Bathroom Trip Tallies

See?  You guys are really good at playing the Domino Effect Game too! But, it is SO much more fun to play with you!

What is your bathroom policy? 
What is your bathroom policy?
What is your bathroom policy?

You guys are gooood!!  We adore all your comments.  Thank you!  :)

This is a tricky question...especially when we are supplying them with H2O. We realize with every Pro comes a Con...or 23...

We find the excessive bathroom trips more of an issue at the beginning of the school year, and like many other things in teaching, it completely varies from class to class and year to year.

One thing, however, does stay pretty constant ~ There are always a few "Frequent Fliers" who tend to hit the Powder Room a lil' too often, smack dab in the middle of class. Usually immediately following recess. Sometimes one trip immediately following the first...Like they didn't quite finish up?!?  Not sure what that one is all about...Not sure if we really want to know...

Here's What We've Tried to Curb Track Our Class Bathroom Trips:
First and foremost, we always encourage them to try their best to wait until recess.  We tell the story of how the teacher has to wait, hoping they might sympathize. They don't.

When we gift the class water bottles on the first day of school {they are sitting up on their desks when they come in}, we immediately establish our class bathroom procedure, then we spend eternity the first several weeks enforcing it. 

We decided to hold them a bit accountable while teaching responsibility with their bathroom use in case the endless water supply became a "problem" for anyone. 
We stick this monthly tally chart on a clipboard by our door.  Each time a student heads to the restroom, they write a tally in the box with their assigned number.  We use the numbers to maintain some sense of privacy...We wouldn't put it past our Tally Mark Masters to loudly announce kindly share their observations ~ "Wow! Jimmy went to the bathroom 45 times this month!"... 

Note~ Of course, this chart does not apply to any child who has a medical condition or needs to use the restroom regularly.  We have a few who bypass the tally chart altogether for those reasons. This tally chart was not created for them. 

For the most part, most of our friends have learned to wait until recess.  This tally chart was not created for them.

No, this list is more for those kids who need to go multiple times in class and God Bless their honesty when you ask, "Didn't you go at recess?" and they look you straight in the face with a definitive, "N.O.P.E., I was busy playing!" Alrighty then...This tally chart was created for them.

We are really careful about denying anyone for fear of the dreaded accident.Leading to new clothing.Leading to a parent phone call. You get the picture...But, we also feel learning to use the restroom responsibly is an important lesson early on.

We consult our tally chart often and if anyone is creeping up in the numbers, we conference with them, discussing the potential loss of water bottle privileges in class.  They get the picture.   

If needed, we use these tally charts at parent conference time just to confirm whether or not there is a serious condition that we should be made aware of.  They get the picture.   
So there you have it...  Nothing fancy or smancy...But, we are meeting standards by tallying our toilet habits! 

So we're curious.  What is your bathroom policy?
Fluttering Through First Grade


  1. Have you had any issues with them "accidently" tallying in the wrong space? :-)

    First Grade Delight

    1. Oh yes. We've also had the 4 tallies on top of each other to look like one! The things they try and pull. They will go over and look like they are being responsible and marking, then at closer glance-Johnny only has 2 tally marks when you know he has gone at at least 20 times! You will be surprised at your detective skills!
      We really only have a few that continue to have to go during class time. There are a few here and there but they usually get the hang of using it at recess. We will have a little chat with those friends who can't mark correctly and they will lose the privilege or can enjoy some recess time practicing how to mark correctly (work in some tally practice :)

    2. I give students 5 raffle tickets per week. I have a student as the bathroom ticket collector. Students cannot go during direct instruction, but can go on independent time. At the end of the week, they can trade their 5 tickets for a reward. As the year progresses, I give 5 every two weeks. Reward every two weeks. By The middle of the year, the bathroom isn't an issue. I've used this for 1st -3rd.

  2. That's a very good idea. I think I might try that next year. Thanks!

    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers

  3. I think this is a grat idea!!!


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  5. Love this idea! My kiddos are allowed to go to the RR on their own between 7-7:25 when school starts. That gets us through about 8:25. After that, well, let's just say we need your tally chart!!! Thanks for sharing!

    Peace, Love, and First Grade

    1. Holy Cow Laura! I can't believe how early your school starts! You are a complete hour before us. Bless your early bird heart!
      We have one lil friend that is constantly running in as the bell is ringing and then it never fails the bathroom is needed within moments of school starting. Probably the first time they've had a chance to go all morning!

  6. Great idea.
    My policy is pennies.
    They earn pennies in class... as a reward for various things.... mostly behavior.
    They can spend those pennies on rewards.
    If they absolutely must run the bathroom because it's raining outside, because they don't want to do their work, because they decided not to go at recess because they were playing.... well then they owe me a penny. MOST learn quickly that the rain isn't all that exciting, work isn't truly avoided by running to the bathroom, and waiting til recess isn't all that bad. But there are a few who will HAPPILY give up that penny. I usually quietly don't charge those that rarely have to go during class and tell me it's an *emergency*.
    Dragonflies in First

  7. We find the same thing Traci. There are usually just a few that this applies to. Just can't seem to figure out that even though you are dying to play kickball at recess and don't want to waste one precious second. That's your potty time and you gotta go then people!

    We would also love to hear more about your pennies. A penny for your thoughts? :)

  8. I love the tally idea!!!! It keeps the kids responsible for their trips to the bathroom! Now, if only I could make tallies when I need to go during classtime!!!! :-) I did a post on bathroom procedures a while back- here it is:

    Hope you gals are having a GREAT weekend!!!! :)

  9. My students have a chart with clothes pins. There are four sections: green-0 bathroom breaks this week, yellow-1 bathroom breaks this week, orange-2 bathroom breaks this week and red-NO more bathroom breaks this week.

    As they leave for the bathroom, they move their pin down. This allows them to use it but only 3 times in a week so they are always saving in case of emergency!

    1. Fabulous system Eliza! We really like the idea of giving them control and choices so they can manage their own needs. So important in teaching responsibility-something they for sure need help with!

  10. This is probably the best bathroom pass system I have ever encountered.When the students know that they are being watched and under control they become more responsible of their actions.
    What about me ,every time a student asks me to go to the bathroom at not that appropriate time I look at my watch and say QUICKLY,ONE MINUTE,and they are back in less than a minute knowing that I am counting the minutes they spend in the classroom and this way they will never spend any time chatting to someone in the bathroom or in the hallway:)

    Enjoy Teaching English

    1. We have used that one too Lusine! For the excessive users, we say however long it takes them to go, they owe us that much time when they get back. It's amazing how fast they can hustle when their minutes are on the line!

  11. This is a great idea! I will be saving it for next year.

  12. Perfect! Now is the time that we also gather up fun new ideas for the fall and acquire some "summer projects!"

  13. Actually, those of us in middle school will use this!!!! I've already printed them out! =D

  14. What a great idea to have them tally the number of bathroom trips. If possible, can you email me this chart as a Word document so that I can edit it? I'd like to reduce the number of boxes.

    Thanks so much!

  15. Hi, I really love your bathroom idea! I teach 3rd grade and had way to many "frequent flyers" last year and this seems perfect. My only question is if you actually print a copy of this each day or week. I was also thinking of laminating it but I know those tallies could easily be erased by a student. Thanks

    1. Hi Eileen! We print a copy for each month and hang onto it in case we need it for a little parent/student conference. Laminating would indeed lend itself for easy erasers... Hope this helps!


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