How to Remove a Potato from a Toilet
March 1, 2021
For those of you who truly want to know how to extract a potato that has been flushed into a commode, I’ve got you covered. The main reason I am writing this is not to teach you how to remove a tuber from a toilet, but to share the true creative, innovative, and intellectual joy I felt when I actually accomplished this feat.
Neurotransmitters were shooting in my brain that I haven’t felt in years. Maybe people who work with their hands feel like this every day? But hear me loud and clear: I solved a problem. And this problem was an unwanted spud.
So the first thing that you have to know is that if you do drop a murphy into your khazi and you Google (or maybe you Bing? Are you the kind of person who Bings?) things like “potato flushed toilet’ or “Potato clog toilet” there are comments on message boards from 2011 or so that say things like:
Wait two months. The potato will eventually rot
“I believe I have the easiest fix of all: threaten to sue the landlord and share pictures on social media”
With no landlord to assist me or sue, I was mostly on this mission on my own. My wife helped me move the whale and my son, the malefactor, helped with the garden hose (as I will eventually detail).
So I thought the solution would be to get what is referred to as a toilet snake.
It has a fairly sharp rubber arrowhead. You turn the wheel. The snake goes down and cuts through whatever is stuck. I think it’s meant to be like a low tech version of those spider robots in Minority Report. Remember?
In retrospect, I guess it’s obvious that a rubber arrowhead wouldn’t hew through a raw potato.
So here is the solution.
1. Turn off the water to the toilet
My wife and I did this by siphoning water from the chamber in the back and eventually just pouring the rest of the water out down the sewage pipe.
3. Remove the toilet screws.
These are probably called something else. Toilet bolts? Let’s just call them toilet screws.
4. Turn the toilet over onto its side.
5. See if you can see the potato through the other side–i.e., the bottom of the toilet.
Note 1: if the potato is not in your toilet, but is actually in your sewage pipe, you probably need to call a plumber.
Note 2: It can be surprisingly very frustrating to see a potato peeking at you from inside a toilet.
6. Kid yourself and try to use the snake or a coat hanger to take the potato out if you can see it from the bottom.
I had dreams of using a corkscrew somehow. And don’t get mad when you push the potato out of sight.
Even more surprising than the frustration at seeing the potato peeking at you mentioned above, you will now miss the potato.
But it will be too late.
7. If this doesn’t work, take your toilet outside.
8. Turn your toilet upside down.
9. Place a garden hose as far as you can into the back of the toilet.
Note: You may need to angle the toilet so the potato can fall out more easily.
10. Blast water through the toilet, backwards.
11. You did it!
If you look carefully you can see the potato.
I literally shouted, ‘The potato is out!’ three times. Victory was mine! Just a truly amazing feeling.
The question I have for you now is this: how can we recreate a struggle like this every day so we get to creatively problem-solve and get the rush from it afterwards?
And what should the consequences be for my son?
And why did he want to put a potato in the toilet?
And why did he leave the bag of potatoes right in front of the toilet to begin with?
Was he taunting me?
Check out the behind-the-scenes voicing of this story and news for kids about Andrew Cuomo, Dr. Seuss books no longer being published, traveling to space, Loretta Whitfield, medical students who can’t get in residency programs, and more here.
LITTLE NEWS EARS / DAN BUCK
Dan Buck created Little News Ears in 2019 so that his young children would know more and could care more about the world. Co-founder of Sketchup, the University of Maryland sketch comedy troupe and a one-time assistant at DreamWorks, after dabbling in supporting roles on NBC and FOX and shooting a short film on a Warner Bros. lot, Dan Buck traveled the world for fifteen years, spending significant time in Sri Lanka, Germany, Brazil, Norway, Morocco, Albania, Thailand, and China. Abroad, he wrote two novels and became passionate about education and the news. In his day job he is a school leader. He is the voice of BoxerBlu, Bram, Milo, and Otis the Loris.
LITTLE NEWS EARS / SANDRA MENARD
Sandra Menard joined the Little News Ears team in 2020 in a public relations role. One day Dan Buck heard her talking in a cartoon voice and the rest is history. She is the voice of Kiki.
LITTLE NEWS EARS / TIMMY ONG
Timmy Ong is an actor, singer, dancer, and musician, with experience in theatre, musical theatre, dance, concerts, ads, and short films. He also writes/creates theatrically under the Green-Eyed Monster Project. Hailing from and first trained in Malaysia, he is ever exploring the different but connected forms of the performing arts, and is looking to tell stories with new perspectives. He is the voice of Paxton.
LITTLE NEWS EARS / ANDREW DODDS
Andrew Dodds hails from Canada. He is an avid sports fan. He likes science and he has a daughter that he loves very much. He is the voice of Chooki and Pleep.
LITTLE NEWS EARS / DAVID BEACH
David Beach is a actor and comedian based in California. He does the voices of Enzo, Felix, and Winston, otherwise known as Cherry, Bird, Cow. More info about David can be found here.
LITTLE NEWS EARS / MICHELLE VOICE
Michelle Voice is the voice of Queen Zina: Weird and Gross News for Kids. Michelle is a British expat who has lived in the US for 13 years now. She is an elementary school teacher, loves anything drama or theatre related and has two young boys of her own, who both love Little News Ears.
Enzo is part man, part superb bird of paradise. He comes from Zoocenia. He always wanted to be a superhero, but it just never worked out. He lives with his grandson, Winston, and his adopted son, Enzo, in Ataraxia, California. Their whole big thing is working on their flyers-on-bathroom-stalls thing called The Toilet Paper.
Felix was found in a shipment of giant cherries that came from Zoocenia, millions of years in the future, and accidentally arrived on Enzo’s stoop in California in 2012. He is part-cherry, but does have the ability to leave his cherry sometimes. He works with his adoptive father on a kind of ‘newspaper’ called The Toilet Paper.
Winston is Enzo’s grandson, but he lives with him. Something weird happened with his parents. He’s four years old and he loves working on The Toilet Paper.
Milo is part-boy, part red panda. He has an adult’s voice for some reason. He gives us news for 0 – 3 year-olds.
Chooki is part purple gorilla, part man, and all scientist. He came from Zoocenia to study Earth in 2020 and has never looked back.
Pleep comes from the land in Zoocenia that used to be known as Brazil. He is a soccer and sports fanatic. Chooki is his best friend, especially when he gets into trouble.
Paxton Kincaid is a flamingo-man who arrived from Zoocenia from the strangest of places: he jumped out of a hot-air water balloon. Paxton’s interests lie beyond the USA. He gives us the headlines about the world, striving to teach us about five different continents, five days a week.
Kiki is the spokesperson for Little News Ears. Part caracal and part woman, Kiki originally hails from Zoocenia; she has acquired a French-Canadian accent by spending many years in what was once known as Quebec. Kiki ‘kidifies’ headlines on a regular basis in both English and French. Kiki likes the blues but otherwise does not care to share her personal life.
Née Jake Sassafrass, BoxerBlu will be born far into the future, when the Earth is no longer called Earth. There in Zoocenia, BoxerBlu will work as an aerial performer in what could best be described as a circus before meeting Bram in 2015 on Earth. How he found Bram can be learned in Episode 20. Jake likes country music and is 251 years old.
Currently four years old, Bram lives together with BoxerBlu, his dad, in a secret location connected to a science center in New Jersey. Born without the ability to see, Bram wears a visor that gives him special abilities, including sight.
OTIS THE LORIS
Otis the Loris hails from Zoocenia. His body is orange and he is the Master of the Caves. His specialty is to ask and answer questions about the day’s news, which can be found in the Super Parent / Teacher’s section of the website.