If your toilet is unsightly, inefficient or deteriorating, then replacing it is certainly the best option. If your toilet is leaking around the base, you probably only need to replace the wax ring. Either way, this step by step guide will show you the way to do it, simply and painlessly.



Putty Knife

Adjustable Wrench


Replacement Toilet (unless you are just replacing the wax ring)

Wax Ring (You will need this in either case)

Longer Supply Line (You may need this if the new toilet’s tank is higher than the old one)

Bathroom Silicone


Before you remove your old toilet, you should have your new one ready. Therefore the first thing you need to do is make sure your new one will fit. Locate the bolts that hold the toilet to the floor and measure from the wall to the centre of the bolts. Ideally, this should be about twelve inches; if it’s not, you may have an odd sized crapper.

For a small bathroom, check how much room you have on each side of the toilet as well as in front. You don’t want a new toilet that obstructs the bathroom door or gets in the way of the vanity. You don’t have to do the measuring if you are just replacing the wax ring, but don’t skip ahead just yet.

Finally, measure from the floor to the point on the toilet tank where the supply line enters. The supply line is a short flexible pipe that runs from a valve in the wall to the toilet tank. If the tank is higher on the new unit, you will need a longer supply line, so roughly measure the supply line as well. If the supply line is in bad condition, you may want to replace it anyway.

Buying a New Unit

Some modern toilets are one piece, but many, even the stylish ones, are still two, so you will have to make sure the bowl and tank match. The salesperson should know which goes with which, and should also be able to tell you the height of the tank, so you can decide whether you need a longer supply line.

Check your measurements. Will the new toilet fit in the same space?

Check that the tank has all its internal components in place. It should all be there.

Check to see if a new toilet seat is included or extra.

Grab yourself some bolts to secure your new throne.

Don’t forget the wax ring.  

Out with the Old

If your old toilet still works, the first thing to do is turn off the supply line and then flush the toilet. This will empty the tank and make it much easier to handle. Extract the last of the water from the bowl with a scoop, sponge or a rag so that it doesn’t leak out later on.

If you intend to reuse the supply line, disconnect it at the tank. If you want to replace the line remove it from the supply valve and leave it connected to the tank. Remove the lid of the tank if it is heavy and put it aside, out of the way.

If the tank is attached to the wall, you should be able to disconnect the pipe that joins the tank to the bowl and lift the tank off its mounts and remove it. If the tank is attached to the bowl, there will be a pair of bolts where the bowl meets the tank. These bolts go from the inside of the tank through the mounting flange at the back of the bowl. Remove the nuts, lift the bowl off the gasket and take it away.

Removing the bowl

Remove the caps from the bolts at the base of the toilet and take out the bolts. Some toilets will have four bolts, but most will have two.

Free the bowl from its gasket by rocking it slightly from side to side and take it away. The bottom of the bowl will be dirty and sticky, so you will need to take it straight outside, or have something to put it on like a sheet of plastic.

Plug the drain hole with a rag to keep the smells where they belong. Use something that won’t fall down the hole.

Check out our next post: “Removing and Replacing a Toilet, Part Two – Replacing” for the next step.

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