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Not being allowed to go to the toilet during class poses serious health risks

Given the scale of the problem of children not being allowed to go to the toilet during class, it is important that parents are made aware of the psychological effects and health risks associated with this matter.  My School Gate has contacted ERIC, Education and Resources for Improving Childhood continence, who are also behind the ‘Water is Cool in School’ campaign, which aims to improve the quality of provision and access to fresh drinking water for children in schools.

Natasha Collins-Daniel of ERIC says:

“Not going to the toilet when you need to can have a big impact on health and wellbeing. You don’t have to have continence problems or special needs to have an accident in class….not being allowed to use the toilets during lessons can cause humiliation for any pupil. Wetting your pants in class can be perceived as a major disaster. Many pupils, often adolescents, write to us because they have suffered humiliation by wetting or soiling in class. This happens to children and young people through no fault of their own and without any abnormal bladder or bowel conditions. In each case their school has a policy of denying access during lessons and between lessons. The effects can be traumatic and trigger long term phobias.

“Poor toilets and hanging on can potentially affect all children. An over-stretched bladder, for example, increases the risk of leaks and infections, and a back flow of urine can also cause serious kidney and heart problems later in life. Restricting access to the toilet to set times can cause ‘going 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. Not opening the bowels when we need to can lead to constipation, a common problem amongst school children, and which can be severe enough to need hospital treatment.

“If pupils are reluctant or unable to use the toilets at school, they may avoid drinking and unwittingly cause or exacerbate existing continence problems, not to mention the other health problems associated with not drinking enough fluids.

“Not allowing a child out of class to go to the toilet when they need to is counter-productive: a child’s attention will be focused on the discomfort of their full bladder or bowel and not on the lesson. They may also be under stress which will further reduce their ability to concentrate. The effects of substandard toilets and restrictions on toilet visits don’t stop at health and welfare. They also affect pupils’willingness to learn, their behaviour, morale and attendance levels. They may also be linked to the development of phobias and deviant behaviour.

“Unfortunately, schools are allowed to make up their own rules on access to toilets. There is no law or restriction and nothing to force pupils toilets to be open access. ERIC’s Bog Standard campaign recommends the best way forward is to work with the school to improve the situation for pupils. What is important is to build trust and a better relationship between staff and pupils so that access to the toilets is not restricted.”

If you would like to find out more about toilet related matters, visit ERICs website.  

If your child is being prevented from using the toilet when they need it, speak to their teacher, and if things don’t improve, talk to the head, and take a copy of this information with you.  You can also contact ERIC directly for support and guidance, at their web address above.




jimmie m

23rd May 2012 at 6:17 pm

I’ve just read some of the posts on Bog Standard and am shocked at what some children are having to put up with. No child, whatever age, should have to put up with this sort of treatment. When it comes to toilet matters, every child should be given the same rights as an adult. I find it very upsetting reading these articles, so how the children suffering these experiences must be feeling I cannot imagine.


1st June 2012 at 11:11 am

Most good teachers know when a child really needs the toilet. The signs are pretty obvious. It is a very cruel teacher who allows a child to have an accident after they have asked to go to the toilet. They should put themselves in the child’s shoes.

sara l

2nd July 2012 at 1:09 pm

A good teacher will know when someone needs the toilet, and if in any doubt whatsoever, they should allow them to go. It is worth mentioning though, that some schools enforce a ‘no toilet breaks during lesson time’ policy, which teachers are expected to follow. This can be very difficult for teachers too.


3rd July 2012 at 9:06 am

Personally, I think not allowing a child the basic human right of going to the toilet is a form of abuse. A friend of mine’s 10 year old son needed to go to toilet during pe and was told he wasn’t allowed. He told the teacher it was a no.2 and he was desperate, and she still refused to let him go. He consequently had an accident in his pe shorts and had to hobble across the field to the toilets. I saw his mum picking him up early from school that day carrying a plastic bag with his soiled shorts in it. I will never forget the look on his face.


10th July 2012 at 1:34 pm

I hear so many stories from parents about children not being allowed to go to the toilet nowadays. What is going on? As a retired teacher, this was never an issue in my day yet it clearly is a problem which some schools/teachers don’t seem to be handling very well. My grandson has had some pretty lousy experiences which should never have been allowed to happen. At the end of the day, it is not difficult to know which children are playing up and even then on the odd occasion, they may have genuine needs. But most children when they say they need the toilet, do genuinely need to go, and should never be prevented from doing so.


16th July 2012 at 12:57 pm

I’m very glad I found this article. I have had sleepless nights over my daughter with this issue. She is six and very shy and sensitive and has had accidents in school regularly since she went into Year 1 because her teacher follows a ‘no toilets during class’ policy. It’s had a very major effect on her and she is often teased by some of the boys in her class because of it. She doesn’t drink anything at school now and although she seems to be managing not to need the toilets in lessons lately, it is for all the wrong reasons. I’m going to try and get my doctor to write to the school after reading this.


23rd July 2012 at 8:41 pm

As a primary school teacher, it can be very disruptive when children keep needing the toilet. Children need to learn that they can’t just go to the toilet when they want to and most schools start this learning process in year 1. There are always going to be accidents as some children get used to going to the toilet during breaks quicker than others and I don’t see how that can be the fault of the teacher. There are plenty of opportunities for children to visit the toilet during the day so there is no need for any child to go during lesson time, unless they have a medical issue.

