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But it's an emergency!
Old 09-09-2009, 05:13 PM
 
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My students go to the bathroom sooooooo much and everytime it's an emergency. They know that I will let them go if they do the pee pee dance and claim it's an emergency, but do you really have 3 emergencies a day plus the chance to go to the bathroom? Also, what do you do with students that claim the are throwing up in the bathroom or don't feel well, just so they can go home and don't have to be at school?


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Old 09-09-2009, 06:08 PM
 
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A lot depends on the age of your students. I teach middle school, so I expect them to be pretty autonomous when it comes to the restroom. Obviously, for lower grades, there would be more leeway.

At the beginning of the year, I ask my students to describe emergencies in life: getting sick, being in an accident, being in a dangerous situation, etc. I then ask them, "Do emergencies happen every day to one person?" They, of course, say no. Then I say, "Well, bathroom emergencies don't happen every day either. If you tell me it's an emergency, I expect it to be a LONG time before you ask again."

Then, when a student claims it's an emergency, I'll ask them to wait five minutes. If it's really an emergency, they remember when five minutes is up and ask again. If it was just an excuse to leave the room, they usually forget.

Finally: getting sick in the restroom. Our nurse requires they leave it in the bowl to be seen by her or the janitors if they are to call home. Without proof, they get to lie down for five minutes, then back to class.
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been there
Old 09-09-2009, 06:17 PM
 
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I taught third grade last year. Never in all my years of teaching have I had so many problems with my kids needing to go to the restroom. It was ridiculous. I tried doing group bathroom breaks twice a day so that they would not have to leave the classroom the rest of the time. Plus they heave their lunch time to go or before school. You'd think that would have been plenty. I tried to be real strict about it, and I would ask them everytime, do you think it's a real emergency?" They would do the whole potty dance like they can't hold it. Once I gave a student the benefit of the doubt, than all of a sudden everyone else seemed to need to go. Here's the kicker. Despite the group breaks we would take, AND allowing students to go if it was an emergency, despite my trying to prevent them from going so they wouldn't turn it into a game, I had parents constantly calling me complaining to me that I told their kids that they couldn't go to the bathroom, which was a load of you know what. It was one of those issues I always had to deal with. I would offer you advice, but I never figured it out myself.
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tickets
Old 09-09-2009, 08:06 PM
 
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I subbed in a sixth grade class in which the teacher passed out two bathroom tickets to each student on monday. On Friday students put all their remaining tickets into a prize drawing. I haven't tried this yet myself, but it seemed to work well.
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I had a similar...
Old 09-12-2009, 05:29 PM
 
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problem when I first started teaching. I had a first grader who would constantly ask to go to the bathroom and always during direct instruction time. One day I told him he had to wait, we were just coming from the cafeteria and we weren't near the bathrooms yet. We got to the class and I told him to go the the bathroom. He didn't go and then peed his pants. Of course I sent him to the office right away, the other kids didn't notice and I didn't yell or anything. He told his mom I said he couldn't go and that the whole class was laughing at him when he had his accident. The mom and the AP believed every word this sweet, wonderful, delightful, enchanting, child said. The AP came in with the mom and reprimanded infront of the children then told the kids that they shouldn't laugh at anyone when they have an accident. The kids tried to tell her that they didn't but she said they were lying to protect me. Oops! Got off on my tangent but I promise it leads to an answer.

After this, and being told I could not deny bathroom privileges, I started keeping track of how many times the students went to the bathroom. I had them sign a sheet each time they went. If it became excessive (more than 3 is excessive to me) I would call and say I was concerned that there may be a medical issue since their child was using the bathroom so much. That usually put a stop to a lot of it. And by doing this when the kids grades were suffering because they were missing instruction time or not completing their work I had a list to show them how many times there child was out of the room.

As far as the getting sick, let them call home, if they are not really ill their parents will get tired of it and stop picking them up unless it's a true emergency. I always send someone else in right after the "sick" student to "make sure" they are okay.

Sorry this got so long. I hope this helps.


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Group driven
Old 09-12-2009, 07:08 PM
 
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I am convinced that once one goes the whole bunch suddenly get the urge - it is amazing! I teach 2nd grade. I have made it clear that they are to go to the restroom before school starts, then our first break is at 10, we got to lunch at 11:30 and the next break is at 12:55, and after recess I allow water and if needed a quick bathroom break - I think that is enough without a dr. excuse. The ones who claim to throw up - I send a partner with them if they claim to be sick - the partner will always tell I have a few drama queens - one child literally comes in every morning with complaints and wants to go home. Friday her head hurt (she had just gotten new braids and I know they were tight - but go home? no, don't think so), then her tooth was loose and turning sideways (tears with this one - I checked and the tooth had barely moved - new experience - teachable moment - but no going home), later she said she felt sooooo sick, so I assigned a buddy (not her best friend) and they went to the restroom - they were back very quickly - she thought she felt sick but the walk made her feel better (knew it would!), finally - with only 30 minutes to go, she was in tears again - her shoes hurt her feet and she just knew her grandma would come and get her (They didn't hurt during recess...) Literally went from the top of her head to her feet on Friday. Wondering what Monday will bring.
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ugh i hate it's an emergency
Old 09-26-2009, 02:06 PM
 
