Potty Problems

brugger_in_the_bathroomIt takes a particularly wacky sort of editor to have her blog picture taken in the company bathroom, but here I am. We do have really nice bathrooms here at The Mailbox. The walls and doors of each stall go all the way to the floor, so you really feel like you’re in a tiny little private room that just happens to have a toilet in it.

I have bathrooms on my mind this morning for a couple of reasons:

1. I’m in the midst of renovating my bathroom at home, and I’m trying to figure out exactly what I can do with my very small budget. My current thought is that I’m going to paint the room a light gray and then install this vanity and this light fixture. Then I’m going to add some pops of pink and fuchsia with art and such. The tub is going to have to wait until renovation session number two.

2. “Problem Solved” in the issue of The Mailbox Preschool magazine that I’m currently writing features the question “How do you manage student bathroom breaks with young children?” I know there must be some great ideas out there on how to make bathroom breaks go smoothly. Please reply to this blog with your thoughts! If I like your idea, I’ll shoot you an email to see if you’re interested in having a $20 gift certificate for products from The Mailbox plus the possibility of having your idea in an issue of the magazine.

Hoping to hear from you!

6 thoughts on “Potty Problems

  1. We have a classroom of special ed preschoolers and share a 2 stall bathroom with a kindergarten classroom (bathroom is between the classrooms). Several of our students are in diapers, so an adult needs to assist them. Before recess, during our whole group activity, either myself or one of the classroom aides will call two students ( a boy and a girl) and assist them in the bathroom. When one of them is washing their hands, we have another boy or girl, use the bathroom. As the students finish they return to the whole group to be dismissed to get their coats and get ready to go outside. During the rest of morning session, if a student needs to use the bathroom, an adult will assist them, as needed.

  2. With young children, I always let them go to the bathroom as soon as they ask. However, I found that I had a hard time telling when they just had their hands up for a question and when they needed to use the restroom. I decided to have a hand signal for when they need to use the restroom. Instead of a raising their hands, the students simply make the sign language letter for “R” and hold it up where I can see it. I can just shake my head yes without needing to interrupt my instructional momentum. It works great.

  3. In the beginning of the year, my kindergarteners raise their hands and ask to use the bathroom. By early December I am more familiar with their personal habits and introduce a finger signal system to eliminate a lot of interruptions. Students who need to use the bathroom hold their hands up with the pointer in the air–so I can nod or shake my head to answer their requests (after they look to see if the bathroom door is open). Those who really need a drink of water hold up their hands with two fingers, like the peace sign. Luckily, the bathroom and drinking fountain are both inside our classroom!
    When I taught 3rd grade I used this system with success and had a third signal asking for permission to sharpen a pencil: holding up three fingers.

  4. I always let the children go to the bathroom whenever they need too. But we have a single bathroom in our classroom I have a laminated sign on the door one side is a red stop sign and the other side is a green go sign. The children can tell at a glance whether the bathroom is in use and wait for their turn when they see the stop sign. The sign has velcour on each side for easy on and off.
    I do spend sometime in September but as soon as the kids have the hang of the sign they love it. I have even seen kids run back to the bathroom because they forgot to change the sign to go. Works great.

  5. I have a single bathroom next to my preschool room and a 3 stall bathroom down the hall.
    I have a 5-10 minute bathroom break after snack time on my daily schedule. We go to the larger bathroom as a group. One teacher assists in the bathroom and one sings or plays a calm game in the hallway with the others while they wait their turn. Doing it this way, I find there is little interruption during class time for using the bathroom.

  6. I have a group of 16 4/5 year old preschoolers. To alleviate having someone in the bathroom all the time we schedule 2 bathroom times during the day. We toilet everyone before going outside and before rest time. Before rest time, I read to the children while my assistant very quietly taps a child or calls them to use the bathroom. This has been very successful for us for all the years we have been working together. Before going outside we can use the boys and girls bathrooms in the gym toileting all students within a few minutes. Since we have a bathroom in the classroom if a child has to go at any other time, they are free to go; sometimes they ask but it is not necessary. Drinks from the drinking fountain in our room; children are free to get a drink at any time during center time but at other times must ask. Most know that they cannot ask during circle time or small group times.

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