If you're having problems with weeing or pooing (too much or not enough), have a look at the Healthy bladders and bowels page in the Your health section. You can get a factsheet with the information on as well.
You might find that eating breakfast can help you go to the toilet before school. Try getting up a bit earlier, have breakfast, then sit on the toilet afterwards. Try going after lunch and your evening meal too.
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Are pupils blamed for the state of your school toilets? Sometimes there are a few people who make life unpleasant for everyone else. Be respectful to other pupils – this should make other people (including teachers) respect you.
- Keep your toilets clean and tidy. Even if you don't think wet toilet paper stuck to the ceiling is a big deal, someone still has to come and clean it. It looks awful too.
- If you accidentally make a bit of a mess in the toilet (like leaving wee on the seat) wipe it up with some toilet paper and flush it away. Don't stick your hand in the toilet bowl though.
- Be careful. Some toilets aren't very strong. People who mess about could break something by accident. That means everyone has to put up with broken toilets.
- Flush the toilet after use. Nobody wants to see what you've just done! Make sure you close the lid (if there is one) after you flush the loo (see this experiment for why).
- Use enough toilet paper to make yourself clean, but don't waste it. Don't pull it off the roll for a laugh. You are not the Andrex puppy!
- Respect other people's privacy in the toilet. If they don't want to talk to you while they're on the loo, wait until they come out. Don't comment on anything about their body, or any noises they might make. It might be funny to you, but it could embarrass them.
- Wait for friends outside the toilet block. This leaves more space for other pupils if it's crowded in there, and it gives your friends more privacy. Messing around in toilets might seem like a laugh to you! But it can stop others from using the toilets.
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If your toilets are disgusting, the least you can do is make sure you stay clean! Washing your hands not only means you'll stay healthier, it means other people are less likely to catch anything from you. If other pupils see you taking care over washing, they might do the same.
- Remember to wash and dry your hands after going to the toilet. No soap? Try bringing your own soap leaves – they come in a little packet you can keep in your pocket. After using them, they just wash away. No towels? Wave your hands around in the air – try not to flick water on anyone else!
- After you have done that, tell a member of staff that there is no soap or towels. Tell them that you have had to bring in your own soap and/or there was nowhere to dry your hands. You should also tell them if the toilets are not clean or if something is broken. If they don't usually go in there, how else would they know?
- If you're a girl who uses sanitary towels or tampons, you should wash your hands before you go into the cubicle.
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- No sanitary dispenser machines? Bring your own sanitary
towels or tampons in a small make-up bag that you
keep in your school bag or locker and which is small
enough to slip into your pocket.
- No bins? Don’t flush your towel or tampon
down the toilet - this causes blockages so the toilets
flood. Keep a few disposal bags in your bag –
nobody need know as they’re very small (‘nappy
bags’ are great as they’re scented and
small). Wrap your towel or tampon in toilet paper
and put it in the disposal bag. You’ll either
have to find a bin somewhere else in the school (could
be embarrassing, we know) or take it home with you
(yucky, we know, but if there’s no option.)
- No toilet paper to wrap your tampon or towel in?
Then bring a couple of small packs of tissues (more
discreet than toilet roll) to school each day, keep
one pack in your pocket and another in your bag. You’ll
need tissues anyway to wipe yourself with after going
to the toilet – and, if the toilet seat’s
wet or messy, to wipe it with down before you use
it (really yucky - you won’t need reminding
to wash your hands afterwards!)
- Tell the office that these things are missing. If
this happens regularly or all the time then you need
to complain - contact your school council or write
to the Head Teacher and Chair of Governors. Write
a joint note from a group of you, or just something
like ‘From girls in year 10’.
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- If you can't go to the toilet when you really need to, speak to whoever looks after you and ask them to speak to the school. Give them a factsheet on the problems that can be caused by not going to the toilet when you need to. Our factsheets page has more factsheets for both adults and children.
- Ask to speak to your teacher in private. Explain that you find it very difficult to pay attention in class when you're dying for the loo.
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Be friendly and helpful
- Say hello to the caretaker or maintenance person when you pass them in the corridor. Try to find out his/her name. If something needs cleaning or fixing, offer to help by showing where the problem is.
- You might never see the cleaners, if they come after you've gone home. If you do though, be respectful. Talk to them about the toilets. Don't ever tell them they're not doing a good enough job – if you really think that they're not, talk to someone else about it, such as the school council. The cleaners might not be given enough time to clean the toilets properly. They might pay more attention to the areas that teachers see.
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Remember that you're not alone
If you have problems wetting or pooing, you’re probably not the only one in your class. About 1 in 10 children have a problem which might make them wet or poo their pants.
- Do you feel you go to the toilet more often than everyone else? Everyone is different, so it doesn’t have to mean that you have a problem. But if you're having real trouble getting to the toilet in time, or you feel like you always need to go, why not talk to your parents or carer? They can speak to the school nurse or take you to the doctor to check that you’re OK. Yes, you might be embarrassed, but it’s really nothing to be embarrassed about. Nurses and doctors see children about all sorts of things all the time. Some of them will have had similar experiences when they were young. If they find that there is a problem, you will hopefully feel much better when you have some help.
- If your teacher or the school is not helping you (for example, by not letting you go when you need to), tell them about this website. You could ask whoever looks after you to speak to your teacher if you prefer. You can also ask your doctor or nurse to write a letter to the school explaining things.
- If a teacher says something about your toilet problems that hurts your feelings, or makes people laugh at you, tell whoever looks after you. Teachers are not allowed to do that.
- There might be a clinic or nurse in your area that is specially trained to help children and young people. If your doctor or school nurse doesn't know about one, contact ERIC and they'll try to find one for you. You can visit the ERIC website or use the details on the contact us page.
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