Utah parents would need to provide assurances that their child is potty trained to enroll them in kindergarten under a proposal under consideration by the Utah Legislature.

Rep. Douglas Welton, R-Payson, said the intent of HB331 is to “allow our teachers to teach and keep our kids safe and healthy as well.”

A significant number of children entering kindergarten are not potty trained, something that became more evident as Utah schools pivoted to full-day kindergarten classes, Welton said.

“This concern was brought to me by local constituents who reached out to me. They were concerned about three kindergarten teachers at a school that were ready to quit” after they were asked to wipe students’ bottoms or check their diapers.

“They’re like, ‘This is too much of a risk. I’m not going to risk potty training a kid. They need to come potty trained and ready to go,’ ” he said.

Welton said he reached out to the Utah State Board of Education for more information.

“At first they said there’s no issues and then they came back two months later, and they said actually, this is pretty widespread. This is pretty universal. Across the state of Utah. We’ve got roughly four times the number of kids who are coming to kindergarten that aren’t potty trained,” he said.

Teachers were concerned about the legal risk of assisting children while toileting or changing students who have soiled their clothing, he said.

“You’re asking teachers who already seem to be distrusted a little bit by certain segments of the population and you’re asking them to go and help facilitate a child use the restroom. That’s a big risk that a lot of them don’t want to take and shouldn’t have to take,” said Welton.

But if a child has an accident, “they are sitting in a mess and that’s not healthy and sanitary for anybody and that’s very problematic.”

In schools that have nurses on staff, they assist with such issues, Welton said.

“If it is four times greater, that’s a lot of school nurses that you’re going to have to hire,” he said.

The bill, which got a favorable recommendation from the House Education Committee on Wednesday, was amended to allow a parent or adult designee to aid in toilet training as needed.

If a student is not potty trained when they seek enrollment, “the school’s going to work with them with the school social worker or a counselor for additional family supports and resources,” Welton said.

The bill carves out exceptions for students with disabilities or those who receive special education services.

The legislation calls on the Utah State Board of Education to create rules regarding toilet training as a condition for kindergarten enrollment.