Governments Should Ban Schools From Imposing Toilet Rules


toilet roll

I have vehemently opposed school toilet rules for some time, arguing that it is unfair and unhealthy to impose such a rule. The evidence seems to back up my claim:

Some primary school children are at risk of developing kidney and bowel problems because they have difficulty getting permission from their teacher to go to the toilet.

And others say they are avoiding the school toilets because of where they are located and worries about sanitation and security.

Almost 1,000 school-aged children attending eight Irish primary schools in the east coast were surveyed and 545 children responded.

While, overall, children had a positive perception of their school toilets, and used them if they needed to, around 57pc said they experienced difficulties going to the toilet.

The findings emerged in a survey of pupils by Maeve Smyth, a public health nurse with the Health Service Executive (HSE) in Wicklow. She was prompted to investigate the issue after school-aged children attending her bedwetting clinic said they found difficulties following their care plans while at school.

“These children described how they were reluctant to use the school toilets and permission was often denied,” she told the nursing and midwifery conference at the Royal College of Surgeons.

“Significantly, 57pc of the children had difficulties getting permission from the teacher to use the toilet when they needed to.

“And 34pc of children also intentionally avoided using them. These findings were significantly related to age, location, sanitation and security.”

She added: “Prolonged postponing increases the risk of, or exacerbates the problem of, urinary and bowel disorders.”

A spokesman for the Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO) said the finding that 34pc of children intentionally avoided using school toilets should be further investigated by the schools concerned.

He said: “Regrettably, sanitation was an issue in some schools due to government neglect of school buildings. While progress has been made in many schools in recent years, there is still a backlog of schools awaiting funding.

“A school board has a duty to ensure that the overall hygiene of a school is of an acceptable standard. But where it is identified that it is of a less than acceptable standard, then the board should be funded by the Department of Education to urgently redress the situation.”

He added: “In general, the union advises against children being forced to line up to go to the toilet at specific times.

“Where possible, children should be facilitated to go to the toilet when the need arises. However, this is not always possible where toilets are external to the classroom.”


Click on the link to read Even Prisoners Don’t Have to Beg for Toilet Paper

Click on the link to read School Makes Children Pay to Use the Toilet

Click on the link to read School Toilet Trial is a Terrible Idea

Click on the link to read Schools Putting Spy Cameras in Toilets and Change Rooms

Click on the link to read A Toilet Break is a Right Not a Privilege

Click on the link to read Even Prisoners Get to Use the Toilet


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3 Responses to “Governments Should Ban Schools From Imposing Toilet Rules”

  1. John Tapscott Says:

    Just today I was helping in a Prep/grade 1 PE lesson. One child asked the teacher to go to the toilet. As soon as permission was granted there was a rash of requests. I remember in another school where I had a grade 6 girl who always needed to go to the toilet during maths, and at no other time, whether the lesson was morning session, mid session or afternoon session.

    Rather than make rules about toilet requests I think they are valuable feedback. A child is more likely to ask a teacher to go to the toilet than to admit inability to do what is being asked or to say, “Sir, this sucks!”

  2. kedavis99 Says:

    I hate to say no to bathroom requests but my kindergarten classes are definitely examples of the “monkey see monkey do” attitude, as soon as one asks to go the bathroom they all have to go. I limit by making sure they go one at a time, this usually means those that do have to go will take the opportunity while those that don’t get involved in their work and forget they asked.

    I did have a middle school student once though that made frequent requests to go to the bathroom and he would stay there until the teacher of whichever class he had left called the office to get him back. We had to put him on a time restraint for bathroom trips which made me uncomfortable too but was for the most part effective. He had trouble making friends and preferred hiding in the bathroom to being in class. We tried many things to help him adjust and help him socialize but he seemed disinterested.

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