Delaware’s Pee Problem

Teachers hear it all the time, “Can I go to the bathroom”?  Now if you had to pee, you would just do it, right?  Unless you could hold it for a little bit until a more convenient time.  But nature always wins this battle.  Peeing is not a voluntary event.  So why am I hearing about more and more schools restricting when kids can go to the bathroom?


To be fair, students can and will abuse the bathroom visit rights.  I did it in school.  For whatever reason, there are some kids who just have to pee.  I’ve heard some horror stories about teenagers peeing their pants.  Or they could be stuck in testing and can’t get out.  Some kids will get up to no good in a school bathroom.  It happens.  But what about those kids who absolutely have to go?  Should they be held back from peeing because of some bad apples?  I would think most teachers would know who those students are.  And I’m not saying this is every school.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, it is normal to have to pee six to eight times a day.  Pee is your body’s way of detoxing your system.  It gets rid of the bad stuff.  Most people, especially students, tend to pee for about seven seconds on average.  So by the time a student gets to the bathroom, does the pee thing, washes their hands (they better), and gets back to class, it shouldn’t be a journey of more than three minutes tops.  Is it worth having a student feel uncomfortable?  Sending all kids to go to the bathroom all at once could make it worse.  Some students have “performance anxiety” around other kids or get caught up in fooling around in the bathroom.  The anxiety is caused by a condition called parauresis.  So if the average school day is seven hours, and that is roughly 30% of a student’s day (and that’s a full 24 hour day), it would stand to reason a student may have to go to the bathroom three times a day.  I’ve heard of one Delaware school where students can only pee once a day.  Not sure what qualifies that school to be the urine police, but I smell a lawsuit eventually if they keep that up!

How long can someone hold off peeing before nature takes its course?  It depends on the person.  Once you feel the urge, you should probably go.  But it won’t kill you to wait too long.  But if you wait too long, there could be an accident or in rarer cases a person could develop a urinary tract infection.  Some kids may have health issues that prompt them to pee more than their peers.  Your bladder doesn’t literally explode, but it could cause issues if you make this a habit.

Bottom line, schools need to be extra careful when it comes to pee.  It is natural, it is real, and it should not be used so a teacher can control a classroom or get all their instruction out.  Peeing is the most natural thing human beings do.  We can’t get around it.  Let the children pee!

I would love school teachers and administrators to comment on this, as well as students and parents.  Does your school have a pee problem?

Updated, 7:04pm: Judging by the comments on here and on Facebook, this issue is MUCH bigger than I realized.  What prompted this impromptu article?  This one.  It caught me by surprise.  But apparently restricted bathroom breaks are happening in many schools.  Another issue has surfaced and that is the teacher pee problem.  Some are reporting UTI issues because they can’t just leave a classroom and leave kids unattended.  Some students had legitimate health issues that caused them to have to pee more than their peers but had issues with that even with a doctor’s note.  I know it seems absurd, but maybe we need some type of pee legislation in Delaware and America.


Published by

Kevin Ohlandt

I am a proud parent of a son with Tourette's Syndrome and several other co-morbidities. I write on this blog to educate other parents so they know a bit more about not only special education, but all the really bad things that are happening with public schools in Delaware and the USA. We are all in this together, and if our children aren't able to advocate for themselves it's up to us parents! We need to stop letting companies run our schools, and demand our children get a proper education. Our Departments of Education in our states have become weak with fear from the bullying US DOE, and we need to take back our schools!

28 thoughts on “Delaware’s Pee Problem”

  1. Last year at Dover High School my child had to use the restroom. She had a doctor’s note. She asked her teacher if she could use the restroom. He said no. He did eventually tell her ok but it was at least 15 to 20 minutes later. I find it very sad that a child that HAD a doctor’s note had to wait so long. My grandson also wet himself in kindergarten because he was not allowed to use the restroom. The kids in his class then started teasing him.


    1. That’s sad – we usually get notes from the nurse when kids have medical conditions. Sometimes it’s a matter of “can it wait until I give directions for this assignment” because it is so disruptive to be in the middle of something and have the kids distracted or have one miss instructions for an activity. Kids often don’t see that, nor do families, and it can set up a negative interaction where none needs to exist. I tell my four children not to wait until it’s extreme to tell me; then again, none of mine have medical conditions. Hopefully that doesn’t happen again to your child!


    2. I wanted to add a little more info to this. My daughter had turned in a note to the nurses office and the main office. She told the teaher she had a UTI. She told him both offices had her note. The reason he didn’t let her go right away is she did not have it on her. He also said he had already given out the 2 bathroom passes.


