Bathroom breaks. How many teachers fret over students asking and taking bathroom breaks?
Guess what...it's no problem for even an inexperienced teacher if they realize one thing: Restroom breaks are a nonissue.
Too many teachers stress out over small things. Restroom passes are
one of those. So, if you are a teacher and wondering how to make
restroom breaks go away, here are some tips.
First, you really need to check with the school and district to see
what their policy is. They may not even have one and leave it to the
logic of the teacher. Logic. That's how to tackle the dreaded restroom
If a child is under the age of 7, they should probably be allowed to
go whenever they want. Why get some mad parent ranting at you for Johnny
or Susie wetting their pants? No reason. Children of that age are no
yet out to game the system. They will not just make a game of it. More
on that later.
Upper elementary is when restroom breaks become iffy. But again, use
some logic. Sure, they are still young enough to have some potty
problems. Again, no big deal. This is the age when rules for breaks
becomes an issue. And they may try and game the system. Do not make the
rules written. Any written rule is probably not enforceable all the
time, so why write one? (You should not have written rules anyway, see
below.) Let logic take over. If you have never made restroom breaks an
issue, or even mentioned it, chances are, your students won't either.
But 8 to 12 year olds are now big enough and well potty trained. Stress
going to the restroom before school, during recess, and at lunch. They
go then, most will never need to go later. Stress this at each break!
Also mention that you will not allow anyone to go to the restroom 15
minutes after recess or lunch ends.
Also, you will not allow students to
go 10 minutes before the bell rings. So what does that leave? Guess
what? About 30 minutes of classroom "potty time." That's not a very big
window. And use this trick. When someone asks to go, say you will let
them, but in 5 minutes. Chances are, if they really have to go, they
will ask in 5 minutes. If not, they will forget about it. Tell them you
won't allow a student to go until 5 minutes has passed since last
student went. Again, these are unwritten but you have told them over
time. Soon they will get the picture. You seem to let students go
whenever they want, and, they know to relieve themselves at the breaks.
It's now a nonissue.
Here's more teacher logic. Befoer school recess, lunch, and maybe 2
more recesses or PE during the day. That's almost 5 times a day for a
child to use the restroom. Why should they even need to when in class?
Upper grades, like middle and high school, same technique. Most
middle schoolers and high schoolers are not in class more than 45-55
minutes. Same rules as above.
If you do not allow students to EVER use the restroom, they will
think it's unfair and game the system. You can even have a timer for
time to be gone. Maybe even allow each student one(1) restroom break
Sure, emergencies happen. Any teacher should be able to tell when a
student has a real emergency. I hate to admit it, but maybe girls get
more of a break.
If you don't make restroom breaks an issue, the students won't either.
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