Not being allowed to go to the toilet because its learning time.

(23 Posts)
fishoils Mon 28-Jan-13 22:54:19

That's what DS was told today. He is only 5. He needed to go to the toilet and the supply teacher told him that he would have to wait till break, as it was learning time.

But DS said there was no time for break (?) so he wasn't able to go all day.

I can imagine that it was hard for him to learn if he needed to go to the toilet.

Should children of 5 years old be made to wait to go to the toilet?

DomesticCEO Mon 28-Jan-13 22:56:17

I would have a quiet word with the teacher and just check what the policy is. It's such a tough one for teachers (I'm an ex-Y6 teacher) as some kids use it as a constant excuse to get out of lessons/go for a wander/waste time, but I generally would have thought that they should be allowed to go at that age as they're not good at holding on.

fishoils Mon 28-Jan-13 23:02:43

OK I'll do that. Thank you.

I am sure that DS was not trying to waste time, as he usually forgets to go to the toilet at all.

So its an achievement for him just even to remember to go. I'd rather he was encouraged to empty his bladder, so that he can concentrate on learning.

birthdaypanic Mon 28-Jan-13 23:03:54

It is difficult with very young children. I teach mixed yr1/2 and will let them go to toilet if needed. However if I am in the midle of explaining something e.g. work to be done I will ask if they can wait a couple of minutes, if I think it's an excuse to get out of work, I will ask them to wait and ask again in 5 mins. if they still need to go. If it's an excuse they will forget to ask again.

steppemum Mon 28-Jan-13 23:05:25

surprised at this aged 5. I am surprised they didn't have lots of accidents if honest. dd1 would have wet herself.

Don't think it is appropriate, too young. Also dd1 would have taken this as gospel and instead of asking again or saying I am bursting, she would have wet herself.

teacher usually says things like 'do you really need to go or can you hang on til play time?'

it may be though that at play time he forgot and went out to play amd then after play she said you should have gone at playtime!

dd2s class get round this. They have 3 red ribbons on the door handle. you can take one and go to the loo, then when you come back you return it to handle. No ribbon then you have to wait.
Works a treat

Euphemia Tue 29-Jan-13 07:22:23

I'd never make a child wait that long! If they ask when I'm in the middle of teaching, I'll say "Can you wait a minute, or are you absolutely desperate?" and let them go if it's the latter. smile

If they are working in the classroom after my teaching input, they can go to the toilet when they want. There's usually a "toilet pass", so only one boy and one girl allowed to go at a time, but that's the only restriction.

With older children, they might be given a reminder that they should have gone at break/lunchtime, but I would still let them go.

I hope this doesn't happen in DS1's school as he is in reception year and he would wet himself he needed to go and wasn't allowed!

meditrina Tue 29-Jan-13 07:32:38

I think your DS was bending the truth when he says there was no opportunity to go to the loo all day.

No teacher wants an outbreak of wet reception children, and although breaks do sometimes get a bit encroached on, they simply aren't cancelled.

Whether a child is asked to wait depends on how long it is until the break. As your DS was a little hazy about the existence of a break at all, this is an area you are unlikely to get a satisfactory answer from him.

AbbyR1973 Tue 29-Jan-13 07:45:54

As a paediatrician this is a common theme on which I write to schools.
I appreciate the difficulties and it might be reasonable to ask a child to wait a Couple of minutes to complete an explanation, but they should NEVER be asked to wait until break time. It is sending the wrong message to encourage children to hold on and can cause constipation and urine infections and wetting. All children should be encouraged/ reminded to go at break time and lunchtime as well.

DoItToJulia Tue 29-Jan-13 07:53:27

I hate this.

I would speak to the school. They are 5 FFS, as they get older, yes, expect more from then, but at 5, if they need the loo, they need the loo.

Pozzled Tue 29-Jan-13 08:01:41

AbbyR I am surprised that you think children should never be asked to wait till break time, I agree with very young children (up to about yr 2/3). But with older children, there does come a point when they need to take responsibility for themselves and go at break or lunch. There are plenty of situations where people have to wait.

OP, I agree that your son should not have been asked to wait at his age.

cory Tue 29-Jan-13 11:15:53

AbbyR, surely it depends on how many minutes it is until breaktime? Do we know that in the present case?

Supposing breaktime is 5 minutes off, the teacher is giving vital instructions to the whole class and she knows that the child in question has just been?

Even out of school, there will be times when a 5yo can't get to a loo within 10 minutes- because they are on a bus, or hurtling down the motorway, or in a queue at a shop which doesn't have loos.

hels71 Tue 29-Jan-13 13:16:21

My DD is in reception and she came home bursting one day saying she had been told she could not go to the toilet.
I popped in to clarify what had actually been said..(knowing how children get things wrong!) and what had happened was she was told to wait until someone came back...but she had only heard wait....so had waited.....right till we got home.....
I would quietly check first...maybe your DS misunderstood???

perceptionreality Tue 29-Jan-13 13:18:31

It's wrong to make a 5 year old wait to go to the loo. My older girls would have wet themselves easily at that age if they had to hold on too long.