  2. It’s so interesting to read your post. In general, one can predict when the mass exodus of “need to pee-ers” will take place. It’s generally about an hour into the school day and about an hour after lunch. If the kids aren’t carrying and consuming drinks during the day, their need to use the bathroom is SO much lower. If we build that time into the schedule, perhaps, it might alleviate some of the issues with bathroom breaks.

    It is worth noting that there are kids who will text their parents during the school day about not being allowed to use the bathroom. Often that is simply not true, but it sets up an angry confrontation between the parent and the teacher while giving power to the student. That’s NEVER a good thing.

    Finally, when do the teachers get to pee?


      1. Lol yes it is. And that’s why I tell them when they leave my first class to go on their way to the next class, because I know they need to. And I send them after lunch because I know they need to.

        And I just hold it because it isn’t about me 😝

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The problem with the going between classes is that for highschool students it’s usually not enough time.


          1. Secondary educator for 15 years – I tell the kids to go and just come in a minute or two late. Then again, if they really need to pee I just let them go!

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Thank you jax2816. I’m so happy there are teachers like you. I know the bathroom issue is a prob at many schools.


    1. About “carrying and consuming drinks during the day”… While I agree that having full access to energy drinks, soda, and the like are not neccesary, WATER IS. Our brains are in the neighborhood of 80 percent WATER. To be healthy and learning at their best, humans need to have access to water throughout the day and the dribble they can grab from a water fountain in the hall between classes is not enough. Humans need water and they need to pee…..this is NOT a difficult concept!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This isn’t an argument and I’m not saying one way is right or wrong. I don’t get blanket access to water and the bathroom all day, either. I would love to have a bathroom in or next to my classroom so we could drink water and pee all day long!!!


  3. After 31 years of teaching I can tell you why we don’t let most go. If a child goes before school starts, somewhere around 2nd or 3rd hour, and then at lunch time they should never have to leave the class to go. I can’t count how many students have thrown fits, begged and whined because they had to go so bad. After the bell rings, I watch them they go off with friends and totally skip the bathroom. (Many are what you would call the “good” kids) The latest craze is the boys peeing and pooping all over the bathroom. Not only does it make the bathroom unsanitary for fellow students but no custodian should have to do that type of clean up daily. They have smeared the poo all over the walls, stuffed t-shirts in the toilet and then poo’d on it and ripped out sink faucets all while alone in the bathroom during class. Then there are the students that knock on every classroom’s window on the way there. Those are just some of the many reasons why they can plan their breaks and be just fine.



    Every parent who has ever had a child denied a bathroom pass, needs one of these. As Kevin correctly stated young bladders need to empty every 3-4 hours. This product works like a watch, but it vibrates discreetly telling the student it’s time to go pee. Think about it – every parent, before we leave the house with our kids, don’t we tell them to use the bathroom first? cause who really like finding and using public bathrooms. And notice that most of our kids pee on demand at home when we tell them to.

    The bladder is a very special organ. It will pee on demand. Even if the child doesn’t recognize the urge.

    Though my childs’ condition has to be managed for life – she’s essentially got one working kidney – she doesn’t even need the watch now. Her body works like clockwork. The way our childrens’ bodies should.




    1. My children are in their teens now. I STILL ask them before we leave to head downstate or over an hour away do they need to go. Most of the time they do. My one grandchild has an issue with her kidney. When she needs to go to the bathroom they NEED to let her go. If not it can cause physical damage to her.


  5. Frequent asking to go the bathroom for young children is one of the first and clearest signs of an anxious child who is not getting something they need in class. They escape to the bathroom for quiet or avoidance of a task they feel over-whelmed by. Not a lot of teachers seem to know this and miss the signs of a struggling student assuming they are just making trouble.


  6. I’m a grown woman that’s visits the ladies room alot. I’m always thirsty, therefore need to use the restroom ALOT. I’m so happy I’m no longer in school as I would always several times during a school day need to make bathroom runs. What happens to diabetic children? I had a couple type 1 friend growing up. They would drink alot and needed to use the restroom more often. I think that maybe we should get some legislation going that children that have these issues would have a meeting with the school. The child could then have the note on them and show it to the teacher so they know their not just goofing off. I also find it sad that a teacher can just make a bathroom run as needed.


  7. I’m a high school physics teacher. I don’t deny kids bathroom passes. I teach them the ASL sign for “toilet” so they can ask without interrupting tge class discussion. They sign, I put a blank pass on the corner of my desk, they fill out the pass and sign-out log, I sign the pass, and they go. The class discussion continues throughout this process without missing a beat.

