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Rubber Duckie down the toilet

benraymond's picture

My 3 and 5 year old just flushed a rubber duckie down the toilet.  I got there 30 seconds two late - knew I was in trouble when I heard them giggling, the toilet flushing, and the little one saying "bye bye duckie! as I was racing up the stairs.  A snake doesn't seem to clear the thing completely.  Any plumbers with any suggestions?

I'm thinking of unbolting the thing and finding out where the sucker is.  I'm not sure if it's in the trap or further down at this point.  I'm guessing further down as my Father in law was fiddling with it while I was at work, and I bet he pushed it further down.  The waste pipe is new plastic stuff put in two years ago, if that matters, going down to cast iron in the basement

Any replies/suggestions greatly appreciated.


(post #55981, reply #1 of 31)

i'm no plumber.....but i gots lots of idears...unbolt it, get a plumbers auger... hook onto that sucker and pull it back up..

pay no attention to the quacks who tell you different..

Mike Smith Rhode Island : Design / Build / Repair / Restore

Mike Smith Rhode Island : Design / Build / Repair / Restore


(post #55981, reply #2 of 31)

I would bet it is still in the toilet.   I would go ahead and pull the throne and try to push the toy back out the way it came.   It for some reason it did get past, it will be easier to get out with the toilet pulled.   Any other fixtures draining slower now?

(obviously bail out the tank and the bowl and get the excess water out with a sponge to minimize any water on you floor whwn you tip it over to get that sucker out)

PS: When you here a toilet flush and the words Uh-oh, it's already to late. see post #7

Edited 2/16/2003 2:11:45 PM ET by Bill_H

(post #55981, reply #3 of 31)

Take the toilet off and look in the trap. We go through this once a week (we have a two year old and three year old). The past two weeks it was stuck in the trap. Even used a mirror to make sure and we got the the last item, but lost the mirror. I guess we are going to have to get the lock that they have. It sure beats taking the toilet off to look for what the little ones have flushed down. Good Luck!



(post #55981, reply #4 of 31)

Yep, pull out the toilet ( first, buy a new wax ring and bolt set at your local HD or hardware store),  turn off water, flush, take excess water out of tank, tip it over and pull out the object or objects which are probably at the small hole on the bottom of the toilet.  It is doubtful if they got into the sewer... That's another problem.... let us know.  After removing the item, scrape off the old wax ring from the toilet and the floor, inspect the bolts and replace if necessary, put the new wax ring on and lower toilet carefully back onto the seat and over the bolts.  Once on the bolts. sit or push the toilet down as far as it goes, tighten the bolts.  Check for wobble and use a shim if necessary.  Put water connection back on, turn on water, check for leaks, flush once or twice.  Should be ok.... Actually it's not as dirty a job as one might think... The worst is usually insuring enough paper towels on hand to clean off the old wax ring and a trash bag nearby.

Good luck,

Ken in Savannah

(post #55981, reply #5 of 31)

Thanks for all the info.  Not nearly as bad as the gallon of paint that went down the stairs (I was planning to replace that carpet anyway).

(post #55981, reply #6 of 31)

Your delima reminded me of this ditty.


Things I've Learned From My Children (honest and no kidding):

There is no such thing as child-proofing your house.

If you spray hair spray on dust bunnies and run over them with roller blades, they can ignite.

A 4-year olds voice is louder than 200 adults in a crowded restaurant.

If you hook a dog leash over a ceiling fan the motor is not strong enough to rotate a 42lb. boy wearing underwear and a superman cape.

It is however strong enough to spread paint on all four walls of a 20 by 23 ft room.

Baseballs make marks on ceilings.

You should not throw baseballs up when the ceiling fan is on.

When using the ceiling fan as a bat you have to throw the baseball up a few times before you get a hit.

A ceiling fan can hit a baseball a long way.

The glass in windows (even double-pane) does not stop a baseball hit by a ceiling fan.

When you here a toilet flush and the words Uh-oh, it's already to late.

Brake fluid mixed with Clorox makes smoke, and lots of it.

A six year old boy can start a fire with a flint rock even though a 36 year old man says they can only do that in the movies.

A magnifying glass can start a fire even on an overcast day.

If you use a waterbed as home plate while wearing baseball shoes it does not leak- it explodes.

A king size waterbed holds enough water to fill a 2000 sq foot house inches deep.

Legos will pass through the digestive track of a four year old.

Duplos will not.

Play Dough and Microwave should never be used in the same sentence.

Super glue is forever.

McGyver can teach us many things we don't want to know(much less our 4-year old).

Ditto Tarzan.

