Friday, December 23, 2011

The Potty Police

When I started teaching 12 years ago, I should have known I was in trouble the first time I heard these words: "I gotsta use it!". As soon as I heard those words, like nails on a chalkboard, I plummeted into the world of The Potty Police. I must have missed the class in college that teaches you how to take 17+ 1st graders to the bathroom in less than 15 minutes. (We can now achieve this milestone in about 4 minutes!)

"I gotsta use it teacher!" is still the cry I often still hear the first week of school and I reply sarcastically in my sweetest teacher voice "What do you need to use? A pencil? A crayon?" By the end of the 1st week if someone says that I ignore them and walk away. Some helpful little friend will always remind them that the proper way to ask is "May I please go to the bathroom?".

Yes, we have no bathroom in our classroom because my room is the size of a shoebox and I might be tempted to use it for storage instead.

The first day of school we head down to the bathroom. We learn the 1-2-3:
1 teeny, tiny squirt of soap
2 you only need to tap on the faucet 2 times
3 you only need 3 rolls of the paper towels

....and you only wash your hands...not your face, your hair or your shoes...and you are not a doctor so you do not need to wash all the way up to your elbows.

Then, we talk about the tee-tee on the floor and how gross it would be to put ANY part of our body on the floor and how SUPER DUPER gross it would be to crawl on the floor. Later we use the glitter bug lotion and the black light to see ALL of the GERMS ALL OVER OUR bodies and they hear the tee-tee lecture again.

I take the girls in and we learn how to flush the potty.

I take the boys in and we learn how to flush the urinal and the potty.

I learned my 1st year of teaching you CANNOT assume a child knows how and WILL flush the potty. Yeppers, one little friend told me, "My mommy does it for me." Ummm, not happening with this maestra!

Life would be wonderful and easy if these steps solved everything And yes, I am a bit of a control freak but after popping my head around the corner I have learned that the bathroom to some little ones means F-R-E-E-D-O-M!

Here are some incidents the Potty Police can now report to you:

*1- A little one who has to take off EVERY single stitch of his clothing...yes, socks and shoes too...we he goes to the bathroom. I invision him in Middle School now doing this and thinking how bad it will be when someone steals his clothes off the bathroom floor!

*2- Boys making a touchdown: back to the urinal, bending over and making a shot between their legs...that is as far as I go in explaining the details but I am sure you can visualize.

*3-standing on the toilet to tee-tee because someone at home does this too...and yeppers, a phone call confirmed this.

*4-a child reported eating something brown off the floor...I took everything in my power to not throw up or wash that child's mouth out with soap.

I have lost count of all the pants I have buttoned and unbuttoned. When questioned who buttons your pants at home, they always say their momma. When I tell them their momma needs to teach them how you need to ask your momma to teach you, they reply "She said you would teach me". Hmmm, I don't think I can put that on my lesson plans.

The best is the little ones who have their pants held together by a safety pin. Yes, I understand buttons pop off but REALLY....a 1st grader and safety pins are not a good combo.

Here is my ultimate Potty Police Report:

While having an observation, one of my special sweet little kiddos asked, "May I please go to the bathroom?" and I replied, "Yes." and before I could get "Take a buddy with you" out of my mouth, she stood up in her chair and went.

So, my question of the day for you is:
Do you have a potty story?

On to the *freebie* is a blend sort I hope you can use with your kiddos. =)

graphics by DJ Inkers

Please leave me the gift of a heart note if you grab this *freebie*! I am so blessed by each one you leave and I get so obsessive excited about checking my email to see them!

55 heart notes:

Rachel said...

Thank you again for a great freebie! Every year, I take my little first graders to the restrooms and show them how to use it and to make sure they always clean themselves up before they flush the toilet and wash their hands. Merry Christmas!

Barbara said...

OK, such a fun post! Our bathrooms got SO out of control (LOUD!) and unkempt (paper towels EVERYWHERE but in the trash) that one year our first graders worked on patrol in a group we called The Bathroom Brigade. They'd take their little clip boards into the bathroom and check off the items to see if they were as they should be, toilets flushed, faucets turned off, etc. Then they'd tally points and we'd celebrate a weekly winner between boys and girls. The bathrooms were the cleanest EVER during that contest that spring! Here's a link to the rubric our firsties used - they LoVeD boing in control!

