At what age do children acquire bladder control?

Updated: Mar 26, 2020
  • Author: Wm Lane M Robson, MA, MD, FRCP, FRCP(Glasg); Chief Editor: Marc Cendron, MD  more...
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Answer

Dryness at night usually follows achievement of continence by day (see Table 1 below). During the second year of life, children start to develop the ability to relax the external urethral sphincter voluntarily and to initiate voiding, even in the absence of the desire to void. By approximately age 4 years, most if not all children with normal bladder function should have acquired this ability.

Table 1. Percent of Children Dry by Day and Night at Various Preschool Ages (Open Table in a new window)

Age, y

Dry by Day, %

Dry by Night, %

2

25

10

2.5

85

48

3

98

78


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