it’s limit and now when the toilet flushes, the pipes under the house shake. Will a closet auger get it out or what? Please help!!

    • Bryan

      Hello,

      I’m don’t want to be negative, but chances are you will need to pull the toilet to get that out. Just follow the steps in this article and you can do it!

      Thanks,

      Bryan

  • Anne

    Hi a piece of flat plastic about 1 x 2 came off a Mr. Tidi Bowl toilet clip. It was flushed down the toilet and now the toilet is stopped up. Plunging did not work. I also tried a hanger that it did not work. What should I do? Will the Auger grab a piece of flat plastic. Please help!

    • Bryan

      Anne,

      An auger might get the plastic piece but it’s iffy. If you do manage to push it through into the drain pipe it may or may not cause a bigger problem. If you want to be sure, pull the toilet and get it out.

      Bryan

  • Jessica

    Hi,
    I just have a quick question, If we push a blockage through the drain pipe, will it effect the sub pump? Where does it go?

    Thanks,
    Jessica

    • Bryan

      Jessica,

      It depends. If your system drains into a pump it will probably affect the pump. This is pretty common in basement plumbing systems, but each house is different.

      If you don’t have an ejector pump for your sewage, it either goes to the public sewer or your septic system. Whether or not pushing a blockage through will affect one of those is a roll of the dice, it really depends on what the blockage was.

      Bryan

  • Kiri

    Here I go….:P should be interesting….thanks for this step by step.

    🙂 thanks

  • mary

    My daughter was cleaning the toilet and i had one those clip on plastic toilet air fresheners on the side. well when she went to flush the toilet it fell in and went down. It seems to flush the same but will it cause any problems later on and if so how do i get it out? here is a link to the type of air freshener that i was using http://www.dollartree.com/cleaning-storage-hardware/bathroom-cleaners/Clip-On-Toilet-Bowl-Cleaner-Air-Fresheners-2-ct-Packs/212c256c256p308030/index.pro

    • Bryan

      Hey Mary,

      Sorry for the delay. I was camping with my sons.

      Anyway, I would recommend trying a closet auger and trying to get the thing out. From the looks of it, if it is still in the toilet, it is bound to cause a problem at some time, probably sooner than later. If it has made it through the toilet and into the piping it may get flushed all the way to the sewer or septic tank and never cause a problem. Or it could cause the entire system to stop up, yo just don’t know.

      Anyway, the simplest thing to do is try an auger and see if it comes out. If not and you are able to flush a big wad or two of toilet paper down, the plastic part is probably in the piping system and you might as well wait and see.

      Bryan

  • William

    When my children were little, a metal cap got stuck in the toilet. I plunged and augered to no avail. Then I removed the toilet and tried to get it out to no avail. I took the toilet outside into the yard, lifted it off the ground and shook it back and forth (no easy task) for about an hour with no success. I decided to quit for the day and try again late. The next day I repeated the lifting and shaking for about thirty minutes. I was almost at the point of buying a new toilet when it finally came out. Major pain and lesson. Don’t give up – ever. There is a solution. Thanks for all the great ideas.

    • Bryan

      Hey William.

      That is so right. Most people would be surprised at what the can do if they just don’t give up. I decided very early in my plumbing career that if I came back and told my boss I couldn’t get something done he would send someone else who would get the job done so I was not going to do that. (Wow, what a long sentence.)

      I can honestly say that philosophy has served me well. In over 25 years as a plumber I can’t remember a single time I gave up and allowed someone else to bail me out. It may have taken me a lot longer sometimes than I would have liked, but I always got it done somehow.

      That is a great lesson. Thanks for the great comment!

      Bryan

  • Cathy

    Hi, Bryan!
    Thanks sooo much for the article! My son put a toy in the toilet and I have proceeded to the step of taking the toilet up. The problem is I still can’t see the toy from the bottom or the top. The auger refuses to dislodge it. I think it is a little matchbox car. What do I do next?

