A pilot project in Dover and Deal is targeting the increasing number of children who are starting school without being toilet trained and still wearing nappies.
School nurses and health visitors are working with nurseries and primary schools to identify children who need help with toilet training before starting school as well as those already at school.
“Clean, Dry and Ready for School” is a new initiative by Kent Community Health Trust.
The aim is to support parents with children who do not have underlying medical problems, but who struggle to stay dry during the day. Those children who have more complex needs will be referred to the trust’s specialist bladder and bowel team.
School nurse practice teacher Chris Beer said: “Last year we had lots of contact from schools saying they were seeing a rising number of children starting school who were still wearing nappies and children who were not staying clean and dry during the day.
“Teachers were concerned they were spending less time teaching and more time helping the children who were having accidents.
“One school told us that due to the problem, they had to replace the carpets in two classrooms,” she said. “We looked at 18 schools and found 24 children who were not toilet trained.”
One of the main problems can be that children are not drinking enough fluid during the day.
Ms Beer said: “Because some children don’t drink enough during the day, they don’t learn to control their bladders and recognise the feelings of needing to go to the toilet.
“What we hope is that by working with children who are struggling early on in nursery, we can support them so by the time they get to school they will be clean and dry and can concentrate on learning.”
Ms Beer is working on the project with health visitor practice teacher Janet Marsh.
If successful, the project will be rolled out across the county.
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