Mark Davis

25th July 2012 at 8:58 am

I think it is very interesting to learn that children will want the toilet more often if they are made to go ‘just in case’. It makes a lot of sense. This is a real warning to all teachers who enforce strict toilet policies and it is no wonder that they have problems with children needing the toilet (hence their need for a policy). I cannot even believe that this is an issue, yet alone it being such a widespread one. We really should treat our children with more respect.


26th July 2012 at 11:50 am

I work in an office and I cannot imagine how any of the adults I work with would be able to cope if they were told they could only visit the toilet during set times of the day. We all have responsibilities which make it ‘disruptive’ to go to the toilet – answering the phone being one of them – but we don’t enforce a toilet policy! I find it very upsetting for children nowadays who have to endure physical pain, embarassment and sometimes bullying because their teacher won’t allow them to fulfil a basic human need. It should be national school policy for every child to be allowed to visit the toilet when they need to.


12th August 2012 at 9:39 pm

I am truly appalled after reading some of the stories on the Bog Standard website. I had no idea that this was such a widespread problem. My daughter had difficulties in reception and year one with not being allowed to go to the toilet and it affected her so badly she worried about going to school in case she needed the loo. I am horrified that some teachers can be so insensitive to the needs of children and if I were a head I would take disciplinary action against any teacher that refused to allow genuine requests for the toilet. As some of you say, it doesn’t take much to work out which children are playing up and which are genuine, but a blanket ban on toilet access is outrageous. I would really like to see any teacher who does this have an accident in public and see how the humiliation affects them. I have a couple of friends with irritable bowel syndrome and when they need the toilet they have to go immediately. I cannot imagine what would happen if their workplace treated them in the same way as these children have been treated. This type of thing can scar you for life.

Tracy Caffrey

12th November 2012 at 4:44 pm

My sons secondary school do not allow children to use the toilet during lesson times. My son asked to use the toilet during lesson and was basically told that if he went to the toilet that he would be issued a detention……….a detention for needing to exercise a natural bodily function. I am appalled by this. Things need to change in schools, a child could use the toilet during break times yet this does not stop them needing the toilet 5 10 15 30 minutes later. I understand that some children use the need to use the toilet as an excuse to get out of lessons but teachers should be able to see which child needs the bathroom and which child does not.


19th November 2012 at 11:44 pm

Hi all. Came online tonight as my own 5 year old daughter was denied the toilet today (teacher even called her a liar for asking) and consequently wet herself, so was wondering about the law around this, as in my own practice I just let them go when they need as I see it as a human right. My daughter is going through a very rough time at the moment due to my relationship breakdown, the last thing she needs is to be crying in school cos she’s embarrasingly wet herself (she’s been completely dry for about two years now). I WILL be confronting the teacher about it tomorrow, and she WILL apologise to my daughter!

I’ve been in schools with the whole ‘no toilet breaks during lessons’ thing, and you know what… It’s usually that this is because the ‘teaching’ going on in class is so dull that the kids just wanna break out, even as young as 6 years old I’ve seen this! The moment they get an exciting topic set up in a great way so that they are actively learning… as if by magic, the toilet ‘pestering’ goes away!


23rd November 2012 at 4:32 pm

Well. There are a high number of people who have never worked in a school who see fit to critisise teaching staff for every decision. This is a widespread phenomenon.

Let me make my own position clear. I run a great school. With clean pleasant toilets, with locking doors, plenty of loo roll, foam soap, automatic lighting and taps, automatic flushing and sanitising. Children are permitted to use the toilets throughout the school day.

However, I also reserve the right, as a teacher, to make a decision as to whether a child needs the toilet.

Imagine you are the teacher of a Year 1 class. That’s 30 children. In a one hour lesson, if every child chooses to go to the toilet, there will never be a time when at least two of the children are not missing from the room. When one child asks to go to the toilet, this can have a ‘contagious’ effect and many more requests follow. This leads to an incredibly disrupted learning environment and lost learning – I am sure that parents would be equally unhappy about that.

Skilfull, caring teachers make 1,000s of these decisions every single day. They mostly get it right. For every one of the examples above – there will be hundreds of thousands of examples of teachers making the correct decision, the wise choice, the caring option.

Blanket ‘no toilet’ rules are inappropriate – agreed. But let’s remember that teachers are also helping children to make wise decisions for themselves. And ‘Bog Standard’ has a charter which states that ‘Pupils must be allowed to use the toilet whenever they NEED to’.

Right. I’m off to the loo. Haven’t had a chance all day. I’ve been teaching.


20th February 2013 at 5:35 pm

I am not going to say who she is but I am going to say something about this. This child, Felicity (we’ll just call her a random name) has problems with her French lesson. Her French lesson is 30 minutes. Once, the lesson got longer because the other lessons are cancelled, so it become 1 hour and 20 minutes. There was just only 5 minutes left of the lesson when Felicity wanted the toilet. She had been waiting for a long time. The teacher took no care, she didn’t ask the problem and just carried on with the lesson. Finally, she had to shot out of the classroom without asking. The teacher scolded at her when the lesson was over but she just can’t help it! Later, every week in French lessons she keeps thinking about the toilet and the more she thinks about the toilet, the more she wants it. She has a big pressure on toilets from that day on and it’s all that teachers FAULT! The only thing she could do is to ask for the toilet or pretend that she’s sick or ill so she can go home. Once, she kept on thinking about the toilet that she fainted! She desperately had to go home that time! Personally, I think that this is unacceptable, that teacher has a rule to herself ‘no toilets in lesson time’!


