ERIC and the teachers union, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) surveyed teachers about toileting in schools in the UK.

There were 848 responses to the online survey which showed that 71% of primary school staff thought there had been an increase over the past five years in the number of children having wetting or soiling accidents at school.

Jenny Perez, director of ERIC, said: “Schools should be clear about their expectation that children should be using the toilet independently when they start school. They can support parents to achieve this by providing resources and information (available from ERIC) when the child’s place in school is confirmed. Health visitors and school nurses also have a role to play, and ERIC provides expert training on childhood continence problems for health professionals across the UK."

"ERIC helps thousands of families every year with guidance on toilet training pre-school children. Our Helpline team provides free support and we have several resources to guide professionals, parents and children."

Complete survey findings

1. 61% of respondents were teaching or support staff in foundation classes

  • Year 1 - 29%
  • Year 2 - 24%
  • Year 3 - 15%
  • Year 4 - 15%
  • Year 5 - 14%
  • Year 6 - 10%

69% of respondents were teachers, 13% were support staff

2. 59% of respondents thought that during the past 5 years there had been an increase in children having wetting or soiling accidents at school.

3. 41% of respondents said their schools do not provide information to parents of new school starters about ensuring their child is toilet trained before starting school.

4. 33% of respondents said their school did not have a policy for dealing with toileting accidents, 31% didn’t know if a policy existed.

5. 58% of respondents had never received any information about how to deal with childhood continence problems in school.

6. 98% of respondents said they allowed children to go to the toilet outside of break times.

7. 21% said they thought pupils avoided the toilets because of their poor state, 68% said they didn’t think this was the case, 11% said they don’t know whether children avoided toilets because of their poor state.