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How to Remove a Thetford RV Toilet

Why a Thetford? Thetford RV toilets are quite common in RV’s purchased for less than $100,000. You probably actually looked up Thetford because you noticed which brand stamped your toilet, too.

Removing a Thetford RV toilet isn’t overly complicated can be done by one’s self in less than a half hour, but having instructions on how to do it the right way can certainly be nice.

Removing a Thetford toilet is a matter of having some tools available, including a screwdriver and potentially a wrench. You’ll also want to shut off the water supply to your toilet.

How do I start removing my Thetford RV toilet?

We haven’t ripped the toilet out quite yet. The first thing to do is prepare the room and the toilet.

Preparing the room and the toilet means shutting the water off both the toilet and any sprayer you might use – like a bidet, for your toilet.

These will have stored water from the last time you used the toilet, and you certainly don’t need to be sprayed while removing the base.

The on and off valve for the toilet should be behind the pedestal itself, and often is a knob that requires a quarter or half turn to turn off completely. 

You’ll also want to turn off your water pump. Your water pump is designed to automatically generate the pressure necessary to move water to the toilet, and you won’t need its help at the moment.

With the water lines to your sprayer and toilet no longer running, we can start removing the toilet itself.

Removing the toilet in your RV

Before we dive in, let’s revie what you’ll need.

  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Gloves
  • A socket wrench (probably a half inch) with an extension
  • A place to put the toilet once finished
  • Some towels or paper towels
  • A set of strong arms
  • If you can find it, the manual for the toilet so you know what size bolts and screws you have.

Find the Bolts

Your RV toilet is often fastened to the floor with bolts. The first thing to do is remove the cover on the bottom of the toilet and find the bolts. Some covers are easy to remove by prying them off with your hands or just kicking. In other cases, the flathead screwdriver is handy to get underneath and lift up.

Some Thetfords have separate front and back covers or plates that make it easy to access both sides.

Remove the Bolts

Removing the bolts from your RV toilet is one of the places where gloves will start to come in handy. You are now near the base of your toilet, and things can get gross. Gloves also help with group.

The bolts are most likely on the front left or front right side of the toilet under the initial cover. Find a socket of the correct size – most likely a half inch, and use the socket wrench to loosen these. Note that an extension for your socket wrench will make this way easier rather than getting all the way to the ground to start moving the bolt. Your back and arms will thank you.

You’ll want to start turning left slowly – just get enough torque to move the bolt. Move slowly initially to avoid breaking the bolt. Bolts can be old and corroded.

Once you’ve removed both bolts, you are well on your way to a finished job. Good work!

Lifting the Toilet

The toilet is now disconnected from the floor and your water lines. While it’s entirely possible that you can lift a toilet by yourself, consider entlisting a friend or family to make it a bit lighter.

Once the toilet is lifted, consider putting a towel or something over the hole created by its removal. This is the pipe that goes into your black tank, and even with an empty black tank, it can smell.

This is also the perfect opportunity to clean out the black tank pipe, of course.

Disposing of a toilet

People don’t normally keep toilets around because well, they are toilets. It’s good to have a plan in mind for the disposal of your toilet, and a potential cleaning before you haul it somewhere.

It’s also possible, and sometimes a little bit of fun, to break your toilet into smaller parts for disposal later. Otherwise, consider contacting local recycling centers, including government ones, to see who accepts old toilets.


So there’s a good chance there is at least some water on the floor after removing a toilet. Grab a towel and clean it up. While a bathroom floor is meant to do well with water, toilet water isn’t anyone’s friend.

Putting in a new toilet?

Whether it’s a Thetford or not, one thing you can do to make things easier for the future is to replace any wax o-ring or floor attachment while it’s still exposed. While these last a long time, they are also cheap and easy to replace once the toilet is already unmounted. Replacing now is way better than having a leak later that results in replacement anyway.

Putting a new toilet in is basically the opposite of the same process. Keep many of the same tools handy!

Also, turn the water supply back on for the toilet and any sprayers. That might help!


With some patient, a little muscle, a socket wrench and a screwdriver, you can have your RV toilet moved in a matter of minutes. Thetfort has made their toilets fairly easy to remove, so your biggest challenge might be choosing which toilet to go with next.

One of the easiest ways to remove the toilet is to be a bit prepared and have someone help you just in case you need a second set of arms to lift it out.

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