26th February 2013 at 10:38 am

I totally agree that a blanket ban is a terrible idea. Teachers should be skilled enough to be able to deal with this on a case by case basis. I also think KS 1 there should be blanket approval for toilet use. This is a crucial stage in the childs relationship with education and there is nothing to learn in KS 1 in one lesson that cannot be caught up with later. And also if there is an issue with a child spending all day everyday in the loo then a discussion with the parent may be in order along with a doctors appt. I do think sometimes we can be so blinded by ofstead results that we forget a little about childrens emotional wellbeing (only sometimes, not often I’m sure)


23rd March 2013 at 12:52 pm

A toilet seat was broken in my 9 yo’s school this week and as a result, parent’s received a letter saying the ‘senior management team would not tolerate such behaviour’. After a full day of intimidation and grilling of several confused and scared children by headmaster, deputy headmaster and assistant head (all relatively new in post) a ban on going to the toilet in lesson times has been imposed in order to prevent further damage to the toilets. This school is a PFI school in a v middle class area and behaviour problems are negligible. At the same time, this senior team are pushing children to achieve Level 6 in maths as they are desperate to be awarded ‘outstanding’ by ofsted next year. Very sad state of affairs.. They don’t seem to have grasped that a 10 yo child who needs to pee won’t be able to focus on algebra and be a performing seal for them. All about these teacher’s ambitions and egos.. Not about the children. Very sad parent of very sad child who doesn’t want to go to school next week!


17th April 2013 at 10:30 am

i was tld yesterday by my son that he isnt allowed to use the toilet within certain lessons otherwise he would miss some f his playtime. i think its terrible how kids are being refused to go to the toilet, i for one am not happy about this and was told thats his schol wasnt the only school and she didnt think it wuld have any consequence to this, i have looked it up and there are, so im thinking if my child later on has issues with his bladder do i have to right to take the school o court because they refussed to allow my child to go to the toiler as that was the initional reason they would be health concerns later on in life


27th May 2013 at 10:55 pm

When a child needs the toilet they just wont be able to concentrate in class because all they would be thinking of is the toilet . Because they arent allowed to go during lesson hours they may not drink water or may drink a little which may less to uniry infection.


22nd June 2013 at 4:00 pm

At my old school you wasn’t allowed to go if 2 people went you had to wait in the queue and then teachers forgot you was waiting and let’s someone else go if you do pee yourself you got to go to spare uniform and change it if there wasn’t a trousers that didn’t fit you. You still would have to put it on but if your in year 5 or above you can hold it for 10 mins then go


25th June 2013 at 9:08 pm

Not being able to go to the toilet during lessons is why I have a some sort of a unique disorder. Basically, I drink a lot on the night before a schoolday, so when I wake up, I definitely need to go and therefore will not need to go in school. I then drink a lot in school too, so at lunchtime I definitely need to go and won’t need to go later on. It’s hard to explain but you get the idea. This has been going on since I was 9 years old for the sole fact that the teachers never let me go.

I think teachers should let students use the toilet all the time, unless they’re one of those kids that go like 5 times each lesson.

Elliot hawkes

27th June 2013 at 8:13 pm

I was at school on a hot day in primary year 6 and my teacher said I had to wait for these 5 people to go who asked before me. Then it was an hour till the end and the head came in and she said wait until you have done your work and 2 other people asked who dint need the toilet it was just to tease me and she said yes they can go after 10 mins . 30 mins left I couldn’t wait no longer I was about to burst and she said I need to learn to stop asking and wait. I peed myself because I couldn’t get there in time. And my uniform was wet and my top because we had to tuck them in so I had to go and get some trousers and a top from the spare uniform I looked for trousers I fit in 15 but I had to put on 13 and my top is 14 and I had to put on a 12 years and you could see I was dirty and smelly and then I got water chucked at me on my sweatshirt and had to change that to and my uniform was very tight on me in the end