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I teach 1st and my kids ALWAYS have to use the bathroom. It's often the first thing they say to me in the morning. I used to go to the bathroom twice as a class, once @ 1015 before snack and once right after lunch and I tell them that they can't ask again unless it's an emergency. Well they caught onto that and now ALWAYS say it's an emergency. I now added a quick bathroom trip first thing in the morning because I am so sick of them asking. I find that three trips a day with the entire class is more productive than always sending two kids out at a time.. Then of course you have the few who ALWAYS have to go, sometimes 10 min after we go as a whole class. I can't figure out how to manage it.
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Old 09-27-2009, 06:38 AM
 
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www.reallygoodstuff sells a bathroom clock-in/clock-out clipboard with sheets. The clipboard has a clock on it. Students write their name, the time they leave, their destination and the time they return. Besides having a scheduled bathroom break mid-morning, and after lunch, this usually curtails problems. I have no issue telling students that unless it's an emergency, they may not go to the bathroom at the start of a new lesson. I just say, "No, but as soon as I'm finished introducing X, I will let you go." Also, it's very important that for grades 3 and up, students go ALONE to the restroom and others may not go until that one returns. Kids have a funny way of using that place as a meeting spot...I call it the Toilet Club. I know, because I used to do that when I was little. We'd meet in there, talk and play, look in the mirrors and act stupid. I haven't fallen for it my entire teaching career!
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Old 09-27-2009, 08:57 AM
 
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I didn't read all the responses, so forgive me if someone mentioned this. I have taught all different grade levels in some capacity, even if it's been prep. coverage. I usually ask the student to wait. If they come and ask again, I let them go. Those that don't really need to go usually forget to ask again. I have also assigned X number of "emergency" trips per student per week (usually 2). If you use your extra trips, you're done.
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I
Old 09-27-2009, 10:29 AM
 
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I tell my students and their parents that I expect them to use the bathroom BEFORE coming in in the morning. Therefore, I do not let students go within the first hour of the school day. It's amazing how much that cuts down on students going to the bathroom. Before I instated that rule, it was like one person needed to go, then it was a train of bathroom requests all morning long.

I take the class on a whole-class bathroom break after lunch. I tell them they MAY NOT go for at least an hour after lunch. This also helps cut down- I think once kids know they can't go for at least an hour, they kinda forget about even asking, as most of the time, they don't really need to go anyways, they're just going to get a little break and a drink of water and see if any of their friends are hanging out in the bathroom too.

I have gotten to know my students and who REALLY needs to go and who is faking. I just say no to the ones that are faking. They usually sit down and get to work and miraculously don't need to go anymore. You'll get to know your kids and who actually has bathroom accidents and DOES need to go whenever they ask, and who is just testing to see what they can get away with.


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Here is my strategy:
Old 10-02-2009, 11:29 AM
 
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As a sub, frequently in middle school with 60 minute periods, I am quite lucky. However, I do
get the I gotta go line all the time, so here is what I do:

1. Stand by the door at the beginning of the period and tell students to use the restroom or get a drink;
2. Announce NO PASSES at the beginning of the course, and state they can only use the bathroom, if they are DYING, BLEEDING OR PUKING.
3. If a student does need to really go, I tell to wait 5 or 10 minutes.
4. When the student is released to the restroom, I state to them "They only have 2 minutes, if they take longer or are caught playing in the bathroom/hallway they will get a referral."
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same issues here...
Old 10-20-2009, 08:28 AM
 
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Told my second graders that if they need to use the bathroom while I am teaching, then they would have to sit with me during recess and make up what they missed...
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Is it worth recess time?
Old 10-20-2009, 12:32 PM
 
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Quite simply they have assigned times to go (about 4x a day they are allowed to go if they choose.)

Any other emergencies they have to buy the right to go. When they tell me it is an emergency, I tell them it is fine to go, but it will cost 10 minutes of recess. I remind them of the next bathroom break and let them make the choice. For the boys (and really it is only boys pulling the "emergencies") that constantly have these potty interruptions, I make them go at recess.

So I do have a few who agree to miss 10 minutes but most of them realize that they can hold it....Amazing how that works!
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Old 11-23-2009, 05:53 PM
 
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I teach two classes and the one that I have after lunch is really bad about this. They go out for recess after lunch so they have plenty of time to take care of bathroom issues during that time. I let them know right in the beginning of the year that if they ask during that first period after lunch, they are going to owe me the time the next day at recess. Our bathrooms are 3 floors down so it takes a lot of time when they have to go. I time them. However long it takes, that's what they give me of their next recess.
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Assigned
Old 02-09-2010, 06:54 PM
 
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I agree with the post two above: Assigned times. Take them before/after break. Take them after lunch. Kids NEED lunch to eat and play and don't waste their time with the bathroom.

