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Going to the toilet during class

11th May 2012

Has your child ever come home and told you they weren’t allowed to go to the toilet during class?  Being allowed to go to the toilet is not only a basic human right, it is also a medical necessity.  Most children will occasionally want to go to the toilet at some point during a lesson and not all will always be able to hold on until break time, especially at primary school.  Whilst there may be one or two children who use the excuse of needing the toilet to skip lesson time (and teachers will know who these children are), most children who ask permission to go to the toilet during class do indeed need to go.  During the first two or three years at school, most children leave it until the last minute to go to the toilet, so they need to be excused fairly promptly, which doesn’t always happen. 

It is understandable that teachers become frustrated when a pupil needs the toilet during a lesson, but most teachers can usually tell when a child genuinely needs to be excused.  If there is any doubt, most teachers won’t take the risk of making a wrong judgement.  However, some schools have supported the introduction of punishments to children as young as reception age for needing the toilet during class, such as missing breaks or play times.  They believe that this will encourage children to go during break times in future.  

The consequences of not being allowed to go to the toilet can be both detrimental to a child’s health and psychologically damaging, not to mention the fact that it is very difficult to concentrate on anything when you are desperately trying not to have a toilet accident.  Holding onto toxins which the body needs to expel can cause infections which require medical treatment and it can be extremely upsetting and embarassing if a child wets or soils their clothes during a class.  Younger children have very small bladders and need to go to the toilet more often, and now that schools are supposed to be encouraging pupils to drink more water (ironically, this has been proven to help their concentration!), they will inevitably need the toilet more. 

School Toilet Policy – advice from The Children’s Bowel and Bladder Charity ERIC:A written school toilet policy indicates to pupils and parents/carers that the school values and respects the welfare of its students by fulfilling their right to go when nature calls. A school toilet policy shows that all school staff follow the same approach to school toilets and their access. It means pupils know when they can use the toilet and aren’t left worrying whether they’ll be told off if they ask to go during a lesson. It encourages schools to audit the toilets properly so they don’t deteriorate over time and it ensures pupils’ needs are taken into account.”

Pupils should be actively involved in creating and implementing the policy. It should be approved by pupils and governors, communicated to the whole school and reviewed each year.

Any children wishing to write a school policy to submit to their school can find a template here.

Has your child experienced not being allowed to go to the toilet during class or had to wait an unreasonable amount of time before going? Has your school introduced disciplinary measures for children who ask to go to the toilet during lesson time? We are interested in hearing your stories.

Daily Mail: Parents’ fury after children are banned from going to the toilet during lessons unless they have a sick note from their doctor

The Sun: Classroom toilet ban slammed as ‘disgraceful’ by furious mum – as ANOTHER school clamps down on pupils’ loo breaks 

The Sun: Parents rage at Yorkshire school’s ‘prison camp’ rules ‘banning pupils from going to the toilet during classes’

Metro: School sends 38 pupils home for protesting toilet ban

The Telegraph: Toilet breaks banned at Archbishop Sentamu Academy in Hull

The Mirror: School pupils claim ‘breach of human rights’ after teacher BANS them from using toilet

Southend News Network: Southend Infant School Bans all pupils from using the toilet in lesson time



Bog Standard Campaign 2004-2012





18th September 2012 at 3:39 pm

My son has been given a red card for going tothe toilet as he passed it!! I spike to the head and she said it applies to all children!! I asked why does he get punished for going to the toilet?? Her reply was he did not come outside to a dinner supervise and ask!! I have told him to get up and walk out of class and tell them he IS going to the toilet!!! I am more than disgusted at this!!!
Today the children in my neighbourhood have said that unless you have a bladder infection the children are NOT allowed to use the toilets!!!
I am furious to say the least!!!! What gives these overpaid idiots the rights to take away the basic human rights from our children????


30th November 2012 at 2:22 pm

My son has a medical condition whereby he gets no notice that he needs the loo. He is 9 years old and has been on medication for it since he was 5 years old. The school know this and have a letter from the doctor.

The other week he put his hand up, and the teacher told him to wait. He wet himself and the whole class knew, and watched while the cleaner came in to clear it up. My son was given spare uniform, which was about 3 sizes too big and clearly not his. He now suffers from the other kids teasing him that he wet himself at 9. The teacher has never acknowledged he was in the wrong and should have let him go to the toilet straight away rather than make him wait.


