Bathroom Woes

So how many times do your students say “I gotta go to the bathroom” every day? For me, it became a pet peeve – I was sick of my kiddos leaving every 5 minutes to go again (and again, and again, and…you get the picture). This year, I decided to do something to alleviate this problem. Enter our “Gotta Go” passes:


Gotta Go Passes (I printed them out on bright green cardstock to make them more fun!)

The students receive 5 passes at the beginning of the week. They keep them in their pencil holder on the side of their desk that I give them at the beginning of the year. Any time they need to use the restroom, they must turn in a pass. I keep a small basket on my desk where they drop their pass. Once they are out of passes for the week, they need to make sure they are using the restroom at other points during the day (when they arrive, snack, recess/lunch). If they choose to go during class when they are out of passes, they lose a KICKBACK letter (this is part of my management procedure, to be saved for another post…).

At the end of the week, any student who still has passes left can put them in a basket for a drawing, and the kiddo whose pass I draw gets to pick a prize from the prize bin! If I ever forget to collect the passes and do the drawing on Friday, I know it will get done because the students never fail to remind me – they love picking prizes 🙂

One more thing that I didn’t mention – when they leave, they must write their name on a “dry erase board” posted by the door (this is really just a piece of colored cardstock inside of a sheet protector – cheap yet durable!). I keep a marker velcroed above the board for easy access. This way, in case of an emergency, I can quickly see who is out of the room, and the kids can easily see if another student is out, which means they must wait.

The kids have caught on quickly and have realized that saving the passes is more beneficial. I’m amazed at the difference it has made! So that is my class’s bathroom procedure. What about yours??


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Heather
    Jul 12, 2012 @ 15:26:14

    I love this idea, as I have run into the same issue with students wanting to leave the room too often. Have you found any problems with the management of this system?


    • wordsiwouldsay
      Jul 14, 2012 @ 17:31:22

      Thanks, Heather!

      The only issue I run into is forgetting to pass out new passes at the beginning of every week! Thankfully, the students were quick to remind me 🙂 But really, there were absolutely no problems with this system. It worked better than I expected and really helped cut down on unnecessary bathroom breaks!


  2. Jessica
    Feb 13, 2013 @ 23:46:23

    If your students “just need a drink of water,” do you suggest they still use a bathroom pass? Or, what do YOU do about that?


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