Tips for Returning To School with Incontinence

Students in class
Returning to school can be an exciting time. Children are often ready to learn new things and see their friends again. However, it can also be a source of stress and anxiety. Many children don’t know what to expect with their new schedules. This change from the relaxing summer routine can increase the rate of incontinence accidents. Learn tips and steps to help ease the transition back to school from wound, ostomy and continence nurse with CHC Solutions, Inc., Cheryl Hutton.

Addressing Teachers

When addressing your child’s teachers, nurses and administrators, it’s important to remind them that children with special and/or complex healthcare needs may not be able to easily communicate their needs, such as the need to use the bathroom. Because of this, it is helpful to develop plans with the teacher or include them in the child’s Individualized Educational Plan (IEP).

Teachers can support and help a child manage their condition while the parents are away by:

  • Allowing the child to freely go to the bathroom when necessary
  • Determining a bathroom schedule to help them void their bladder before accidents occur
  • Developing a codeword for accidents
  • Acting as a resource if the child is experiencing any bullying
  • Identifying signs of the child needing to go to the bathroom, such as holding postures
  • Ensuring that the child has a private environment to use the bathroom or change incontinence supplies

Helpful Tip for Parents/Caregivers

Some parents/caregivers get nervous about addressing incontinence with their child’s teachers. Try to remember that incontinence is a common condition. Most likely, the teacher has experience working with other children with this condition. Teachers want to help make school easier for the child and will take the necessary steps to ensure incontinence doesn’t interfere with learning.

Try to set up a private meeting with the child’s teacher. Then, remain calm and honest as you explain the situation and incontinence causes. It may be helpful to write down the child’s symptoms and triggers so you don’t forget them. Encourage questions and listen to their feedback.

Preparing Your Child

One of the most important tools to provide a child with incontinence is support. Encouraging, reassuring and understanding the child will motivate them throughout the school day. Getting frustrated or speaking negatively about the situation will only add to the child’s stress and anxiety. Remember, incontinence is not their fault.

Follow these tips to help prepare the child for their day at school:

  • If necessary, send the child to school with incontinence supplies such as diapers, pull-ups or liners, so they are prepared for accidents and can go the entire day without needing a change of clothes.
  • Pack them a change clothes in the event an accident occurs. Clothes may be able to be left in the nurse’s office.
  • Provide the child with a waterproof bag. This way, the child can carry any wet clothes home.
  • Have the child bring a packed lunch. This can help ease incontinence symptoms by managing the food and fluids the child eats and drinks, as some foods and drinks may be common triggers of incontinence (fruit juices and items with a lot of sugar). Try to pack lunches with water, whole grains, fruits and veggies.

Finally, if you want to learn more about helpful incontinence topics, visit

*Disclaimer: Any health and wellness content presented is for general informational purposes only. Such content is not intended to replace or serve as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.