Children are being sent to primary school wearing nappies because parents "cannot be bothered" to toilet train them, a community nurse claims.
Councillors have been told some parents in Gloucestershire were not "motivated" enough to take care of their children.
One ex-primary school head teacher called for parents to "clean the child up" the nurse, Councillor Collette Finnegan, told a meeting.
Gloucestershire County Council said support was available for parents.
Ms Finnegan told the council's health and care scrutiny committee that some parents on low incomes were not taking care of their child and have turned to schools, and even the police, for help instead.
'Just do nothing'
She said it was a "new thing" that teachers "now have to deal with children wearing nappies".
Sarah Scott, the council's director of public health, said support programmes were available for parents from low-economic backgrounds.
But Ms Finnegan said "not a lot of parents" wanted to take part in these programmes.
"They want to sit at home and just do nothing with the children running around half-dressed in the middle of the day or not dressed at all," she told the meeting.
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"It's the most appalling situation. That's the way they want to live.
"I know one particular girl who is close to me has recently started school.
"She's four-and-a-half, she's going to school daily wearing nappies."
But Ms Scott said there was "a service day-in, day-out working hard with families".
"There probably are too many children that are in nappies who aren't toilet trained," she accepted.
"Sometimes there is a legitimate reason for that rather than just parents haven't potty-trained their children."