Cross parent

5th September 2013 at 3:37 pm

My childrens school has a ‘school policy’ that every time a child needs the loo during lesson time, 2 minutes will be taken off their break and they must sit on the naughty bench during play for this time.
Personally, I think it is disgusting as a working adult would not be punished or refused a toilet break and these are little people whose bodies are changing, and as mentioned in the article, if they don’t go when they need to, it can cause serious medical problems.
My daughter was on the naughty bench today, on her 2nd day back at school, for needing the loo. Her step father picked her up and was furious about it. She previously stopped drinking because of this rule and caused herself a urine infection. Further to this, at that time I gave her extra drinks for school and strict instructions to teachers that she must drink them and go as and when she needed to. They took her drinks away and forgot to give them to her, twice sending her home having literally just drank one in class to hide their neglect of her. If I was preventing her from going to the loo or forgetting to give her drinks, it would be neglect and I could get in a lot of trouble. When I send my kids to school I put my trust in these strangers (teachers) to take care of them.
Both my children have a medical condition which means they must not hold their urine. Apparently my daughters teacher was unaware of this which concerns me even more that serious medical information has not been passed on.
We have been trying to change my kids school for a year with no luck. We have informed the council that we intend to homeschool until they are found another place elsewhere and they are supportive of this. We have the books ready but cannot start for a couple of weeks due to a lot going on in the family. However, if this happens again, I will take them out before then.
As for the teachers comments above, I wonder, do you have children, and if so, how would you feel if they got a medical problem from not being allowed the loo or had the embarrassment of wetting themselves?
Common sense tells you we need the loo around an hour or so after drinking…and this would mean an hour after breakfast so 9.15ish, they’d need the loo. After lunch, say 2pm they’d need to go again. That is 2 perfectly acceptable times to visit the loo, especially for a child. I expect they should be drinking more in the heat so they should be going even more. As a teacher, it shouldn’t be something you complain about being disruptive…children need the toilet more than adults and I would expect you to know that. Their health is more important than 2 minutes of your lesson.


14th October 2013 at 9:24 am

My 11 year old started the comp this year, I am finding almost every day we are having toilet issues.
Whilst using the toilet She has had the toilet door opened from the outside by another pupil on several occasions.
The toilets are locked during lesson times, on several occasions the teachers have ‘forgotten’ to unlock the toilets.
Just last week she was told by a teacher to use the teachers disabled toilet, as the pupil toilet was still locked, another teacher came along and ranted at them saying they had no right to use that toilet!
She has tried to use the toilets at lunch time, they have been locked so she has been faced with the decision of waiting in the queue for lunch or walking to the other side of the site and waiting in the queue for the toilet as she didnt have time for both.
I need help on how to approach this, am i within my rights to bring up these issues with the head or am i going to cause issues for my daughter at school?
I suffered with my kidneys quite badly at just a couple of years older than my daughter, I do not want her going the same way.

Secondary teacher

15th October 2013 at 2:28 pm

Yes, it’s a horrible decision to have to make. There is a point where pupils have to learn basic expectations; it’s part of being an adult. Of course, you can often tell when it’s genuine, but you have to avoid a cascade, which does happen.

Usually “Ask me again in five minutes” works well– the ones who don’t actually need to go will forget, and with the odd glance you can easily gauge if they’re in discomfort. I think it must be easier in secondary schools.

Bear in mind that we ‘overpaid’ teachers also do not get the opportunity to run to the toilet whenever they wish; all I’ve spoken to continue to lead by example, and I would never wish for a child to be able to say “But you can go to the loo whenever you like!”

very annoyed mother

12th November 2013 at 4:20 pm

For the people saying that a child should be forced to learn to go to the toilet at break times. You do realise that holding the toilet in can cause urine infections and bowel problems? That then causes further issues for the child as well as possible psychological issues. Some of you should be ashamed of yourselves. Yes once a child gets to 9+ they usually have better control and are able to go to the toilet during break times. But in cases of younger children they are still learning proper control of their bladder and bowel. My 6 yr old son has been forced to pee his pants and then today forced to soil himself all in the name of school rules. I’m sorry but that is ABUSE and is completely and utterly unacceptable. And yes if the case was sent to Social Services with regards to a parent doing this, then they would be looking at neglect and abuse charges. Hope you’re all proud of yourselves.

Secondary school student

23rd June 2014 at 4:18 pm

I am.a students and we needed the toilet in a enterprise Challange that we took part in today and I needed the toliot so I asked the teacher politely if I could go to the toliet and they said no!!! Well it was half a hour after break fair enough but somthing had happened at break!!!:( and I started getting upset saying that it was a human right!!!! Which I think it is!!! So I started complaning to my friends and one of the visitors said what’s the matter and I said i really need the toilet and she said no!!!! So then a few seconds later I started crying and another visitor came over and said are you ok and I said no miss won’t let me go to the toilet it’s against my human rights. So her took me to one of the assistant head and she said hattie yes you can go!!:):):) so I went got back and well Yh

16th September 2014 at 3:05 pm

hi will you epopel sign my petition to let pupils go to teh toilet during lessons. as a 13 year old we are not alowwed to got o teh toilet during lessons. this is not fair. it’s terrible for the girls who have just started there periods and can’t go clean themsleves up!
please sign my petition!

Angry mum

16th September 2014 at 10:22 pm

Today my daughter asked for the loo and was told no my daughter said she really needed to go and was told she could but for every minute she was gone it was being taken off her break time so she held it in im so angry and will be tslking to her head tomorrow what gives them the right to say as and when they can go to the toilet its getting to regimental and they need to back off abit its only the toilet im really upset with the way she was treated and scared of losing her break held it in its very wrong.

upset mum

21st September 2014 at 11:54 am

My daughter came home from her new senior school very upset on Friday as the teacher refused to let her going the toilet! ! Because of this my daughter didn’t make the toilet and wet herself!!! Luckily it was end of school so hopefully none of her friends noticed but I am outraged and will be letting them know tomorrow. I feel this is close to child abuse in my opinion !!!!