    • Bryan

      Hey Cathy,

      First, make sure the car is still in the toilet. Can you run the auger all the way through the toilet? If so the car might be small enough to have gone into the drain pipe. If it’s in the pipe it may or may not ever cause a problem.

      If you can’t tell whether the car is still in there, try getting an inspection mirror. This is a little mirror on a telescoping rod (kind of like an old school car antenna). You can usually find one at the local auto parts store or even at Home Depot, etc. Just get one that is small enough to fit into the trapway of the toilet. Then check from both ends to see if you can see the car.

      If it is still in there, just keep working with the auger. Try running it “backwards” from the outlet while the toilet is laying in it’s back (so to speak). Sometimes perseverance beats brute strength. Don’t give up and I’m sure you can get it.

      You Can Do It!

      Bryan

  • jake

    Ur the man! Appreciate your post…you helped me through a big jam, and a messy one. Other users follow the instructions and good luck. Nuff respect!

  • Douglas Davidson

    I thank you for these wonderful instructions but I cannot follow the toilet removal instructions as I am renter. Thus, for liability reasons, I cannot perform the repairs. My building management has to bring in its own plumber to perform the work. What would like to know is approximate cost of this repair.

    From your instructions, it sounds like the work should take less than 1 hour; much less for an experienced plumber. If you have any knowledge of costs in the Toronto, Ontario, Canada region I would greatly appreciate it.

  • Tammy

    Thanks so much for your site. My 8 year old dropped a corner pvc pipe down the toilet. Auger wouldn’t work. Pulled the toilet. Reversed the auger and presto toilet fixed! Thanks for saving me on the plumber bill. Only had problems with some stubborn bolts on side of toilet-everything else was a breeze. BTW I am a 35 year old mom with no previous plumbing skills and my “assistant” was a 4 year old little boy. Thanks again.

  • Megan Watson

    Thank you for your article. I helped my dad pull the toilet once for a repair but that was eons ago and I wasn’t sure I remembered exactly how to do it. Your article gave me the confidence to try and I successfully cleared the toilet. I had to go up through the bottom with the auger like you described.

    I was pretty sure that I had a toy down the toilet, but didn’t actually see it so I wasn’t positive. It turned out to be a rubber duckie, so it squished just right to almost not be removable. My duck was wedged pretty bad and I think the plunging to clear the water (and poop that was lodged – lucky me) made it harder to get out. So, I would add to anyone who KNOWS they have a toy – as gross as it might be – they may want to skip the plunging and go strait for the sponge and bucket to remove the water so things don’t get wedged worse.

    One final note, I scratched the inside of the bowl in the process. Anything I can do to disguise the scratches? I don’t need to “fix” them, just don’t want them to be obvious.

    • Bryan

      Megan,
      Congratulations on your success!
      As for the stains, try some very fine steel wool. If that doesn’t work you can try some porcelain touch up paint.
      Bryan

  • Will

    So my son has flushed some kind of toy down the toilet and it has been clogging nonstop. I tried to pull the toy out with a snake and that didn’t work. As well I have tried pulling up the toilet and pushing it back through which has not worked either. Is there anything else I may be able to try before having to buy a new toilet?

  • Kristina

    Thanks so much for the step by step. My kids flushed a toy and we have tired and tired to unclog with the closet augar. Now thanks to your instructions we are attempting to take the toilet off. Thanks again!!

  • delena

    my son has flushed a …well i am not sure what exactly down the toilet in our main bathroom. we bought an auger but i am not sure how to “loosen the spring” to make it grab better as you suggested. also the bowl is full of water and nasty. it is draining very slowly ( hours) and i would like to see the auger work but i am not sure i am doing it correctly. also i bought the cheapest one(don’t have a lot lying around with 3 kiddos). can i wassh the bowl with bleach before i attempt to remove it? i am currently renting my home and am worried that i might damage the toilet if i try to remove it…. so i was wondering in all your years of expertise, how many times has this technique resulted in disaster? i do not want to take the chance of destroying property only to have to pay my landlord more than i could have paid a plumber! do you think this is a budget-wise operation or should i leave my rented throne to the professionals??

