Bladder and bowel for children

Children can often have bladder and bowel health problems. These problems may be developmental or social. Find out what these problems are and how you can manage them.

Poor bladder and bowel control is very common in children. It can, however, cause a lot of worry for both parents and children.

Good toilet habits are important for everyone so it is important to teach your children from a young age.

Some common bladder and bowel problems that children experience are:

Bedwetting in childhood is very common. More than 100,000 children in Australia wet the bed every night. It’s more common in boys than girls and can often run in the family.

Most children stop wetting the bed without any help or treatment. However, if your child is over 7 or 8 years old and still wetting the bed, you should see your doctor.

Toilet training

Learning to use the toilet is a big step for young children. Most children are ready to start toilet training when they are around 2 to 3 years old.

Trying to toilet train too early can lead to problems with toileting. It’s important to wait for signs that your child is ready.

Toilet training requires patience. Girls are usually faster to train than boys, but not always.

Even when toilet trained, many children still wet the bed. Bedwetting may continue until about 5 years of age (or older for some children).

raisingchildren.net.au and SA Women and Children's Health Network have advice to help with toileting and toilet training.

Toileting and school

Children need to feel comfortable about using the toilet at school. This is important during primary school because this is when healthy bladder and bowel habits start. These habits will continue throughout your child’s life.

Going to the toilet at school can be a problem for some children. They might 'hold on' and not use the toilet at all. This can lead to problems like constipation.

For more advice see Toilet Tactics for schools.

What can you do to help?

There are some simple things you can do to help your child with bladder and bowel problems:

Last updated: 
11 December 2019

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