Bathroom Bridgade


Paige said...

OMG! I love your stories! I haven't taught the lower grades, but the fifth graders still like to do the touchdown thing! The fourth and fifth graders in our hall destroy the bathroom everyday! You can smell the urine from down the hall - GROSS! I have only intervened on bathroom knock-down fights, and I would rather deal with that then your horror stories! Thanks for the freebie, btw!

Tara said...

Our potty stories....I went from having one in my classroom (3rd grade) to moving classrooms to 4th and them being in the hallway. I'm so freaked about instruction time I hate it when they have to go....had to go through the whole "just cuz one goes doesn't mean you're all going" chat....and "I'm old and I can hold it all day so you all can hold it until bathroom break!" EEKK! Your stories are too funny, don't know if I could do it with the little ones:) p.s. I'm having a giveaway that ends tonight and would love love for you to enter....I obsess about comments and my email too;)

4th Grade Frolics

Delighted said...

OMG! Are you kidding me??? It has never entered my mind about teaching the kiddos what to do in the bathroom. Thank you for this amazing insight into something I definitely need to incorporate into my beginning of the year routine. Wow! I'm pretty much speechless.

First Grade Delight

Jen Best said...

Thanks for the freebie! This week the boys needed to be reminded to make sure the pee actually makes it INTO the toilet...not the floor....or the wall....

Down Under Teacher said...

During the last week of school this year I had some boys come back to class and tell me that one of my little one's was peeing in the corner! Looovely!Our cleaners are always complaining about the upper grades too - whole dispensers of soap pumped out, paper towels clogging the sink, the toilet, on the floor, the roof. My son HOLDS IT ALL DAY so he doesn't have to use the bathroom at school!

Thanks for the freebie!

Down Under Teacher

CancelBlogger said...

Thank you all for the potty humor!! On a side note, I do not do buttons:) Also, thanks for the CUTE snowman blend activity!!

Tara Sumner said...

You seriously made me laugh out loud!! So funny and so true! Last year while my boys were in the restroom a handicap man in a wheelchair followed the boys into the restroom. I thought, this cannot be good. A minute later by boys came rushing out, red faced. My most talkative one said in a super loud voice, Miss Sumner!! We saw something in there! The words saw and something were spit out in a giggly voice. I can only imagine what happened, and I would not allow them to tell me any further details... Gotta love teaching!! ;)

Camille said...

Oh Heather this is so funny! Thank you! One year when we had a problem with the boys not using the urinal correctly, I complained about it to my husband and said something like, "How could those boys NOT know how to use a urinal?! They have to use one everywhere they go." My husband looked at me like I was nuts and informed me that schools are the only places nowadays that have urinals (and some sports arenas). Really? You mean I (ME!!!!) have to be the one to teach them how to use a urinal?!? Yep! Sigh.
An Open Door

Megan Horman said...

Thank you for the very cute freebie. Merry Christmas!

Holly said...

Oh good gravy - you made me chuckle!!!!! Like you, I'll ask "use what?!?"...

Did you read this post on my blog?

Scroll down to the apology letter my son {who is in first grade now but was in kindergarten at the time of the letter} to read his potty story. Oh my.

I do have a bathroom in my room - and it's very, as you can imagine, we get serenaded quite often. If I'm in a good mood, we stop what we're doing to listen for a bit, if I've had enough I bang on the door and say "not a concert" and they promptly stop.

Crisscross Applesauce in First Grade

Jennifer K. said...

I am lucky enough to have a bathroom in my classroom :) However, the previous custodian insisted that the sink inside the bathroom be disabled so that students have to traipse all the way from the bathroom at the back of the classroom to the sink at the front of the classroom in order to wash their hands. This means that A) I am constantly on vigil to make sure that every child goes to the sink first before going back to their seat and B) They have to hold their hands above their heads on the way to the sink because otherwise those little fingers will touch every chair and table on the way to the sink, thus defeating the purpose of the hand washing. I am currently petitioning to get the bathroom sink turned back on - apparently the previous concern was over students eating pecans from the playground and stopping up the sink with the shells. I am quite willing to police the pecan trees if it not having to eagle eye every student coming out of the bathroom!

