Removing and replacing a toilet is a straightforward DIY project that most homeowners can tackle themselves. With some basic tools, a bit of know-how, and a helping hand, you can remove your old, faulty toilet and install a shiny new one in its place. Let’s look at the step-by-step process for how to remove a toilet safely and efficiently.

Preparing for Toilet Removal

Before removing your toilet, take some time to prepare so the process goes as smoothly as possible:

Gather Your Supplies

You’ll need the following tools and supplies handy:

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Channel lock pliers
  • Putty knife
  • Bucket
  • Old towels or rags
  • Trash bags
  • New toilet wax ring
  • New toilet bolts
  • Screwdriver

Turn Off Water Supply

Locate the shut-off valve that controls water flow to the toilet. It’s usually on the wall behind the toilet or just below the tank. Turn it clockwise to shut off the water completely.

Flush Toilet and Empty Tank

Flush the toilet to empty the tank and bowl completely. Use a small bucket to remove any remaining water in the tank and bowl. Use rags to soak up any spills.

Disconnect Supply Line

Under the tank, locate the flexible supply line that runs from the valve to the toilet fill valve. Use a wrench to loosen the coupling nut and disconnect it.

Remove Tank Lid

The tank lid simply lifts off once you remove the screws or bolts securing it. Set it aside someplace safe.

Removing the Toilet

With the prep work done, it’s time to remove the toilet itself:

Remove Tank from Bowl

The tank and bowl are held together with two bolts, one on each side. Loosen the nuts on these bolts and set them aside. Carefully lift the tank and set it aside.

Unseat Toilet from Floor

Situate yourself in front of the toilet bowl. Insert a flat pry bar between the bowl and floor and gently twist to break the seal. Take care not to crack the porcelain.

Disconnect Flange Bolts

You’ll see two bolts rising up from the floor flange that hold the bowl down. Hold the bowl steady and use your wrench to loosen the nuts and remove the bolts.

Lift Toilet from Flange

Have a helper assist you in slowly lifting the bowl directly up and off the flange on the floor. Be very careful not to hit the bowl against anything. Set the toilet bowl aside.

Remove Old Wax Ring

Use your putty knife to scrape away the old wax ring from the flange. Remove any leftover material or debris. Now the flange is prepped and ready for the new toilet.

Inspect Floor Flange

Check that the floor flange is level and not cracked or damaged. If it needs replacing, do so before installing the new toilet.

Preparing the New Toilet

With the old toilet removed, shift your focus to getting the new toilet ready for installation:

Remove Plastic Wrapping

Unwrap the new toilet and inspect it to make sure nothing is cracked or damaged before proceeding.

Install New Bolts

Place the bolts into the slots on the flange, pointing straight up. Have a helper hold them steady.

Add New Wax Ring

Take your new wax ring and center it evenly around the floor flange, squishing it down firmly so it adheres well.

Prep Tank and Bowl

Give the tank and bowl one last inspection. Install the tank bolts into the holes. Carefully set the tank onto the bowl and hand tighten the nuts.

Position Toilet

Now you’re ready to set the toilet back in place. Have your helper help lift it while you position it evenly over the flange.

Installing the New Toilet

You’re in the home stretch now. Just a few more steps to complete the installation:

Lower Toilet in Place

Slowly lower the lined-up toilet straight down onto the flange, letting the bolts poke up through the holes. Try not to shift the wax ring.

Hand Tighten Nuts

Have your helper hold the toilet steady while you get under it and tighten the nuts onto the bolts finger tight. Go slowly and double check it’s secure.

Connect Water Supply

Attach the water supply line back up to the fill valve. Turn the water supply back on and check for any leaks. Tighten any connections as needed.

Reinstall Tank Lid

Set the tank lid back in place on top of the toilet tank. Insert and tighten down the mounting bolts or screws.

Do a Test Flush

Moment of truth! Flush the toilet a few times and check underneath to make sure no water is leaking. Also verify it flushes and fills properly.

Seal the Base

Use a small caulk gun to lay down a neat bead between the base of the toilet and the floor. This stabilizes the toilet and prevents odors. Let dry.

That’s it – you’ve successfully removed your old toilet and installed a brand new replacement. Sit back and enjoy your newly renovated bathroom!

FAQs on Removing a Toilet

Still have some questions on how to remove a toilet properly? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

How long does it take to remove and replace a toilet?

Altogether, expect the toilet removal and replacement process to take 2-4 hours with an inexperienced DIYer. A handy pro can usually get it done in 1-2 hours.

Can I remove a toilet myself?

Definitely! Removing a toilet is totally doable as a DIY home project if you’re reasonably handy. Gather a helper, watch some tutorials, and take your time.

Do I need to replace the wax ring when I remove a toilet?

Yes, you should always install a new wax ring anytime you remove a toilet. The old ring will be compressed or damaged. A fresh ring makes a better seal.

What tools do I need to remove a toilet?

Just basic DIY tools like an adjustable wrench, screwdriver, putty knife, pliers, and a pry bar. A bucket, rags, gloves, and trash bags are handy too.

How do I remove toilet bowl bolts that are stuck?

If the nuts on the bolts are corroded or stripped, spray them with WD-40 or another penetrating oil. Let soak 15 minutes. Use locking pliers to help twist them off.

Can I reinstall my toilet without new bolts?

It’s best to use new bolts when re-seating a toilet. The old ones may be bent or corroded. New stainless steel bolts and wax ring ensure a proper seal.

How do I remove the toilet tank from the bowl?

Start by disconnecting the water supply line. Unscrew the large nuts on either side of the tank/bowl. Lift the tank straight up to detach it from the bowl.

Why is there water left in the toilet bowl when I shut off the valve?

The shut-off valve only stops supply water from filling the tank. Any standing water already in the bowl and tank will remain until drained out.

How do I remove a wall-mounted toilet?

Wall-mounted toilets have an anchor bracket bolted through the wall. Remove the mounting bolt covers to access and loosen the main fixing bolts and detach from the wall.

Can I crack my toilet by rocking it too much to loosen it?

It’s possible if you aggressively rock or twist the bowl too much. Take your time and use gentle pressure with a pry bar to break the seal. Be patient.


Removing an old or damaged toilet for replacement is a straightforward project any do-it-yourselfer can handle. With some preparation, the right tools, and help from an extra set of hands, you can remove and replace your toilet in just a few hours. Just take things slow, use care when handling the porcelain, and follow all the proper steps. Then sit back and enjoy your fresh new throne!