School And Public Health Nurses Association




In this section you can catch up on all the latest news from SAPHNA and around the profession.

Supporting Potty Training

Cherylynn Wray - Sunday, December 09, 2018 -

Research tells us that the age at which children become toilet trained has risen over the last 50 years from around 2years of age in the 1960s to over 3 years, with many children now starting school still not fully toilet trained. There are a number of factors cited for this including the prolonged use of disposable products, resulting in many parents missing the signs of readiness such as being dry after a nap or having increased intervals between voids.


Delayed toilet training can have an impact not only on a children’s social development but also their bladder and bowel health. Studies have directly linked delayed bladder and bowel control with an increase in children developing continence problems, such as over active bladders, and constipation.


To try and address the issues Bladder and Bowel UK offer a confidential helpline service to support both carers and professionals seeking further advice and information around toilet training. We also have a website with free downloadable resources.


link to parent resources

and this is the link to professionals resources

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New Policy Report: Young People With Continence Problems Need Better Support At Secondary School

Cherylynn Wray - Tuesday, November 27, 2018 -

Researchers from the University of Bristol led a workshop entitled "Continence Problems in Young People. Translating the evidence into designing support materials for schools" which outlined the findings from two research studies.


This in-depth qualitative research, the first of its kind in the UK, explored the impacts of continence problems for young people at secondary school and the barriers to their effective management. The study also assessed current awareness, practices and future information needs of school staff.


Informed by workshop participants, the findings and implications have now been summarised into this policy report Young people with continence problems need better support at secondary school


Contrary to popular belief, continence problems often persist into adolescence.


In an average sized secondary school there could be around 30-40 young people affected.


Under the Children and Families Act (2014) schools are required to provide appropriate support for children and young people with health problems.

However, the findings indicate that the needs of young people with bladder and bowel issues are not being met.


Key points include:

Continence problems are common in young people, but some schools are not complying with their legal duty to make arrangements to support children with a medical condition.

Addressing the challenges starts with educating teachers and other school staff.

Secondary school staff need support to understand their responsibilities and to know how to respond to the unique needs of young people with continence problems.

The statutory guidance from the Department for Education on 'Supporting Pupils with Medical Conditions at School' should include guidance for schools on clear and discreet procedures to make disclosing continence problems easier for young people.

Young people with continence problems may need extra time during exams and additional support to catch up with missed parts of lessons.

This requires a national approach to address unequal provision between schools.


This report is based upon research led by Dr Carol Joinson, Reader in Developmental Psychology at the Centre for Child and Adolescent Health at the University of Bristol, in collaboration with ERIC – The Children's Bowel and Bladder Charity, which was funded by the Medical Research Council and Economic and Social Research Council.


If you would like further information on this research topic, Dr Joinson and Juliette Randall (CEO of ERIC) are happy to discuss the work:;

This research has been welcomed by many organisations in this sector, and Dr Joinson would like to acknowledge the role of ERIC, the Paediatric Continence Forum and Bladder and Bowel UK in informing this work.

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Increasing Understanding Of The Needs Of Young People With Continence Problems At Secondary School

Cherylynn Wray - Monday, August 27, 2018 -

   Read More

Breaking Through The Barriers - Helping Children With Continence Problems

Cherylynn Wray - Sunday, November 06, 2016 -

Penny Dobson - Helping children with continence issues:   Read More

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