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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Diapers in kindergarten?

Kids are starting kindergarten in diapers and "pull-ups," complain teachers on the subreddit, r/Teachers, writes Megan Quinn on Your Tango. These are not children with developmental or medical disabilities. They just haven't been toilet trained at the age of five. The problem is worse in pre-K classrooms.

"Kindergarten teachers reported to We Are Teachers that 15-20% of their classroom is not potty-trained, and even a few first-graders are still in Pull-Ups," Quinn writes.

I sure hope that's an exaggeration.

The average age at which children are fully toilet trained in now 36 months, she writes. Forty years ago, when I had a toddler, the median age was 27 months.

Some teachers blame “gentle parenting” for persuading parents that it's "harmful to force a child to learn how to use the toilet" before they say they're ready, Quinn writes.

“I’ve seen some people compare forcing a child to be potty-trained before they are ready to abuse,” a Redditor wrote.

A growing number of parents aren't teaching their children basic skills such as tying their shoes and zipping their coats, a third-grade teacher complained on TikTok. “They would just stomp their foot at me with laces all over the place and be like, ‘tie this!’” Maren says. In third grade?

California wants elementary schools to offer pre-K to four-year-olds -- with no requirement that they be toilet trained, reports Jenny Gold in the Los Angeles Times. Districts may need to negotiate with labor unions on who deals with diaper changes and help with wiping, an Education Department official said.

"The state has received questions about toilet issues all the way up through the third grade," reports Gold.

Districts are adopting their own policies, she writes. Some now provide online potty training advice to parents.

Micaela Moreno who teaches four-year-olds in Long Beach, worries about child-abuse accusations. “We should not be with kids alone in a room, and especially not a bathroom.”

Moreno said she tries to teach her students the basics of using the toilet, and even offers step-by-step tips through a closed bathroom door — telling them to rip off a piece of toilet paper, wash their hands and throw the paper towel in the trash can.
But she doesn’t help them wipe. . . . “We were not trained to wipe children. It shouldn’t be part of my job.”

The district has "added toilet assistance to the job descriptions" of pre-k aides.

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