    They know that I won’t stop the class discussion for them, nor will I recap when they get back. They know that anything that happens while they’re out might be fun (I pull out demonstrations without notice whenever the discussion warrants one) and might appear on a test.

    Kids who abuse the bathroom privilege tend to do badly in the class as a result of what the content that they miss. I don’t need to add additional consequences.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Some state that our high school students are almost adults. Then why do so many teachers deny them access to the bathroom. What about the dignity of these students? Why should a female student have to tell her male teacher she is on her period? I googled this issue. Many teachers have been making their students write WHY they have to use the restroom. As a female I find this utterly humiliating. So we want them to ACT like adults but treat them like little kids? Here is just one link I found There are many more…… I want to thank the teachers that do work with their students re this issue.


  9. My recommendation for any child who needs to write a reason for needing the bathroom should write “personal time.” It beats “take a shit” or “change my tampon” any day. Sorry, If I sound crass. I just can’t believe (ok, can believe b/c we lived it) that the use of the bathroom is such a big deal.

    I have heard tales of boys bathrooms w/o stall doors. This is another pet peeve of mine. I have also heard about all the damage that get inflicted by students who have free reign over their bathroom time.

    Here’s my question: from my experiences most of our secondary (6-12) schools have cameras. If your school doesn’t please tell us here, let’s start a list. Why not point them at the bathroom entrances? Then you know who goes in and who goes out. If hall monitors quickly check the bathrooms between classes you can narrow down your list of suspects pretty fast.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. That’s exactly what my daughter said last night. Students already he to sign out of class and put time and date. It’s just common sense that there would be a record already.


  11. I am a Belgium (Europe) (pre-)kindergarten teacher but every monday I teach 4 hours first and second grade. The rest of the week have my pre-kindergarten class of 4-5-6 year olds. I don’t find it so interruptive some children going to the bathroom during lessons. You may say, yes you are a kindergarten teacher, that’s normal. But even in the 1st and 2nd grade I teach. Sorry if I offend anyone by saying this, but I think teachers going on about wasting learning-teaching time and about safety issues (that children can hurt themselfs if not around teacher for 1 minute) are seriously overreacting. We teachers, need to have a warm, confident class climate for our students to learn and going to the bathroom whenever they really need to is one of those things that creates such an inviroment. I’d feel pretty bad if a child has an accident because I refused to let them go to the bathroom. The children all know they can go whenever they need to, unless I’m reading a book and that they arn’t allowed to play over there. The first and second graders go also on their own responsability during playtimebreak (outside, the rules of their headteacher, not my ones) and I take my kindergartners all in a group twice a day before playtimebreak. My kindergartners are obligated to go on those group times, because we try to limit the number of children going to the bathroom during playtime with no bathrooms on the playground but inside the building. Sometimes there are “shy” children that prefer privacy and loathe going as a group: I send thel discretly in when I see no-one’s there. This year I had 3 children playing in the bathroom during class-time. I was really angry and talked to their parents about it and if this is a many repetitive behavior I will not let those specific kids go alone anymore, but acompany them quick or let them only go during the group breaks. About the whole “going to the bathroom for skipping class”-thing in general, I see many differences between Belgium and American kindergarten (not pre-) and primery classes: in general after a long time concentration and sitting still it’s normal your kids need to move: so you do five minute’s of crazy dancing to music, jumping, gym, strechting, crazy little game, relaxation, yoga… etc. And then continue your lesson. Come on, we’re teachers! It’s easy for us to be creative and come up whit a little creative game. An other issue wich has nothing to do whit this: I am so amazed to see how different kindergarten (not pre-) classes in America look from the Belgium ones. Yours (American’s) are allmost like first grade classes. Where are your doll-role-playing-house area’s with desguisements? Where are your sandtables to play whit sand or dry corn to learn about principle’s about full/ half full, empty, litres? Where are your playdough materials? Where is your toycar area? Where is your lego? Etc. And why do so many children don’t sit or stand at tables but on the floor when writing? Writing is so delicate and everything begins whit a good posture/attitude wilst holding your arms, back and crayon/pencil correctly. It’s important to first make lots of big mouvement’s and to dance etc. to accomplice pre-writing (whilst standing) in the air, in sand, in shaving cream, on paper, on the blackboard… And writing can best not be done to early. Though I love doing small writing activity’s that make sense to my kindergartners so they understand why one needs writing and they love it too. But I think, it’ll be mostly me that missundertands your schoolsystem. It differs a lot from one country to another. So sorry, it’s not ab accusation, but it’s only me trying to understand. Oh and to end whit something positive: on pinterest I see so many wonderfull schoolidea’s, activities, crafts from American teachers si keep up the good work! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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