Oh, and one day, two of my girls came to me, giggling like loons, to report that there was a pair of dirty underwear in the bathroom. Now, this happened once before - at the end of the day there was a pair of poopy pants on the floor in our bathroom which everyone swore was not their's and since sometimes our friends from next door and across the hallway use our bathroom when theirs is busy and because I did not feel like doing a rump check to make sure everyone in my class was wearing undies,(not to mention I'm pretty sure some go commando on a regular basis anyways so that wouldn't be definite proof) I let it go that one time. On this second occasion however I was pretty sure of my suspect so I went to attain said poopy pants to hold them as evidence until mama arrived at the end of the day. Except, there were no underpants in the bathroom. I scolded the girls for teasing me and they responded that they weren't teasing and there were definitely stinky drawers under the sink. So I went back in and checked again, behind the door and toilet, under the sink, everywhere. No drawers. Finally I pulled one of the girls into that teeny tiny bathroom to prove to her that there were no underpants and she quickly pointed out that they were rolled up and tucked in the joint of the pipe under the sink. In such a position that they weren't even visible unless you were crawling on the floor. Which leads me to wonder how on earth they were spotted in the first place. Oh, and I still don't know whose they are because the mama of my suspect swore up and down that they weren't his.

Thanks for the laughs and the freebie!

Jennifer @ Herding Kats in Kindergarten

KatieRzLOVESk said...

Thanks for the goodies!
My favorite bathroom story happened on Halloween. I would send the kids in to put their costume on over their clothes. I had one little boy run out of the bathroom totally naked. And of course it was in the beginning of our party when the parents are all gathered around! YIKES!

Tammy said...

Ummm yeah I do not do potty training if they don't learn it from Kindergarten (they are waaaayy down the hall away from the bathroom I am across the hall) then they can sit in wet pants. Although I do spend a great part of the year teaching them to go DURING recess, not class. Thank you for the freebie and Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Your stories are right up there with those my now retired kindergarten teacher spouse has told me. At her Montessori school, each classroom in her building has its own bathroom and all the teachers have tales to tell.

Erika said...

Our boys like to see who can pee on the ceiling. My husband went to my school for grades 1-8 and says they did the same thing. Gross!! With preschool in our building we have a lot of bathroom stories and yells for "teacher come wipe me!" I hated when my room was across the hall from the bathrooms. It was loud and stunk all the time. You made me laugh out loud (and cringe)!
2B Honey Bunch

Jen R said...

I don't really have a potty story, except the constant disgust of it smelling like pee. bleh! Every once in a while someone will say there's pee on the floor, but I'm not sure who actually does it: my class or the class I share the bathrooms with...and I wouldn't be surprised if it was her class because she has NO classroom management and the kids are CONSTANTLY playing in there and I have to go yell at them b/c she has NO idea what's going on - ugh!
Jen Ross
The Teachers’ Cauldron

Bonnie Walton said...

Ahh, this post made me laugh! I feel like a potty nazi. This year, I have a bathroom in my classroom and it's the first year that's the case. In the past, we were assigned two times daily to go as a class. I always had a girls and boys bathroom checker to check before and after we went. Last year, my boys fought in the bathroom, so I had to make them go in 1 at a time which took FOREVER. If the kiddos had to go any other time of day, they had to sign in and out in a book. But, they still were going A LOT. So what I did was tell them if they had to go, it was obviously an emergency. If they went, it was a tally against their group. The group at the end of the day with the least amount of tallies got 5 points. This helped out SO much! Suddenly, there weren't that many emergencies...amazing!

This year with a bathroom in our room, the students must sign in and out. When they sign in, they are verifying everything is fine in the bathroom (toilet flushed, seat wiped, you get the picture). They must also sign out when they are done, saying they have done this. We do have some issues, such as yelling across the room that so and so did not flush or wipe the seat, but when that happens, that kid is then responsible for it since they did not tell the other student quietly. The bathroom is kind of like the pencil sharpener for drives me crazy at times!

