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Potty Policy

Mrs C

Junior Member
One of my districts has the weirdest policy...it's even in the sub folders right on top...that subs MUST allow children to go to the bathroom any time they want even if it is excessive, & if it is excessive, just leave a note for the teacher! Now just the appearance of a substitute teacher creates weak bladders in at least 50% of the students to begin with...& this district expects subs to allow a never-ending parade of students in & out of the classroom? In this terrible 6th grade period I had the other day, I seriously think every single child in there went at least once & some of them twice, & they were having conniptions because I told them that since there was only one bathroom pass, then only one student could go at a time, & to make note of who had asked before them if they really wanted to go. This one girl was unbelievably disrespectful about it, carrying on with "You can't do that, you have to let people go to the bathroom whenever they want, what if they pee their pants, what if you make them get a kidney infection from holding it, their parents can sue you, you know, you're gonna get in trouble with the principal cause I'm gonna tell on you"....!!! OMG...would the administration prefer I allow a dozen kids to just run off to the bathroom in a group? Regardless of policy, I was not going to allow more than one student at a time to leave the room...that's just asking for trouble!


Senior Member
potty breaks

I think it's a ridiculous policy. It is bad enough for those of us who are full-time teachers. I think you can pretty much tell who does and who does not have to go. When kids ask me to go to the bathroom, I usually tell them that "now isn't a good time to go" and "can you wait until the end of this class" or "can you wait until..." or something else that puts them off without actually saying "no." The funny thing is that most of the time, these kids just forget about it. If they really have to go, they will ask again later, but most don't. One thing I know is that if you say and outright "no," then the child is likely to try to challenge you, especially if he's (or she's) an older child.

The policy is a poor one that opens the doors for trouble for a substitute. You have no choice but to allow them to go if there is a district policy. However, I think you can circumvent problems by doing what you are doing, and that is only allowing one student at a time to go. Some kids will want to leave together to have a little fun in the bathroom, put on make-up together, socialize (you know the picture, I'm sure). Also, kids who shouldn't go together to the bathroom may want to go. I think that if you make it a one person at a time thing, they are likely to #1: spend less time in there; #2: find it less appealing to go; #3: discourage the use of the bathroom as a social event.

As far as the child goes who spoke disrespectfully to you: I would report her to administration. I do not believe that any child should speak to an adult authority figure like that.

a teacher


Are you sure it's the school's policy? How old were these kids? I hate to sound cynical... but could one of them, knowing they were to have a sub, put that on there? These things may seem like the routine sub joke- but they do really happen: Porn video where the teacher had an educational one, kids coming to a class they don't have when they know there's a sub and pretending to be someone else on the roll (ummm, this happened to me in a HS- no comments please!! :-)) ) , etc. That policy just seems to outlandish to believe.


Junior Member
me too

We were told at our sub orientation that we MUST allow children to get a drink or use the restroom whenever they ask and not make them wait for lunch or recess. Unfortunately, the message never got to the classroom teachers. Now that I'm teaching, I often hear from the teachers that their subs "just let them go to the bathroom whenever they wanted to". When I explain that we were told that we had to, they look at me like I'm from another planet.


Senior Member

this is the policy at all of the districts where I work. I am sure it happened because of a situation that resulted in embarrassment for the child and lawyers for the school district. We have the same thing with making the children shower after PE. We all did, and were told we had to when I was in school. Then one parent raised a fuss, the schools caved, and the policy was necessarily applied to everyone. Now very seldom do you see a child take a shower after PE. And if they do, they take their towel into a curtained off shower stall and they (the boys locker room in my case) wear their underwear into and out of that stall. Modesty. Like almost everything bad in the schools today, you can trace the origin to certain parents. We have a great number of idiots who are parents. They are the first ones through the door and whining about mistreatment of their precious child, when their child is one of the worst trouble makers in the school.
Let them go to the restroom. One at a time. Don't cause legal troubles for the school. Leave that to the teachers.

Mr. G

New Member
Hey, when ya gotta go, ya gotta go :)

I'm sorry, but any teacher who thinks they're superhuman enough to know the precise state of a kid's bladder at any given time ("I know which ones really need the bathroom and which don't") should take a step back and try to be objective there. The truth is that you really don't know if some kid is just goofing off or if they really need to go. Would YOU want to be told that you're not allowed to go pee when you need to?

I think Mrs. C had the right idea by only allowing 1 child to go at a time. They all get to go, but not in groups that could end up playing in the hallway.

As for the kid who was mouthy about it... Well, she was right. It would've been simple enough to say "You're right, but there's still only one bathroom pass. Tell your teacher that the class needs more bathroom passes when she gets back." I doubt she would, but what can she say once you've agreed with her? :)


New Member
One more thing...

One more important thing, if the student is talking BM, and is asked to hold it or wait until later...well, this can cause problems the rest of his life...meaning, c-o-n-s-t-i-p-a-t-i-o-n or irritable bowel syndrome later in life. I read an article about this. Never hold that until later, you will pay, eventually. :(


The reasons that Augustus gives are probably correct.

In general, if a child asks, I usually let him/her go. However, if I really don't trust the child, I ask a very mature student to provide an escort to the bathroom. If a child is acting very silly and doing nothing in class, then loudly makes a bathroom request, I say, "Ok, you can go. although I don't really think you have to. When you get back to class, if you do your work quietly, I'll believe that your request was real. If you get back and continue to fool around, I'll assume that you really didn't have to go. You were just trying to get out of class. If this happens, I'll let your teacher know that you made a fake bathroom request."

Mrs C

Junior Member
Yes, It's Really Policy

I was told this policy by the sub coordinator in the district office who handled my paperwork before I started, & it is the first sheet in the substitute folder you are given when you arrive. In other districts, unless a child appears to be in distress (mostly younger ones), I generally will say something like "Can you wait until I finish giving directions?" or "Sure, when you finish doing XYZ here" etc. Very rarely does a child say "No, I can't wait, it's an emergency". Another district's policy is that a child may go once in the morning & once in the afternoon, unless there is a medical note stating otherwise on file with the nurse. I do understand that sometimes you just gotta go, but I don't care for this policy for the simple reason that the students know it & abuse it blatantly. There isn't any reason for an 11-year-old child to need to use the bathroom 2 or 3 times within 40 minutes, & if there is, then this should be documented for a sub.

FYI...the mouthy kid was one of the ones the teacher made excuses for & didn't punish because there were abandonment issues in the home.


Full Member
And the rest of the story!

I kid you not! I was subbing in 8th grade the other day, and it is school policy that they all line up at the beginning of the 45 minute period to all go down the hall together and go at the same time! Seems the boys can't control themselves in the head and mess it up!

I was a collaborative in one classroom with a male teacher. I took a few minutes to go myself, but when I came out and went down to the heads, I noticed he was in the head supervising! I went in to the female's head, and my gosh, they were fooling around!

Ten minutes later, we all were back in the classroom. No one had to ask to go during the remaining 35 minutes!

Think about it. If every class does this every 45 minutes, 8 periods a day, the kids are missing out on an hour and 20 minutes of instructional time a day. I wonder how the parents would feel about this?

Mrs C

Junior Member
I Blame the Parents

I think that parents just don't see the impact of such things, or the districts would not have been forced to implement such ridiculous policies. Going to the bathroom whenever you please, or going every 45 minutes, is obviously something meant to pacify a complaining parent. Going in groups is an even bigger time waster than going alone. But God forbid lil Johnny has to hold it till he learns something!