Toileting: IS SCHOOL REQUIRED TO ASSIST CHILD WITH TOILETING ACCIDENTS?

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Carolyn:  Hello, My son who is not doing well in his kindergarten class has started to have accidents after being toilet trained for 1.5 years. When this happens the school calls me to clean him up. They say that they are not allowed to. We have an IEP but it does not list anything about toileting accidents. If I get a call then I have to leave work to go clean him up. It’s happened twice a day as he’s not doing well and I need to find another placement. It doesn’t seem like FAPE to me when it’s costing me to loose wages to either not go to work or leave to clean him up.

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Ronda

Teachers do not help with any type of bathroom issues. We are not even allowed in the student restroom. It is a parents responsibility to make sure the student is ready to attend school. If there are other issues, then parents have to look beyond public schools.

DawnD

If a child is having accidents, wouldn’t the parent want to know what is causing the accidents, and deal with the accidents themselves? I don’t know if I’d want a teacher to. Perhaps in the extreme cases, same-sex diaper changers may be needed for students with paralysis/spina bifida/etc, but those issues likely can be addressed without diaper changes. Parenting doesn’t stop at the bus stop, or when you drop him off. If the boy is having problems with hygiene or self-care skills, consider pulling him out of school and holding him back a year. He still needs daytime parenting. It’s not appropriate for teachers to step in with the intimate parenting tasks that are needed. What would be next? Do the schools start giving baths to students?

Kay

So a child that has a disabled and can’t use the restroom on his own can’t go to a public school? Shame on you guys.

Kathy

I believe if they have a disability/IEP/504 the help is addressed. As a school nurse – maybe I have been fortunate but those problems have always been addressed in my district. My problem is with normal, healthy children that have no medical diagnosis but simply haven’t been potty trained. I have actually had a parent tell me her son refuses to be potty trained “so I’m not fighting that battle anymore, you can do it”. While I love taking care of children, a parent is still a parent all day every day. As a parent myself, I would not be comfortable with another adult taking my child’s clothes off, cleaning private areas…usually with a wet paper towel, calling it good and never letting me know about the occurrence. If you are a parent, you are gonna get calls from your child’s school.

Angela

Agreed…and it really does need some attention if a child suddenly regresses in a life skill like toileting. Something isn’t right for the child. It might not need an IEP goal/service or a formal meeting, but it does require some discussion with the teacher and service providers.

Angela

But is it that he can’t or that he isn’t doing it? The parent said he was toilet trained for 1.5 years. Maybe he just needs a regular, established routine for the toilet and reassurance that it’s okay he had accidents. School teachers are not glorified baby-sitters and this parent seems to think the most important thing is the lost wage, not the child’s sudden difficulties with toileting. The teachers were hoping to INVOLVE the parent to resolve the problem, I’m sure. It seems like teachers are complained about for overstepping and NOT telling parents things, then complained about for bothering a parent at work?

Jenny

I agree Kay. We are required to clean them. If it seems like their sick thats a diiferent story. A lot of stress happends at school and possibly the teacher gives it.

Dawn

my son 5 1/2 years old is a small child for his age. 34″ and only 19lbs. Was a micro-preemie and has overcome some life threatening issues. Due to his size we’ve requested for some reasonable restroom accommodations. Also written in his IEP last May 2017. He has been fully potty trained for two years. He has only had accidents because he can’t reach the door to the restroom or the toilet that he was brought into was too high and fear of falling in. It now April another IEP later and many excuses after excuses. Do we have any rights?

Chuck

Your state parent training & information center can assist you. http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center

Dawn

Thank you Chuck.

Timothy

I want to ask where the school nurse is at? He or she has been trained and would be the one to change diapers. Make her or him do that under a rule 504.

School nurse

The student would have to be in the 504 program. What is the diagnosis? Is there a doctor order that requires diaper changing? Or is it basically not school ready? Is there a para that assists the teacher? Or do you want to walk the soiled student to the nurses office down the hall while everybody sees the student is soiled on a daily basis. Kids can be cruel and say “Johnny pooped again” .. the school nurse sees a lot of students with actual medical needs. Ex. Diabetes, gastric tube feedings, albuterol inhalers, adhd meds, and sick students.. Just questions. It’s not the parents responsibility to have their children school ready? Another question is does it have to be a registered nurse that change diapers on a daily. While other real medical issues are waiting in line.

