What is it with schools not allowing kids to drink water or use the lavatory when they need to?

Eugenie - posted on 01/24/2011 ( 15 moms have responded )

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My 8 year old son has been complaining a lot that the teachers do not give him permission to drink water or use the bathroom when he needs to go. I usually tell him that the teacher probably did not hear him and that he needs to speak up. However, we were at one of his friend's birthday party the other day, and decided to bring up the topic. I was surprised to learn that most of the kids were having the same problem at school. To me, this is a huge issue!



The children are told to use the bathroom during their lunch hour; but everyone is different, and as such, it is very unlikely that a whole classroom of students will want to use the bathroom at the same time. Children should not be denied the right to use the restroom when they need to. As individuals, we all know when we have a need to relieve ourselves, and that is something only the person having the need can know. Not allowing the kids to use the lavatory when they need to, can have lasting, damaging effect on their health.



I am really feeling very badly about this because I know how it feels when I have to go, and I cannot imagine any child having to hold himself. This is definitely adding too much stress to children and causing anxiety at too much of an early age!



Is your child having the same problem? If yes, what have you done or will you do about it? Also, if you are a teacher of young children, please help me understand the goal here.

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Candy - posted on 01/25/2011

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My school allows children to have water bottles at their desk and there is a water fountian in the class room. They get to go the bathroom when needed if they are not abusing the fact. My oldest teacher was even able to let me know mine was going to bathroom more then normal. Come to find out she had a UTI. I would go to the school board. Maybe talk tot he teacher first and see what the rules are about it. Mine are in kindergarten and 1 grade.

Lissa - posted on 01/24/2011

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I have never heard of this happening, this is demeaning for the children and I would be going to the school about this. Talk to other parent's and go as a group, talk to the head teacher and make a complaint! At my children's school (I live in Scotland) Each child is given a reusable bottle at the start of term which they fill up at school first thing so they have water in class. They are encouraged to drink it during the school day to keep them hydrated. Every child can go to the toilet as often as they need to.
This must be a very stressful situation for the children and holding on when you need the toilet can cause infection.

Grandmother - posted on 04/19/2013

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I am presently helping someone whose 5 year old son wasn't allowed to use the restroom except on "scheduled breaks" and was SUSPENDED from kindergarten for wetting his pants too many times. The mother has already gone to the teacher and principal. She is heading to the school board next. I advised her to take her son to a doctor first to rule out any medical issues. Then to email or call the superintendent for the district and follow that up with a registered letter. I can not find anything in Arizona law that defines when a child who isn't special needs can be suspended.

I would greatly appreciate any suggestions.

Amy - posted on 02/13/2011

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Well, when I was that age, we used a drink as an excuse for getting out of class. Best thing to do is talk to the other moms and most importantly the TEACHER and ask about it. Maybe there were quite a few who were goofing off and other kids have to suffer for it. That's just kinda the way of life. First thing I would have done is talk to the teacher and let them know that your child needs to and has to use the restroom. It's not healthy, and you're right, it can really affect their health. However, I always make sure to get all sides of the story.

Mandie - posted on 02/13/2011

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i agree, younger children simply don't have the ability to "hold it" until it is convenient for the teacher. my children are allowed to use the restroom when needed, but i know a woman whose child just started kindergarten and they refused to let her go, then when she wet herself they didn't even call for a change of pants, she stayed wet. that was at a different school, and i am thankful our school operates the way it does. i would most certainly go to the school board if needed, and it wouldn't hurt to get a few of those other parents behind you.

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Chet - posted 6 days ago

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Schools sometimes have problems with a large percentage of kids asking to get drinks or use the bathroom just to get out of class. Or the kids legitimately want a drink or need to pee, but then they dawdle or play and fool around too. The bathrooms, fountains and hallways aren't supervised either, and sometimes you get cases of vandalism and bullying with the kids coming and going.

A lot teachers just schedule a time for the whole class to get drinks and visit the bathroom. At the school our kids go to right now many teachers don't allow kids to leave during class, but they can go at lunch and recess, so they never have to wait more than two hours. The theory is that most 5 to 12 year old kids should be able to go two hours without needing to visit the bathroom.

I don't have a huge problem with the policy. Kids are allowed to take water bottles to class.

Diane - posted 6 days ago

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My nephew is not allowed to drink water or have recess for punishment at school for 3 weeks for bringing an I pod one day.

