New research* shows that there has been an increase in children having accidents (wetting or soiling themselves) during the school day, with 62% of primary school staff noticing an increase over the past five years and the percentage rising to 71% of those working with 3 – 5 year olds.
There are a number of factors contributing to this rise, but many healthcare professionals and the mum creators of an award-winning potty training product (who have extensively researched this area) lay much of the blame at the door of the nappy-style toilet training pants that parents are using.
Their research shows that there has been a steady increase in the age at which children become toilet trained. Back in the 1960s the average age was two, and it has been increasing since then – coinciding with the introduction of the disposable nappy in 1961. The average age at which children become dry is now around three or three and a half.
In recent years there has also been a huge increase in the number of children using nappy-style training pants (like Pull-Ups). According to Mintel there was a 95% increase in sales (value) of disposable training pants between 2003 and 2007 – with sales going up from £43m to £84m in those four years alone.
After experiencing their own potty training difficulties and doing extensive research with parents and children, Judith Hough and Diane Titterton created an award-winning potty training product (Dry Like Me) and they say it’s the use of nappy-style toilet training pants (often called pull-ups) that are contributing to the problem. Their views are backed by many health professionals who say that the best way to potty train is to move children into their own underwear.
Judith says: “Parents are being encouraged to use nappy-style potty training pants when they move their child out of nappies, but these are really just nappies by another name. They are so absorbent and comfortable that there is little incentive for the children to get dry and stop wearing them – they actually do their job too well.
This view is echoed by one of the teachers that took part in the latest research who said: “Nappies have been designed to absorb large quantities of liquid. Children do not feel wet or notice any discomfort and this seems to delay their urge to be free of nappies. Pull-ups are similar.”
Judith and Diane came up with a solution – getting the balance between helping to reduce the stress and mess of potty training but ensuring that their product didn’t make it difficult for children to recognise when they should have gone to the toilet and wasn’t so absorbent that it could delay the potty training process.
Dry Like Me pads allow children to move from nappies into their own pants, which the majority of health professionals say is the best way to potty train. They are disposable toilet training pads that fit in a child’s own pants. They are designed to capture small accidents and help children and parents manage the stress and mess of toilet training – without being so absorbent that they delay it. Independent research found them an effective toilet training tool, and in trials they reduced the number of accidents children had by up to 43% within one week.
They have been extensively researched and are endorsed by child charity ERIC (Education and Resources for Improving Childhood Continence) who carried out the latest research amongst teachers. They are also cheaper than many other disposable alternatives and create less waste.
Comments Jenny Perez from children’s charity, ERIC:
“Dry Like Me pads are a very useful product – both for older children experiencing daytime accidents and to help if you are potty training a younger child, as they allow children to wear their own pants. Wearing of their own pants is considered the best way to potty train younger children and is also far more discreet for older children experiencing problems.”
Comments community paediatrician, Dr Eve Fleming: “Dry Like Me pads can help to reduce the stress and accidents in potty training and make everyone feel more relaxed, while still allowing the child to progress to their own pants.
”As part of the training it is important to help children learn or relearn skills and confidence in using the toilet. In order to help this re-education I find that it is often helpful to avoid using nappies and the usual continence protection as it interferes with retraining to use the toilet, and gives mixed messages to the child.”
Diane of Dry Like Me adds: “Research has also shown that there is an optimum window, at around the age of two, for a child to become potty trained and that, if this opportunity is missed, it can result in longer and later potty training. This may well be contributing to more children still having accidents when they start school, because many are being kept in nappy-style products and this window is being missed.”
Dry Like Me are suitable for children of all ages – including those experiencing on-going problems. They are ideal for use during the day and night and can help on journeys, when out shopping or at school or nursery. They feature special tabs for easy and hygienic removal by parents and each box comes with a handy plastic travel pouch, which can be used to store soiled pads when there is no bin nearby.
Dry Like Me toilet training pads have just been awarded the following:
- Practical Pre-School Awards – Merit Award
- Practical Parenting Magazine – Bronze Award
- Babyworld – ‘Mums Love Award’ after all parent reviewers giving the pads 5/5 in every category
Dry Like Me toilet training pads cost around £3.49 for a pack of 18. They are available from branches of Asda, Sainsbury, Morrisons, and Wilkinsons. For more information go to www.drylikeme.com.