Online debate after mum shares a rant over teachers refusing to let students take a toilet break during class.

The mum shared, “What’s the story with kids going to the toilet during class time?

“My daughter told me that her teacher wouldn’t let her go to the bathroom during class. As a result she had an accident and was super embarrassed.”

What mums think

While we totally understand that students are encouraged to use the toilet during recess and lunch time, some children will obviously also need to go during class. Most children will drink more during their break times so of course they will need to rush to the toilet when back in class.

Many parents said they tell their child to go anyway. (Not sure that’s a good idea!) While others argued parents need to teach their children the correct times to go.

One mum shared, “Small children don’t have the capacity to think ahead like that. Oh it’s break, I might need the toilet in an hour… They don’t think like that. I understand if it’s being disruptive but they should have two in class toilet passes a day to use or something”

Another said, “I’ve told all mine that if a teacher refuses to let them go that they should walk out the classroom and go. How dare anyone decide when another human being needs the toilet.”

Jan shared, “Take a kid on a trip in the car. The first thing you ask is does anyone need to go to toilet. No one does. 5 minutes into the trip they all need to go. It’s just a kid thing. Kids are still learning. Let the kid go to toilet ffs.”

Lisa said, “This happens at our school. Very daunting for little kids that need to go but are watching others be refused. It sends stupid signals to kids.”

What the experts say

There are a number of physical problems which can arise when school children are only allowed to access toilets at set times, rather than on a needs basis.

“Having set times for access to the toilet can cause “I’ll go just in case” practices which means the bladder doesn’t get used to holding on until it’s full. Over time, the bladder capacity can reduce, increasing the need to visit the toilet more frequently.

“At the same time, the amount of fluid a child can drink before needing to go to the toilet is reduced. This results in a vicious circle. A child may consciously or unconsciously ration their fluid intake, or avoid drinking altogether, if they fear not being able to go to the toilet when they need to.”

There is potential for long term damage to the bladder as well as risk of anxieties of trying to either conform to the policy, or having to inform the school of any continence problems.

Join our Facebook discussion below:

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  • How horrible the this child, if you need to go you should go. This is going to bring fear for the child and have huge consequences for the future. It can lead to bladder infections and more if you do not listen to your body, and a child is learning these cues and being shut down, horrible, disgusting, I hope the teacher cleaned up the mess and reassured the child it had done nothing wrong.


  • This is awful let them go when they need! Much better than having to clean up accidents!

    • How true! A few years ago I went to relieve a deputy principal. He had to sit on an interview panel and I was sent to take his class. I arrived early, and began helping a group of children finish their task before he left and I began the next lesson. There was a commotion at another group, and the smell soon told us why. A little boy had soiled himself. Badly. It turned out that this little boy had a medical condition, and diarrhoea was a consequence. He had asked his teacher a couple of times to be allowed to go to the toilet, but because the teacher was eager to get the lesson finished before he went off to sit on the panel, he suggested the child waited. Big mistake. Because of WHS rules, the office staff were not allowed to clean him up, and the boy’s mother had to collect him. My policy has always been to allow a child to go to the toilet, even if I know he/she is having a lend of me. Apart from the mess, it is utterly humiliating for a child to have an accident in class. After this incident, the principal directed teachers to allow children to go to the toilet when they asked. I think most teachers do this.


  • they should be allowed to go when they need to


  • If a child needs to go then they should go, holding on for a small amount is okay, not so much that a child has an accident


  • They should be allowed to go as long as they don’t disrupt the class.


  • I’ve had a bladder if steel as far back as I can remember and thank god I never had the embarrassment of having an accidental but kids are kids. But better still if you need to go you need to go. Isn’t it the same when it in the workplace?


  • I remember this as a child and it always made me anxious having to hold it. I would be so angry if this is still happening

    • One would hope that thinking and knowledge has moved on and the knowledge of what holding onto urine in the body does should be well known!


  • When a child needs a toilet they need to go! Imagine telling an adult they can not go to the toilet. Little people deserve the same respect!


  • It’s not healthy to not go when you need to!


  • That poor child, that will be something that stays with them for a very long child. I really feel for them. A teacher shouldnt refuse students this basic need


  • Yes children need to be allowed to go to the toilet but as a teacher I can see why we get fed up of the constant asking. Sometimes it is ok to say no too.


  • It’s upsetting this has happened although some kids use it as an excuse to get out of class and most of the time they can hold it for a certain period.


  • This rule seems quite unacceptable to me in primary school. So sad for a child to have an accident. It shouldn’t have happened. At my daughter’s primary school you could go to the toilet if you needed to, but another child had to come with you to the toilet block.


  • It really depends on the age of the kid. But just let them go and use it as a teachable moment for next time.


  • If you have to go there is no choice not to let them!


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