When your toilet backs up in the middle of the night, the first thing you do is grab your plunger and try to clear it out that way. When that doesn't work, there are other things that you might want to try. One of them is to use a plumber's snake.
There are different kinds of snakes. What you want to use to clear out your toilet is also called a toilet auger. It has a screw handle on one end, and the other end has a bit that looks similar to a claw. In between the two ends is a tube, near the handle end, and a coil. The claw end goes down into the pipe and then into the clog to break it up.
How to Use a Plumber's Snake
The first thing you are going to need to do is to feed it carefully down into the pipe. You will want to do it firmly, but without jamming the snake into the toilet. There are a couple of reasons for this. One is that you don't want to splash any of the water in the toilet up onto you or out into the bathroom. The bigger issue is that you don't want to cause any damage to your pipes. You feed the coil down into the pipes by screwing the handle down and pushing at the same time.
When you reach some resistance, you have likely reached the clog. You may want to pull the snake out a little and then try going forward again. That way, if you haven't hit the clog, you may get the snake around the pipe. Once you are sure that you have hit the clog, you should continue screwing the auger so that you can break it up. You may have to back the auger out a couple of times and go at the clog again. If the water starts to drain out, you are probably on the right track. If you think that you have broken everything up, try flushing the toilet. If it's slow draining, then try snaking it again.
If nothing you've tried works, then it's time for you to call a plumber. They can come in and try things that you really shouldn't do on your own. One thing they can do is bring in an air compressor and try to blow the clog through your pipes. If the plumber tries this, they will use a wet/dry vac to suck out all the water first so that it doesn't end up splashing back on them.
To learn more, contact a service like Walt's Plumbing.