Toddlers should be taught to use the potty at 18 months to avoid frequent accidents at school or potential bladder infections, Canadian researchers have claimed.

Currently, parents are advised to potty train from the age of two, yet researchers claim this gives children little time to learn how to control their bladder by the time the reach schools age.

One study the researchers looked at, by the University of Bristol, found that children who had been potty trained after the age of two were one-and-a-half times more likely to have persistent toileting problems at school.

Writing in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, Dr Darcie Kiddoo, from the University of Alberta, who reviewed the study, said: "Toilet training is felt to be a natural process that occurs with development, yet very little scientific information is available for the physicians who care for children."

She went on to say that children were more likely to have accidents if they were trained late. She called this "disorder of elimination".

"There is some evidence to suggest that more disorders of elimination may develop in children who toilet train late," she said.

Posted by Robert Mair on 10.8.11 Please send your comments on this article to: penny.hosie@pavpub.com