difficult child's teacher will not let him use the bathroom

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by tinamarie1, Feb 28, 2008.

  1. tinamarie1

    tinamarie1 Member

    This is the 3rd time this has happened this school year. difficult child calls me from school and says that he had to hold it for hours and she would not let him leave the classroom to use the bathroom. He ends up having an accident and I bring him new pants. Well, yesterday I was at my new job and could not leave to bring him pants (it was an hour before school was to get out anyway). But when he got home he was wearing some pants that were given to him by the nurse, and he said mom I was so embarassed in front of my friends. I asked him if they were doing something important, like testing..that she couldn't let him leave and he said no, they were just doing regular class room work.
    I don't know how to handle this. husband wants to call up there and let her have it.
    Of coarse, they have designated bathroom breaks but difficult child says he never has to go during that time.
  2. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    I think a polite phone call to the teacher is warranted. Is there a medical issue the teacher needs to know about? Don't call angry. Allow yourself some time to calm down.

    Now, as an educator, I have very STRICT bathroom rules when I have classes. Many students, being the kids that they are, will ignore a small, or moderate, urge so that they can play at recess. Then, when they get to class, the urge is very strong and becomes an "emergency". Of course, I allow some wiggle room for the little ones. Especially, at the beginning of the school year.

    I do allow for emergencies, by the way. However, unless I am informed that a student has a medical reason, or other issues that would affect bathroom behavior. my rules stand. I've had students do the bathroom dance, but when I explain that a five minute loss of recess will result if I allow them to go, immediately they're fine and can wait. I will get requests from kids to use the bathroom when they have just come in from recess.

    My primary concern is having a student that I am responsible for wandering around the school campus unsupervised. And, they also miss out on instruction time.

    BUT, if it is conveyed to me that a student has any sort of bathroom issues, all rules are null and void. They just need to let me know before they go. Never had a problem.

    Now, as a mother of a difficult child who has bathroom issues, I informed the teachers and it has never been a problem. I did, however, tell them to please let me know if they think difficult child is using his bathroom issue as an excuse to get out of class (some kids just want to get out and take a break). That way, the teacher feels they have some discretion in the situation.
  3. tammyjh

    tammyjh New Member

    I would call the school and set up a meeting with the teacher to discuss the issue. It could be one that is easily solved.

    My difficult child used to ask too many questions in class and also ask to go to the bathroom all the time. We had the teacher limit her to X amount of questions and we also had her scheduled for bathroom breaks and she had to at least go in and try whether "she" thought she needed to go or not. With all my kids, difficult child and my easy child's, when its bathroom time, they always say they don't have to go but 9 times out of 10, when I make them go in, they end up going.

    Is there possible bladder control issues? My difficult child is now 14 and has a hard time controlling her bladder when she laughs so she keeps an extra change of clothes in her backpack at all times. She's still on scheduled bathroom breaks and the school staff has no problems with it.
  4. tinamarie1

    tinamarie1 Member

    husband called the teacher this morning and was very calm (i was surprised). Of coarse we got a completely different story from the teacher. She says he asked to go to the bathroom and she told him to go but he sat down in his seat instead, then about 20 min later he said he REALLY had to go and she said fine, i told you to go earlier. Then he returned to the classroom and told her he needed to go to the nurse (because he didn't make it and had an accident). Something just does not sound right to me.
  5. BestICan

    BestICan This community rocks.

    I don't understand why the teacher wouldn't let him go, if he has a history of wetting his pants this year. Did she know about those events? It would seem that having to go to the nurse and change clothes would take lots more time away from class than just going to the bathroom, and she'd want to prevent that. If she already knew about his history of wetting, then I'd tend to believe her that she said yes when he asked.

