checks messages for reliability. Claim: "On average, two children per nursery class are unclean."

Judgment: unproven

Het Parool , RTL Nieuws and Metro wrote on November 28 that elementary school teachers have their hands full of preschoolers who poop or pee in their pants. New research would show that on average two children in a nursery class are not yet toilet trained. According to RTL News , the number of children who are untrained is also increasing.

Where is it from?

The messages all appear to be based on an investigation by hygiene and health company Essity. Essity includes, for example, various diaper and toilet paper brands.

In the study, 120 primary school teachers in groups 1 and 2 were asked if they had children in the class who were not yet toilet trained. About 45 teachers said that they do indeed have children in the class that are untrained, about 75 teachers said that all children in their class are potty trained. Of the preschool children going to primary school for the first time, 9 percent are not yet potty trained, according to primary school teachers.

What do the results mean?

Essity explains in a report about this study that a kindergarten class has an average of twenty children. That is why in such a class - based on what the teachers say - there are two children who were not yet toilet trained on the first day they went to primary school.

The research says nothing about how long it takes for these children to become house trained. It is of course quite possible that children become house-trained during the infancy. There are probably fewer children in group 2 who are not toilet trained than in group 1 and the average number of untrained children in group 2 is therefore lower than two.

In addition, the number of participants in the study is small. This may have had an effect on the results.

What does other research show?

A larger Dutch study on toilet training in preschool children was published two years ago. Eleven hundred primary schools in the Netherlands took part in this study, conducted by a pediatrician and others.

This showed that toilet training is discussed with the parents at almost all schools before their child arrives at school. According to the primary schools that participated in this study, 4 percent of all children who go to school for the first time are not clean during the day. This amounts to an average of one child per class.

According to the researchers, there are no indications for an increase in the number of children who go to school without being trained. The proportion was no greater than the percentage found in another study in the 1990s.

Urinary incontinence guideline

On the basis of this study, are we sure that on average one child per class is unclean when he first goes to school? No. Exactly how many children are untrained will depend on what the researchers mean by toilet training and to whom the questions are asked. It probably makes a difference whether you ask primary school teachers, parents or doctors questions about this.

The Urinary Incontinence in Children guideline of the Dutch Association for Urology states that 6 to 9 percent of school-aged children suffer from some form of unintended loss of urine during the day. This is based on various Dutch and international studies.

In the studies on which this guideline is based, different definitions of incontinence are also used. British research, for example, showed that 1 percent of five-year-olds have unintended urine loss every day. In Swedish research, the definition of wet pants at least once every three months was used.


How many toddlers are not yet toilet trained when they go to primary school, depends on what you mean by toilet training. It is not clear how often a child may have an 'accident' before primary school teachers do not call a child toilet.

The most recent large-scale study into toilet training in kindergarten classes revealed that, according to teachers, on average one child per class is not toilet trained on his or her first day of school. But also in this research it is not made clear what potty means exactly. The actual number of untrained preschool children may be larger.

We judge the statement "on average two children per nursery class are unclean" as unproven .