Managing Incontinence at School: A Guide for Parents and Teachers

We share tips on how to make managing your child’s incontinence while at school as comfortable and supportive as possible.

Managing Incontinence at School: A Guide for Parents and Teachers

We share tips on how to make managing your child’s incontinence while at school as comfortable and supportive as possible.

For children experiencing incontinence, managing their condition at school can be a challenging and potentially embarrassing experience. But it doesn’t need to be with the proper support and guidance from their parents or caregiver, and their teachers.

We’ve created this guide with the aim to provide parents, caregivers and teachers with practical strategies and recommendations to support children with incontinence when they’re at school.

Open communication & collaboration

Collaboration and open communication among parents, teachers, and healthcare professionals are essential to effectively manage a child's incontinence at school. Parents should let the school know about their child's condition, including its severity, triggers, and any recommended management strategies that a parent knows are effective. This could even be some strategies that have already been working at home.

The school and your child’s teachers won’t be able to best support them unless they have this information. Once they’re made aware of your child’s circumstances, they can get involved with you in creating a supportive and understanding environment at school.

Establishing a supportive environment

Creating a supportive environment is crucial for children with incontinence. So what can be done to ensure your child feels safe and secure at school? Here are four of our top tips…

1. Confidentiality

No matter a child’s age, parents and teachers should always respect their privacy by ensuring that their condition remains confidential. Only share relevant information with those directly involved in their care. A child’s peers shouldn’t know about their condition unless the child makes it clear they’re comfortable sharing that information with them.

2. Sensitivity

Foster a sensitive and understanding attitude among teachers (and classmates, should they be aware). This can be done by chatting to teachers, who can then speak to their students, about incontinence in a positive and supportive manner to promote empathy and discourage any teasing or stigmatisation. More on how to have these conversations later in this article!

3. Products and resources

Parents should send their children to school with the necessary resources such as extra changes of clothes, disposable pads, wipes, and plastic bags for soiled items. The parent could also consider speaking to their child’s teacher about having a ‘station’ or safe place in the classroom to store these items.

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4. Accessibility

Parents and teachers should ensure that any child with incontinence has easy access to toilets and bathroom facilities from their classroom. The school as a whole should make sure restrooms are clean, well-stocked with toilet paper and other resources, and easily accessible throughout the school premises.

Creating routines & strategies

Routine is so important for children, in many aspects of life, and can help reduce stress and anxiety. So you can imagine how impactful a routine for managing incontinence at school can support a child. Here are some of our suggestions on how to set an effective routine and strategies:

Timed voiding

Encourage the child to take regular bathroom breaks to minimise accidents. Create a schedule that aligns with the child's level of incontinence and ensure that they have access to a bathroom during these designated times.

Bathroom buddy

Assign a trusted peer or teacher to accompany the child to the bathroom if they are uncomfortable going alone. This buddy system can provide a sense of security and support.

Hydration and diet

Encourage the child to drink enough water daily and teach them how certain foods and drinks can affect their bladder or bowel movements. You can read more about which foods and drinks to avoid to control incontinence. Teachers, parents and healthcare professionals can collaborate with each other to create a balanced diet plan for the child.

How to educate teachers & peers

Educating a child’s teachers and peers about incontinence can create a more inclusive and understanding school environment. But knowing where to start can be tricky, which is why we’ve broken the process down in more detail.

Classroom discussions

Encourage open discussions about incontinence to raise awareness, address misconceptions, and promote empathy among classmates. These discussions can be led by the teacher or even by a health professional the school can organise to come in and speak to students. Be sure to encourage students to ask questions and provide accurate information. You can even suggest they write their questions down and put them in a box for the leader of the discussion to pull out and read.

Staff training

Along with support from parents or caregivers, the school can organise training sessions for teachers and staff members to equip them with knowledge about incontinence management. This training can include information on signs, symptoms, appropriate responses, and strategies to support the child effectively.

Supportive policies

Parents or caregivers can work with the school administration to develop inclusive policies that support students with incontinence. These policies can outline procedures for managing accidents, access to resources, and guidelines for peer support.

So as you can see, managing incontinence at school requires a collaborative effort between parents or caregivers, teachers, and healthcare professionals. By creating a supportive environment, establishing routines, and educating peers and teachers, we can help children with incontinence feel comfortable and empowered at school.

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