Quick and Easy Restroom Breaks

Hey everyone! I’m linking up with Jasmine from Buzzing with Mrs. McClain for the monthly “You Oughta Know” blog hop! And this month, I think “You Oughta Know” about quick and easy restroom breaks.

At the beginning of this year, we were told we should not be taking class RR breaks. Say what? These little babies are used to having a RR in the classroom in kinder and then they get to first grade and we NEED class RR breaks!! Heck, I need a potty break! We were told that we should send them to go as needed. The controlling part of me had a little freak out.
“They can’t handle that… they will play… they will miss instruction… it’s not possible!!” That is what went through my head. But do you want to know a secret??
I really loathed taking RR breaks as a class all the years before.


I hated standing there with 14 kids, while 3 boys and 3 girls went in, nagging them not to play, telling them to be quiet and to hurry up… oh and make sure you wash your hands and only get 2 paper towels and 1 squirt of soap. It wasn’t fun for ANYONE!

So at the beginning of this year, I decided to try it. I taught my kids right away the signal to ask to use the restroom. The only thing I can’t stand more than class restroom breaks is kids interrupting a lesson to ask to go to the restroom.

I taught them that they couldn’t ask to go when I was teaching (and we also talked about what an emergency was), but that during work time was OK. This was the toughest part for me- letting them go even if I thought they might not really have to go.

When I give them the nod to go, they go and get the hand sanitizer from the shelf and put it on their desk. This tells me who is gone from the room. It also tells the other boys and girls that they CAN’T ask to go. I only allow 1 boy and 1 girl out of the room at a time (of course, unless it is an emergency). It being on their desk also reminds them to use it when they get back! Score!
Here is what I learned, and what I REALLY think you oughta know… This was a lifesaver in disguise. I truly feel like I gained an extra 25 minutes in my day (8 minute bathroom break after specials, after lunch, and after recess). You could use an extra 25 minutes, right?! Sure, I might have a kid miss 2 minutes of work time here and there. But that means I get 25 more minutes a day for small groups or conferencing. AH-MAZ-ING. :) :)

 Also, and here is the real secret, by letting my kids go whenever they want, I feel like it kind of takes the ‘fun’ out of going. It’s not a special thing- I’ll always let you go. So I think that really fosters independence and responsibility in my kiddos. They kind of feel like “Hey, she trusts me to go. I can go whenever I want. I should live up to her trust.”

 And when it boils down to it, it’s the bathroom for crying out loud. I used to be so controlling. When did I forget that kids are people too?! Well, I’m telling you, I remember now, and I LOVE IT! :)

Don’t forget to check out the other bloggers who joined up with Jasmine for her monthly “You Oughta Know” blog hop!

6 thoughts on “Quick and Easy Restroom Breaks

  1. I use this hand signal in my classroom and love how well it works. Granted, I am lucky because I have a restroom right in my classroom – but it is so nice not having to take a whole class bathroom break and waste all that time.
    Thank you for sharing!
    Living the First Grade Dream

  2. Oh!!!! I love this! It has always seemed wrong when I see teachers withholding bathroom trips because someone does not have a ticket! What is the point of that? I think you have the right idea. Treat the kids with respect and be so engaging in your teaching that no one wants to miss a minute! Teaching Science With Lynda

  3. I was wondering how the new "schedule" thing would work with no rr breaks. That is a fantastic idea and yay for 25 more minutes!! I love that you're so positive while so many others in the district are still griping.

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