Using the Bathroom at School

     Providing your child with opportunities to use the bathroom is a priority in Kindergarten.  Becoming successful at monitoring ones own bathroom needs leads to a sense of independence, which we are trying to encourage throughout the curriculum. 

    It is our expectation that all incoming kindergartners will be able to take care of their own needs unless they have a specific medical conditions that prevents them from doing so.  In this situation, an individualized health care plan will need to be developed for your child by working with the district health nurse, your child's teacher, and yourself. 

     Using the Classroom Bathroom:

Each of the Kindergarten classrooms is fortunate enough to have their own bathroom located within the classroom.  Below you will find the guidelines we use for providing your child with opportunities to use the bathroom:

  • During the first week of school all children are introduced to the bathroom and taught how to work it.
    • Flipping the stop/go sign
    • Turning on the light
    • Flushing the toilet
    • Listening to the sound the toilet will make when flushed
    • Washing their hands
    • Flipping the stop/go sign again
  • They will also be taught our procedures for appropriate times to use the bathroom.
    • Children may get up to use the bathroom any time they have the urge to go.
      • Whole group discussions
      • Table work
      • Small-group work
      • Guest speakers
      • Play time
    • Children are instructed in how to exit and enter the group without disturbing others when they go to use the bathroom.
    • Children do not need to ask adult permission to use the bathroom.

Whole-Class Bathroom Break

The entire Kindergarten takes one whole-class bathroom break each day.  This occurs directly following lunchtime using the public bathrooms located at the end of the hallway. These bathrooms have multiple stalls or urinals.

  • All children are required to go to the bathroom and try during this time. 
  • The children then return to the classroom for rest time. 
  • The children are given this whole-group opportunity to use the bathroom in order to reduce the distraction to their peers as they try to rest. 
  • Rest time is 30 minutes.  This is the only time during the day where the children are not encouraged to get up and use the classroom bathroom.
  • If your child has a morning appointment and will not be at school for this whole-class bathroom break, please make sure that he/she uses the bathroom before joining the class. 
  • We do realize that there are times when your child will need to go to the bathroom during rest time.  Your child will be taught to discuss their situation with the teacher.
  • You can help your child to avoid accidents by encouraging them to pay attention to their bathrooming needs and discuss them with adults. 
  • As much as we encourage children to become independent regarding their bathroom needs, accidents still sometimes occur. 

Managing Accidents

With all of the efforts made to help your child with their bathrooming needs, accidents do still occur.  The children are at an age where they are learning to become independent. We view bathrooming accidents as natural, as well as an opportunity to further develop their independence.  You can help your child develop successful bathrooming skills by doing the following:

  • Provide a spare set of clothing (underwear, pants, & socks) to be kept at school either in their backpack or one of their cubbies. 
  • Donate any extra clothing that your child has outgrown to the classroom clothes bank.
  • If extra clothes are available at school, we can quickly take care of the accident at school in a way that is most comfortable for your child, without needing to contact you. 
  • In the event that we do not have any extra clothes for your child, you or one of your emergency contacts will be notified and your child will remain in the office until someone is able to bring them new clothes. 
  • Check your child's backpack each night.  If he/she had an accident at school, their soiled clothes will be placed in a plastic bag inside the main pocket of the backpack.
  • If your child comes home wearing clothing from the classroom clothing bank, please wash it and return it to school in a timely fashion.
  • Help prevent your child from having an accident at school by:
    • Working with your child to help them identify what it feels like when they need to use the bathroom.
    • Sending your child to school in clothes that they can easily get on and off without assistance.
    • Encouraging your child to seek adult assistance if they are wearing clothing that is difficult for them to manipulate.
    • Working with your child to help them verbalize to an adult when they need help because of a bathroom accident.
    • If your child comes home in soiled clothing, please discuss with your child whether or not they communicated their problem to an adult.  If they hadn't, please discuss the importance of letting an adult know about their needs. In addition, please contact your child's teacher to inform them of the situation so that they may reinforce this dialogue with him/her at school.
If your child comes home and has had an accident at school, please try to praise them for how they solved the problem and reduce the focus on the accident itself. This will help your child to become more successful at using the bathroom independently.  Remember what you encourage is what you will see. 
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