I don't think I have any crazy stories that I can think of, other than the typical not washing of the hands, etc. I have heard some wild stories from other teachers, like breaking the faucet so water came spewing out and flooded the room! Have a great Christmas!

Living A Wonderful Life

Kim said...

Funny stories! I can relate to your stories as a kindergarten teacher. Thanks for the activity!!

Casey Orr said...

Heather, thanks for becoming a follower of my blog!!! I'm following you now, too! Okay, so here is my potty story: When I taught second, a little boy came to me and said "Umm, Mrs. Orr there is poop on the floor by the cabinet."

I said, "Well how do you know it was poop, maybe it was mud from someone's shoe, since we just had recess." (hoping to detour the conversation as not to embarrass anyone.)

He replied, "Oh, it's definitely poop, I touched it!"

And there ya have it. Someone had one slide down their shorts and land on the classroom floor.

Third Grade Thoughts said...

here is my last known potty story - only it happens from the classroom doorway but it is still a potty story. one of my boys asked if he could go use the bathroom, the next thing i know he is standing in the doorway ready to make the big announcement. "I just thought you should know there is something all over in the bathroom. I'm not saying what it is. But it is smeared all over and it's NOT pee. and it's brown" Thanks for sharing. kind of reminded me of the original Parent Trap movie where the housekeeper says "and that's why I'm not saying a word" Does anyone else remember that part or does that just make me too darn old?????

Wendy said...


Thanks so much for the far as bathroom stories...the funniest one I know is one of my first grade boys scaled the wall to the ceiling and was sitting in the corner when his teacher looked through the door. She was quite upset and not amused. But as you can imagine, I find the feat quite amazing.

Happy Holidays !

Lindart said...

In my Montessori class we also have the bathroom in the room, the door can close, but often the children don't close it, sitting on the toilet watching everyone working, I have to gently close the door and say "I'll give you some privacy!". We also have boys who have a hard time peeing into the bowl, one trick I have used in the past is to float a Cheerio in the bowl, and tell them to aim for it!

Thank you for you funny stories, put some laughter (and Oh yes...been there!)into my morning! Merry Christmas!

Tracy said...

Thanks I grabbed this, it was so cute. I teach Kindergarten and every year we spend September teaching the same thing and even bending down to check for feet (if you see feet someone's in there) so we don't have communal bath-rooming with the boys. Our bathrooms are also down the hall. This year on the playground a little girl in another class said "I gotsa go pee pee" to her teacher. As she started to walk away she pulled down her pants in a flash and started peeing on the playground. Apparently her mother teaches her to not to pee in her clothes and its okay to pee anywhere in public.

Anonymous said...

Oh, the potty stories I can tell!!! So far this year we have had:
pee in the trash can,
puke in little girl's undies...comes from throwing up while sitting on the potty,
walking into the boys bathroom to hurry along the K boys and meeting the (male)principal,
poop on shirt,
several changes of clothes for accidents,
pee on rainbow carpet,
countless "can you button my pants?"
oooohhh it's been a long year....and it's only half over!!!!!!!!!!
I love Kindergarten! :)

Anonymous said...

They don't train us for these moments in student teaching, do they?
I taught 1st grade for 13 years. One year a boy returned from the bathroom to his reading group. Noticing that he smelled like poop, the aide working with the group did NOTHING about it, yes really! She reported to me at recess that he stunk and then we all realized that there were little brown blobs all over the classroom floor. Apparently he was unable to wipe himself and his loose stool leaked down his pant legs and around the floor making a trail from the door to his seat. I quickly sent another aide out to recess to find our little friend, call his mom, and get him cleaned. I then used my recess time to clean the floors with vomit crystals to absorb the moisture and the custodian came in for a deep cleaning. As the kids returned from recess we didn't want to embarrass anyone but just left the suggestion open that it could have been possible a dog ran through our room, (it has happened before-but without messes) and they tolerated all of the cleaning without further question.
I'm glad I'm not the only one who has been paid a professional salary to clean up toileting messes!

Kristin said...

Super funny topic!!!!! :)
PS love your new design AND I got a $5 off coupon because she said I sent you. THANK YOU!!!!!

Kim said...

Hello Heather and Her Heart!

