Starting this fall, Utah public schools will require that children must be toilet trained to enroll in kindergarten.

The Utah State Board of Education, in its meeting Thursday, adopted a new rule that codifies recently passed legislation on the requirement and provides clarifying language.

Toilet trained means a student can communicate the need to use the bathroom to an adult; sit down on a toilet and use it without assistance; undress and dress as necessary; and tend to their personal hygiene after toileting, according to the board rule.

A school may enroll a student who is not toilet trained if the student’s developmental delay is the result of a condition addressed by an Individual Education Plan or Section 504 plan, the rule states.

At registration, schools shall require parents to provide assurances that incoming students are toilet trained.

Fourteen board members voted for the rule. Board member Natalie Cline, who participated electronically, abstained from voting, expressing concerns about the rule.

“It opens up the possibility of school personnel working that intimately with students,” she said.

Earlier this year, both houses of the Utah Legislature voted unanimously to pass HB331. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Douglas Welton, R-Payson, who is an educator, said the intent of the legislation was to “allow our teachers to teach and keep our kids safe and healthy as well.”

During legislative debate, Welton said significant numbers of children entering kindergarten are not toilet trained, which became evident after Utah schools pivoted to full-day kindergarten classes.

At one school, three kindergarten teachers expressed a desire to quit their jobs after they were asked to wipe students’ bottoms or check their diapers, he said.

“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,’ " Welton said.

The legislation allows a parent or adult designee to aid in toilet training at school as needed.

“So that could be somebody at the school, is that correct?” asked Cline.

“No,” responded board Vice Chairwoman Molly Hart. “A parent designee would be a babysitter or an older sibling, an adult older siblings, that kind of thing.”

The rule states that a student “is not “toilet trained if they have accidents with sufficient frequency to impact the educational experience of the student or the student’s peers, as determined by a local education agency.”

The rule calls on district school boards and charter school boards to establish policies to address the needs of enrolled students who lack toilet training, considering whether the delay may be associated with a disability and providing appropriate support to children and their parents.

According to the website, healthychildren.org, “the average age toilet training begins in the United States is between 2 and 3 years of age. Most children in the United States are bowel and bladder trained by 4 years of age.”