Letting children go to the bathroom during classes: yes or no?

Letting children go to the bathroom during classes: yes or no?

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"Teacher, I'm thirsty, can I go to the bathroom to drink water?" ..., "Teacher, I pee I need to go to the toilet, can I go?", "Teacher, I want to go to the bathroom ..."

And so there are countless requests that teachers can hear throughout the school day, due to the supposed desire that students have to go to the bathroom.

These situations, considered normal and habitual by some teachers, can sometimes generate conflict between what the student requests, between what the teacher considers and with the interpretation of the family. And that's where our approach starts, Should the teacher let the children go to the bathroom during class time?

What is the right thing that, as decent people, we should do? It is difficult to develop rules for this topic at hand, therefore, first I invite you to make a reflection, an empathic observation of the needs and characteristics of these children. Now that some schools are resuming their school calendar, it is a good time to spend a few weeks making this observation, and depending on the characteristics of the group, apply logical and respectful criteria, above all.

- The age of the students will give us important data at the level of maturity. The characteristics of a 4-year-old girl are not the same as those of an 11-year-old girl. And we must even be very aware that not all children have the same characteristics, even if they are the same age.

- I can see if these physiological needs are real: we may be facing a case of urinary incontinence due to an infection. Therefore, communication with the family is essential.

- It is likely that the child can need to "take a walk". Maybe you need to move, air ...

- Sometimes classroom boredom it can motivate you to go to the bathroom.

- Other escape occasions may be due to the student he is not comfortable in class.

But we must always think that if they ask to go to the bathroom it is because we have created an environment of trust, an environment that, as teachers, we must not allow it to go overboard.

Having made these observations vs. reflections, and generated a climate of trust and respect in the classroom, we can talk to the group about this and see what they propose, really listening to them in order to reach common agreements, always coherent and logical. Sure that after these steps we already have almost all the alternatives for this topic.

In addition, I give you these suggestions:

- It is important to take into account the age of the group as a characteristic from which to start, but not as a unique characteristic.

- In hottest times We can facilitate their having a bottle in class and thus avoid trips to the bathroom.

- In some classes they take turns to go to the bathroom. With some clamps and their name on each of them, a visible place is enabled in the classroom and no more than 3 boys or girls, that is, 3 clamps, may be placed in the toilet.

- If the students are really motivated in the classroom, believe me that many times they forget to go to the bathroom.

- We can also offer them various moments of the day to go to the bathroom, since not everyone has the need at the same time.

I had the great experience in a class of boys and girls aged 8-9 years, of working with the group on this issue, from the safety and mutual respect. At the time of going to the bathroom, I fully trusted each and everyone, and they did not need to ask my permission, so I agreed with them, an agreement that we agreed to in an assembly way; the boy or girl who wanted to go to the bathroom only had to let me know that he was going to go: "Marga, I inform you that I am going to the bathroom." At no time did I distrust them, moreover, if someone took the opportunity to "waste time", it is because they needed it and surely when they returned they were more calm and attentive in class.

But what in no way can we indulge ourselves is that a student's pee escapes because we have not let him go to the bathroomThat can make you very embarrassed and we teachers can avoid it on almost all occasions. Let's trust them and let them know.

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