Using a toilet or a potty is a new skill for your child to learn. It's best to take it slowly and go at your child's pace. Being patient with them will help them get it right, even if you sometimes feel frustrated. Children are able to control their bladder and bowels when they're physically ready and when they want to be dry and clean. Every child is different, so it's best not to compare your child with others.
Bear in mind that most children can control their bowels before their bladder.
- by age 1, most babies have stopped doing poos at night
- by age 2, some children will be dry during the day, but this is still quite early
- by age 3, 9 out of 10 children are dry most days – even then, all children have the odd accident, especially when they're excited, upset or absorbed in something else
- by age 4, most children are reliably dry during the day
It usually takes a little longer for children to learn to stay dry throughout the night.
Although most learn this between the ages of 3 and 5, up to 1 in 5 children aged 5 sometimes wet the bed.
You can try to work out when your child is ready. There are a number of signs that your child is starting to develop bladder control:
- they know when they've got a wet or dirty nappy
- they get to know when they're peeing and may tell you they're doing it
- the gap between wetting is at least an hour (if it's less, potty training may fail, and at the very least will be extremely hard work for you)
- they show they need to pee by fidgeting or going somewhere quiet or hidden
- they know when they need to pee and may say so in advance
Potty training is usually fastest if your child is at the last stage before you start the training. If you start earlier, be prepared for a lot of accidents as your child learns.