teacher, can i go to the bathroom?

I am constantly reminding my kids to go to the bathroom during recess.

Recess is their break. Recess is my break.

However, they always "NEED" to go potty during class.

We have a sign they give me when they have to go to the restroom.
They sign "t" (in sign language) for toilet and I nod "Yes" or "No".

If I give them permission, then they get the bathroom pass and put it on their desk.

This happens WAY to often.
And lately, it seems like 10 people have to go at the same time.

I realize that some students really do have to go during class and that it is a true emergency.
However, I never know if they can hold it or not... ya know?

I definitely don't want anyone to wet their pants!
(Knock on wood, because it hasn't happened... yet!)

So much classroom time is wasted when students choose to go to the bathroom during class.

Did you know... if one student goes to the bathroom one time, everyday (during class),
and it takes 5 minutes each time... then that is 900 WASTED MINUTES?

900 minutes! That's 15 hours! Wasted!

These are my ever-so-popular bathroom passes:

I need your help! Please share your wisdom and experience!!
How do you manage bathroom breaks during classtime?


  1. I use Busy Bucks as my class incentive program. I pass them out for all kinds of things, and then once a month we have a busy buck store. Whenever a child has to go to the bathroom in class, they "pay" me one busy buck. I’ve started having them give me 2 if is RIGHT after recess. It's helped tons!


  2. wow! 900 hours?!? I always let my kinders go to the bathroom during class because I'm scared of what might happen if I don't! I don't have any repeat offenders or anything and it's pretty under control. In a couple classes I subbed in last year the kids got 5 "gotta go" tickets at the beginning of the week, put their name on all the tickets, and use them as a bathroom pass. Once they use them up they can't go anymore during class {of course, unless it's an emergency!}. Then at the end of the week, they put all of their unused tickets in a bucket and the teacher chooses names for prizes. But prizes can be things like line leader for the entire week or silly things like that. Hope that helps!

  3. I do the EXACT same thing as you! I have them sign "toilet" to me so that I know that is why they are needing my attention. It takes away from me calling on a student to answer one of my questions and they say "can I go to the bathroom?". AHHH! Makes me crazy! I tell my kiddos they need to go during recess and they cannot ask to go when I am teaching (unless it's an emergency). They can use the restroom during independent class time. I teach them the difference between independent and whole group. It works!

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  5. I have a bathroom chart on the back of my door with all of their names (boys in one column and girls in the other). They use a clothes line pin to sign out and so I know where they are! They don't have to ask to go but they know that when I'm teaching they CAN NOT leave unless it's an emergency. Only one boy and one girl can go at a time. It hasn't been an issue this year with them wanting to go all the time.

  6. We have designated times....plenty of them: after recess, special, begin/end of day, recess, etc. So when they need to use right after we had a break, I have them clip down on the Clip Chart. They think twice.

  7. I do the same thing you do...I have explained to them the whole recess idea. Another thing I have done is watch them out the window to see if they really are going to the bathroom or if they are just walking around. I tell them if I catch them walking around they loose in class bathroom privileges. I also tell them that if they ask me to go within 15 minutes after a recess that they have to flip their card for not using their time wisely. Through doing this I have figured out who goes to actually use the restroom and you is just wanting to go.

  8. With previous classes I have used "bathroom sticks" which were just popsicle sticks with a B on them. Kids were distributed 3 (or more for certain ones with issues) every morning and were able to use them throughout the day. They only have 3- so when they are out- no more potty breaks! It actually worked quite well... I might need to start this again with my kiddos- spring fever has hit and they ALL want to go to the bathroom (aka play).

  9. I have passes too. They put the pass on their desk so I know where they are. I also have a sign out sheet to monitor how many times they go; if I notice they are going way to often then I will take away their privilege of using the restroom outside of our group bathroom breaks and their lunch time. I definitely agree with Tickled Pink that spring fever has hit. I'm constantly reminding them what emergency means. I think I might try the 3 ticket deal a day. Great ideas ladies :)

  10. We have one scheduled break in the morning, one when they get to wash their hands before lunch, and one in the afternoon.

    I, too, have my repeat offenders who I've just learned to say "NO!" to - and others that do the potty dance and I just say "GO!"

