The nonlinear properties of the ion acoustic waves (IAWs) in a three-component quantum plasma comprising electrons, and positive and negative ions are investigated analytically and numerically by employing the quantum hydrodynamic (QHD) model. The Sagdeev pseudopotential technique is applied to obtain the small-amplitude soliton solution. The effects of the quantum parameter H, positive to negative ion density ratio β and Mach number on the nonlinear structures are investigated. It is found that these factors can significantly modify the properties of the IAWs. The existence of quasi-periodic and chaotic oscillations in the system is established. Switching from quasi-periodic to chaotic is possible with the variation of Mach number or quantum parameter H. © 2015 Cambridge University Press.