First, I want to tell you that I am absolutely ENCHANTED with the fact that the little heart in the "About Me" section is made up of really little butterflies... soooo cute! {Says in a joyful tone!}

Second, what a sweet, sweet, really sweet message you left on my blog... on Christmas! It was like getting ANOTHER present!

Third, no, this is not an expository paragraph with transition words, but anyway, THIRD, I took one look at the title of this post and became a follower! Sixth grade teachers don't have many potty stories (Thank Goodness!), but we do love to read them!

And, at my school. sixth grade teachers have to teach "Family Life" (code for Sex Ed), so that makes us about even!

I'm so glad to be a follower of your blog because it makes up for the fact that I NEVER want to teach anyone younger than 10 (or older than 13--and, I think, perhaps, flexibility is overrated!!!)

Merry Christmas, Heather! My heart just said hello to yours!

Finding JOY in 6th Grade

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing the initial blend sort with my students!

Heather's Heart said...

Another potty incident to report is the little friend whose mother told her to keep having accidents so she could get a new change of clothes and then kept them instead of returnng them back to school!

Heather's Heart

Chrissy said...

Oh, my, I am laughing myself out of this chair! I have two bathrooms and sinks and drinking faucets in my classroom. Mmm, lucky, yes....BUT... Teaching K, I've learned to say YES when someone asks to use the bathroom. But, with not one, but two tiny potties--with doors that close!-- the lure is powerful. I quickly learn which kiddos are using the bathroom to avoid work.

And, I am with you; first-graders need to know how to button/zip/snap! Bless 'em. Parents (and I am a mommy to four) have no idea how many minutes are wasted when the teacher must get several children back into their clothes!!

Thanks for the freebie! Would you consider linking up with my January Ideas party? Your freebie is terrific!


Holly said...

Look at this cuteness - love your new look!!!!!!

One day, when I have more money than I know what to do with, I'll get a "new look" too. LOVE it!!!!!!!!

Crisscross Applesauce in First Grade

Kelley Cirrito said...

Too cute!!! I love your 3 rules. I am blessed this year to have a class that is "good" in the halls and bathroom. Last year I wasn't so lucky! ;)

Unknown said...

Love the new look!! I almost thought I found a new blog HAHA!! Thanks for the freebie too! Can't wait to use these week (already)!


Unknown said...

I taught 3rd grade my first 3 years of teaching and I never had the bathroom issues really. Other than playing. But when I moved back home I got a job teaching kindergarten. I think I've seen more little boys' underwear in the past 5 years than anyone should. My grandmother came to visit my class my first year as a kindergarten teacher and one of the little boys tried to take her for a ride. He was sitting in the bathroom yelling at her to come wipe him. She was horrified thinking that I have to wipe the kids. I told her there was no way. My teaching friend who started kindergarten the same time I did just this year had a boy come out with his pants and underwear down around his ankles. I think it was a weekly occurrence my first year. This year was the first time I've had to have the conversation with a parent about her child not knowing how to wipe properly and getting poop everywhere. It didn't help there was a language barrier. I know I took it for granted when I taught older grades all the things we primary teachers have to teach the kids. Thanks for the laugh.

Chrissy said...

I love your comment about college classes not teaching you how to take first graders to the bathroom. It's something you may not understand if you haven't taught 1st or kinder. My colleagues and I often comment about things that our credential programs didn't teach us.Have you ever read "Thrity-two Third Graders and 1 Class Bunny"? I think it should be a must read for teacher candidates. It's what teachers really have to deal with from someone with a good sense of humor. It made me laugh and smile.
I love your blog- it's pretty too. I'm your newest follower.
 Chrissy

First Grade Found Me

Brenda Aimone said...

I have NOTHING that can beat your stories or the ones I read of the notes left for you - thankfully! We just did a 'golden plunger award' the last 2 weeks before school released for Christmas break. We put a hook in the ceiling in front of each bathroom. When the morning custodian came in, he checked the bathrooms, if they were clean, he hung the golden plunger up for that bathroom. A teacher had spray painted cut off plungers gold and put a little Christmas ornament at the top of each. When we earned enough points, we got to have an all school dance in the gymnasium. We did some line dances, the chicken dance, and a lot of fun ones like that. The kids loved it. Even the faculty bathrooms were in on it. We had to have all the plungers up to earn a point. I love your freebies! Thank you!!!

lorib said...

