Toilet Flushes But Poop Stays: How to Fix It and Prevent It

Did you know that the average person spends about three years of their life on the toilet? That’s a lot of time to deal with a toilet that doesn’t flush properly. 

If your toilet flushes but poop stays in the bowl, you’re not alone. This is a common problem that many people face at some point in their lives. It can be caused by various factors, such as clogs, low water levels, slow flushes, or damaged sewer lines.

A toilet that flushes but poop stays can be more than just an inconvenience. It can also be a health hazard, as it can create unsanitary conditions and unpleasant odors in your bathroom. It can also waste water and increase your utility bills. That’s why it’s important to find out what’s causing the problem and how to fix it as soon as possible.

In this article, we’ll explain why your toilet flushes but poop stays and what you can do to solve this issue. We’ll also give you some tips on how to prevent it from happening again in the future.

Why Your Toilet Flushes But Poop Stays and How to Fix It

Clogged Trap or Drainpipe

The most common cause of a toilet that flushes but poop stays is a clog in the trap or drainpipe of the toilet. This can happen when too much toilet paper, foreign objects, or hard waste material gets stuck in the pipes and prevent the water from flowing freely.

To fix this problem, you’ll need to clear the clog using a plunger or a toilet auger. A plunger is a simple tool that creates suction and pressure to dislodge the clog. A toilet auger is a flexible snake-like device that can reach deeper into the pipes and break up the clog.

toilet plunger
toilet plunger
a toilet auger
a toilet auger

To use a plunger, fill the toilet bowl with enough water to cover the rubber cup of the plunger. Place the plunger over the drain hole and push down firmly and quickly several times. You should see some water and debris coming out of the bowl. Repeat until the clog is cleared and the water drains normally. You can watch the video below for more guidance.

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To use a toilet auger, insert the end of the auger into the drain hole and turn the handle clockwise until you feel some resistance. Then pull back slightly and push forward again until you break through the clog. You may need to repeat this process several times until you clear the pipe. Then flush the toilet to remove any remaining debris. You can watch the video below for more guidance on how to use a toilet auger:

Low Water Level in Tank

Another possible cause of a toilet that flushes but poop stays is a low water level in the tank. The tank is where the water is stored before it’s released into the bowl when you flush. If there’s not enough water in the tank, there won’t be enough pressure to push all the waste through the trap and drainpipe.

To fix this problem, you’ll need to adjust the water level in the tank. The water level should be about an inch below the top of the overflow tube, which is a vertical pipe that prevents water from overflowing out of the tank.

You can adjust the water level by turning a screw or sliding a clip on the fill valve, which is the device that controls the water flow into the tank. You may need to experiment with different settings until you find the optimal water level for your toilet. You can watch the video below for guidance:

Slow Flush

A slow flush is another reason why your toilet may flush but poop stays. A slow flush means that the water doesn’t flow fast enough to remove all the waste from the bowl.

This can be caused by a faulty flapper valve, which is the rubber flap that covers the drain hole at the bottom of the tank. If the flapper valve doesn’t open fully or close quickly, it can reduce the water pressure and speed of the flush.

To fix this problem, you’ll need to replace the flapper valve. The flapper valve is usually attached to a chain that connects to the flush handle. To replace it, you’ll need to turn off the water supply to the toilet and flush it to empty the tank.

Then unhook the chain from the handle and remove the old flapper valve. You may need to cut or unscrew it from the overflow tube. Then install the new flapper valve by attaching it to the overflow tube and hooking the chain to the handle. Make sure the chain is not too long or too short, as this can affect the performance of the flapper valve. For visual guidance, watch the video below;

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Damaged Sewer Line

A more serious cause of a toilet that flushes but poop stays is a damaged sewer line. The sewer line is the pipe that carries all the wastewater from your home to the main sewer system. If the sewer line is cracked, broken, or collapsed, it can create a blockage or a backup in your plumbing system. This can prevent your toilet from flushing properly and cause sewage to overflow into your home.

To fix this problem, you’ll need to call a professional plumber. A plumber can inspect your sewer line using a camera and locate the source of the damage. Depending on the extent and location of the damage, they may be able to repair it using a trenchless method, which involves inserting a liner or a pipe inside the existing pipe.

This can save you time and money by avoiding digging up your yard or driveway. However, in some cases, they may need to excavate and replace the entire sewer line, which can be more costly and disruptive.

