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Restroom Breaks Policies/Procedures

Compiled By: Mrs. G

Wondering how other teachers handle bathroom breaks in their classrooms? Here is a collection of ideas tested in some classrooms.

Posted by: Teach'n'Learn

I give the students a set amount of minutes per week to be "out of the classroom." They can use those minutes for whatever they want - get a drink, call mom in the office, get something out of a locker, go to the restroom, just get out of te room for a few seconds.

But once those minutes are gone, they're gone. In a dire emergency, they may leave but the time has to be made up out of their recess, which cuts down on the leaving for leaving's sake.

I give out raffle tickets for every minute under the limit that they have left at the end of the week, too, which cuts down on the use of minutes. They tend to plan their day better - use the restroom at recess to avoid having to use minutes during class or remember to get everything from their backpacks before class, for example.

Five minutes per week was more than sufficient for most students.

ETA: Oh, and I have an electronic hall pass timer. So the students were responsible for writing down how long they were gone, but it keeps track of the last three sessions, so I could spot check for truthfulness.

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Restroom Pass Punch Cards
Posted by: Krissy

I made a punch card for my students. Using a graphics program (print shop, etc.) I created them in the business card size. So, I get ten per sheet. That requires me to only run three copies a month, so I can use cardstock.

I put a line for their name, my name and room number, and then the numbers 1 2 3 4 5 6 at the bottom. When students need to use the restroom and get a drink at a time unscheduled, they must punch a number. I am hanging a hole punch and clipboard by the door.

When they need a restroom/drink break, they must sign out and back in and take one punch. I am going to give them one card every month and make adjustments as needed.

I am considering having students keep their own punch cards or put a small index card file box by the door for them to store it in. I haven't decided. I got this idea from a teacher who gave the students three tickets every two weeks. They used these to turn in for passes.

Hope this helps!

Posted by: Joan

I am pretty free with my students regarding leaving for the restroom. They may go any time they are working independently or in groups. We discuss being considerate and how it would feel if they were talking to a group and people kept leaving.
I keep a restroom sign-out sheet by the door. They must write their name and the time they are leaving. When they return, they write the return time. I let them know that a trip to the restroom should not take more than 2-3 minutes (with exceptions, of course ). Only one student may go at a time, but some schools require that students do not use the restroom alone.

Restroom Breaks
Posted by: Kristal

I gave each of my students two balloon cut-outs. One of them is red and says AM, the other is blue and says PM. When they need to use the restroom, they put the appropriate balloon in a small bucket I have sitting by the door. If they have to use the restroom again, they have to give me 3 minutes of their recess. When I first gave out the balloons (which have magnets on them so they can hang them on the sides of their desks), everyone tried to use both of their balloon passes every day. Now that the novelty has worn off, it is working out very well. I hope this helps!

Posted by: Deb

I have created a bulletin board, just for bathroom trips for my third graders. This year, the theme in my room is Scooby Doo, so the board has shaggy and Scooby saying "Rut=Roh, Gotta Go!"
The children all have bones (laminated notepad page) with their names on it. They may use the bathroom at any time of the day, except during direct instruction, by putting their bone up on the bulletin board. Only 1 girl/1 boy can go at a time. This has helped to alleviate disruptions for me! Hope this helps!Ü

Emergency passes
Posted by: Lesley Weber

I have started this plan with my third graders and it is working wonderfully.
I have a classroom monetary system where I reward students $10.00 play money for A+ conduct reports on Fridays to spend in my $10.00 bag (toys, trinkets, pencils, etc.) or to save for a big shopping spree from my class store (larger items)at the end of the grading period. This has always worked great for conduct, so I tied in restroom visits also! My students are only allowed to go to the restroom when they arrive in the morning, at our scheduled break (mid-morning), during their lunch break, or during our 2:00 recess period. Any student who needs to go during class time must use one of four "Emergency Restroom Passes" that are issued at the beginning of the grading period. At the end of the grading period, any student who has restroom passes left can turn them in for $20.00 class cash to spend in our store(totals $80.00!!!). I have had a lot less requests to leave the room, and now students who have trouble getting an A+ on conduct now have a way to earn money to spend. The students love this system!!