    Based on your experience with difficult child, does it sound likely that he'd sit down at his seat instead of heading out to the bathroom?
  6. tinamarie1

    tinamarie1 Member

    no, it doesn't sound like him. when he got home today i told him what she had said. he said that she told him NO twice and then he said, "its and emergency" and then she told him to go. he said by the time he got down the hallway he had an accident. i am so ready for school drama to end. summer is how many months away????
  7. Jena

    Jena New Member


    that made me sooo mad when i read that. they did same to me with mine husband is right on this one. i let the school have it on verbal and in writing and gave letter to both school psychiatric and teacher.

    enough with the designated peeing time..........i can't pee on command can anyone else???

    school staff i'm learning they need to be taught lol :)

    let them have it

    good luck
  8. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I do the same at Witz-if they need to use the bathroom at non designated times they give up 5 minutes of their recess. Of course, I allow for emergencies. I also have some students that anytime they ask I know they need to use it and they are allowed to.
  9. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    I can think of another reason.... This reminds me of the time difficult child and his little friend were having a "I can pee further than you" contest in the boys restroom.:embarassed:

    When the Asst Principal called, I told her to make him clean it up. They did -- found him some gloves and a bucket. Apparently it took all the fun out of it -- never got a call about that particular behavior again.:laughing:

    Everyone's bladder is not the same size. If it's typical for him to go that often, he needs to go. I'm thinking bladder or kidney infection if he doesn't.
  10. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    difficult child 2 has problems listening to his body signals for things like that. He had several acccidents in 3rd and even a few in 4th grade. His 3rd grade teacher wanted something put in his 504 plan that when he needs to use the restroom, it is usually an emergency by the time he is asking to go, and therefore he should be allowed to go whenever he asks. So we simply made sure the language was there and that at the start of each year, the situation is made clear to his teacher(s). I understand the reasons for having bathroom restrictions at school, but for kids with attention problems, the rules need to be modified. Usually if you explain things to the teacher so that they understand it's something truly beyond the child's control, they are more than willing to help.
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    It sounds to me that this particular teacher DID say no, and is now realising that it was a wrong choice and she is covering her tracks.
    I wouldn't go over old history, however. The aim of the exercise now, is to put something in place to prevent this happening again. Let the teacher save face on this one, you'll never get her to admit to it. This is another reason why I cultivate "spies" in the classroom - I recruit other kids, not necessarily difficult child's friends, who I can rely on to give me a fairly impartial picture.

    difficult child needs to know that he can't just use it as an excuse; but the teacher should let him go, I feel, if he simply doesn't get the body signal in time.

    Toileting issues can be huge, for difficult children. difficult child 3 would refuse to go at all, at school. Or he would go for bladder, but not bowel. He would wait until he got home, even at the risk of soiling himself.
    Another issue - the toilets can sometimes be a place where bullying happens. A child who goes during lesson time may feel safer, than during break time when the bullies are holding court. If this is likely to be happening, he needs to be protected from this, or somehow helped to be safe.

    I recall difficult child 3's teacher telling me with some concern that he was asking to go, urgently, sometimes at half hour intervals. She believed him, there was no indication that she felt he was abusing the privilege, but she was concerned that he felt the need so urgently, so frequently, and asked me to have him tested for possible bladder infection.
    Since then I've noticed that he does sometimes have to 'go', at short intervals, with little warning. At home I hear him hit the toilet door with his shoulder like a SWAT team on a raid, then it's Niagara Falls for a few minutes, then half an hour later it happens again. He DOES drink a lot of water, which could be a factor.
    I can always tell which member of the household is in the toilet, on what I hear (their approach to the door, whether they lock it or not, the sense of urgency or otherwise, and other sound effects). I have found with difficult child 3 that he has certain times of the day when he has these frequency sessions - usually mid-afternoon.

    I would go in firmly but gently. Give the teacher some wiggle room, to weasel out of her position. But once you've talked and agreed on future ways to handle this, if she breaks any agreements you make in the future, let her have it.

    And I strongly recommend you cultivate some spies in the classroom - find a kid you can rely on as someone to call when difficult child loses the assignment sheets, for example. Find a number of kids. And be like a good journalist - NEVER reveal your sources.
    This spy system can also help you from getting egg on your face, if the teacher turns out to be telling you the truth.

    It's always good to feel you know, for sure, what has been happening. It saves you from being talked out of your position if it's correct, and it also stops you from making silly mistakes and antagonising people unnecessarily.

