How to Remove and Replace a Toilet

Newly installed toilet in bathroom.

Newly installed toilet in bathroom.

I want to put a new floor in my bathroom and need to know how to take the old toilet out and put a new one in? -Tommy

Hi Tommy,

Begin by turning off the water at the cut-off valve located behind the toilet. Flush the toilet, holding the handle down so all the water drains out of the tank, then use a sponge to remove any remaining water from the tank and bowl. Next, use a wrench to disconnect the water supply line from the bottom of the tank.

Take the plastic covers off the flange bolts in the floor on each side of the bowl, unscrew the nuts and remove the washers. Work the toilet loose from the wax gasket that seals it to the drain flange and lift it out. After cleaning the old wax off the drain flange, put a rag in the drain or tape over the flange to keep sewer gases out while you’re working on the new floor.

When you’re ready to install the new toilet, turn the bowl on its side and press a new wax ring around the opening on the bottom of the bowl. If the flange bolts are corroded, slide them out of the slots and replace them. After removing the rag or tape from the drain, position the bowl on the drain opening, and press down firmly, rotating the toilet slightly from side to side to seat it on the flange.

Next, install the washers and nuts on the flange bolts and tighten them up, applying even pressure to each side until the bowl is firmly seated on the flange opening and floor. Be careful not to crack the bowl by over tightening the nuts. If necessary, cut the bolts off with a hacksaw so the plastic covers can fit over them.

Attach the tank to the bowl, using the bolts and rubber gasket supplied with it, followed by the supply line in the bottom of the tank. Open the cut-off valve, fill the tank, and flush the toilet while checking for leaks.

You can find more about removing and replacing a toilet—including a cool tip on how to drain water out of the bowl—in our Bathroom Makeover episode. For information on other toilet repairs, see our article on Repairing a Toilet.



Please Leave a Comment

13 Comments on “How to Remove and Replace a Toilet”

You can follow comments to this article by subscribing to the RSS news feed with your favorite feed reader.

  • Cathy Green Says:
    December 16th, 2016 at 6:37 am

    I am getting no water in my toilet tank at all. So we thought it is a defective supply tube or valve that is by wall. We cut off water supply and tried to remove but cannot. Now we have a plumber coming.

  • Sharon Reams Says:
    November 27th, 2016 at 4:59 am

    Great ideas over there to replace a new toilet instead of old. It’s difficult for those haven’t any idea and don’t know where to start. This post is standard for the replacing purposes I think. For installing a new toilet be aware of toilet flange when set up. It it’s positioned too high then the whole process will ruined. Choose the right closet flange when reinstalling is a must.

  • Mandy Says:
    August 31st, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    Have you tried out the Culwell Flange when replacing a toilet and/or flange? While researching accessibility for my bathroom, I found this flange. It says it seals to the floor, and comes in different sizes, ABS & PVC, and different models. Was wondering if anyone had any experience with this flange or was willing to try it out?

  • michael baylor Says:
    September 2nd, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    I was inquiring about removing a toilet flange. I have to replace the floor and I am not sure how to seat the flange on the new floor. Thanks

  • michael baylor Says:
    August 18th, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    is there an episode on how to remove a toilet flange.

  • Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    April 1st, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    Hi Maurice,
    We post an article for each episode of our Today’s Homeowner TV show on the Today’s Homeowner section of our website at
    The show you are referred to is called “Flooring That Fits” and the episode article can be found at
    In it you will find information about the product that was used to remove water from the toilet.
    Thank you for your interest!

  • Maurice Says:
    April 1st, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    Hi I was watching one of the episodes of removing a toilet this morning on tv they were going ro replace the fooring they showed flushing the water out of the tank then with the remaining water in the bowl they had a packet of something that gelled the water up I was wondering what is was.

  • vandana Says:
    December 13th, 2011 at 2:19 am

    i have a wall mounted newly fixed wc however the base below the wc leaks 2 min after the flush my plumber has already changed the washer twice but the leak continues please help

  • Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    January 26th, 2011 at 8:33 am

    Hi Ronnie,
    As far as I know, there’s only one size of wax ring for a toilet, and one size fits all. There are different brands, with and without an embedded plastic flange in the wax seal. You’re probably going to smush the seal down to an unrecognizable shape when you put the toilet on it anyway, but the plastic built-in plastic flange seems to add a little extra insurance against leaks. Usually the bowl is installed then the tank and seat attached. Work the bowl back and forth until it’s about touching the floor to compress the wax ring, then tighten the toilet flange bolts to prevent the possibility of cracking the porcelain around the base of the toilet. The flange holes in the toilet bowl are oblong to give some wiggle room with the bolts. Good luck with your project!

  • Ronnie Poole Says:
    January 26th, 2011 at 4:36 am

    My apt toilet is small, outdated, and cannot handle my, shall we say “wide girth.” I am also disabled and have the ok to put a bigger, higher, better- six million dollar toilet in to replace old one. As a DIYer I am good to do it myself. I got a perfect toilet from a HYATT REGENCY HOTEL renovation, almost exact measurements as disabled unit. My question is/are… Is there more than one size of toilet wax ring? If so what is the common size? and should I remove the bowl off of the seat before I set it? and is there normaly any amount of slide room in the toilet mount holes? thanx

  • Toronto plumbing Says:
    March 24th, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    Great article !! I must add that a video would be very appreciated to show us how to proceed. Thanks

  • Misty Pierce Says:
    February 5th, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    I am removeing a standard toliet and replaceing it with a handicap, is the process the same as standard for standard?
    thank you

  • gregory holowka Says:
    September 26th, 2008 at 9:54 am

    Can Dietra be used as a Thermal-Break when installing a tile floor

We want to hear from you! In addition to posting comments on articles and videos, you can also send your comments and questions to us on our contact page or at (800) 946-4420. While we can't answer them all, we may use your question on our Today's Homeowner radio or TV show, or online at

 characters available

How to Remove and Replace a Toilet