August 28, 2014

Back to School: How to Conduct a Classroom Bladder Training Boot Camp

It is already back to school time!  Children are excited, dressed in their new outfits and sporting snazzy backpacks.  Teachers are buzzing around school ensuring each and every detail is perfect.  
Whether school has already begun or starts in a few days away, it's time to slow down, take a deep breath and ask yourself...have I thought about bladder training?

Yes, you read that correctly...bladder training.  In front of you will be a classroom of small bladders all crying to be relieved at different times of the day.  The rest of their bodies may be back to school but their bladders are still on holiday.  Bladders that didn't need to go at break time will all of a sudden need to burst during lessons, diagnostic assessments and independent work time.  There will be so many interruptions from children asking to go to the bathroom that teaching and learning time will dwindle in front of your eyes.

It's time for Bladder Training Boot Camp!  

Children of all ages will purposely use "bathroom breaks" as excuses to leave the classroom. Maybe they need to stretch, take a break, socialize, avoid challenging work or to simply procrastinate beginning their task. Other times, children need to use the washroom and end up missing key instructions or valuable work time. No matter the reason, every time a child asks to go to the washroom, it results in teaching and learning disruptions. To manage this type of disruption, I engage learners in a 3 week bladder training boot camp!

I first begin by discussing these points with my class:

·          Emergencies happen, please feel free to ask in these cases

·          An emergency is not when you have chosen not to use the washroom during break time.

·          Whether  a child needs to go or not, they MUST go to the washroom during every break.   Before class begins, ask each child if they have used the washroom.  When they say, ‘But I don’t need to go’.  You respond, "Go anyway, remember we are training our bladders so you don’t have to ask during class".  Many of us will remember having the same discussion with our parents prior to car trips as kids.  The same principle applies - your parent didn't want to have to stop after driving for 30 minutes, and you don't want an interruption in class after 30 minutes of independent work etc.

·          Explain that three weeks is plenty of time to train your bladder. The expectation is to limit your class time washroom breaks to emergencies only.

Second, I am very consistent and closely monitor our progress:

·          Two weeks into training begin to monitor who is still asking to use the washroom during class time.  Speak with them to ensure they are using the washroom during breaks.

·          Limit free drinking.  Be sensible during hot or high physical activity days but otherwise save drinks for break. What goes in must come out!
Be consistent. Within 3 weeks of back to school, holiday bladders will no longer dominate questions or become a procrastination strategy for some children.

Happy bladder training!

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