Another School Nurse

As a school nurse, I know that my education did not focus on wiping poopie bottoms! Any parent, or teacher, is just as skilled and capable as a nurse is to wipe a child’s bottom. Being a nurse is NOT synonymous with being in charge of potty training!!! This is a PARENT issue. Stop enabling delinquent parents who have not taught their child to use the bathroom. If there actually is a diagnosed medical issue, that is another matter altogether. Time to remember that Teachers are there to teach. Nurses are there to teach, treat, and manage MEDICAL problems, not PARENTAL problems.

Patti

What about helping a female teacher helping a female student with changing a pad and underwear during menstruation?

Lori

I felt a need to jump in here as I am currently dealing with the issues of inappropriate sexual acts being done by a teacher. My son is four and he is under an IEP. The complex mess we are dealing with, because of teachers having to be doing what we as parents should be doing, as I personally don’t want anyone doing that, is far beyond what anyone could imagine. My son doesn’t require help, yet the bathroom is in a different building so he must be taken is the problem in our case. And of course – the sick teacher that has been removed. I say it’s worth leaving work and doing it yourself, as to the trauma my son has and will continue to do as well as myself.

Angela

This is just what I was talking about in a different reply! Find out why a child is suddenly soiling himself at school because it might be something the parent would want to know immediately, like inappropriate behavior from a staff member or another child.

Jill G

I echo Chuck and suggest that you ask for a Team meeting asap. If your state offers Facilitated IEP meetings, you may consider asking for this – the school may sing a different tune if there’s a third party present.

Start with the immediate issue – the toileting. Ask the school to come up with a plan to address the cause of the accidents (i.e. conduct a functional behavioral assessment), and the “aftermath” of them (i.e. your providing extra clothes, they doing the work). Once that is settled, move on to the bigger issues with his IEP and placement. If the school digs in their heals about the toileting issue, consider using a dispute resolution option.

Jill G

Carolyn –

I have to admit that I laughed a little when I read your post. I thought I had heard it all, then I read that the school makes you come clean up your child. That’s absolutely ridiculous!

It’s well settled that schools must address student’s functional needs (like helping him toilet and cleaning him up afterward), if it’s necessary to help keep him in school. This assistance could be considered a related service or a supplementary aid or service – or, like, just something they do without needing to put it in the IEP (like most schools).

Steven

I am a male kindergarten teacher teaching a regular ed.class and do not find it ridiculous. I will not change a kindergartner’s diaper. Aside from it being highly inappropriate, it would increase the risk of my being accused of an impropriety. Until an IEP is developed, I find it completely reasonable to ask a parent or family member to come to school to change the diaper.

Lydia

I agree with Steven. Changing him needs to be written into the IEP, this will ensure that they have staff to do this. Also I agree with Chuck about getting together to look at all the issues.

Jillian S.

This is not something that we are required by law to do. Not only is it NOT in our job descriptions as teachers, it does open up a can of worms as Steven said. I was also advised not to help any students with toileting when I was teaching TK by the principal. Sometimes nurses that are on site will help, but sometimes they will not. It seems to be on a case by case basis and also by school/district/state mandates.

Usually when I hear that a child has been potty trained previously with no accidents and is now having accidents, this is an indicator of something else going on in the child’s life.

It could be excess stress, inappropriate sexual issues (hopefully not!!), control issues (he feels that he is not in control so the only thing he can control is his bowel movements), etc.

Chuck

The law (Americans with Disabilities Act) does require this. Whether a teacher can be required to do this depends on the principal’s decision & state law. However, the school still has the responsibility to provide this. Educator associations, & school attorneys should have info & ideas for how schools can meet their obligations.

Ronda

I do not believe that is accurate. Students have a place that they can clean themselves, however it is not required that a teacher does this. I believe the act requires us to provide the same services to those with disabilities as we would to general students. We do not ever provide toilet service.

Angela

Yes, many districts hire health aides to meet the needs of students who need diaper changes. But I think an occasional accident at school by a child who typically is toileting independently is a reason to call the parent and get assistance.

Ronda

It is absolutely ridiculous for parents to think that a teacher should have to clean up toilet issues of their children. No. We are not diaper changers, we are educators. We cannot leave the classroom unattended to change diapers, pull down or up pants, or wipe butts. Your child has to be able to function in this area on their own.

Chuck

Whether or not they are legally allowed to change him in your state, the key issue is why is he now having accidents & how can the current situation be changed. Requesting an IEP meeting to discuss this & any other concerns that you have is certainly appropriate. Your state parent training & information project can assist you. http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center/