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Kent nurses are trying to tackle the rising tide of school nappy wearers


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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Readers' comments (4)

  • What a load of ****

    When will we stop being "politically correct" and place the responsibility where it belongs ?

    Lazy. slovenly parenting is at the root of these children's problems.

    If the parents cannot be bothered to care for their offspring the solution is to remove the children and ensure their adoption into a caring family.

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  • what group of children? people like you are like the goverment dont interfear!!!!!!!!!!

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  • As a mental health nurse specialising in the field of CAMHS inpatient tier 4, and now working as a primary mental health worker for the Targeted Mental Health in Schools service, since 2009. I have seen a steady increase of boys ages 7yrs to 10yrs who are still wearing nappies and soiling them. Only using the toilet to pass urine. I have worked closely with the school nurses/enuresis clinics, these children have no medicial underlying problems, but is pyschological. The interventions programme implemented to work with these children has been, the CBT approach where the families have played an integral part of the child's programme. My experience so far is that, some families, have become increasingly tired with internal home pressures demands/external demands, (some using excuses I know) However the majority of these families have firmly beleive that by the time little Johnny reaches pre-school I will have had him potty trained. Sadly this is not always the case, and these families become distressed and unhappy about the situation, quite often transferring this on to the child, who in turn becomes upset emotionally. It is usually at this stage that a service such as TAMHS becomes involved, as the child begins to struggle to cope with his or her emotions, on a daily basis (inability to perform well at school, name calling because peers make nasty comments about their body odour).

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  • this seems to be an ongoing and increasing problem, teachers are stressed enough
    i am a teacher and a mother and have potty trained both my kids when they were ready, we used a selection of support and products from various sources such as brollysheets uk
    there is support out there, no excuse

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