A few days ago our toilet got quite seriously blocked. We tried plunging, the mop and paper bag trick, flushing, bailing, washing up liquid, coat hanger, hot water....eventually about 12 hrs after it blocked a can of Mr. Muscle unblocked it and our toilet worked again! Until a few hours later when I flushed the chain and it blocked again. Since then whenever it flushes (even if there's no paper towel put down there), it blocks, fills up, and then about 40 minutes later has almost completely drained right down to the bottom (it also blocked the sink for about 10 minutes one time). We were baffled because it only ever blocked when I flushed the chain, but worked fine for my mum. I figured out that by holding both the little and bigger flush buttons together, the toilet won't block and will work perfectly. However this isn't too practical as if you apply even the slightest bit of pressure to one button over the other it will block again. We had the flush buttons replaced about a week ago and I've noticed it's been playing up since then. Does anyone have any ideas what to do?

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    You may have moved the blockage lower... flushing paper towels is unwise. Try Mr. Muscle again... or use a snake (toilet auger). Commented Jul 14, 2016 at 15:40
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    Had that problem. Used a snake. Pulled out a toothbrush. Fixed the problem. You might have a comb or a small troll doll. Commented Dec 18, 2016 at 2:52

2 Answers 2


The one time this happened to me it turned out that my 1.5-yr-old had flushed a quarter-turn piece of his hamster run into the toilet.

The snake went through it and we couldn't find any obstruction.

So we decided to replace the toilet.

As soon as it was off the floor we turned it over and there it was. A nice piece of blue curved plastic.

It was wedged in such a way that the snake made it pivot to go through, but water flow would catch in it and it would turn back to block the flow.

So the answer in our case was to remove the toilet and give it a thorough examination.


Please forgive my ignorance. I have yet to come across personally a toilet with buttons so in order to be able to help you we will probably need to know the make/model of your toilet since it does not appear to be your standard toilet. Up until your last couple of sentences I figure you simply had a serious clog that would most likely require your local rooter service. But now it seems as though your toilet may have some sort of controls that I am not familiar with so would need more information. Pictures might help as well.

One thing though, do you have access to any of the sewer/drain clean-outs? If so, have you tried to run a snake in them in case it is a clog, could save the call for a service person.

  • Two buttons, small one for liquid waste... large button for solids. They are relatively standard for modern toilets in USA. Commented Jul 14, 2016 at 15:38
  • Thanks for your replies. The buttons basically look like this; bing.com/images/… We're going to call a plumber but we doubt they'll be able to get round at the weekend. If we could just work out how to keep the toilet relatively stable until then (I don't even mind if it blocks when we flush as long as it goes down again within the hour), but I'm not sure if that's possible.
    – Puffin
    Commented Jul 14, 2016 at 18:09
  • Thanks for the image link Puffin it helped a lot. The two buttons Ben refers to are for what is called a dual flush or low flush toilet. Which is not really as standard in the US as Ben states. These are usually more high end toilets or upgrades for middle to high end toilets. The standard is still the good old single flush handle. You most likely do still have a clog somewhere in the system which only rooting it out will fix. However, this is a common occurrence with dual flush toilets as the low setting is not always enough water to flush fully. Does your tank fully drain when you flush? Commented Jul 14, 2016 at 18:34
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    If the tank does not fully empty when you flush (either button) then adjust the flapper valve so that you get a more power flush. Some dual flush systems allow you to hold the button done longer to run more water down the toilet resulting in a more powerful flush. And hopefully by paper towels you meant toilet paper as Ben stated. Toilets and sewer systems are not meant for anything other than waste and approved toilet papers. Although young kids will test that theory. Commented Jul 14, 2016 at 18:39
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    If all he said is do not use the smaller button then your problem is not resolved. Hope you did not pay for that "advise". A properly set up dual flush toilet saves water, good for the planet good for your water bill, if you are enlightened enough to care about those things.
    – Alaska Man
    Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 16:48

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