how to easily drain a toddler pool

We’ve really enjoyed splashing in the toddler pool in the evenings this summer. I know I mentioned it before, but I had thought we were going to go to the community pool a lot… not so. It’s so much easier to stay close to the house, in case someone needs a diaper or a bathroom break or wants a snack or gets too hot/cranky/tired. We can also go out here while dinner cooks in the oven (if it’s something that doesn’t need to be attended to).

But until we figured out this little trick to draining the pool, the evenings would often find me stomping down the sides of the pool to let the water gush out (while I’m hoping not to puncture the pool or permanently distort it!). Other friends of mine had mentioned bailing out their toddler pools with buckets, which sounds effective but would no doubt take a long time.


So here I have for you a ridiculously easy way to drain a toddler pool.

The trick is to use a siphon. But you do NOT have to suck gross used pool water into your mouth. That would’ve been a deal breaker for me. All you’ll need is your toddler pool and a small length of garden hose.


Step 1: Drop your hose into the water and let it sink. I’ve tried other ways of getting the air out…swirling it around, etc. But just letting it sink (and making sure there’s no floating part to indicate there is air in that section) works better than anything else. You want ZERO air in the hose.


Step 2: keep the whole hose underwater, and tightly plug one end with your thumb. My thumb pad borders on being too small for this. You can also plug it with the meaty part of your palm if you want. Just make sure to get a tight seal.


Step 3: Don’t let go of the hose, and don’t let the opposite end pop out of the water, otherwise you’ll have to start all over. But bring your plugged end of the hose outside of the pool, and lower it to below the water level.


Step 4: Unplug the end of the hose. The pressure of the air on the whole surface of the pool will force the water to exit through the hose. Science is fun! Now you can adjust the hose a little if you want (making sure to keep the free end below water level, and the other end underwater at all times) so that the pool end is in the deepest part of the pool. Imagine a giant is drinking from the hose like a straw… you want him to be able to get as much water as possible!


Come back a while later and your pool will have only a tiny bit of water in the bottom. Super easy to tip out!

Be sure to pin it for next summer! You won’t want to forget this tip.

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  1. Great idea.We have let ducks that have three pools. They love in them during not Florida summers. Been dumping for years. Will have to try this.

  2. For the plastic pools, I just step on the edge (it pops back up afterwards). Drains extremely quickly and waters the surrounding lawn.

    • it does drain quickly, but it can definitely wear them out much sooner and cause them to crack or get small holes.

  3. I have a blow up pool and it wouldn’t drain because we had it on a tarp (I’m guessing). So I took your advice about the hose but the water was funky…. So I pushed the hose through the drain “spout” and ran it past the weight of the pool… Worked like a charm. Draining now.

  4. Can’t you put a plug in it

    • i mean, if you wanted to… but it might be more trouble than it’s worth. this is so easy too, and these little pools are hardly a longterm investment.

  5. Or, you can do what I did and just cut a hole with a heated knife as close as you can to the bottom of the pool and install a plastic cut-off valve. I would’ve posted a pic but it won’t let me. Got it at the hardware store, along with a plastic nut and two rubber washers for about $8.

    • I I use an old washing machine hose. It is short enough that you don’t need to cut a normal garden hose. Works great.

  6. […] Select a pool that has a plug drain. The only real disadvantage of the 66 x 15 inch pools, unlike the large Sunset Glow pool, is that there is no drain hole and plug. To drain these pools or those smaller, hard molded plastic wading pools, try this easy method to  siphon the water out with a garden hose. […]

  7. Great, and so easy, I have 2 English Bulldogs that love to play in the toddler pool in summer every day, i change it every night, you just made my life easier, ty for the great tip!

  8. I used to have an above ground pool and being in Florida I’d cover it during the winter. Whenever it would rain it will fill with water so one day I was so tired of the bucket method, it was a 15000 gallon pool. I used the hose from the pool cleaner and a shotvac to get the right amount of suction, avoiding a mouth full of nasty rain water. It’s usually pretty dry in the winter so I move the hose around, instead of walking away,and get to water my back yard.

  9. I use a long length of old hose to direct used water to trees and bushes all around the yard. Lay out he old hose and then fill it from your garden hose. Just press the two together in the pool; no seal needed. When you see water at the far end of the drain hose just keep the pool end submerged. The exit end of the drain hose needs to be at least a little lower than the pool end. I change the water each use, guilt free and sparkling for the grand-daughters. Trees and bushes happy too.

  10. why not use the water to water plants? drain it & save it!

  11. This is going to save
    Me sooooo much time!!! My kiddie pool is filled up every day! I used the bucket method to empty my pool! Thanks for the idea!!

  12. You can also hook the hose onto the faucet, turn the water on just enough to get the air out, and then unhook the hose from the faucet! The water will just start flowing out.

  13. This is also how you siphon gas btw lol.

  14. so funny, while scrolling through posts, the title of this was cut off so it just read “How to Drain a Toddler”. My mind immediately wondered if it was possible and I had to see how. Had to laugh when I realized it was toddler pool. Good tip, just the same.

    If you do know how to drain a toddler before they drain you, that would be a tremendously helpful post.

    • ???? Definitely let me know if you figure out how to drain a toddler before they drain you! I would pay for that info…

    • Think that would depend on where you live, if you have big trees, lots of wind, dirt blowing, how often you allow kids in and out?

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