No matter how much Jello you put in a swimming pool you still can't walk on water.

Pool filters do not like Jello.

VCR's do not eject peanut butter and jelly sandwiches even though TV commercials show they do.

Garbage bags do not make good parachutes.

Marbles in gas tanks make lots of noise when driving.

You probably don't want to know what that smell is.

Always look in the oven before you turn it on. Plastic toys do not like ovens.

The fire department in San Diego has at least a 5 minute response time.

The spin cycle on the washing machine does not make earth worms dizzy.

It will however make cats dizzy.

Cats throw up twice their body weight when dizzy.

Quiet does not necessarily mean don't worry.

A good sense of humor will get you through most problems in life (unfortunately, mostly in retrospect).


(post #55981, reply #11 of 31)

Best post I've read in a great long while Bill, hope to see you keep them coming.

New acronynm (LSHIBTTM&DWE) -- Laughing so hard it brought tears to my and wife's eyes !! (1/2; 2-1/2; 4 and 7 YO grandkids) -- don't have a ceiling fan (thankfully), but know everything else is true,  might add a few more.

If you teach a grandson how to use diagonal cutters when they are 2, no wire is safe until they get shocked, and DIL is plenty po'ed.

If you teach them how to use a hammer when they are 2, the 4 YO gets a bloody head once during sibling argument (and once only) before the 2 YO gets a good spanking for misuse. Also, a must is a designated section of playhouse flooring for nail driving - with predrilled holes slightly undersized from 8d sinkers.

Free access to the shop even with adult 100% present  (and with everything unplugged and plugs up out of reach and breakers off - (God help me if I ever forget any of those steps) means cupful piles of sawdust randomly distributed over shop floor.  (maybe not random, have never bothered to do a 'random walk analysis' of the patterns.) plus numerous tools pulled from drawers also 'randomly' distributed. ( chisels, axes, slicks, etc. have a new designated HIGH place now). Any ladder not 4 ft or more off the ground or more than 80 pounds weight means 'out of reach' does not mean diddly.

PS: Son has decreed to me that 10 YO is youngest to even consider us teaching  the 2 YO to use firearms safely - in the safes till then!!! I hope that kid can't figure out safecracking till then <G? or :( ?

Edit comment - taught the 2 yo's uncle how to pick locks when the uncle was about 7,  teachers at school wondered who was going around unlocking doors so all the kids were getting into the 3rd grade classrooms before the teachers showed up,  -- school set out some surveilance, saw the kid picking the locks!  Learned a lesson about how much kids can 'pick' up and apply ,  by golly! 

Edited 2/16/2003 8:26:53 PM ET by JUNKHOUND

(post #55981, reply #14 of 31)


My first day off is tomorrow so I'll tell you how I get the quacker out when it happens.    Maybe the coathanger trick will work -  one of those grabber things didn't.

MMMn.  Wingnuts on the toilet bolts - there's an idea....



(post #55981, reply #26 of 31)

Here's one my Dad learned when I was 4 or 5:

If you plan to drill a water well by hand with a post hole auger (an arduous task that will take hours and hours) and the water source is about 50 feet underground, remove all rocks and chunks of stovewood smaller than the diameter of the hole to a safe distance.

Jules Quaver for President   2004


(post #55981, reply #7 of 31)

Sounds like you better buy lots of "wax rings" and put "wingnuts" on the toilet hold down bolts. :-)


"Rather be a hammer than a nail"

"Rather be a hammer than a nail" Bob

(post #55981, reply #8 of 31)

I was thinking about mounting the toilet on a hinge.

(post #55981, reply #9 of 31)

ROFLOL- Now there's a consept. Why didn't I think of that? Hinged Toilets is a great idea. They would have to be totally selfcontained like my Jetflush toilets that scare the heck out of anyone that uses them, but it might work Qtrmeg, better apply for a Patent.


"Rather be a hammer than a nail"

"Rather be a hammer than a nail" Bob

(post #55981, reply #10 of 31)

My problem turned out to be an evil tennis ball. Sulfuric Acid does not dissolve tennis balls. Snakes don't retrieve them. Removing the toilet revealed no obvious source of the problem. Only the mirror technique worked.

Evidently rubber duckies and tennis balls will float up inside the trap but clog it during the flush and then go back for the next one.


Babies are irresponsible on both ends.

(post #55981, reply #12 of 31)

Before you pull the toilet... use the mirror to look up into the trap. A wet vac will make quick work of getting the water out. A wire cloths hanger might be all you need to hook the little quacker out. A snake could just push it farther down the drain. Good luck!



Yesterday I couldn't even spell plumber, today I are one.