Concerned Parent

4th October 2014 at 6:55 pm

I feel the fact that a basic human right is being ignored here I believe it is against human rights too. Has anyone thought of starting a petition.. look at the case Of Baby Asher. Friend Ethan Dallas managed to present an amazing 250,000 petition online ! on change .org And was allowed to go to Downing Street with it and it was heard ! Social media is massive and this could be done.. how many more upset parents are out there.. anyone can start a petition let make it happen.


24th October 2014 at 2:01 pm

To all the teachers on this blog, I am a nurse who has experience and training in the area of continence management. What I would advise is that nobody young or old should hold onto urine or feaces as this can cause issues both psychological and physiological. It can lead to urine infections both upper and lower tract, retention of urine (where urine can not be passed ) this is due to how the brain sends messages to the bladder, overstretching of the bladder, bowel disease if you are holding on to a no2 on a regular basis and also problems later on in life.
Going to the toilet is a basic human right which nobody should be deined, although I realise it can be disruptive to goto the toilet during class; It can be dangerous to a childs health to be made to wait. Children are being encouraged to drink water in schools as we know water clears your system of toxins. Therfore if a child is drinking water in school but fizzy drinks, juice etc at home they will want to pass urine more frequently as the water is clearing toxins from the kidneys, this should be regarded by teachers. Also if any teacher refused my daughter to goto the toilet and my daughter suffered any consequense from this action, as a friend of her‘s did yesterday. I would be obliged to take legal action which I am well within my right to do on the grounds of abuse and neglect. I am sure no teacher would want that stigma attached to them as well as having to go through a court case. I think that this is a poblem which needs to be adressed across the u.k . To all those whose children have suffered any physiological or psychological problems from being told they can not go to the toilet during class. I advise you ask to see the school policy regarding toilet breaks and then seek legal advice as you may have a case for abuse and neglect. Also if teachers are saying we encourage children to hold on to go to the toilet, ( as i was told this morning by a teacher) let me ask you this as i asked her!
“Do you have any idea of the systems of the human body and how the elimination process works”? Answer: “Not really”.

“DO you have any experience or knowledge in the area of contience or bladder training”?? ANS: “No”.

“Do you have any idea of the psychological or physiological problems that can occur from not going to the toilet when needed. “yes”

“Are you aware how many mls of urine should be passed through the body on an hourly basis to maintain homeostatus of the bodys elimination system “no”

Is it in the childs best intrest to go to the toilet when needed? yes

So why then are you trying to train childrens eliminatory systems to hold onto waste products urine/feaces (which is infact is what you are doing by saying they must hold on till break which; could be up to two hours away if a child has just come back from break). When you have no expertise in the area of continence management, you are not a healthcare professional to make any such decision on the time limits a child should goto the toilet,but you are aware of problems that can be caused by not going to the toilet when needed.

If these questions were asked in a court of law I would have won my case upon the grounds of abuse and neglect. Just for the record my friend is also a solicitor for childrens services and ive had a chat with her this morning regarding this issue and she agrees it could be deemed as malpractice and abuse for teachers not to let children goto the toilet when needed.
Something to keep in mind teachers.

I do agree that a child going to the toilet can have a knock on effect for the rest of the class. But if teachers re-enforce the idea of using the toilets during break and put in place a system such as only one child at a time is excused in an ordely fashion,their should not be to much of a problem also if you have a child who is frequently going to the toilet during lessons this could indicate they may have another problem. I do sympathise with teachers over this problem but being a mother i would not be happy if my child was told they could not use the toilet when needed.


9th December 2014 at 2:08 pm

Hi I have come on this web-site for advice after my 5 year old daughter was refused the toilet and told to wait until play was over yesterday lunch time, she could not wait she soiled her underwear, tights, tee-shirt was given no help to clean up she tried to clean herelf up on her own in school. She goes to an afterschool club as I work part time I thought she was quiet when i arrived at 5.30 to pick her up from school she is usually quite boisterous I took it that she was just tired. On the way home she told me what had happened I bathed her as soon as we returned home she was sore and her underwear had to be thrown in the bin. This morning after being awake for about 15 mins she drew a sad face, I asked her why she had done this as she had just been singing, she told me she was sad over what happened the day before in school. I am writing this beacause I am mad as hell I trust this school to take of my daughter not traumatise her I am having a meeting with her teacher tomorrow, I will let you know how I get on,

jimi eldridge

10th December 2014 at 9:58 pm

My school have just brought in this rule so I will show them this!


15th December 2014 at 4:31 am

Hi everyone, when I was at secondary school, I had a medical-related condition due to having a weak bladder, meaning I needed the toilet more regularly than most other pupils. My school had a ‘Toilet Pass’ policy meaning you could present that to a teacher and they would allow you to go. One day, I had forgotten my Toilet Pass as it must’ve fallen out of my blazer at home, I explained this to my teacher but she refused to let me go as I had no proof of having one. In the end I walked out of the lesson and went to see the nurse, I asked her to write out a new Toilet Pass for me and a note for the teacher to tell her I had a Toilet Pass. When I went back to my lesson, I showed the teacher and she looked guilt ridden. I agree it’s a basic human right, I remember feeling so stressed and anxious sitting in a classroom of 30 pupils on edge from being desperate for the toilet. Not fair on children, and it has a HUGE effect on their ability to learn and concentrate. Too many super power-hungry heads who only care about Ofsted and their own ego.


