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Toilet Flushes But Poop Stays – Causes and Solution!

We’ve all been there before. We go to the bathroom, sit down on the “throne”, and do our business only to get up, flush, and then stare in disbelief as our toilet misbehaves and a (hopefully just a little) bit of poop gets left behind.

Maybe we flush again, but realize as the dread sweeps over us that there’s something gummed up in the works. The waterline rises and we hope and hope that it isn’t going to breach the bowl and start spilling out onto the floor.

Or maybe the flush worked exactly the way it was supposed to, completely draining the bowl, but leaving behind some stragglers that are particularly stubborn and just don’t want to flush all on their own.

What are we supposed to do?

Well, luckily there are a couple of quick fixes to the most common reasons your toilet flushes but the poop stays behind. You might need to bust out the plunger, you might need to play with the tank to fill it properly, or you might even need to use some out-of-the-box “dissolving agents” to help you get your toilet bowl perfectly clean.

Toilet Flushes But Poop Stays – What’s Going On?

Few things are as frustrating (or potentially embarrassing) as hitting the lever on your toilet to flush poop away just to realize that it is sticking around, creating a problem you have to fix for yourself – ideally before the next person comes to use the bathroom themselves.

Below we run through some of the most common reasons you may have flushed your toilet but the poop just didn’t go down the drain, at least not completely.

Troubleshoot this issue the next time it pops up for you armed with the inside information below and you’ll have things remedied ASAP.

The Most Obvious Problem – Your Toilet is Clogged

The most obvious reason that you’ve tried to flush a poop down the toilet but it just wouldn’t go is because your toilet is clogged for one reason or another.

You’ll know this is the root cause behind your current headache as soon as you notice your toilet bowl filling up with water and then either slowly draining or not draining at all.

Sometimes the reason this happens is because of the poop you left in the bowl itself. I’m sure we’ve all had situations in the past where we left behind a little more than we expected, maybe too much for the toilet to handle all on its own (especially when combined with our toilet paper).

Sometimes, though, there are other reasons your toilet drain becomes clogged – obstructions deeper in the plumbing that back up into the bowl, for example – that need to be addressed straight away.

How to Fix a Clogged Toilet

The easiest fix, of course, is to break out your plunger and do your very best to plunge away the obstruction. You want to make sure that there’s enough water in the bowl to cover your plunger, though. Without that water getting forced into the drain the plunge is just not going to free anything up.

If that doesn’t work, though, you might need to break out some heavier artillery.

Chemical drain-dissolving solutions work wonders, though it may take them a little bit longer than you would like to actually break up the obstruction. The best thing to do is pour the drain-dissolving product right down into the toilet and then let it work its way through your drain, returning to the toilet after 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or even an hour to see how everything worked out.

If that’s not working for you, you may need to get your hands on a toilet snake or a drain auger. These tools are relatively affordable, can be operated by hand (though powered options are on the market now, too), and are useful to have in the home for sure.

If none of that works, though, you’re probably going to need to call in the professionals. Reach out to a plumber and have them handle the heavy lifting of fixing things for you.

There’s Trouble with Your Toilet Water Tank

Let’s say, though, that the reason poop got left behind after you flushed had nothing to do with a drain clog but instead because there wasn’t enough water flowing into the bowl to move solid waste through your drain.

This is almost always a sign that something’s gone a little bit sideways with your toilet bowl tank.

First, pop the top on your tank and have a look at the water level. After a flush it can take anywhere from a couple of seconds to 30 seconds to fill the tank completely – and it’s something that should happen automatically.

If your tank hasn’t been refilled there’s likely something wrong with the supply side of your plumbing. Maybe there’s an obstruction, maybe the supply was shut off for one reason or another, or maybe there’s a leak and water keeps escaping through the flap that releases a flush into the bowl (really crippling its flushing power).

At the end of the day, you might need to swap out tank hardware, fix the supply line, or change the way that the flapper, chain, and fill level float are working in concert with one another to clear this issue up.

If none of that works, a call to the plumber is necessary.

You Might Have a Low Flow Toilet That Needs Another Flush

Low-flow toilets might be all the rage to help with water efficiency, but they are notorious for lacking great flush power.

More modern low-flow toilets have come up with unique almost cyclonic flush designs to generate more power with less water, but these toilets are relatively new and often more expensive.

If you’ve switched to a cheaper low-flow toilet with a weak flush capacity it might be time to switch things up for a more powerful toilet, or at least get comfortable flushing twice or even three times to get everything “down the hole”.

Easy Solutions to Help Your Toilet Flush “Stubborn” Poop

What if, though, everything is working well with your toilet as far as flushing and refilling the tank are concerned but you’re still dealing with solid waste that just doesn’t want to go down into your plumbing?

Well, believe it or not, there are a couple of relatively quick fixes to break up that solid waste and sort of give it a boost down your toilet – all without you having to get your hands dirty!

Baking Soda and Vinegar

The same mixture many of us have used to make science experiment volcanoes erupt can be a powerful and hands-free toilet bowl cleaner, too.

Pour some baking soda all over the solid waste you’re looking to move down the chute and then add a couple of splashes of vinegar. The chemical reaction will start to fizz and pop (but won’t blow out all over your bathroom), breaking up your poop and moving it along.

Soda Pop Works, Too!

Soda pop – especially darker flavors of soda – will also help do the job to move your poop down into the drain (though a second flush is almost always needed).

There are different chemicals in soda that work to dissolve poop on contact, and the added carbonation doesn’t hurt, either.

Dump a couple of glasses of soda directly onto the stubborn poop you’re looking to get rid of and watch as it disappears almost immediately.

Throw a Cup of Hot Water In!

One more quick fix you’ll want to keep in your back pocket is simply using a bit of hot water to break up the bond that poop has on the ceramic of your toilet bowl.

Get some ripping hot water from your shower or your bathroom sink and simply toss it right onto the poop itself. If it’s still stubborn think about adding a couple of drops of dish soap into the hot water, stirring it up real good, and then pouring that directly onto the poop.

You’ll almost always get it to slide right out without leaving anything behind!


At the end of the day, having a bit of stubborn poop that just doesn’t want to leave your toilet doesn’t have to feel like the end of the world. Most of the time this is a relatively quick fix. Sometimes you can fix this just by flushing once or twice extra, even.

Sometimes, though, you’ll need to bust out some bathroom tools – like a handy plunger – to break up a clog and get everything to release. Other times you might need to fiddle with your tank hardware or even use a mixture like baking soda and vinegar to coax stubborn poop from your toilet bowl once and for all.

Very rarely will you have to call the plumber to come out and fix whatever it is that is plaguing your toilet. That’s the nuclear option, really, and should only be done after you’ve tried everything we highlighted above.