How Toilets Work

By: Marshall Brain

Parts of a Toilet

There are several interrelated components that make a toilet do what it does, as shown here:

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Note: The water level as it relates to the siphon action is simplified in this animation. In reality, the water level does not remain constant as the water flows down the tube.


If you take off the tank cover and peer inside, you will see all of these parts. They might look slightly different in your particular toilet, but they are all there in one form or another. The three main systems that work together are:

  • The bowl siphon
  • The flush mechanism
  • The refill mechanism

Let's look at each of these parts separately until the secrets of the toilet are revealed.