Background Children often say they have problems with their toilets in school. Educationalists and health workers need to be aware of potential difficulties, to try and improve these facilities for school children. The objective of this study was to assess the perception children have of the toilet facilities in their schools and whether or not this influences their use of them.

Methods An interviewer‐administered questionnaire was given to children attending community audiology clinics and their parents.

Results Eighty‐seven children from 65 schools were surveyed. Poorly maintained and unhygienic facilities were described to which access was restricted. A significant proportion of children were bullied or teased. Forty per cent would never open their bowels using the toilets in school.

Conclusion The same standards for toilet facilities in the workplace should apply to schools. Substandard facilities may contribute to the suppression of the ‘call to stool’, leading to chronic constipation. Infectious illnesses may be more easily spread.