How long does potty training take?

We can’t tell you it’s an overnight job. But we can tell you worrying doesn’t help.

3 min read

How long does potty training take?

We can’t tell you it’s an overnight job. But we can tell you worrying doesn’t help.

3 min read

It turns out the answer to the question of how long potty training takes is all down to your own child. A global study carried out by Kimberly-Clark indicates that it averages just over six months from start to finish, but there are some children who pick it up almost instantly while others take upwards of a year to become confident toilet users.

What age are most children potty trained by?

According to the Institute of Health Visiting, nine out of ten children are dry most days by the age of three, with most, reliably dry every day by the age of four.

Second-time lucky

Parents we spoke to with more than one child tended to report that the second one potty trained more quickly, probably down to a desire to copy their older sibling and parents being more experienced – and more relaxed – the second time around. Some also noticed girls potty training quicker than boys.

Is there an average time for potty training?

Kimberly-Clark’s global potty training study suggests the average age in the UK is 2.5 years but also acknowledges that every child is different. Childcare professional Julia Perry agrees it’s worth starting to think about it around that time. “In my experience (and I’ve potty trained lots of children throughout my career), if the potty training process is introduced at the right time, it can be achieved within a week. However, every child is different and for some children the idea alone may take a week or two to grasp, sometimes more.”

How long did it take you?

We asked parents how long it took them to potty train.

“We started Oscar at 2.5 years and it took about a month.”
Chieko

“Three days but lots of accidents for a further month.”
Clare

“It took my son a good three months to master the art, and even then there were plenty of accidents. But by comparison, he was dry at night very quickly!”
Steph

“Days with my son. A while with my daughter!”
Ceri

“Oldest and youngest within a week, middle child a year on and off trying.”
James

Remember, every child is different

No one child is the same. Indeed, parents and experts agree it isn’t helpful to compare your child with others. Don’t beat yourself up for accidents and setbacks along the way and keep on in the belief they will get there in the end. And the chances are your second or third child will have a very different experience from your first.

If you feel your child is experiencing problems out of the ordinary, ERIC, the Children’s Bowel and Bladder Charity, is a good place to turn for advice.

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