do the "TAP"
Posted by: rswash

I use this method and it works great for me. I choose two boys and two girls to use the restroom, when they come back, each one taps another. (girls tap girls and boys tap boys) They are allowed to whisper to a neighbor to get any missed work gone over while they were out, it keeps you from holding up class time, and only 4 students are out of the room at any one time. This can also be done with only one boy and girl at a time. We call it the "TAP" and after lunch, instead of the usual stampede at the restrooms, I continue with the lessons and they immediately start the "TAP". All I do is choose a different set of kids to start it daily. One more good thing about it, if the restroom is messy, you can usually trace it back to who was in it by asking a few questions about the appearance of it, (was there water on the floor when you went Sam? etc...)

Bathroom Pet peeves
Posted by: Heather McCullough

I have a bathroom in my classroom and I got tired real fast of being asked to use it. I made a flag and when the flag is us (during direct instruction) all students must be in their seats and not even thinking about the bathroom/drinks. When the flag is down they may use the restroom/drink. The next problem was kids knocking to see if anyone was in the restroom (will this ever end?) We have a magnet on the outside of the door. When the student goes in to bathroom they take it in. When they are done the put it on the outside door. This has helped a bunch.

Cup System
Posted by: Sammi

I purchase two plastic cups to use as restroom passes each year. One color is for the boys and the other for the girls. I train my students in the bathroom procedures and explain to them that if they abuse the Cup System, then they will lose the privilege. Basically, if I'm not doing Direct Instruction, Reading Aloud, or giving important information that they need to hear, then they may get up and get the appropriate colored cup and place it on top of their desk. This allows only one person at a time to be out of the room. This also allows me to quickly note where the missing student is very easily. This eliminates them interrupting small group instruction. The other students become great "tattletales" and will let me know when someone is abusing the system. So far, it has worked out great.

Bathroom Policies
Posted by: Christie

My students hold up two fingers when they need to go to the restroom. This is silent signal to me. I then just shake my head with a response and the other students are not disrupted. The students are not allowed to signal while I am teaching. When we start seatwork or group work, then they may go. I haven't had any trouble with the students taking advantage of restroom privilages with this method.

Bathroom Tickets are the way to go!!!
Posted by: 3rd Grade Rox

I use bathroom tickets and it helps TREMENDOUSLY!! Each of my students gets 3 tickets every Monday. They owe one ticket every time they go to the bathroom. If they use over the 3 tickets, then they owe me 5 minutes of recess every time they go after that. Also, if they ask to use the bathroom within 15 minutes of coming back from recess, then they owe me 2 tickets. If they don't have any bathroom tickets, then they owe me 10 minutes of recess.

On Mondays, I reward the students who have all 3 of their bathroom tickets from the previous week. If you don't hold students accountable for going to the bathroom they'll go ALL the time, especially in the upper grades. Most of the time the kiddos can hold it until the next recess.

I just make enough copies for each student to have 3. I then laminate them so that they'll hold up through the year. I keep track of the tickets by writing their classroom number on the back of each ticket. Then I have my assistant pass back the tickets on Mondays. Best of luck to you!!

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Posted by: Ima Teacher

We have a school-wide pass that's in their planners, so we can see just how often they are going. We have four scheduled restroom breaks daily, and the students can go during class with the teacher's permission. I like being able to see when they've gone.

We had one boy who went 79 times out of class!

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Posted by: BookMuncher

I've done it before where each child had a cup with two reds (morning) and one blue (afternoon) for bathroom breaks. I don't have as many bathroom breaks built in as you, though. Our morning is much longer than the afternoon, thus the two and one. Maybe for your schedule everyone only has one chip for the day? (Really, if you are breaking for the bathroom 4 times a day, they should be fine! But we all know that it doesn't matter how many breaks we take!)

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Posted by: Melissanne

here is something that worked really well for me this year. each student gets 2 popsicle sticks with their name on them. these are kept in their desk. when they need to use the bathroom they raise their stick. i shake my head yes, or no. they place their stick in a cup up front, take the pass, and use the bathroom. if they need to go again during the day, they use the second stick. when both sticks are gone, they may not use the bathroom again. if there is an emergency after using both sticks then they loose recess (unless there is an extreme circumstance) we also use the bathroom together twice a day, depending.

hope this helps!

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