Rachel - posted on 02/13/2011

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My daughter is in Kindergarten and they have a bathroom right in the classroom. The teacher tells them to quietly go use the bathroom when they need to, they do not need to ask, because that usually causes a stampede of kids who suddenly need to go. lol I know why teachers limit the bathroom visits, and I think it's fine if they are giving them regular intervals at which the students can go. I have a terrible childhood memory of being in 1st grade and being told to "hold it" and then having an accident where my mom had to bring me new clothes. How mortifying! I hope you have been able to communicate with the teacher about this and find out how to resolve it.

Eugenie - posted on 02/13/2011

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Thanks for responding Leslie. Yes, I am concerned about the younger children, let's say up to fourth grade. They are just learning how to schedule and monitor themselves, they are not fully on point until about age nine, ten. The bigger kids, like you are teaching, can definitely monitor themselves. They should also be use to the school system by this time. For them, your rules sounds fine!

Keep doing what you are, educating our children! Hats off to you!

Leslie - posted on 02/13/2011

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I'm not trying to start an argument here, but keep in mind I teach 7th graders who learn very quickly how to work the system. Our kids are allowed to go to the restroom 3 times a day (about every 3 hours or so). If I let my kids go whenever they wanted, they'd never be in class. The thing is, they have to go on their own time, not instructional time. They don't want to go on their own time b/c they'd rather be socializing with their friends. When I do have a student ask to use the restroom, I ask them if it's worth silent lunch or having no break time. If they really need to go they'll take silent lunch or no break. If not, they won't. It's completely up to them. For younger children, I believe they should be able to go when they need to, but I can understand some of the teachers issues.

Eugenie - posted on 02/12/2011

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Thanks for responding Erin. Rules are to be followed, but some of them are just unnecessary and infringing, and should not have been established to begin with. What happen if the kids are out on recess and one or however many of them need to use a bathroom? Do they just do it there on themselves? I don't know if many teachers, principals and school officials realize that children are not super-humans and any different from themselves. Using the lavatory is a basic right, and the restrooms are steps away. This situation is deplorable and need to be probed!

Eugenie - posted on 02/12/2011

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Thanks for responding Jennifer. The things that our kids have to go through in school! Needing to use the lavatory is such a basic thing, and very much unplanned. Nobody knows if they will need to use the bathroom in the next hour or whatever! Kids should not be denied their rights to go when they need to, and this is just adding stress to their daily lives. Such a shame!

Erin - posted on 01/27/2011

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when i was teaching I took the students to the bathroom two times during the day as a class. In the morning and then after lunch..then they were allowed to go to the restroom whenever as long as I wasn't standing in front of them teaching or during a 20 minute reading time. Of course I understood sometimes it was an emergency. If I had a bathroom in the room then they went whenever there was a bathroom pass on the board. I would even let them go down the hall to the bigger bathroom a few at a time sometimes just to be sure they were able to go. The only time they were not allowed back in the building was at recess and that was a rule laid down by the principle.

Jennifer - posted on 01/27/2011

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Interesting to see this on here. My first grader recently told me he was given the choice of not going to the bathroom or being punished (loosing a baseball, which is the valssroom behavior plan) when he asked to go to the bathroom. He explained that he was supposed to go during lunch , but didn't have to, so when he asked to go during gym class he had to loose a baseball as a punishment. I was pretty upset. We aren't even talking about losing instruction time... it's gym class! My son told me about a boy in the class that has had several accidents because he doesn't want to ask to go to the bathroom after lunch, now I think I know why. We have parent/teacher conferences in two weeks and this is on the list of things to discuss.

Eugenie - posted on 01/26/2011

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Thank you for responding Lissa and Candy. When my son was in 2nd grade he had the same issues. I spoke to his teacher and she said they could go to the bathroom when they needed to, but after a couple days he was denied his right to use the bathroom when he needed to - again. I thought that was just one teacher's way of 'running' her class but now that he is in 3rd. grade he is having the same problem. When I go to get him at school in the afternoon, he is cramped. He said it takes a long time for him to urinate when he hold it in for so long.

I spoke with his teacher for the second time, this morning, and he said they are allowed to drink water and use the lavatory when they needed to. He acted as if he did not know what my son was talking about. In the afternoon I ask My son if everything was okay and he said he was allowed to use the lavatory and drink water when he needed to, but the other children were not.

This is like a cycle, a parent complains and then they act, after a while they go back to same old. I just don't understand. I think teachers need to think of the children as humans with the same basic needs as themselves. When he was in private school he never had this issue! Now that he is in public school (thanks to the economical turmoil) he is having one issue after another - and then have them recurring after brief breaks. This seems to be this school's policy, so if he complains again about this problem, I will have to speak with the superiors and possibly move him to a school that is fair.

Thanks again! Any teachers here who can help me understand what is hoped to be achieved by doing this?

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