The Ring Doesn't Go In The Potty! What To Do When Your Toddler Flushes Your Valuables

Posted on: 20 April 2015

Toddlers enjoy exploring the world, and one of their favorite activities is figuring out which items can be placed where. Once you start toilet training your toddler, they will likely be fascinated by the toilet and wonder what items they can flush down it. While you can get more information and combat this behavior ahead of time by training your toddler to only flush toilet paper, it is likely that your toddler will eventually flush an item that is precious to either you or them. 

Safely Remove Your Child from the Situation

If your child flushes a precious item down the toilet, your first reaction might be to yell at them or discipline them in some other way. However, studies have shown that yelling can be harmful to your relationship with your child and their development. Shouting is meant to be used as a technique to warn someone about danger, not to shame them after they have completed an undesirable act. 

You should remind your child that only toilet paper is meant to be flushed down the toilet. Then, wash their hands and remove them from the bathroom. If you have already yelled at them, try not to beat yourself up, but give them some extra cuddles to help rebuild their sense of security. 

Arrange for Childcare 

Most toddlers will find plumbing work fascinating. Anytime you take something apart, your toddler will probably want to help. Unfortunately, they are likely to get in the way and possibly get injured if they are in the bathroom with you while you dismantle your toilet. To keep them busy and safe, you should arrange for someone to watch them while you tackle the toilet. Even if you hire a plumber, you may want assistance with your child so you can devote some attention to the communicating with the plumber. 

Inspect Your Toilet for the Item 

Heavier items, such as jewelry, often do not make it out of the toilet trap. You may want to start with a grabber tool, which you can slide into the bowl of the toilet. Try a few times, but if nothing comes out, you will have to take more drastic measures. 

You should turn off the water connected to your toilet, empty the bowl, and try to get the ring out with a wet vacuum. If you still do not have any luck, you will need to remove the toilet from the floor and tilt it forward to see if the item can be dislodged

These steps can be completed on your own, with basic tools, but if you are pressed for time or uncomfortable with basic plumbing, a plumber can quickly and efficiently do these tasks. 

Inspect Your Pipes and Septic Tank for the Item 

If you did not find the item in your toilet, it means that it was able to get past the trap and into your pipes. It is still unlikely that the item has traveled very far. At this point, your best option if to have a plumber snake a camera into your pipes and locate the lost item. This will prevent you from tearing apart your entire plumbing system. Once your plumber locates the item, they may be able to retrieve it with a specialized grabbing tool, or they may have to open your pipes or septic tank. At this point, you must decide if the item is worth the cost of major plumbing repairs. 

Call Your Local Sewage Company 

If you and your plumber are still unable to locate your precious item, you should call your local sewage company to let them know what you have lost. There have been several cases of people being reunited with their heirloom jewelry when sewage plant workers find it. However, it may take several days or weeks for your item to be found, if it is found at all.