Also, I would give them one bathroom pass a day, maybe a sign up sheet.
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I agree with Pooh Girl
Old 02-09-2010, 07:13 PM
 
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I let them go at certain times (not during direct instruction, or reading, writing or math.) I have them use a simple signal (they show me their hand palm up) and if it's a good time I show them my hand palm up to match theirs. If it's not a good time, I put out my hand palm down. That stops the mad rush because it's silent. If they tell me it's an emergency, I tell them I won't tell them no, but I will need to give them a scheduled break at their next recess (to make sure they are comfortable.) I put their name on the board under "B.R" and I make sure they get their break at the next recess. They have to tell me 3 good times to use the B.R., and 2nd offenders write 3 good times. I haven't had a 3rd offender yet. I do make sure I give them a group break at 10:30. Unless you teach the little ones, you can't understand what a disruption the bathroom is!!
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Old 02-12-2010, 08:24 AM
 
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I hate this problem as a sub, because I don't know which kids have a habit of faking and who really does have to go. One day, I had a little girl request to go SO much, and she was definitely the "type" to be faking - kind of needy, wanting attention, etc. But 1st graders are little, and I hate to take chances. So I let her go a couple of times, and finally, when the interruptions (hers and the copycats) became too much, told her she had to go and use the bathroom in the nurse's office and tell HER how many times she had been today. Thought this would turn it into a "false alarm" real fast. Lo and behold the nurse calls to thank me. - Kid has a history of UTI, and she's calling Mom! You just never know.

I also assistant teach CCD (religious ed.) once a week. This is 2nd grade, but we still have the if-one-has-to-go-they-all-do problem, so we've instituted a "No Potty Parades" policy. - We let them go if they say it's an emergency, but a sticker goes on a poster if we get through class with no more than 2 kids going. There will be a class prize at the end of the year if they make the target number of stickers.

Those who take the whole class at once, how do you keep them quiet and orderly while waiting in the hall?

Last edited by Lakeside; 02-12-2010 at 08:27 AM.. Reason: clarify
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When I have...
Old 02-14-2010, 08:08 PM
 
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had to take them all at the same time they have to take a book with them. If they can't be quiet then they have to wait until the whole class is done. I'm very strict with my class and their behaviors in the hallway so I don't have any real problems.
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Bathroom Issues
Old 07-07-2010, 04:15 AM
 
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I remind my kids on whole group bathroom trips that they have to use it then, and I won't allow them to go later. If they ask to go later I tell them if they go they have to change their star (our discipline chart). If they really need to go they will change their star and go....if not it's amazing how long they can wait.
Our problem is that a first grade teacher lets them go any time they want. They come to 2nd used to that.
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All Aboard the Bathroom Train
Old 07-16-2010, 08:56 PM
 
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I was a long term sub in first grade last year, and my kids boarded the bathroom train (one goes, then another, followed by another...you get the picture) as if it were the Polar Express headed to the North Pole. I actually had the AP come in to observe a lesson and he said that 14 out of my 26 kids got up to either get a drink or use the restroom in an hour time frame. Yikes!!

This year, I'll have my own classroom, and have been thinking about how to keep the bathroom train in the station. I have made a stop sign that says "Teaching Time" on one side and when you flip it over it's a green light that says, "Student Time." When the sign is green, the kids can use the bathroom. When it's teaching time, they can't disturb the lesson (drinks, bathroom, pencil sharpening, etc. - I'm also thinking about changing my pencil sharpening procedure but that's for another post).

For kids who always have emergencies, I've heard of teachers giving 3 post-its per day, and when you use them up, oh well.

My kids have so many opportunities to use the bathroom other than when it is "student time" that I was amazed last year with the number of students leaving. I hope things are different this year...
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It's Not Good To Hold It!
Old 09-06-2010, 03:52 PM
 
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Well, although I understand that a teacher can't have students using the bathroom all day long, I think that its goofy to expect child to hold it if they feel a need to go. I don't think it matters if they need to go a little or a lot. Emergency or not going to the bathroom is a natural thing and I personally feel that when one of my students have to use the bathroom its not my place to judge if they really have to go. I know that I can go up to 3-4 times in an hour or so and I usually go at the same time everyday. Also taking away recess is ridiculous! Kids need that time to play and make friends and memories. Kids are kids learn to laugh. I personally would continue to search for a system that benefits everyone. An idea that would teach them to be responsible, but not act as though they are 30 year olds. I would give rewards for those who only go a generous amount a day. Punishment for going is a horrible idea. Donít take away recess. Sometimes good things take work and time. Patients and understanding are wonderful traits. Teachers don't know what that child's home is like. they need to have a loving teacher can just smile and show them that they are important, not a hassle. I think having a positive attitude will change things dramatically. Don't look at it as a 'terrible horrible problem" otherwise that's exactly what it will be
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Old 06-27-2011, 07:20 PM
 
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My kids are allowed to go right before recess (as we go out), during recess or right after recess (as we come in), during lunch and during work times. They are not allowed during lessons. When they go during work times, I only let one boy and one girl out at a time. If they really have to go they usually come up and ask not to long after I said after so and so comes back. It seems to work pretty well. Those that don't really have to go tend to forget to watch for someone coming back.
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