Parents will agree that while their kids are wonderful, beautiful and amazing, they can also be rather darn weird. What is it with young kids and their fascination with the toilet? Before they're old enough to use it for its intended purpose, many kids seem to think of the toilet as some kind of indoor fountain, or a mystical gateway to a fantasy land. It's when they try to send your possessions through this gateway that the cuteness can become problematic. What can you do to prevent your kids from trying to flush inappropriate items down the toilet? And what can you do if you arrive at the scene of the crime too late?
If your bathroom can be locked from the outside, this is perhaps the most straightforward option. It means the room itself is out of bounds unless the child is supervised. Be sure to keep the key in a convenient and easy to access place (that cannot be reached by little hands) since it might be needed in a hurry!
Until your child learns that they should not flush for fun, you can simply prevent access to the toilet itself. This is as easy as installing a toilet lid lock which seals the lid in the closed position. They're inexpensive and can be quickly disabled by the adults in your household who actually need to use the toilet.
If a toilet lid lock isn't going to be appropriate for whatever reason, you could just disable the flush valve. Young children might have difficulty turning it back on again, although you will need to do so (and wait a short time for the tank to fill) before you can flush the toilet.
If your child does manage to flush something that has no business being in a toilet, it's obviously a matter of retrieving the item. Toys and other large items can simply be pulled out by hand (you might want to wear rubber gloves) and can then be cleaned or discarded as necessary.
If it should be something valuable, then you need to tread carefully. Electronic devices can sometimes be retrieved by hand (and the speed with which you do so might make the difference as to whether the device survives).
For smaller items, such as keys, or even jewellery, you need to be very careful. In some cases, a straightened wire coat hanger with a hook curved at the end will be able to retrieve the item, but it can also very easily push the item further into the S-bend. To ensure the safe retrieval of the item, it can be necessary to call in a plumber.
You should also call a plumber if you suspect that an unknown item has been flushed down the toilet without your knowledge. Slow drainage of the toilet is the key indicator in this case, particularly if your child has flushed items down there before.
So while some of your children's oddities are adorable, some of them can also be a bother. But sometimes toilet training can have a whole different meaning!