How to Empty a Toilet Bowl

If you want to really clean your bowl or make a toilet repair, you might need to drain the bowl itself for access.

Luckily, you can empty the toilet bowl in just a few minutes by simply shutting off the water supply and flushing the toilet. To make sure you do this properly, use the following guide.

Easy Way to Empty a Toilet Bowl

The whole process can be broken down into two stages: draining the tank and draining the bowl. You won’t need any tools or any specific plumbing knowledge to complete both of these steps.

Step 1: Draining the Tank

  1. First, you will need to turn off the water line that goes to the toilet. Look for a small knob near the toilet, usually on the wall. Turn it clockwise by holding the base with one hand and rotating the small knob with the other. Be careful to not use too much force, as the knob could break.
  2. Now, remove the top of the tank. Place it on a towel on the floor so that it doesn’t get damaged. With the top of the tank removed, you will be able to see into the tank to confirm when the water has completely drained.
  3. Now flush the toilet, which will cause the water to drain from the tank. If it’s not draining, check the shut-off valve to make sure it’s been tightened completely. If there is a problem with the shut-off valve and it’s urgent to drain the toilet bowl, you could shut off the main water supply to your house while working on the toilet.
  4. Continue to hold down the flush valve until the water is completely drained. That’s it—the tank is now empty.

Step 2: Draining the Bowl

  1. To drain the toilet bowl properly, make sure that you have drained the tank first following the above steps.
  2. Next, consider laying down some tarp or old towels. Even if you are careful, there may be some mess during this process.
  3. Fill a bucket with a few gallons of water and pour it into the toilet bowl. Although it might seem illogical, pouring the water into the bowl will cause it to drain. Try to pour slowly at first, and then speed up as needed. You may need to quickly dump the remaining water to finish the job.
  4. Continue with the previous step until your toilet bowl is empty. However, even after it is fully drained, there will still be some residual water in the bowl. The easiest way to take care of the remaining water is with a sponge.

Frequently Asked Questions

Guy with glasses looking up thinking

Why Is My Bowl Not Emptying When I Flush?

A low water level in the tank or a clog in the toilet can keep your bowl from emptying when you flush.

How do I Find the Main Supply Valve in My House?

The main water supply valve is usually located at the end of your property. If you are having trouble finding it, look for a metal or plastic box door at ground level. You can also call your water provider for help shutting off the water in an emergency.


As you can see, draining the toilet bowl is a very simple process. You should only make sure that the shut-off valve is completely tightened so that you can empty the tank first. If you’re looking for additional ways to streamline the process, you might want to check out a shop-vac, which is a very useful tool for removing water from the toilet.