Achieving Bladder Control - Helpful Hints for Parents of Children under 5

Children normally achieve bladder control at:

Day time 2 - 4 years

Night time 4 - 6 years

The development of bladder control varies in the same way as other areas of development eg. crawling, walking and talking etc.

The following suggestions will assist your child to achieve bladder control at an optimum time:

  • Encourage your child to drink regularly throughout the day, especially in the mornings. Approximately 800 mls daily;
  • Water is the healthiest drink. Avoid sweet and fizzy drinks as these can irritate the bladder, causing your child to empty the bladder more frequently;
  • Provide a healthy choice of foods, limiting foods high in sugar, take-aways and processed foods;
  • Avoid constipation as this can interfere with the bladder being able to fill and empty properly; and
  • Allow your child to respond to their own bladder signals even if there are some wetting accidents. Constantly reminding your child to empty their bladder may hinder the normal development of bladder control in the following ways:
    • reduces the opportunities to learn;
    • prevents the natural exercise of the pelvic floor muscles, which occurs when we need to 'hold on'. Weakening these muscles may result in difficulties when your child needs to 'hold on';
    • may prevent the ability of the bladder to progressively expand and hold more urine as your child gets older.

Recommended reading 3 - 5 year olds

  • How you can help your child to become dry;
  • Toileting Tips for Tiny Tots; and
  • Easy Toilet Training - Janet Hall