16th January 2015 at 3:07 pm

My teacher, Mr. Deves, is not allowing me to go to the toilet! This is an outrage!!!!!!!!

A secondary teacher

23rd January 2015 at 9:24 pm

Teachers who don’t allow toilet breaks simply can’t handle their classes.
The other teachers who have commented saying no toilet during lessons are pure idiots. Children do not need to learn they can’t go whenever they want. There are law which say employee (yes even teacher) must have acces to the toilet as they need it.

Everything ERIC says is true. Who wants an accident in their clall? Yes when you first allow it some will take advantage… So you punish them. What you don’t do is punish everyone for the failings of the few by having blanket bans.


All children should have access to toilets. They should ask politely and can be asked to wait a couple of mins for you to finish instructions or input but by and large they won’t ask while you are in full flow. Who wants to ask in front of everyone!

The minute you say no, especially tl teens you get poor behaviour and confrontation. Why cause this over nothing, over something that is a human need!


13th February 2015 at 9:26 pm

The fact teachers are commenting saying that there are set toilet times is ridiculous. Your bladder does not run like clock work and there should not be a set time to use the bathroom. In the high school in which I currently attend, the toilets are locked and sometimes forgotten to be opened during break time. Some students do not even bother asking to save embarrassment. Some students even have to fake medical issues.
This is the denial of a basic human right and is quite infuriating to go through. Some teachers are lenient, however, it is unfortunate when the teacher is not so nice and denies access which is completely unfair.


9th March 2015 at 11:10 pm

All you teachers saying there is plenty of opportunity to go to the toilet during break and lunch…. if any of these kids were to drink the ammount they should…. at least 2 litres a day…. you would see em put there had up at least a lesson a day, what you are doing is wrong, you are ruining up diets and lives, and also it is hypocritical when you tell them to drink water but deny their wish of even being able to urinate….

You are all just a bunch of control freaks.


23rd March 2015 at 9:02 pm

Do you realise how many times teachers get asked in a one hour lesson “can I go to the toilet?” If you let all pupils go, it seriously disrupts the lesson. Let one go they all want to go, them moan you are not being fair if you let one or two pupils go. The have ample time to go to the toilet, every 2 hours maximum in fact. I have to wait to go, and am not allowed to leave pupils even if I am bursting. Im 44 and have had a child, so my need can be greater than theirs. Of course I am talking about 11+ children. Some of them ask just to get out of the lesson for a while, then walk round disrupting lessons. I have a 13 yr old and expect her to use breaks not lessons for the toilet.


31st March 2015 at 1:40 pm



22nd April 2015 at 6:32 pm

I think denying a basic right because its not convenient is quite simply barbaric. The right to go to the toilet is even given in prison. To deny this right cannot be justified against the mental, emotional and physical distress it may or may not cause. Playing roulette with a child’s continence is surely wrong wrong wrong and verging on abusive. All children have rights but why are schools allowed to cultivate this culture of dis empowerment of a basic need.


30th April 2015 at 8:20 pm

At lunch and recess these ugly aides at both lunch and recess refuse to let you go because they say you have to go before you enter the lunchroom! I told my mum and she called the school and nothing changed! I think I need a lawyer to sue my school!

Julie Gower

7th May 2015 at 9:15 pm

It seems quite clear to me that if a parent denied toilet provision to a child they would face charges of abuse and neglect. I see no reason why teachers should not face the same consequences. Anyone who has suffered damage to their psychological well-being or physical health as a result of being denied access to toilets when required should sue the individual teachers, the head teacher and the education authority. I have no sympathy for teachers on this one. The cascade effect could easily be stopped completely by simply allowing automatic access to toilets whenever needed without having to seek permission. This basic human right is automatically granted to adults without making them beg for it, it is totally inhumane to deny it to children. Only in prisons and concentration camps are adults required to ask permission to urinate and defecate so there is no need for this in schools…unless schools are training children to be future inmates of prisons and concentration camps?


9th May 2015 at 5:47 am

NO TOILET in lessons


12th May 2015 at 4:10 pm

My Grandaughter has just arrived at my house and she is absolutely fuming as am I now she has explained why she is in a bad mood.
She is a 12 year old and goes to secondary school but her and her classmates are constantly being denied going to the toilet during lessons. I find this totally unreasonable and inhuman that she and her classmates are treated like this, if they want to use the toilets then they should be allowed to do so, if they were to wet or soil their selves then it would be totally embarrassing and could later lead to some form of bullying!! As in other comments could also lead to ill health etc. What is wrong with these schools ? It is tantamount to being abusive and denying human rights.
These schools need to get there selves sorted and realise these kids do actually need to go to the toilet!!!


11th June 2015 at 1:50 pm

Our school doesn’t let us go to the toilet during lessons. Its so wrong even when girls have they menstrual cycle we are still declined to go.

Catrina disgusted mother.

9th July 2015 at 10:11 am

My daughter had to stay off school when she first started her period…she was in a lot of pain and on very heavy. The teachers refuse all the children from using the toilet and she was so so worried. She didn’t want anyone to know and new she would not be allowed to sort herself out. Its out – rageous that they are not allowed to go. They have 1/2 an hour lunch, which doesn’t give them time to go. It is a major problem and many parents have complained but nothing has changed. If anyone knows how this can be stopped please please help….annoyed /concerned Mum.