  12. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I think that you need to have a note from the doctor saying that he must be allowed to use the restroom when he asks. I have been through this with difficult child, many years ago. The teacher made him sign his name in the "bad behavior book" - a notebook where she had kids write their names and what "bad" thing they did. He also had to PAY a ticket that he earned for good behavior to use the potty.

    They had 4 hours until the first potty break - much too long for 8 year olds. I am not sure how often they get breaks for the bathroom, but I think he should be monitored and sent to try, then if he has to go later it should not be an issue. If he is using the time to play in the hall, then some restrictions should be put in place.

    I am just not fond of making kids wait. I think the situation could be settled with a note from the doctor because we saw concerta and several other medications make kids have to go more often.

    I do agree that often the bathroom is a place for bullies to "hold court". Thismay be what is going on, if it is then the school needs an aide to supervise the bathroom (one man and one woman) during regular bathroom breaks.

    Marg is so good at strategies to deal with school. I think making the teacher "own up" to not letting him go is just not a good idea. So make certain that he has clothes in his backpack or the nurse's office, then take a dr. note and get a procedure put into place. (one of my fave teachers would just have kids hold up 2 fingers if they had to go. She would just point to them and they would go - no discussion, upset, issue, just a routine thing.).

    Does he have any sensory integration issues? Our Occupational Therapist (OT) says that accidents like this can be a sign of them. He may not be interpreting his body's signals. If that is the case, potty breaks should be scheduled. After a few weeks usually the body will get into a routine.


  13. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    I am wondering, too, if maybe the bathroom might be very crowded dureing recess? I think my kids said their bathrooms at school have LONG lines dureing recess, plus, at our school, when they send the kids to recess, they are not allowed to go over near the bathrooms....the bathrooms are not on the route to recess or something? And for some children the activity of recess might then facilitate the urge to go?

    All our schools have so many hall monitors, it is very rare for any child to be ABLE to dilly dally or mess around in hallways. and our newer buildings are built in "pods", small groups of classrooms around a central common area and a bathroom for that same small area of classrooms- and each classrom is placed such that a teacher can keep any child in her line of sight - so even tho there are hall monitors, teachers can also see the kids.

    It has long been my opinion that some children will ask to go to bathroom, when really, they are self monitoring their moods etc..and some might ask to go to bathroom as a way to destress. Many adults do similar...women often go to "powder their nose"....and while I know the child might miss class time, if a child has a need to take a small break, it is likely their frame of mind might not be paying attention to classwork at the moment, anyway....and a short walk to the restroom and back again may help them come back and refocus.
  14. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    OK, I have a similar issue (ready to line up all the school district's and...well, yell at them)

    Tink tells me that in her reading group, the teacher told her that if she yawns again, she has to stay in for recess.

    OK. Are you freaking kidding me?
  15. tinamarie1

    tinamarie1 Member

    BBK, that is crazy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Do they want to teach robots? I say the day teachers become perfect will be the day our kids become perfect. Are people getting into teaching for the great hours? the vacation days? what is it? because its certainly not because they love children so much. shesh
  16. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Yawning??? Is she making a big production out of it?? You know, loud noisy yawns, hands waving, etc???

    Why is yawning a big deal?? It usually happens when the air is too stuffy, or the room is too hot. Kids, esp right after lunch and recess get the afternoon tireds. Some also get very tired mid-morning.

    If she isn't SLEEPING, or making a big production, then what is the problem??? Let me know on this BBK!

    What has been the response to talking to school about scheduling frequent bathroom breaks?

    There is a thing called a "shy bladder" where a person cannot go with others around. It is one of the things each of the urinary docs has asked about - 3 for difficult child, 1 for Jess. It is real, they really can't go, and accidents if not allowed to go at a time they will be alone are common.

    Sorry this is going on.


  17. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

  18. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    Actually, most become teachers because they expect to become RICH!

    Let's keep some perspective, okay?

    Very few parents come here to vent about what fantastic, caring, teachers their difficult children have.

    Frankly there are A LOT more of those than the teacher your child currently has.