Former teacher blames 'lazy parenting' for children starting school in nappies

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Nappy, potty training
Former teacher Susan Elkin has slammed 'lazy' parents for increasing numbers of children starting school whilst still wearing nappies.

A study carried out by the National Foundation for Educational Research last year revealed that 1,600 children aged five and over were still wearing nappies at primary school, but Susan, who used to teach English at secondary school and has two grown-up sons of her own, says: 'It's really down to lazy parenting I am afraid. Children come into school, they should be ready to learn and be able to do basic social things.'

'Instead some of them come in with their bottoms wrapped in filth, which is terribly demeaning for a child of five,' she added.

The comments, which were made on Good Morning Britain on 7th September 2015, sparked debate both online and on the show, with presenters Susanna Reid and Kate Garraway suggesting that busy working parents may not have had the amount of time required to but into potty training their children to the necessary level.

However, Susan simply retorted: 'If both parents are working then the child will be with a child minder or in a nursery, in which case it is their responsibility to get the children clean if the parents aren't in a position to do it.'

Susan Elkin says children should be 'ready to learn and be able to do basic social things' by the time they start primary school

Teachers have classroom assistants to help them but they should be assisting with education,' she continued.

'They are not there - other than for those with special needs - to be dealing with social needs that should be rectified long before child gets to school.'

'People leave it far to late until it becomes a conscious issue with the child,' she said. 'If you start younger then it's not an issue. It becomes part of life.'

The show also consulted with Janet Marsh, who set up the Kent Community Health NHS Trust's 'Clean and Dry' programme, which is designed to help parents address the issue of potty training before they hit school age - a service which has had enquiries from across the country and even as far as Australia.

'We were finding that children in reception class who weren't toilet trained were missing up to 25 per cent of their education which is a huge amount and that has a knock on effect into primary and then secondary education,' Janet explained, although she did admit that modern parents have a harder time telling when their child is ready for the process.

'In the days of terry towelling nappies, if the child was wet it was uncomfortable. Today with modern nappies they can stay in them so much longer and feel dry. Because of this, the child and parent can sometimes miss the cues that the child is ready to potty train.'

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What's your take on children going to school when they're not potty trained - the fault of the parents, or something every child needs to tackle in their own time? Leave us a comment and let us know your thoughts!

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Ninette Taylir

After Terry Nappies there were Terry Pants / Knickers. Especially if it was Spring or Summer at the right time for final ' training', they worked. A few wet pants or horrible Knickers and little one soon realised the potty / toilet was preferable.


That's as long as they have not been premature and lack the physical attributes to be trained by 5!


OK. From an ex teacher, ye kids should be trained before they start school, however having had twin grandsons born 9 years ago and at that time the only surviving prem babies born at 24 weeks, allowances must be made and training put in place for dealing with the increase in prem births and the effects of very late development in these children. One of our twins, only 14oz at birth, was not totally toilet trained when he went to school due to very late development. It took a visit from his paediatrician into school to explain why. After this, the school accepted the situation and plans were drawn up for his rouletting programming. Great school, they responded very well indeed and helped him to develop naturally without the need for special education.

Ja Sam

She does have a point. We trained our kid with "Concisework Potty Training" and it was all over in a week. Never one incident after. It's not rocket science.

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