22nd September 2015 at 6:34 pm

I have always had a good idea when a child needs the toilet and I have therefore always allowed a child to go when they have asked the only rule I stick to is one pupil at a time. During my lengthy teaching career I have very rarely found any pupil to have abused this and in fact it is fairly rare for a pupil to even ask during my lessons unless it ias a double leson perhaps. I personally have always used my own judgement and ignored any head teachers ruling. I would view not allowing a child who needed to go to the toilet as a form of mental and physical torture and I am surprised that the department of education or indeed the european union does not take the wellbeing of the child on this issue more seriously!

Charlotte White

2nd October 2015 at 11:43 am

There is a Government petition currently available to sign until it closes in January 2016 to make legislation to give children more rights to go to the toilet during class.
If you feel this subject needs debating please sign and share.


14th November 2015 at 4:39 pm

I have had a problem with this at my English class and it has caused me to move classes because I got so upset about it one day I didn’t go to the class then a teacher ran me in after I had a blood test and came into school. They didn’t let me go to the nurse either after that getting shouted at and feeling like I was going to faint. I have moved classes and I’m going to my new class next week. It’s shocking and a horrible thing to go through. I’m happy I was allowed to move and hope it will never happen ever again.


22nd September 2016 at 10:36 pm

If it’s considered abuse for a parent to withhold bathroom rights to a child, why is it okay when a non-relative professional does it? I remember in 3rd grade a girl ended up wetting herself because she wasn’t allowed to go to the bathroom, kids were still laughing about it up into middle school (7th and 8th grade). How is that okay? Because some student might waste time in the bathroom not doing what they’re supposed to that justifies completely traumatizing another innocent student for life? The punishment no longer falls on the hands of the problem students, but on the students that had no part in the trouble making. And the worst part is there isn’t anything you can do when you really have to go.
I mean this sort of thing can create anxiety disorders and phobias that last well into adulthood and can take years and even decades to overcome, but at least little Timmy didn’t smoke up in the bathrooms! How could that be an issue anyway unless no adult/supervisor ever goes anywhere near the kids’ restrooms, I mean if you don’t notice the smoke the smoke alarms sure will (unless they are faulty for some reason?). It makes no sense.
If you are a teacher that thinks this is okay you need to reevaluate your ability to handle situations in the classroom. I mean honestly if you can’t deal the natural, unavoidable bodily functions of a group of students you sure as heck can’t handle them in any other situation and should not be trusted with their care in your hands because that is literally the most basic right you can offer them.

And I get it, you teachers technically aren’t allowed to leave to use the bathroom either, but that doesn’t stop it from being listed as a right under labor laws. Growing up I never saw teachers using the restrooms being an issue. Teachers walked out to use the restroom all the time and would just ask another professor or some faculty member somewhere to watch the class while they took care of what their bodies had to do. I didn’t see any of those teachers getting reduced paychecks because their naughty bladders/bowels needed emptied, and they typically even got nice private faculty restrooms. Some students have anxiety over their peers “hearing” them go to the bathroom, so it causes them to hold it during normal break times as well. I could go on and on…


27th September 2016 at 6:19 pm

Yesterday i asked to go to the toilet in science and he asked if I had a toilet pass, I said no. I then asked 20 minutes later and my spleen was hurting really bad, he asked if I was desperate I said yes. So he said waid after this video you can go so 5 minutes later I asked again and luckily I was aloud to go. But for a week after that lesson my spleen still hurt really bad.
I think that this is unfair as I am a year 10 girl and it shouldn’t have took him so long to say yes, I think the schools law should change especially for girls going through puberty as they can’t hold it for as long.


28th September 2016 at 11:11 am

im a child my cdt teacher never lets me go to the toilet


10th March 2017 at 6:38 pm

At my daughters School you can only leave a lesson to go to the toilet if you have a toilet card, the only reason you can have a toilet card is if you have an infection, now when my daughter has her period she panics as she says she may leak, then again at my daughters School you are also given a detention for being 1 minute late and teachers and dinner ladies are allowed to shout in your face, oh and bullies are allowed to bully so I guess starting to have a rule such as this is the next step to taking away any dignity a child may have. Common sense is what’s needed here.
In my opinion some teachers need sacking as they seem to thrive on punishments, that’s why a lot of children are ending up with poor qualifications, not because of parents, not because of poor behaviour, but because of poor Schools with silly rules, if a child needs the toilet let them go for gods sake, if they miss work its up to them to catch up….seriously Schools need looking at because the School my daughter goes to is becoming more like a prison!!!! yes of course it breaches human rights, yes of course it is wrong and anyone who comes back with a reply such as well they should be able to hold themselves tell that to my daughters womb, menstrual blood cannot be controlled and shouldn’t have to be, I fear what sort of adults we are bringing up if they have to abide by such silly rules….like I said common sense.

