Skip to Content

What age should a child be out of nappies?

There is no set age when a child should be out of nappies, as every child develops at their own pace. However, most children are ready to start potty training between 18-24 months old. By age 3, over 90% of children are dry during the day. Nighttime dryness often happens later, between ages 3-5 years. The timing for potty training depends on the child showing signs of readiness. With patience and consistency, most children can successfully transition out of nappies by age 3.

Signs of readiness

Here are some signs that indicate a child may be ready to start potty training:

  • Stays dry for 2 or more hours at a time during the day
  • Has regular and predictable bowel movements
  • Can follow simple instructions
  • Can pull pants up and down
  • Seems uncomfortable with soiled or wet nappies
  • Shows interest in the potty and in wearing underpants
  • Imitates others using the toilet

It’s best to start when the child is interested and able to cooperate with potty training. If a child resists, training should be delayed a few weeks or months until they are more willing. Pushing a child before they are ready can turn potty training into a power struggle. Watch for the signs of readiness and let your child set the pace.

When to start

Between 18-24 months is the ideal window to begin potty training for most children. Here are some guidelines on timing:

  • 18-24 months – Most children show readiness around this age.
  • 24-30 months – Many children master daytime dryness.
  • 30-36 months – Most children stay dry during the day.
  • 3-4 years – Nighttime dryness often happens.
  • 4-5 years – By this age, day and night control is expected.

If your child is older than 3 and not potty trained, don’t panic. Some children take longer, especially boys. Discuss options with your pediatrician if you are concerned. With a calm, consistent approach, most kids can ditch the nappies by preschool age.

Daytime training tips

Here are some tips to make daytime potty training go smoothly:

  • Pick a relaxed period when you can focus on training.
  • Demonstrate potty use and celebrate successes.
  • Use a potty chair or child seat adapter.
  • Encourage but never force or punish.
  • Use rewards like stickers or extra story time.
  • Dress in easy-remove clothing.
  • Take regular potty breaks – every 1-2 hours.
  • Watch for signals that they need to go.
  • Keep extra clothes and cleaning supplies handy.
  • Expect accidents and stay patient.

With consistency, most kids can learn to use the potty during the day in 2-4 weeks. Praise every success to build your child’s confidence and motivation.

Nighttime dryness

Many children can stay dry during the day but continue wetting at night. Nighttime bladder control develops later because the body produces less urine and the brain is less responsive to signals while sleeping. Don’t worry if it takes longer to stay dry at night. Here are some tips for nighttime training:

  • Use night lights, limit fluids before bed, and take evening potty trips.
  • Put a potty in their room for easy access.
  • Use waterproof mattress covers and have extra sheets ready.
  • Keep night training positive with rewards for dry mornings.
  • Avoid punishment or shame for accidents.
  • Consider limiting diapers to sleep hours only.
  • Talk to your pediatrician if bedwetting persists beyond age 5-6.

With your support and patience, most children gain nighttime control between ages 3-5 years.

Potty training challenges

While most kids follow a similar progression in potty skills, be alert for any issues that may require extra help:

  • Resistance – If your child refuses to sit on the potty or cooperates for a day then regresses, go back to diapers for a month and try again when they seem more ready.
  • Frequent accidents – Accidents are normal but consistent trouble could mean switching tactics or talking to your pediatrician.
  • Constipation – Hard, painful stools make it difficult to potty train. Increase fluids, fiber, and activity and consult your pediatrician.
  • Stressful change – Major changes like a new sibling or moving disrupts routines. Put training on hold a few months until things settle.
  • Special needs – Some physical or developmental delays may require specialized approaches. Seek professional guidance tailored to your child.

If potty training isn’t going smoothly, get advice from your child’s doctor. With extra patience and care, most obstacles can be overcome.

Products to assist training

The right potty training products can make the process easier on parents and more engaging for kids. Here are some recommended items:

Potty Chairs

  • Standalone, toddler-sized toilet
  • Fun colors and styles
  • Easy to empty and clean

Adapter Seats

  • Attaches to full-size toilet
  • Feels more stable than a standalone potty
  • Teaches proper toilet use

Waterproof Covers

  • Protect mattresses from accidents
  • Reusable plastic or disposable pad styles
  • Give child a sense of freedom

Training Pants

  • Thicker than regular underwear
  • Absorbent to handle small accidents
  • Help child feel when they are wet

Having the right tools can simplify potty training and help kids learn independence. Invest in quality products that suit your child’s needs.

Common potty training questions

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about potty training:

How long does potty training take?

For most children, potty training takes about 2-4 weeks of consistent practice before they are accident-free during the day. Nighttime dryness often takes longer, developing between ages 3-5 years old. Be patient – every child progresses at their own pace.

Should boys and girls be potty trained differently?

The basics are the same, but girls often show readiness earlier, while many boys start later. Boys may benefit from standing at the toilet to urinate once old enough. Tailor your approach based on your child’s development, not their gender.

What about public bathrooms and travel?

Introduce public potties gradually, like at a familiar park or restaurant. Bring a travel potty seat when on-the-go. Expect accidents as novelty makes consistency harder. With patience, kids can learn to use bathrooms outside the home.

How can I motivate my child?

Positive reinforcement like stickers or one-on-one time works better than scolding or shame. Having a potty-trained sibling or friend can provide inspiration. Create a fun routine with songs and stories. Gear praise, rewards and encouragement to your child’s unique personality for best results.

When should I call the pediatrician?

Check with your child’s doctor if potty training struggles persist beyond age 4. Also seek advice if signs of readiness are lacking by 30 months or if stress, resistance or setbacks arise. With input from your pediatrician, most potty training hurdles can be overcome.

The end goal

When a child uses the toilet independently and reliably, it’s time to ditch the nappies for good. Nighttime accidents may still occur. Celebrate consistent daytime dryness as a major milestone on the road to total potty independence. Stay positive – with your support and guidance, your child will get there.


Potty training is a major developmental leap that allows kids to take charge of their bodily functions. Look for readiness cues between 18-24 months and initiate training during a low-stress time. Set your child up for success with consistency, patience and encouragement. Productive methods are modeling, routines, rewards and praise. It may take weeks or months, but your efforts will pay off when that nappy comes off for good. Trust your instincts and seek advice if challenges arise. With your help at home and understanding from caregivers and teachers, your child will gain the skills and confidence to use the potty independently.