Teachers Weary Of Changing Diapers For 11-Year-Olds; Number Of Older Children Wearing Diapers Skyrocketing

Potty-training your toddler is one of the ways to prepare your children for a healthy and independent life at home and in school.

Parents are increasingly giving up on their responsibility to potty-train their toddlers, resulting in a “skyrocketing” number of older children wearing diapers in school and teachers paying the price.

A ‘Worrying Trend’

Teachers in Switzerland have expressed concerns about too many children going to school wearing diapers despite being old enough to use toilets, with the Swiss Federation of Teachers, Dagmar Rösler, acknowledging that having an 11-year-old wearing diapers in a classroom is a “worrying trend.”

According to Rösler, it’s normal to have some younger children wear diapers in school for convenience since they start attending school at 4.

“Kids are going to school as early as 4 years old now, so yeah, you might actually find some still in diapers,” she told 20 Minuten, a Swiss newspaper. However, she admits it becomes disturbing when an 11-year-old attends school wearing diapers.

Child development expert Rita Messmer also told the Sonntagszeitung that the number of kids wearing diapers in school has “Skyrocketed,” revealing she also had an 11-year-old patient who was not taught how to use a toilet independently.

While the problem of older kids going to school wearing diapers has become rampant in Switzerland, Schools in Buffalo, New York, also grapple with the same problem, with teachers fed up with changing the kids’ diapers.

This disturbing trend in schools prompted the president of the Buffalo Teachers Federation, Phil Rumore, to warn parents unwilling to train their children that teachers were not mandated with changing kids’ diapers.   

“There is no policy in place, or procedure in place, to work with the child to either potty train them, to clean them when they have an accident,” Rumore told WBUR in 2019, adding that “The teacher can’t do it because it takes away from the class.”

The Teachers Federation issued a stern warning to parents after 43 children were reportedly not potty-trained, leading to accidents and teasing from their peers.

Burden to Teachers

Mayo Clinic recommends teaching children how to use toilets through potty training from as early as 18 and up to 24 months to get them accustomed to responding to nature calls correctly. However, some parents do not get their homework done by avoiding the training season due to the convenience of diapers.

“Some parents let it slide because diapers are a convenient relief. It’s not seen as a problem these days,” said educational scientist Margrit Stamm, adding that it “sends a totally wrong message.”

While diapers may offer convenience to toddlers, having more and more older children wearing diapers in school makes teachers’ work difficult and less motivating as they would lose more time helping older children change soiled or soaked diapers in school.

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Parents Have a Responsibility to Train their Children

According to Rösler, parents are responsible for training children and ensuring they no longer wear diapers when old enough to use a toilet.

“Teachers aren’t there to change their students’ diapers,” she said, adding that leaving teachers to change diapers for children with no particular medical condition is “crossing a line.”

Experts at TPR Teaching encourage parents to look for signs showing their children are ready to use the toilet and that there is no universal best time to start potty training. It is a good idea to avoid potty training if times are stressful at home.


This article was produced by TPR Teaching.

Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.

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