  • Misha

    Hi again!

    I just left you a whole long question about my wobbly toilet and why it might be unsteady and I just thought of something else… Rather, I thought of the situation from a new perspective… I was asking you before if maybe our problem was that we didnt take off the black rubber or plastic piece from our old wax ring before we applied our new one, but I also mentioned that I don’t even really remember noticing the old one and the only reason I think that might be the problem now is that the new wax ring we applied had the plastic or rubber piece on it… But now I’m wondering if we were supposed to take that plastic/rubber piece in the middle of the wax ring off before we put the toilet back onto the floor… I didn’t even consider it that way before… So depending on what you let me know, maybe that was what we did wrong… I’m so confused… As I’m sure you can tell neither my husband nor I have ever done something like this before… Thanks again and I just wanted to throw that out there in case it might be helpful to your response for this situation…

    • Bryan

      Hey Misha,

      First of all, congratulations to you and your husband for taking on and completing this project! I am glad my article helped.

      As for your wobbly toilet problem, if you the old wax ring did have a plastic piece in the middle that was not removed it could cause the problem you are having. Unfortunately, the only way to tell is to pull the toilet back up and see.

      Before you do that there are a couple of things to check.

      First, make sure the toilet is tight. But BE CAREFUL! You don’t want to break anything. The best way is to loosen the 2 mounting nuts, sit on the toilet and twist it slightly back and forth to make sure it is completely seated and the wax ring is fully “squished”. If you don’t feel the toilet seat firmly on the floor then this was not the problem.

      Next, see if the floor is un-level. This happens pretty often on a tile floor. If this is the case, the toilet will be pretty close to the floor and just rock a little. The best way to correct this is to shim the toilet, usually at 2 “corners” (I know there may be no corners because the base is curved but just shim where the corners would be).

      If neither of these conditions seem to be the problem, go get another wax ring, pull the toilet up again, make sure there are no old plastic pieces left and try again.

      Here’s the deal. If there are now 2 plastic rings then that is probably your problem. Clean everything out and start over.

      However, if there is only 1 plastic ring, that means your old wax ring did not have the plastic piece so the new ring might be causing your problem. Most toilets work fine with the wax rings with the plastic piece, but a few won’t. You may have one of these. If you’re not sure, don’t sweat it. If your toilet didn’t have the plastic kind before, it should work fine without one now. You can still find wax rings without the plastic part in many stores and if you can’t just CAREFULLY remove the plastic piece from a new wax ring and use it. Get a couple in case you screw one up.

      I hope this helps and I would really like to know what you find and how you fix it. Please come back and post your results.

      Thanks,

      Bryan

  • Misha

    Hi Brian,

    First I just wanted to say thank you for writing this because its a really thorough step by step guide for everyone to use that needs help unclogging a foreign object from the toilet and I am sure you have saved a lot of people a lot of money by having put this up! Anyways, I am writing because my husband and I just got done pulling our toilet and getting a small bottle out that our toddler flushed down… Everything went pretty well and the toilet is back and functioning correctly again and there is no leaks… My only question is that the toilet seems looser now where it will swivel a bit from side to side if you try to move it (whereas before it was more firmly in place) and when you sit on it, the front hits down onto the floor just a little bit because you can tell the front of the toilet isn’t firmly planted onto the ground (which I think is also the reason it swivels a little when tugged on)… So mainly it seems as though it won’t settle to the floor quite as closely and firmly as before and we have already been pushing on it back and forth a lot in order to cement it as well as possible with the new wax ring we put in… The only thing me and my husband think we might have done wrong is that when we put in the new wax ring we scraped most of all the old wax off as directed, but we realized after we put the new wax ring on that the new one has that middle black rubber section that fits it into the hole in the floor and we realize that we didn’t take the old one out… But we’re not even sure if we were supposed to because even on the new wax ring instructions for how to put the new ring on, it didn’t mention anything about taking the old black ring out; it only mentioned scraping the old wax off… My husband and I can’t even really remember seeing the rubber (or maybe plastic?) part of the old wax ring but we figure that there must have been one there camouflaged by the old wax ring residue that we applied the whole new wax ring over because we know that that is a part of the ring… So now thats the only thing we can figure for why our toilet doesn’t seem perfectly right and why it seems just a tiny bit higher off the ground than it should be and why it moves a little bit… If you could let us know if that is indeed the problem and if we should have been looking to remove more than just the old wax I would REALLY appreciate it!!! Or if you have any other ideas on what it could be or what we should do, I would really appreciate any help you can offer me! For now, our toilet is running correctly and I am just so glad we were able to do this right away, but I am hoping we will be able to fix it so that it is firmly planted again!