    So - no real system here! Just the evil eye when they've asked for 100th time! Ha :)

  11. It's not that much better with 5th graders to be honest. They never go when they should and then want to during class. We have a break in the morning before recess, right before lunch and usually after lunch since the lunch period, including transition time is about 50 minutes. If they go more than once a week outside of those times, it costs them part of their recess. They abuse it a bit more in winter when it's cold outside but when it's warm out...often they'll realize they can "hold it" or that they didn't have to go that bad after all.

    When I worked with the small fries, I was always afraid to not let them go in case they had accidents. I had a few more breaks scheduled into my day then because my room was about 20 miles from the restroom (or so it seemed).

  12. I teach kindergarten and mine are pretty good about not going during lessons. We have set times during the day when all of the students have an opportunity to go (right when they enter the class in the morning, right before lunch, right after recess). If they don't go during one of those times, but they have to go RIGHT AFTER, I get really mad and they get in big trouble. (This happened today and the little boy cried. Whoops.) It sounds terrible but I have to be strict with it because they would be going all throughout the day otherwise! :)

  13. I just read your post. I blogged about it! :) Go check out the Emergency potty passes I am using.

    1st Grade with Miss Snowden

  14. Hilarious! Thanks for the post; I've just found your blog; so lovely! The header is fabulous!

  15. I just started a new system in my classroom where each kiddo has their own pass. I have them numbered with their classroom #. They can have one "emergency" a week. When they need to go they bring me their pass and I put it in my Monday drawer...so I don't forget to replace it on Monday:) I was worried than one extra bathroom break was not enough but so far they hardly ever ask anymore. Loving the 900 extra minutes of learning!


  16. Haha, I loved this post! I actually don't really have a problem with bathroom breaks. I give mine several class breaks during the day, but they're free to go when needed. I actually DON'T let mine go back in during recess. If you didn't use it before, you're gonna have to hold it until we go back in! I have never used passes. I only let one boy and one girl go, and depending on who asks, I only let one go at a time. I do like Tickled Pink's idea though!

  17. As some have said I don't let mine go during instructional time. They can however go during independent or group work time. Some students use the bathroom as a work avoidance technique so for those students I usually give them a goal before they can go. "Finish two more sentences and then you can go." It helps that we have a bathroom attached to our classroom. I don't envy k or first teachers that don't.


  18. I explain that they can get up and use the bathroom while I am teaching only if it's an emergency but they will " owe me a minute". This means they will have to sit out a minute at recess. I just quietly write their name on the board with a tally mark ( this is also what I do if someone is calling out or being disruptive.). It is a little disruptive writing the names but it has cut way down on needing to leave.

  19. I have a chart with green, yellow, orange and red. Green says, 0 bathroom breaks this week, yellow says 1 bathroom break, orange says 2 and red says no more bathroom breaks this week. each student has a clothes pin with their name and they move it down each time they use the bathroom. Students on green at the end of the week get to choose one free time activity to make up for the time that they saved!

  20. I build 5 extra minutes into my transition time to our specialists, so we stop for a whole class break on the way to art, music, etc. Those that need to go have to wait until then. If it is a true emergency, they have to pay $1 of my classroom currency to the bank in order to go. My classroom $1s are redeemable for things like stickers, markers, pencils, etc a few times a year. They like to shop in my store, so they want to save up their $$$!

  21. I have my kids give up their recess. 5 minutes each Time they go when we don't go as a class. If its a real emergency they will give it up. If we just got back and they decided now ey needed to go its the whole recess the next day. Cut down so much

  22. Every morning, write a bathroom password on the board. When the students ask to use the bathroom outside the scheduled time, a letter is erased. After all the letters are gone, the bathroom pass is over for the day. In the beginning, use a longer word and gradually shorten the word. For the students with medicial excuses and/ or exceptional students give them two free passes, that allows them to go the bathroom (or a timeout) after the password is gone.

  23. Using http://www.BathroomPassSoftware.com is a great option to quickly print students' names on a limited number of bathroom passes. Here is a video on how it works: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKwyi50Rwmo.

  24. Using http://www.BathroomPassSoftware.com is a great option to quickly print students' names on a limited number of bathroom passes. Here is a video on how it works: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKwyi50Rwmo.


thanks for the love ♥

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