Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Do five-year-olds still need diapers?"
My five-year-old son isn't potty-trained yet. My wife thinks it's fine, but I'm a little worried. Is it normal for a five-year-old to wear diapers?
Your son is on the older age of normal at this point, but it would be worth making an appointment with your son's pediatrician - or at least bringing up the topic with him or her at your son's next physical exam, provided that it is soon. (He should be seen at least annually, even if he is in good health and everything is going well). The average age in America for potty training is about 2.5 years old, but there is a wide variation. It is common that about 10% of 5-year-olds will have some intermittent issues with wetting their pants (diurnal enuresis), and 3% will do this at least weekly. If your son is not using the toilet for any of his voiding or bowel movements, then you should see your pediatrician for ideas and recommendations. Not becoming potty trained at the same time as peers can be a difficult thing for children. As we all remember, kids can be tough on other kids. At times, there are treatable causes that are contributing to him not deciding to be toilet trained yet. At the very least, a pediatrician would be able to recommend appropriate interventions that you and your wife could use to move towards potty training. And just think of the money that you'll save on diapers!