    Thank you SO much for any additional help you can offer me and for posting this great guide to begin with!

  • Christine

    Hello Brian,
    Please help! I have 7yrs old autism boy. He usually has to use chewy P shape tube to chew in this mouth for oral sensory problem. Tonight when going to toilet for pee pee, he flushed that P shape chewing tube down the toilet. My 3 yrs old daughter saw it, and came to tell me and my husband that she saw her brother flushed the tube down the toilet. My husband and I were so worried because we don’t know how far this chewy P tube will travel down the drain. My husband tried to use one of clothes hanger that he can bend down to make it like a hook at one end and tried to go down the flush hole, but we couldn’t retrieve anything. This tube is made by rubber, so don’t thing any chemical can destroy it or eat it. Please give us some idea what we should do! Thanks a lot. Christine. If we try closet auger that I think I will buy tomorrow, will it can gap and hold one the tube to pull it out?

    • Bryan

      Hi Christine,

      Sorry to hear about your problem. You might get a closet auger to grab the chewing tube. I would use a pair of pliers to open the spring up a little at the business end and then try to keep cranking the handle the whole time while you push it in and pull it out.

      If you can’t get it that way then you may need to pull the toilet ant see if you can push it back out the way it went in.

      If you find out the chewing tube is no longer in the toilet, try running the auger down the pipe as far as you can. If you still can’t get anything you might want to call a plumber to run a sewer machine with a retriever head on the cable.

      Good Luck!

      Bryan

  • Jane

    To do step 2 usually for a Plummer how long does the whole operation take?
    Thanks
    Jane

    • Bryan

      Hi Jane,

      That question is hard to answer. It depends on a lot of things like: how old is the toilet and piping it is connected to (sometimes one repair on older plumbing leads to other problems or complications), what is in the toilet and it obviously depends on the plumber.

      As a ballpark time frame, if everything goes and all that needs to be done is to remove the toilet, remove the object and reset the toilet, about an hour would probably be an average time. Just be aware there are lots of factors that could change this, so just because it takes a little longer it doesn’t mean your plumber is ripping you off.

      It is always a good idea to ask questions and be clear exactly what you are being charged for and why, but understand plumbing is a skilled technical trade and a Licensed Plumber has undergone extensive training and had to pass a (usually) pretty tough exam before being granted a License.

      This doesn’t mean you can’t learn to fix a lot of your own plumbing repairs, just that if you do have to call a plumber don’t begrudge them their pay.

      I hope this helps.

      Thanks for reading.

      Bryan

  • Helpful post and well explained. I’d like to add a step: tell you kids not to flush toys down the toilet anymore haha…if only that would work.

  • Ruth

    Whew that was scary! It just dislodged itself and we have been saved from replacing the toliet bowl. I am so thankful for your insightful article. Thanks a million.

  • Ruth

    It wont come out. I can see it but it is lodge to tight. What to do now?

  • Ruth

    I have just read your article on reliquishing a toy from the porcelin god. I am now going to attempt pulling the toliet. It is a air freshner top. Wish me luck.

  • Hey, good read. I just now clicked a link to your blog and I am already a fan. 😉

    • Kim

      I accidenyly flushed my deodorant lid in the toilet. I flushed it twice and it was fine. After the third flush starts to clog up. I use a plunger and it works but I am not going to use it. Should I take apart the toilet and fix it or call the plumber? I can’t afford a plumber. Please help!

      Kim

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