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Children are able to control their bladder and bowels when they’re physically ready and when they want to be dry and clean, usually from the age of 18 months to three years. Every child is different and it is not unusual for this to happen later in some children. There will be occasions when your child has set backs with some wetting episodes.


Try to remember the following:

  • Most children can control their bowels before their bladder
  • By the age of two, some children will be dry during the day, but this is still quite early
  • By the age of three, nine 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 the age of four, most children are reliably dry
  • Remember that you can’t force your child to use a potty if they’re not ready
  • Try to remain patient and praise your child for their efforts
  • The summer months can be an easier time to start, when clothes dry more quickly and there are fewer clothes to take off.


It usually takes a little longer to learn to stay dry throughout the night. Although most children learn this between the ages of three and five, it is estimated that a quarter of three-year-olds and one in six five-year-olds wet the bed.

For further information please explore the sections below, and/or visit the website:

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Please explore the following sections for more information:
Your guide to breastfeeding
Your guide to maternal mental health