(post #55981, reply #13 of 31)

Sounds familiar.....recently retreived a plastic Charlie Brown out of my commode. After I removed the toilet,  my son came out on the back deck while my wife and I were trying to get Charlie dislodged. He asked what we were doing. My wife asked him again if he flushed Charlie Brown. Hank (son) replied "yes". Karen(wife) says..."well thanks to you, mom and dad had to do all this work to the toilet. Hank says "oh...youre welcome"...and goes back inside.............

(post #55981, reply #15 of 31)

I don't know if this will help but faced with a similar job I got creative, don't you know laziness is the true mother of invention, and grabbed a wet/dry vac. Removing the rigid sections of the hose from the flexible length I stuffed end of the flex into the curvature of the bowl and worked it into the trap while running. It grabbed the rubber ball and I was able to drag it out. Might just work with a duckie.

The whole process took about 10 minutes including setting up the extension cord. I was riding high and mentally exhausted, creativity is hard work, so I went off and had snack and another nap until next time.

(post #55981, reply #16 of 31)

Sorry 4LORN1- My shop vac is not going obstacle hunting down a toilet.


"Rather be a hammer than a nail"

"Rather be a hammer than a nail" Bob

(post #55981, reply #17 of 31)

Man you said it. I work in a commecial office building. High volume Sloan flush valves on everything, and automatic to boot. Still, it is disgusting how some can stop up a wall hung toilet, and a four inch waste line. Never fails that the stopage is the last one downstream and the other four or five also back up. We use to pull the offending unit and do a t#rd dance when the line emptied, then snake out the line.

The guy that least liked this kind of job came up with the "chorus line plung". We get all four maintenace guys lined up in the stalls and simultaneousely plung. Takes two or three minuets of work,and then we call house keeping to mop up just a little water. The old way we it was the designated wet vac, rubber boots, diposable coveralls, gloves, drain snake, and a job for those of us that are olfactorily chalanged.


(post #55981, reply #18 of 31)

Make sure the float it installed to prevent overfilling, and chase the slop with fresh water, a touch of bleach with the machine off (Chlorine can eat windings I hear.)and a good scrub and you vac should be none the worse for wear.

Unless there are much greater plumbing problems the amount in the bowl, a few gallons at most, should be the only liquid involved. Much less if you plunge the bowl first. I sucked up only about a pint. The drain and vent pipe should, assuming normal plumbing, be dry.

(post #55981, reply #24 of 31)

>>Sorry 4LORN1- My shop vac is not going obstacle hunting down a toilet.  Pro Deck, are you baiting us on that one?  Do you mean something would keep you from doing such a neat trick? ;)  Fonzie

(post #55981, reply #19 of 31)

Well, 4Lorn1's trick worked like a charm. I used the mirror trick, was able to see the rubber duck's butt in the trap, and I sucked him right out with the shop-vac. I'll save the wax ring I bought for another day

Thanks to everyone for the advice,


(post #55981, reply #20 of 31)

Now to keep it from happing again put a dead bolt on the bathroom.

(post #55981, reply #22 of 31)

Hurray Ben . I just had to come back to find out the fate of the rubber duckie !  The job is done and the rubber duckie has been rescued . Quite a happy ending for you and the kids. I really did have to come back and it was a great piece of advice .

'Tim Mooney


(post #55981, reply #23 of 31)

I'm glad it worked out for you.

Happy ending always get me all choked up. I'm getting a bit misty here. I think I'll go looking for a hug.


(post #55981, reply #21 of 31)

Glad you got your duck back.

The shop vac was a good trick.

We just figured out why one of our toliets was having so many problems, I've gotten it unclogged several times.

Our 5 year old was flushing diaper wipes down it. Now that mommy has explained why we don't do this, maybe the plunger and auger can get some rest.

Aren't kids a hoot.

(post #55981, reply #25 of 31)

I had to add this picture when I saw it...

ducky.jpg28.5 KB

(post #55981, reply #27 of 31)

digging up this old thread.

My DW flushed her toothbrush today. Didn't think the shop vac trick would work, so I separated the tank & bowl. Pulled the bowl. Took outside, shoved a drain king up from the bottom & gave it an enema!!! worked like a charm.

(post #55981, reply #28 of 31)

I hope the other DWs don't get wind of where they are suppose to brush their teeth.

"Some days it's just not worth chewing through the restraints"

(post #55981, reply #29 of 31)

A 25' Stanley tape won't go down either. Kids sure are fascinated with tapes, no idea why in the toilet though.

25+ years ago and it's still funny. Why though?

Joe H

(post #55981, reply #30 of 31)

Neither will cell phones.