Growing up, I was OBSESSED with Barbie. I loved her hair, I loved her outfits, I loved her pink convertible. I guess you could say, not much has changed…

I was a typical big sister to my little brother. I would force him into letting me dress him up in my clothes, do his makeup and clip barrettes in his hair. And I would bribe him into being the Skipper to my Barbie. He was a pretty good sport about it, I must say. But when he’d had enough, he let me know it in the most devastating way I could have imagined at that young, innocent time.

I’ll never forget the sheer terror I felt as I watched him rip the head off Skipper, Barbie’s sister and BFF, and sprint to the bathroom where he gleefully flushed it down the toilet. If that isn’t traumatic, I don’t know what is.

I can’t be sure of what happened next as everything around me went black, but things haven’t been the same since…

If you have children anything like my brother, I am certain you will suffer the same fate at some point. For the most part, retrieving a plastic toy out of the toilet is just an icky inconvenience. But if your child flushes the toy, you could have a bigger problem on your hands. Please don’t worry too much, it is possible to fix this!

Here are some simple steps you can take:

Step 1

If a plastic toy has been flushed, you need to plunge it first. If it flushes successfully several times, whatever’s clogging it might be gone. If not, move on to Step 2.

Step 2

If your toilet is not flushing, the next best thing to try is a closet auger or plumbing snake. This is plumbing tool that can maneuver through the drain and remove obstructions, without scratching or damaging the toilet bowl. The closet auger is made of a long flexible shaft with a hook to help you retrieve whatever’s stuck in the toilet.

Run the closet auger or snake into the toilet bowl until it resists moving further. At this point, wiggle the hook until you catch on to the plastic toy. You may have to repeat this process several times before you snag the toy. When the toy is retrieved and your toilet flushes properly several times in a row, you’re done!

Step 3

If you have been unsuccessful in retrieving the plastic toy, call in for reinforcements. Contact your local plumber and let the professionals handle this job. They are skilled, experienced and, most likely, this isn’t their first Barbie or Skipper head.

But the best method is to make sure this doesn’t happen in the first place. No everyone is quite so lucky and though it may not seem like that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things, this can lead to costly disruption and repairs that you shouldn’t have to worry about in the first place.