Rise in NI pupils not toilet trained

Published Monday, 06 February 2012
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Teachers in Northern Ireland say they are concerned about the rising number of children who are starting school before they are toilet trained.

Rise in NI pupils not toilet trained
Local teachers are concerned about the growing problem. (© UTV)

According to a new report, 62% of staff have noticed the number of children wetting or soiling themselves during the school day going up over the past five years.

The figure rises to 71% for youngsters aged between three and five in primary one.

Anne Millis, NI president of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers - which carried out the study - said the problem puts extra pressure on staff.

"Having to deal with increased numbers of pupils who have not yet been toilet trained puts extra pressure on education staff when they already have enough pressure on them," she said.

"Schools need to give staff clear guidance on how to deal with toileting accidents so that they know what they are allowed to do and who should be dealing with an incident.

"It is also important that education staff feel that have support from their school nurse or head, and that they know where to obtain guidance should they need it."

ATL surveyed 848 education staff working in state, independent and academy schools in the UK during October and November 2011.

Respondents believed the main reason for the increase was due to parents not toilet training their children before they start school.

ATL said legislation had led some schools to believe they can no longer refuse to take these children.

Local teachers have called for more to be done to solve the issue.

A Londonderry-based teacher said: "This is a major problem for us - over 45% of our nursery children are not toilet trained when coming into nursery when they are three years old.

"We also have children who soil and wet a great deal even in reception. Our parents just have no idea when and how to toilet train their children.

"We are having to put on a workshop to support them."

A teacher from a controlled school in Co Antrim said nappies have been designed to absorb large quantities of liquid.

She added: "Children do not feel wet or notice any discomfort and this seems to delay their urge to be free of nappies. Pull-ups are similar."

© UTV News
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8 Comments
Jenny in Northern ireland wrote (903 days ago):
The poor young mums getting bad mouthed yet again, in my experience its the young mum that are better parents and more likely to spend time with their child! No im not a young mum (in my 30s). My husbands cousin has 4 children, each one of those went to a private nursery as soon as they were 6 weeks! One of her children had an accident and her comment was 'For **** sake, what do I pay them for'. Many parents now are happy for other people to discipline and raise their children. Our daughter was using the potty by the age of 3, it wasnt easy (she takes the stubborn streak after her dad lol) but shes never once had an accident at nursery!
Sub in Belfast wrote (903 days ago):
The problem is that half of these children's parent(s) are barely out of nappies themselves! Kids having kids these days is the norm and a sad reflection on the inability of youngsters to be careful. Making a baby isn't to be taken lightly and handed off to granny when the parent want's to go out drinking or clubbing, is happening more and more.
r.gilheany in Omagh wrote (904 days ago):
There are no doubt many possible reasons why there is a rise in toileting difficulties at school - surely it cannot be overlooked that these children are not ready for the formal school setting. Why do we insist on sending our children to school so early compared to the rest of Europe, U.S, New Zealand and Australia? An extra year in a less formal preschool setting might address the actual needs of the child.
KJ in Antrim wrote (904 days ago):
It is not just an issue in NI as i have just been reading an article about it on the national news. I think a lot of it is due to parents who do not have the time and/or the inclination to train their child. There will always be the 1 or 2 children that have problems when it comes to toileting issues and that is understandable but I think that most of it is down to the parents. Also there is no law in NI taht says a child has to go to pre school infact you can choose wether ot not to send your child to pre school as formal schooling in NI does not start until P1 although going to preschool benefits the child and children who have attended pre school have shown to adapt better when starting their formal education.
maureen in Belfast wrote (904 days ago):
That is just so unfair. My son had to start preschool when he was 3yrs and 2 months. He was not fully toilet trained nor was he ready to start preschool yet because of the law he NI he had to. I found the whole experience so stressful as did my son. It was not my fault or my sons fault he was not fully toilet trained he was just too young! Maybe if there was flexibility in the starting age toilet training would be another issue not to have to worry about.
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