AbbyR1973 Tue 29-Jan-13 13:22:57

My post said that it would be reasonable to ask children to wait a couple of minutes to be given instructions, common sense says that could similarly be applied to break time. Of course children should go at breaktime and lunchtime, hence the comment that the younger ones in particular should be reminded. Toiletting regularly is an essential part of avoiding urine infections, constipation, soiling and wetting. Additionally most schools now sensibly have free access to drinking water, therefore children will need to toilet more often if they are drinking more.
Given that constipation is one of the most common reasons for children to be referred to hospital paediatric clinics, this is a big problem. Toileti g is only one small part of getting things right but nevertheless it is important.

spanky2 Tue 29-Jan-13 13:25:49

Ten years ago my headteacher made the same rule . He was terrifying . A year 3 girl wet herself at my desk . I would complain. I was her teacher by the way.

Twinklestarstwinklestars Tue 29-Jan-13 13:36:49

I had to speak to ds' school the other week as they were stopping them having a drink and going to the toilet and he was coming out wanting a full bottle of drink after school. He is 7 (year 3) but tends to wait until he's desperate and there were a few children wetting themselves because of it. The school now allow them to full up bottles at break which is fair enough but I wasn't happy about him having to wait til then if he needed a wee, the teacher was new so maybe has different ideas to his last teacher.

bloomsilk Tue 29-Jan-13 15:13:22

my daughter was at radlett prep and they wouldn't let the children use the toilet during lessons. I was horrified when a new boy joined and during week 2 wet himself in class and was laughed at and teased by many in the room.

i think they should be encouraged to go at break but for goodness sake have some compassion and understanding, They are only children and it is not always to judge time at these ages.

i totally agree re drinking because children need to stay rehydrated to maximise their concentrationa and attention. They adjust to not being allowed to go to the loo by not drinking.

Some of these schools need a rethink

Greythorne Tue 29-Jan-13 15:18:03

We had exactly the same issue yesterday with DD aged 6.1

She came out of school very, very crestfallen and tearful because the teacher had shouted at her for asking to go to the loo when it wasn't playtime. Apparently, the teacher did let her go but not before having a go which reduced her to tears.

auntevil Tue 29-Jan-13 17:08:39

Can I ask what you do fishoils when you're in the car driving and you're 5 or so minutes from home? Do you stop the car there and then? Or wait until you get home?
If in YR or even Y1 - as a 5 year old, they are unlikely to have more than short bursts of sitting still and learning.
In Y2 there are lots of natural breaks in the day when requests to go out with breaktimes are acceptable - after carpet session before going to desks, before queuing up for assembly etc.
No-one wants a child to wet themselves, but then hopefully no-one would want the teacher constantly interrupted with requests to go to the toilet. For every 1 genuine really needs to go, there will be a flurry of 5 or 6 following who just feel like a walk.

AMumGoingMad Tue 29-Jan-13 19:29:35

As a TA working in YrR we tell every child to go to the toilet at breaktimes, we send them there before and when they come back from break we remind them again. Then before any important input (like phonics etc) we send the whole class to the toilet, even the children who say they don't need to go, they need to go and try. It takes 10 mins but it means we have the whole class there without toilet interuptions for 30 mins or so. If a child asks 5 mins into input to go to the toilet we let them go but they are reminded that we just told them to go so they should have gone then but it rarely happens tbh.

I think its wrong to make a child wait but they can wait a couple of minutes, as auntevil says, most parents would make their child wait the last 5 minutes of a car journey.

loverofwine Tue 29-Jan-13 21:16:38

some kids do have medical probs - my DS2 is one. He is almost 8 and still wetting at night time/frequently caught short. The clinic say he should drink as much water as he can and go to the loo as much as poss as this will increase bladder capacity. He is terrified of his teacher telling him off for doing so.

I have written to the teacher, spoken to him, reminded DS how important it is but still he doesn't drink water or ask to go to the loo because he is too scared of the consequences.

Not sure what to do really. Apart from this the teacher is great. I think kids should be able to go when they want to but this is from experience with DS

Muddles2 Wed 30-Jan-13 10:18:13

I'm with AMumGoingMad - with all the chat about emulating French maternelles, my dd was in one, and one of the things I thought they did brilliantly was to have a very caring 'assistante' who took all the children to the bathroom at regular intervals (yes, whether they wanted to or not), taught them always to wash their hands, supervised it all so there was no mess, and took pride in this essential practical side to looking after young children. Much later in an English school my dd would hold on all day because of the disgusting state of the bathrooms.
Of course there are children with particular health issues and they need to be handled differently.

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