How Many Bathroom Breaks?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by missrebecca, Mar 26, 2015.

  1. missrebecca

    missrebecca Comrade

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    Mar 26, 2015

    Do you do whole-class bathroom breaks? If so, how many?

    Do you let your students go individually during class?

    How do you handle accidents?

    Throughout the school year, just a few of my students have had accidents (as far as I know), but of course when it does happen, it can be very upsetting for the kids and parents. I am wondering if there is any way to improve my setup.

    I teach 1st grade and don't normally do whole-class bathroom breaks (honestly, because the bathroom areas are usually occupied by another class when we get there), but I let them go individually almost whenever they want (as long as I'm not in the middle of a lesson). This was the setup when I student taught -- they can take turns during the day, and they are able to go freely at lunch & P.E. If they say it's an emergency, they can go immediately. Do you think that's OK for 1st grade?
     
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  3. daisycakes

    daisycakes Companion

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    I like whole group ones for first. If I have a student ask me individually in first grade, I say, ask me again in 2 minutes. 99 percent of the time they never ask again and it is fine. If they ask again or are in visible discomfort, I let them go immediately. I have only had one accident all year and the girl never even asked me if she could go once.
     
  4. janlee

    janlee Devotee

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    Mar 27, 2015

    I have a bathroom in my room. The students are very good about keeping things clean. I instill cleanliness right at the start of the year and have had only a few incidences so far.
     
  5. olivecoffee

    olivecoffee Companion

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    During my 3rd grade ST, we did whole and individual bathroom breaks. The kids wouldn't use the bathroom during recess or lunch, so it was a whole bathroom break after lunch. They also had specials at 11am until 12pm, so they'd get another whole bathroom break then. If there was another class waiting to use the bathroom, we'd wait a few minutes and then line up. The kids had to line up when they were done, so they'd enter the classroom together.

    During class, they were free to use the bathroom whenever they needed as long as they followed the rules: not during instruction unless it's an emergency and only one person of the same gender can go to the bathroom at any time.

    I'd definitely use whole class bathroom breaks in 1st.
     
  6. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    During warmer months, whole-class bathroom/drink breaks become par the course after recess just because so many kids were thirsty.

    Otherwise I just do individual breaks.
     
  7. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Grade 3... Kids give me hand signal and given the ok, sign out..no one abuses the situation.
     
  8. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    I like this. :)
     
  9. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    This is what I do too. Works well for me in second.

    One of my very first professors in my teaching program told my class the number of hours, on average, that are wasted over the course of a school year on bathroom breaks. I can't remember what the number was, but I remember being astounded. So much learning time wasted! Sometimes kids can't force themselves to go during the break anyway, and they'll still have to go in the middle of class, when nature calls. It reminds me of long car trips... I know I should use the bathroom before I leave, so I do. But, if I don't really have to go then, I'm still going to have to stop at a rest stop and go later.

    I refuse to do whole class bathroom breaks unless it's required by admin.
     
  10. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    Mar 28, 2015

    I don't have my whole class go, but 3 times a day I call their table colors to go and if they sit at that table and need to go they do. Otherwise, we have a hand signal and they can go anytime I'm not teaching.
     
  11. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

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    We have a bathroom in our room. I have two built in breaks for using the bathroom, once when we get back from gym (9:30) and once when we get back inside from recess (12:30) The others times are as long as I am not teaching they can go.
     
  12. SleekTeach

    SleekTeach Comrade

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    I also teach first grade. My classroom is right next to the bathroom so it's doesn't really make much sense to have them all come out into the hallway. They use hand signal if they have to go and I let them as long as I'm not up teaching. After lunch they usually all have to go so I let them all go one boy and one girl at a time and tell them they have 1 minute to make it back...haha. I know that's harsh but I have two girls who will stay in there for a really long time.

    If someone has an accident in the classroom I just press the emergency button in my classroom and a custodian comes and cleans it up while the kid goes to the nurse to get fresh clothes.
     
  13. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I'm not a fan of whole-group bathroom breaks. Our kiddos get a 20 minute AM recess and a 50 minute lunch/recess in the afternoon.

    When I was in the classroom, I'd have my kiddos use the sign language signal for restroom when they needed to go. I'd acknowledge them by nodding--then, they'd sign in/out.

    I preferred for them to not say they needed to use the restroom because it often created a chain reaction of kids asking to go!
     
  14. Leatherette

    Leatherette Comrade

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    Whatever you decide to do, be flexible! My daughter had a condition that made it difficult for her to feel when it was time to go. She had a special multi-alarm watch that vibrated four+ times, and was allowed to go whenever it went off. Her 2nd grade teacher was a great teacher, but had a reputation for not letting kids go when they needed. Almost every instance of wet pants in the school came from her class. I talked to her at the beginning of the year, and all went well for my daughter, and I think she lightened up overall.
     
  15. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I agree with this in theory and I try to keep it mostly to individual signals.

    But... hot weather hits and I feel I waste more time dealing with kids coming and going, one right after the other, that I found a quick group bathroom break after recess more efficient. No, not all kids go during that time, but it sure cuts down on the flood of bathroom/drink requests.
     
  16. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    It's completely individual here, and they just signal to me (whether I'm with someone or free) and I either nod yes or shake my head no / let them know in how long I'll allow it. For emergencies, I allow them to go whenever (especially if I know of a condition in advance). Outside of that, I only allow it during independent/pair work (i.e. not whole group teaching) and don't allow it within 5-10 minutes before/after a transition time, as they can go at that point.
     
  17. MissMae

    MissMae Rookie

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    I'm pretty lenient with bathroom procedures. Students having accidents because I said "no" is my worst fear. That happened to me in 2nd grade and I NEVER want my students to have to go through that.

    That being said my policy/procedure is: They must sign out/sign in.
    -They can freely go to the bathroom in the morning during music/announcements/morning work.
    -They can go 2-3 at a time during group work/independent practice time.
    -After lunch/specials I often do a whole class break QUICKLY. (Girls all at once, boys three at a time)

    -They may NOT go when I'm giving instructions/directions/direction instruction.
    -They may NOT go if we JUST went on a whole class break (at least for a few hours)

    Grey area: If they have gone twice during a block period and I know they are bored or if its a subject they dislike, then I will say no.

    Special circum: I have a student who has an illness or maybe medication that makes her pee a lot, so she gets a free pass because when she has to go, she has to GO NOW.

    I also say they have 60 seconds to go because it makes them hurry more so than saying "you have 1 minute." I don't know why, but it works.

    So far no one has taken advantage of the system, because they know the consequence is my tightening up when they can go.
     
  18. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    I let them go as needed, but I also encourage them to go at recess time. If they ask in the middle of my teaching then I tell them to wait until I'm finished. This has always worked for me in grades 1 - 3.

    There have been accidents, too, but it's always been because the child didn't ask to go at all.
     
  19. missrebecca

    missrebecca Comrade

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    Apr 6, 2015

    Thanks, everyone, this has been really helpful! :)
     
  20. Mr. Nobody

    Mr. Nobody Rookie

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    We have not been allowed to do whole class bathroom breaks for years. Instead, the students are to use the bathroom individually once during the a.m. session and once during p.m. session.

    It usually goes well, but there have been times we have had accidents.

    I prefer bathroom breaks because the child is more likely to use the restroom. When they go out on their own, they tend to play around and drink from the fountain and not use the restroom. Then, 10 minutes later when they are begging to go and either told no or to wait until someone comes back (we can only send one at a time) then accidents happen.

    I do not like sending children out individually because there is always someone with their hand raised during instructional time.
     

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