Is your child ready for toilet training?

It’s always difficult to know when the best time to start toilet training for your little one. There is no specific date or time to start – it’s really up to your parental intuition and child’s physiological (bladder and bowel control), cognitive and verbal developmental stages, emotional and social awareness and their individual needs. Some kids are dry by 4 years, others are still wet at 6 – and both are perfectly normal.

Generally, most children have some control over their bladders in the daytime by the age of three and girls seem quicker to adapt than boys. At night it takes a little longer to get to grips with staying dry, as the child has no bladder awareness whilst asleep. The hormone that sends signals to the kidneys to delay urine production whilst resting develops in children at different ages, some younger and some older.

In a class of 30 children:
  • at age 5 there will still be 5 or more children in the class who are still wetting the bed
  • at age 7 there will still be a couple who are still wetting their beds
  • at age 10 there will be one or two still.

Children are either physically capable of holding their urine or waking up to wee or they aren’t. If your child is still waking up wet every morning he is not ready to be in underwear and there is no shame in that. Some kids can day train at 2 and still be in pull-ups at 5 or 6. It’s just the way they are made and every kid is different.  Don’t be concerned if your toddler wets the bed because most children under the age of 5 still urinate in their sleep and one in ten younger primary school children do to.

Doctors consider bed wetting normal until about 7-8 years old. After that point they’ll sometimes check to see if there are other reasons for bed wetting (infections, diabetes, etc).

How to tell when your child is ready
  • Your child may attempt to go to the toilet or call out for your help.
  • They may become interested in watching you “go”.
  • Does your child say they want to try without nappies.
  • When your child is having dry nappies for up to two hours – this shows he’s able to store wee in his bladder (which automatically empties in younger babies or newborns).
  • She can pull her pants up and down
  • They may start to dislike wearing a nappy, often pulling it off when its wet or dirty.

Good luck and remember, its really an individual thing not an age or maturity related milestone at all.