Early intervention to support healthy bladders & bowels

Early intervention is about taking action as soon as possible to tackle problems for children and families before they become more difficult to reverse. - Early Intervention Foundation

ERIC's aim is that every family can easily access information on potty training and good bladder and bowel health by the time their child is two.

By working with families, nurseries and early years practitioners we aim to help children to achieve independence in using the toilet and maintain good bowel and bladder health for life.

Click here for details of our potty training courses for parents and early years settings.

Why is it important?

Being toilet trained is a key skill that children need to develop independence, self-esteem and confidence and to thrive at school. Ofsted guidelines state that every child should be able to go to the toilet independently by the age of five.

In 2016 ERIC surveyed almost 700 education staff* working with children between the ages of three and seven. 70% said more children are now starting school without being toilet trained, compared to five years ago, this increased to 100% of staff working with children aged three to five. 

Toilet training is a development milestone that can create stress for families. It can have a disproportionate impact on those living in challenging social or economic circumstances. This is a neglected area of training for many professionals working with pre-school aged children and too many families are not getting the support they need for their children to start school out of nappies and ready to learn.

How ERIC can help

Our award-winning early interventions training enables professionals working with pre-school aged children and their families to help the child achieve independent toileting skills.

Our half day workshops address the problems that can arise during toilet training and teach how to manage or overcome common childhood continence problems such as constipation, day and night-time wetting and behavioural issues such as fear of using the toilet.

Our teaching complies with national and international protocols (where available) such as NICE guidelines and advice from the International Children's Continence Society. Our resources are endorsed by a professional advisory committee of specialist clinicians in the field of paediatric continence care.

Impact of ERIC training

During a three-year award-winning pilot project in Bristol, we trained over 1,000 health and early years professionals. Of those trained: 

  • 98% said they knew more about how to recognise a bowel or bladder problem
  • 90% said they knew what to advise in terms of scheduling a toileting programme
  • 100% said they felt more confident to support parents or children around continence.

*Survey of 699 school staff by ERIC and Association of Teachers and Lecturers, summer 2016.