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Toilet troubles-flushing Depends
Posted: Sunday, September 12, 2021 1:51 AM
Joined: 8/18/2021
Posts: 4

Hi all,

My Mom has Alzheimer's and is primarily cared for by my dad, who is healthy & active, but also 80 years old.

Recently, Mom has started flushing her Depends underwear. My Dad and brother had to spend a good part of the day today digging up pipes to clear the plumbing line....for the second time in a month.

I've been looking online for solutions and think I might buy this childproof toilet handle lock.
Has anyone else out there had this problem and have you come up with a solution?
Any thoughts on the childproof toilet lock?
Thanks for any ideas you can share.


Posted: Sunday, September 12, 2021 6:51 AM
Joined: 3/6/2017
Posts: 3026


Gizmos and gadgets can sometimes be useful as a safety net but they do not replace human oversight. Your mom has progressed beyond the ability to use the bathroom independently and should not have access alone. If her MO is flushing, she could be flushing other things of more value.

If that device works, (and the same could be accomplished by draining the tank after turning off the water supply at the toilet) the used Depends would still need to be removed. 

Safety 1st OutSmart Toilet Lock-HS288 - The Home Depot


MN Chickadee
Posted: Sunday, September 12, 2021 8:56 AM
Joined: 9/7/2014
Posts: 1331

I've been there, done that. My 82 year old father who was the primary caregiver wasn't energetic or able enough to always be on top of things. I had to take the pipes apart numerous times and eventually coordinate more care for mom because her incontinence is what really did my father's energy in  (in our case a move to MC because in home care wasn't an option.) Once we locked the toilet my LO started rinsing her depends in the sink in the middle of the night, so all those fibers clogged the sink. Or smearing feces all over trying to clean up. A gadget may take a little pressure off, but as others have mentioned it is time for someone to always be in the bathroom with her. This is the only way to make sure she doesn't make a huge mess and that she gets properly cleaned up to avoid skin breakdown and UTIs. The bathroom door may need to be locked, and only accessible by caregivers who either toilet her when she asks and/or on a 2 hour schedule. This particular phase made the bathroom unsafe in many ways - mom's judgement was compromised. A tube of facial medicine was confused for toothpaste. Chemicals and medicine were safer with the bathroom locked.

This phase, where my LO was with it enough to take garments off, was so challenging. In addition to the bathroom issues she was doing similar stuff in other areas of the home. Taking drawers and closets apart, hiding stuff, moving stuff, finding mischief everywhere. It was perhaps the hardest phase of the whole disease for us. It basically takes 24/7 undivided attention on them which is complicated and exhausting. 

Posted: Sunday, September 12, 2021 11:44 AM
Joined: 5/4/2017
Posts: 93

My mother will put most anything in the toilet, if it stops up she would flush it a few times to "get it down". For the past few months I just shut the water off with the 1/4 turn supply line valve then I have to go in behind her an fish out nonflushables or wads of toilet paper then turn the water  on let toilet fill then turn water off and flush thus leaving the water closet empty a bit of a pain  but not as bad as stopped up pipes and overflow on the floor. Now I have to go in with her but I still cut the water off by habit and just in case.
Posted: Sunday, September 12, 2021 2:19 PM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 20102

No suggestions but I want to share that my husband washed and dried his depends....twice!
Posted: Sunday, September 12, 2021 8:52 PM
Joined: 8/18/2021
Posts: 4

Oh my goodness, I wasn't expecting so many replies.

Thank you all so much--I appreciate the thoughts and advice and thank you, jfkoc for reminding me to hang on to my sense of humor throughout this journey!

I live two hours away from my parents, so I spend time with them when I can and try to come up with solutions from a distance when I can't be there.

I am going to have a talk with my dad and explain that Mom needs to be accompanied and supervised in the bathroom from now on. In the back of my mind, I think I knew it was coming to that, but your replies gave me the nudge and support I needed.

I'm very glad I joined this community.

mommyandme (m&m)
Posted: Monday, September 13, 2021 1:33 PM
Joined: 2/16/2020
Posts: 226

24/7 care is definitely inevitable and can catch us off guard when a trusted source says it’s time… ugh. 

Then when that “care” morphs into 24/7 supervision of EVERYTHING, it’s down right depressing and isolating.  Dark clouds and thunder move in overhead. 

I’m sorry you and yours are dealing with all this. 

Posted: Monday, September 13, 2021 3:00 PM
Joined: 3/11/2018
Posts: 3

I have had to take almost everything out of the bathroom. My DH put a whole roll of toilet paper in the toilet and flushed. Water was everywhere.  I have taken some white plastic basin necks you get at the hardware and roll toilet paper on them so he doesn't do it again. I watch him constantly when he is around the bathroom.  I  make him take off his pad before he goes into the bathroom and then I make him leave the door open so I can keep an eye on what he is doing.  They are past the point of figuring this out by themselves.  Never thought I would have to do this but here I am.  Don't leave anything in the bathroom they can flush and watch them.  I even had to put a switch on the shower so he doesn't turn it on and leave it on all night. Yes turning of water supplies is great. That's next I guess.
Posted: Monday, September 20, 2021 11:49 AM
Joined: 8/18/2021
Posts: 4

Thank you again, everyone.

I visited my parents over the weekend and was glad to see that my Dad (Mom's main caregiver) has found a solution that works for him--at least for now.
He decided to keep it simple & disable the flusher on the toilet that Mom uses most of the time.




mommyandme (m&m)
Posted: Monday, September 20, 2021 1:18 PM
Joined: 2/16/2020
Posts: 226

Glad there is some peace for now.
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