Prevention Tips

To prevent your toilet from flushing but poop staying, you should follow some simple tips that can help you maintain your toilet and plumbing system in good condition. These include:

Avoid flushing too much toilet paper, wet wipes, feminine products, diapers, or any other items that are not meant for toilets. These can clog your pipes and cause backups.

Use high-quality toilet paper that dissolves easily in water and doesn’t leave behind residue. You can also use a bidet or a handheld sprayer to reduce your toilet paper usage and improve your hygiene.

Flush your toilet regularly and thoroughly, especially after using it for solid waste. This can help prevent buildup and odors in your bowl and pipes.

Clean your toilet bowl and tank at least once a week using a mild cleaner and a brush. This can help remove stains, bacteria, and mineral deposits that can affect your toilet’s performance.

Check your toilet for leaks or cracks periodically and fix them as soon as possible. Leaks can waste water and cause damage to your floors and walls. Cracks can compromise your toilet’s structure and function.

Install a water softener if you have hard water in your area. Hard water contains minerals that can accumulate in your pipes and fixtures and cause clogs and corrosion.


A toilet that flushes but poop stays is a common problem that can have various causes and solutions. Some of the possible causes are clogs, low water levels, slow flushes, or damaged sewer lines. Some of the possible solutions are plunging, adjusting, replacing, or repairing parts of your toilet or plumbing system.

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If you’re experiencing this problem with your toilet, don’t ignore it or hope it will go away on its own. Try some of the solutions we’ve suggested in this article or call a professional plumber if you need help. You’ll be glad you did when you have a clean and functional toilet again.

We hope this article has been helpful and informative for you. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below. Thank you for reading!


Why does my toilet flush but poop stays in the bowl?

This can happen due to a weak flush, a clogged toilet drain, or the water level inside the toilet tank being too low. Various reasons, such as a faulty flapper or damaged fill valve, can contribute to these issues.

How can I clear a clogged toilet that’s caused by poop?

You can use a toilet plunger to generate pressure and help clear the clog in the toilet. To further dissolve poop, pour a mixture of vinegar and baking soda down the toilet bowl and let it sit for a few minutes before attempting to flush again.

What causes a weak flush in my toilet?

A weak flush could be caused by a partially-closed water valve, a low water level in the toilet tank, blocked rim holes, or a faulty flapper that’s not sealing properly. Inspect these components and make any necessary adjustments or replacements to improve the flush.

How can I prevent poop from staying behind after flushing the toilet?

Regular cleaning of the toilet bowl, proper use of toilet paper, ensuring the toilet tank has an adequate water level, and maintaining the water pressure can help prevent poop from staying behind after flushing.

When should I call a plumber to fix my toilet that won’t flush properly?

If you’ve attempted to clear the toilet clog using a plunger and have checked the water level and valve, but the issue persists, it’s time to call a professional plumber to diagnose the problem and provide a solution.

How can I properly use a plunger to clear a clogged toilet?

Make sure the plunger is covering the toilet drain completely, and gently push it down to create a vacuum seal. Then, forcefully push and pull the plunger several times to dislodge the clog in the toilet.

Can chemical drain cleaners be used to dissolve poop and clear the clogged toilet drain?

Chemical drain cleaners might help dissolve poop, but they can also cause damage to the pipes and are harmful to the environment. Instead, consider using a natural solution like vinegar and baking soda to help break down the obstruction.

What can cause a low water level in the toilet tank?

A low tank water level can be caused by a broken or misadjusted fill valve, a malfunctioning flapper, or an issue with the water supply valve. Check these components and make the necessary adjustments to ensure the proper water level in the tank.

How can I unclog a toilet drain pipe if a plunger doesn’t work?

If the plunger is not effective, you can try using a toilet auger or a drain snake to reach deeper into the drain pipe and dislodge the clog. However, if you’re not familiar with these tools, it’s advised to call a professional plumber to avoid causing further damage to your toilet.

How often should I clean my toilet to prevent clogs and issues with flushing?

Aim to clean your toilet bowl at least once a week using mild cleaning agents and a toilet brush. This helps to prevent the buildup of toilet paper, debris, and mineral deposits that can contribute to clogs and cause issues with flushing.

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Kelly Jones

Hi, I’m Kelly Jones, a home improvement enthusiast who loves to transform my home with creative projects. I am the founder and sole author of Homey Havens, a blog where I share my ideas and tutorials to help you make your home a place of comfort and relaxation.

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