Nothing stops a family dead in their tracks quicker than a stopped-up toilet. It’s amazing how much hopping around goes on when there’s no place to pee.
You’re going to want to have some idea of how to fix the problem as soon as possible. It’s not as simple as grabbing a plunger and going to town on the porcelain throne. There is a proper procedure to follow.
First, shut off the water supply line leading to the toilet. Normally this is found at the back of the toilet close to the wall.
Follow the line from the tank to find the shut-off valve. Put that on your list of things to do today, because it’s better to know where it is now than try to figure it out when you already have a clog.
Second, hold the plunger straight up and make sure the drain hole is completely covered. Make sure water comes at least half way up the rubber cup. Add water if needed. This will form the tight seal you need.
Third, I personally do not use chemicals, but if you have already tried bleach or chemicals make sure to wear goggles or safety glasses and protective clothing. Push down on the plunger until it touches the drain then up quickly. Repeat a few times without breaking the seal.
Fourth, push down on the plunger one more time, but this time pull up sharply to break the suction. You might have to do this more than once until the water drains.
Finally, turn the supply valve back on and flush the toilet a few times to help move the clog through the piping.
If you tried all this and the toilet is still clogged you can try a drain snake. You might have to admit defeat and call a plumber while the family heads to Grandma’s or the nearest gas station.