Reasonable Teacher

23rd March 2017 at 12:09 am

i taught children from ages 5-18 at some point in my career. The age five teachers did it right. Seven times during school day, at least every hour, there was a scheduled toilet break. Children were sent to the toilet. Some didn’t need to go so they got a drink and returned to their seats. I taught music for a few years and taught age 5 to high school choir. The students came to me for a 50 minute lesson. I had maybe 5 of the five year olds ask to go to the toilet in a years time. I never had a five year old have an accident in class.

I understand the if you let one go then a whole bunch want to go. We had that happen when I taught 10-12 years olds. Students went to different teachers for each subject. We had several “everyone go to the toilet that needs to go” the very first week of a new term. I let them all go. I also investigated why. The principal had moved the afternoon recess and toilet break 45 minutes later in the day than the previous year. The solution was to have the scheduled everyone go before that particular 45 minute lesson. Then we had recess. After recess I did not have a scheduled everyone go, but students could let me know if they needed to go and go ahead and go before the next lesson started.I gave a minute or two to let the students settle down before starting the main objective for the lesson.

Teaching sixth grade (year 7) for over 20 years, I never had a toilet accident in my class. I allowed students to go if they said they needed to go. When I saw students showing signs of desperation, I investigated and “told” them to go with as least fanfare as possible.

I gave demerits for toilet misbehavior. Causing a scene asking to go. Deliberately not following procedures. etc. A need to go was not and should not be a restroom misbehavior.

Tje bottom line is that students should be provided a time every hour and perhaps 90 minutes for students 16 or over to go without an negative action from the teacher or staff from time to time. In a class of 25 there will be two to four students overage that will have more toilet issues than the rest of the students. That drops to fewer students as they get older. Even at age 16-18 there will usually average one student per 25 that has more toilet issues than the rest of the class.

Anytime a new group of students came to my room, they were to quietly let me know if they needed to go and i let them. (When we just had an official restroom break, that was very rarely needed.) If they needed to go everyday so be it. If they dawdled on purpose that was a tardy.

I understand the some can’t go when there is a crowd so I worked with those students individually so their needs were best met.

I had several official toilet breaks. The first when I called the roll at the beginning of the day, the student could go to the school store, toilet and any other need. Then there was a morning, before lunch and afternoon official restroom breaks where the students were sent by rows or some other procedure.

I also stopped the lesson five minutes before the bell for the end of the day. The bus students were allowed to go to the toilet first. Then the others were allowed to go

The the toilet breaks need to be totally separate from the recess time and supervised for students at least up to age 14 and I recommend age 16.

Every post I have read here where they are having problems with using the toilet, there is one constant: The toilet break is somewhat restricted: During the morning break or recess and also restricted due to time or other reason at lunch. Bullies, toilets blocked toilets that should have been unlocked, unclear directions, students being denied when it was an obvious time to go to the toilet if needed etc, all add to the number that will ask to go during the lesson.

About the students who want to be bullies or vandalize! It doesn’t take a good teacher long to spot who they are. I have checked the toilet first, allowed a student to go, and then gone in to check to see if there has been any vandalism. That happened very rarely as in less than five students in my entire career.

I have had bullies that were not allowed to go when the other students were taking their breaks. After the other students had gone, then they were allowed to go, one at a time. From time to time I would have a student in a lesson have this issue.

I always allowed the restroom visit. I had a procedure that if the student saw they there were going to spew any kind of bodily fluids to GO. Don’t come to me first and shower me with bodily fluids!

I explained to the nurse that if a student asked to see the nurse the answer would be yes. If a student were abusing this, the nurse was to let me know and I would give a demerit if it happened again after being warned or have her own discipline plan.

Teaching 10-12 years old students, I usually only had no more than one or two toilet requests during teaching time in a week.

Students need to pee, poo, be sick, or in case of girls have menstrual issues. It is up to the teachers to design the day so that students can do this and rarely miss any of the lesson. Usually getting to go every 45 minutes if there is a need with no negative actions from the teacher solves 99.9 percent of the toilet problems.

Students feel insulted and angry if they understand the teacher to mean that they can’t go to the toilet and if they can’t hold it they will have to wet or poo pants. The anger will appear during the lesson. The teacher will have discipline problems that could have been avoided.

Teachers teaching and practicing respect to and for students usually teaches the concept of respect to the students. Students who become respectful have vastly fewer discipline problems. Teachers who truly respect the students also have few instances of students engaging in inappropriate behavior.


29th March 2017 at 9:58 am

im a student at brooksbank school and my school brakes the human rights by not letting me get a drink and we are not allowed to go to the toilet


7th April 2017 at 2:05 pm

Now school don’t let children use toilets is a basic no no. children should be allowed to use toilet now since children aren’t allowed to. they are getting in to trouble for late or walking out of lesson because they are going to toilet and now days you most have a note from doctors


14th December 2017 at 11:48 pm

I always remember during school i was always refused to go to the toilet ! It first started in a French lesson and I cried because I almost pooped myself. Then it turned into a pattern, because I wasnt aloud to go that time caused me to panic about it and need to go every time. Now I’m 27 years old and have severe toilet anxiety thanks to the teachers not letting me go ! I can’t do anything in my life now without worrying if there isn’t a toilet around me. I personally think it’s rediculous and would never want my children to go through the same thing and end up suffering for the rest of their life’s because a teacher refused to let me use the loo and humiliated me :(


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