12th May 2013 at 11:44 am

My 6 yr old was refused to leave class when she asked to go to the toilet was told to wait for break time she held it till break time but as she got to the toilets she wet herself and had to spend rest of the day in her p.e kit how can teachers refuse a child a visit to toilet


10th June 2013 at 6:14 pm

Today I return home from work to find that my son (6yrs) had wet himself as he was not allowed to go to the toilet despite asking. He is, thankfully, a polite boy so his request would have been suitably timed. He told me he didn’t dare ask again and the inevitably happened. It saddens me to think that he sat through the rest of his lesson/s in wet pants and trousers upset and embarrassed. He is a class of mature children so I dread to think what comments will be passed if any of the other children noticed. His ‘teacher’ (better named a facilitator of activities) certainly did not notice. “We’re not allowed to go to the toilet” he adamantly professes. A sad reflection on the pressure of school progress and attainment or a case of “You will do as I say”


3rd September 2013 at 7:56 pm

My school is refusing to let us (the pupils) to go to the toilet. I found this blog as I am in the progress of righting a letter of complaint to my head teacher and thought I could use some quotes from a few websites. And as i’m in secondary school and as you know girls get their period at this age, and if they need to go to the loo to sort their self’s out they and are not aloud to go witch is not only ageist our rights as a human being can cores us girls to bleed through knickers and some times trouser and after reading the comments it looks like most of you as parents, if you had a girl my age or older but still in school, and not a allowed to go to the loo it could cost you money you would not have to spend if she was aloud to go to the toilet, witch is wasting you time and money and as some of you had said can cores your son/daughter to wet him/her self witch can embarrasses him/her


23rd January 2015 at 10:28 am

I was in science and I asked to go to the toilet and the teacher said it was school rules to go to the toilet during lessons so we had an argument about human rights and she told me it wasn’t human rights at all. So, I searched it and it turns out it is.
Proved her right and gunna get her sacked.


4th May 2015 at 3:11 pm

I was in class, in high school, and I asked my teacher if I could go to the toilet. He said no. And I said why he replied with didn’t you go last lesson? I said no as I had been the toilet once before. I had 40 minutes left of lesson and I could not hold it. I asked him 3 times in total if I could go to the toilet and he replied with no. I really needed to go and I told him that he said still said no so I went to go anyway as I was about to have an accident. He said where are you going? And I said to the toilet. He said if you walk out now you will have an hours after school detention and I said fine and walked out anyway as I really needed to go. I came back and he sent me out of the classroom and he left me in outside the class for about 15 minutes. He came out and shouted at me saying what makes you think you can walk out of my classroom I said well I need the toilet. He said well I told you you couldn’t go and you still went. He said well you can lose your break now considering you don’t need the toilet anymore. He sent me into another teachers classroom for the whole of break whilst he went and sat in the staff room I was sat in the room alone.


11th June 2015 at 1:54 pm

At our school King Edward they wont let us go to the toilet even during the menstrual cycle, I fell its not fair and its against our basic human rights, I feel something needs to be done about it because what if someone wet themselves?


13th July 2015 at 2:04 pm

Just asked a teacher to go. She said no. Who does she think she is? Refusing the right to go to the toilet. It’s not right.


9th December 2015 at 9:20 am

I’m 16 and I’m in high school. i asked to go to the toilet and my teacher said no so i got up and went because it was an emergency and when i got back i was told that i had to stay at the end of class and school.i think this is a major problem all over Scotland and it needs fixed soon.


23rd February 2016 at 10:05 am

I am a yr 11 student at john spendluffe technology college in alford, Lincolnshire. all the student in this school are told that they cannot go to the toilet during lesson time unless they have a toilet card that is only given to special circumstances. There are two sets of toilets in this school and certain years are only allowed to use certain toilets. if a year 11 had a toilet pass and they were closest to the toilets near English they would have to walk half way around the school to get to the other toilets because we are not allowed to use the ones near English. further more some girls are embaressed to say when it is their time of the month and so they are not allowed to go to the toilet when they ask. this can result in the embarrassment of blood being left on chairs or on the floor. I think these rules are a disgrace! as a student myself I think these rules should be abolished in every school world wide so that our human rights can remain in tact and girls can keep their dignity!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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