Hi Heather! This is the first time I've visited your blog and immediately became a follower. I can really see your heart for teaching and God. I have been a teacher for a LONG time, although I subbed for about 10 years while raising 3 kids. Through a series of events that only God could have orchestrated I have been back teaching for 5 years! Got the job in my old district just when it was financially necessary. What a blessing. One of my fellow first grade partners is a blogger and that is how I have found out all you creative and generous teachers who help all of us dinosaurs! Thank you so much for all the freebies. January is winter and penquin month, so I am going to truly benefit from your freebies! Thank you so much!

Susan Case said...

We had "Splash Day" toward the end of school when not much teaching was happening and we wanted the Ks to leave with good memories so they'd want to come back. It's a good idea to have dads and moms help. Little kindergarten boys can't always pull down or up wet suits and will run naked around the room (hence a dad volunteer when clothes are changed. Toys will not all be returned to proper order and in good condition. Sunscreen is a good idea. Teachers should not get wet hair then sit in AC. Just saying. LOVE YOUR BLOG!

Linda Nelson @ Primary Inspiration said...

Heather, I just became a follower - what a great blog! I think we are kindred spirits - I'm recently retired from teaching 1st and had Col.3:23 posted in my school closet to sustain me! Also,I often called my kiddos "chickadees", just as you do your nieces! That (and this hysterically true Potty Police post!) seems to be the making of good blogbuddies, don't you agree? :)

Mrs. Egley said...

Yes I have a potty story for you !!!!! One of my kiddos told me that "Bob" was drinking out of the urinal! seriously----he was actually bending down and drinking the water that comes down out of the urinal..

I am your newest follower!

Ms. Lopez said...

I am now a follower of your blog. I was seriously ROFLOL reading this potty post!! When you teach K, there's ALWAYS potty stories! Even when you DO have a restroom in your classroom!! Thanks for the freebie, I am now going to scroll through the rest of your posts!!!
Coloring Outside The Lines

Mrs. Cockrell said...

Oh my gosh, I hate being the Potty Police! And isn't it disturbing how many kiddos (mine are 2nd graders, no less) don't know how to fasten their pants/tie their shoes/wipe their bottoms/etc.?!?! LOL

Love all your potty stories, LOL.

THANK YOU for being my newest follower! So glad, because now I can follow your awesome blog! :D

Elisabeth said...

I love the snowman sort! Thanks for following me over at Twins, Teaching and Tacos.!
I'm now your newest follower :)

Sarah said...

Oh Heather, bless your first grade heart! I feel so blessed to be following you... you have some wonderful stories AND freebies!

My potty story from this year... a child comes out of the bathroom and tells me she saw something"very gross" in there, and insists she show me. Into the potty we go, where she points out what appears to be a cup full of pee-pee. I suppose someone had been to the doctor recently and had to give a urine sample! fun fun fun. =)

A KinderGarden In Bloom

Shellie Rae said...

I grabbed your freebie. I am a first year teacher; so thank you for sharing your cute activities for free!

Anonymous said...

I love your potty stories and the activities on your blog. I once had a little dumpling lick the urinal.........

Jessica said...

I have several potty stories, but one sticks out in my of my students one year decided to water a pillar outside of the building rather than walking the short distance to the restroom!

Thanks for the Freebie! Happy New Year!

V.A. said...

I love your potty stories. This isn't really my story, but I will share. A kindergarten teacher down the hall had two students drink out of the urinal last week! When in her amazment she asked them how they did that, they showed her (without the urinal). Gotta love em.

Lesson Plans and Lollipops said...

I just came across your blog. I love the potty stories and the cute little blends game. Thanks for sharing your hard work. :)

Mrs. M said...

Thanks for the freebie - It looks great! As for the bathroom - In Kinder, we have bathrooms in our classroom which can be a blessing and a curse. This year, I have one little guy who sings SUUUUPER loud when his is in there. I know it has good acoustics - but really! At my old school, I had a little girl who came to my table to ask and went right there because she just couldn't hold it any longer. Gotta love the littles!

Mello’s Memos