Although our children love to explore many rooms in our homes, the bathroom is almost irresistible, especially the toilet where a kid could flush and flush for hours, watching all of that water spin down the drain. Toilets can also be good storage devices for aquatic toys—or any toys for that matter. On top of that, the bathroom is the mandatory site for potty training, making the toilet not just a recreational object that stores toys, but also part of the rite to becoming a “big kid.” Besides that, where does all that water go?
Since the toilet, unlike your grandparents’ living rooms, can’t be walled off and covered with plastic, what do we do when kids cause problems with the toilet? Here are some preventative tricks and tips:
Regardless of what our children may think, the toilet is not designed for anything but water, toilet paper and human waste. Anything else may cause blockage in the short or long term. If you suspect a blockage may be the result of too much toilet paper, you can just use a plunger. It may happen that you can see an object or toy bobbing on the surface. In that case, you can just fish it out. If the object was small enough—or not buoyant enough—it could have gone into the piping system. This is trickier because you don’t want to accidentally push it farther down the drain when you try to retrieve it with something like a plumbing snake—if you have one. In this case calling a professional is probably the best thing to do.
If you do try yourself, turn the water off at the base of the toilet to ensure that you don’t flood your bathroom if the pipes become blocked. For the worst kind of clogs, the toilet may have to be removed completely, something best left to a professional since it is essential that the ring seal, bolts and other parts are correctly replaced.
Keep the Toilet Lid Closed
One way to prevent the toilet from accumulating items is to keep the lid closed at all times. Sometimes the best solutions are the simplest; however, if a child is industrious enough, that may not do the trick. Purchase a child toilet seat latch. These plastic clips are affordable and easy to attach. An easy release which is child proof ensures the lid stays closed until you open it. This is especially good for toddlers who like to watch the water flush. If you can’t see the water go down the drain, it’s just not as much fun.
If a latch doesn’t dissuade your progeny from flushing the toilet endlessly, you can try a few other tricks. Turn the water valve off at the base of the toilet. This will ensure there is no water in the tank to replenish the bowl once it is flushed. Another trick would be to remove the chain from the flush lever. Simply take the lid off the tank to do this. To reattach you can pull the handle up or you can take the lid off the tank as before.
Ideally, you can teach your child the rules of flushing when you potty train them. Once they are finished and have flushed the toilet, you can gently guide them away from the bathroom. Over time, they will get used to this novel device and move onto something else!
Of course it’s also good for adults to remember that the toilet is not a great receptacle for hygiene products, hair, fish or anything else! Hopefully, these tips and tricks will help to avoid any larger and more expensive issues, but if you do need help, please feel free to call us!