How to Get You Kids to Remember to Flush the Toilet

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Published Sep 14, 2016

Do you have a child who is potty trained, but still forgets to actually flush the toilet? A tag team of terrific parents have chirped in to help us learn how to make you kids remember to flush.

Recently, we had a concerned parent call out to all ChatterBlock users for some serious assistance. 

The question was simple, but oh so important. 

She wanted to know how she could get her two year old daughter to remember to flush the toilet! After all, there is nothing more offensive than going to the washroom to find that the toilet hasn't been flushed. Ahhh.

Days later we were overwhelmed with response from the community!  Everyone at ChatterBlock wanted to make sure that we published these fantastic words of wisdom, so that all current and future parents would know how to deal with this sh*tty situation. 

Our first response was from Natasha, who wrote: 

I have a 7-year-old son who struggles with remembering to flush...he's just so go-go-go that he just skips right over that step and is already onto the next thing! Needless to say, getting him to wash his hands was the first battle but I used the same tactics in getting him to both wash his hands AND flush the toilet.

You must have persistence. And an ABSOLUTE refusal to do the work for her.

One thing we parents tend to screw up, is thinking that consequences have to be painful (of heart or physical body). But the truth is, a good consequence is one that is **inconvenient** and that **naturally relates** to the offence.

This is because both inconvenient and natural/relatable consequences will be remembered the next time they are in the same situation. Inconvenience works because we are creatures who strive for the path of least resistance and don't like to be inconvenienced. Natural consequences work because when our consequence directly relates to the offence, the child can easily make the connection between cause and effect. EXAMPLE: Taking a toy away from a child who misbehaved in the grocery store does nothing for changing that child's behaviour -- there was no direct correlation between cause and effect and they were left feeling punished for being a failure. Instead, a natural consequence would be that when they misbehave in the grocery store, Mom puts back their favourite snack that they were going to get that week. The consequence is closely linked to the ACTUAL point of offence (the grocery store) so the child will surely remember it the next time you're in the store and they're hoping for their favourite snack to end up in the cart!

So anyway -- what about some practical examples of this for your situation?

In this case, every time you find the toilet unflushed, you can provide her with both an INCONVENIENT consequence and a RELATABLE consequence -- and you need to REFUSE to do the work for her! These next few steps might take a lot of time for you to implement, but it will only happen a few times and she'll be trained. It pays off in the long run!

1. Make her stop whatever she's doing to come back into the bathroom. (Inconvenient consequence)

2. Have her flush the toilet. (Inconvenient consequence)

3. Explain to her that since her waste wasn't flushed immediately, she now needs to use the toilet brush to clean the bowl. (Relatable consequence)

4. Once that's all done, explain that she needs to wash her hands (even if she just did a few minutes prior) because she has touched the toilet again. (Inconvenient consequence)

Do that a few times and she'll be so pissed off for having to do it all that the next time she goes to leave the bathroom, she'll flush for sure! :)

Other responses include: 


I used to yell "look behind you when you're done" to my kids when the went into the bathroom. Can't recall if it worked or not; but they would have to go and flush immediately that I noticed it. When my grandbabies don't flush I just flush for them. Go figure!


On Saltspring we just flush for the big jobs - saves water!! Your daughter would fit right in there.


My daughter came home from a play date singing "if it's yellow let it mellow, but if it's brown flush it down." My daughter read it on a sign that hung on her friend's bathroom door that her friend had made (aged 8). All my girls know this catchy little tune from school so I have just assumed it is a new green perspective on conserving water. Ohhh, young kids today!


Sign on washroom wall of beach restaurant called Buzzards in Baja.
Have lots of fun in the Baja sun but never flush number one.
If it's number two you have to do, flush that puppy and it's paper too. I still like everything flushed though.


I had this problem with my boys and tried EVERYTHING, including what the poster said about having them stop what they are doing to flush.

What finally worked was I said for every unflushed toilet I found I was docking each of their allowances $1 as I didn't know who did it. I had to do this ONCE and the problem stopped.

That day I learned how money motivates my children.


Great advice Tracy M. My kids aren't old enough to really get the concept of money, but I will keep that in mind when they're a bit older.


My son often wouldn't flush...and this also showed that he wasn't Same age at the time. It was a bit harsh, but I took a fluorescent shoelace, looped it through a roll of toilet paper and hung it on the bathroom knob. I told him if he couldn't remember to flush/wipe after all my verbal reminders then he would have to wear the TP necklace to school. He became a #2 flusher after that.


Jenn, that sounds like something I would have resorted to!! 
Good idea.


Jenn! Hilarious! I love it.


I know this is an old post but after search to find the same answer I can across the thread. Mine just don't seem to bother to flush. I know my youngest finds it hard to push the buttons. We have a top push button flush toilet. Might try the allowance deduction but they will probably both say it was wasn't them! I was thinking of trying this in the hope it might remind them with a big button they can not miss.


I think some punishment would be good in this situation. Not the big one, but, f.e. if your kid forgets to flush the toilet - he doesn't get something delicious or he can't play video games or something. That would really motivate him to not forget.

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