Today we’re answering the question of whether or not small children can use bidets. We’ll cover which age range, if any, is best suited for the different types of bidets: electric and non-electric seats, bidet attachments, handheld sprayers, standalone bidets, etc.
Children can use bidets. Beginning at age 4, kids can start learning to use electric bidet seats and toilet-bidet combos. There’s no lower age limit for learning to use bidet attachments, handheld sprayers, and standalone bidets; these can be used upon commencing potty training.
If you’re looking into getting one, you’ll want to check out the article on the best bidets for kids.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the terminology, here’s a quick rundown the different types of bidets:
When I say no lower age limit, I just mean that the rules of potty training are sufficient I.e. no special considerations for these types of bidets need to be taken into account.
To get the above info on age limits, I had my friend reach out to several bidet manufacturers including Bio Bidet, Brondell, Hello Tushy, Signature Hardware, and several others.
I also consulted the manuals that came with bidets I personally own.
We’ll cover this in more depth in the section on electric models, but the main thing that determines a child’s success using electric bidets is adequate training.
I have a TOTO C100 (an electric bidet seat) and may manual states,
“This appliance is not intended for use by persons (including children) with reduced physical, sensory or mental capabilities, or lack of experience and knowledge, unless they have been given supervision or instruction concerning use of the appliance by a person responsible for their safety. Children should be supervised to ensure that they do not play with the appliance.”From the TOTO Washlet Manual Page 4
Bidets With No Lower Age Limits
An attachment is a non-electric bidet that’s fixed to your current toilet without replacing any parts.
This type of bidet doesn’t seem to have any agreed upon lower age limit.
Obviously, this is not to say that one can’t be too young to be able to use them effectively.
Unlike electric units, attachments work off of water pressure alone. The home’s water pressure is used to operate the nozzle. Being non-electric, they use cold (or unheated) water and lack features common to modern bidets (warm air dryer, heated seat, etc.).
Being simple in construction and non-electric, there’s very little that could go wrong with a kid learning to use one. If you can flush a toilet, you can learn to turn a dial.
Possible Exception: Warm Water Bidet Attachments
Some attachments like the LUXE Neo 320 provide warm water by allowing the user to hook the supply hose up to the sink.
There are a couple of things to look out for with this kind.
- Hot water caution. A home’s water heater can put out water in the range of 120 F and even higher. It can be quite uncomfortable for the hands and can result in low-temperature burns. So, exposing the sensitive tissues can lead to unintentional scalding. A kid would need to be trained on how to set the water to the right temp.
- Some can be more complicated than others. These can be a little trickier for kids because they’ll need to be attached and re-attached with each use. One exception would be if you had two sinks and one was dedicated to the bidet.
These are also non-electric, though it’s the attachments that are usually referred to as “non-electric bidets”. This is probably the most intuitive type of bidet to use and kids can catch on quickly.
Like bidets that attach to toilets, these take some of the water that was headed to the toilet tank and divert it to the nozzle.
These are common in Asia and kids in that region of the world use them all the time.
As you’d imagine, there are exceptions.
- They can make a huge mess. When used sloppily these can make it look like a big water fight took place in your bathroom. If your kid learns to use one, don’t be surprised if each unsupervised session with the sprayer makes a giant mess that needs to be cleaned up. This can be a problem with toilet seat bidets but the sitter blocks the water stream for the most part. Also, this type of bidet has a larger flow of water and can be pointed in any direction.
- Hot water caution (some models). Like with the special attachment mentioned above, these can be warm water capable. Some models allow you to hook them up to a faucet and others come with special equipment that allows the user to hook them into the home’s plumbing directly.
The most common type of bidet in Europe is the standalone bidet. They trace back to 17th Century France. It’s a small washbasin that’s installed next to toilets.
They’re not very popular here in the US, probably because they require permanently altering the property (something off-limits to renters) and because they take up floor space.
These are quite simple and kids use them in Europe all the time.
In inquiring about these, I reached out to several companies like Siganture Hardware. They confirmed that there is no lower age limit.
Learning to use a standalone bidet is somewhere between learning to use a toilet and a sink. You straddle it like a toilet but operate it like a faucet.
There are two types: horizontal and vertical spray. The former operates exactly like the faucet in the bathroom sink so kids should be able to transfer their knowledge of operating a sink to using this kind of bidet.
Vertical spray bidets send water up like a fountain to hit the soiled area. So, these may have more of a learning curve.
Bidets Needing Extra Training and Supervision
Electric Seats and Toilet-Bidet Combos
For our purposes, these two types of bidets are the same because both are electrical and have the same features. One is a high-tech seat that’s installed on an existing toilet, and the other is a toilet with a built-in bidet.
This category of bidets has all the features that are associated with modern electric units:
- Warm water that doesn’t come from the home’s plumbing. So, no need for any plumbing installation or permanent altering of the property in which it’s installed.
- Clean filtered water (protection from UTIs and other infections).
- Digital control of water temperature and pressure.
- Precise aiming of the wand with a touch of a button.
- Self-sanitizing nozzle and bowl to keep the toilet and bidet clean.
- Warm seats.
Could a child operate such a toilet?
The answer is yes. At least, with adequate training.
I’m always amazed how technologically advanced kids can be these days at such a young age. I worked in the service industry for a while and witnessed this daily. Every day there’d be a kid that was too small to peer over the counter asking which network to use and what the wifi code was.
So, it should come as no surprise that kids can learn to use a modern bidet at a young age, even the kind with all the bells and whistles. You’ll want to restrict some of the functions your child has access to in the beginning, but eventually, they can learn to operate the seat like an adult.
As mentioned in the intro, the lower age limit for these is about 4 to 5. Keep in mind that this age limit doesn’t reflect any kind of guidelines put out by major health organizations.
Organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics put out official guidelines on toilet training (reference). Bidets are just now catching on, so there are no guidelines as of yet. Right now it’s just assumed that age recommendations related to potty training should extend to bidet use.
While that’s probably true for simple bidets, most high-tech toilet manufacturers seem to think that kids would be best off waiting until around preschool to get started on electric units. Preschool is 3-5 and 4 would be the earliest you’d want to start a kid on an electric bidet.
Cautions for Kids Using Electric Bidets
Make Sure to Supervise Your Kid
In the section on avoiding burns, shocks, fires (the scaring stuff in all manuals for electric appliances) my TOTO manual states,
“Close supervision is necessary when this product is used by, on, or near children or invalids.”TOTO Washlet Manual Page 5
As for how long the intensive training should be, that will depend on the discretion of the caretaker.
Use the Child Mode If Yours Has One
Some electric bidets come with a child mode, which takes the guesswork out making the process easier. Child modes come with user presets that have implement all the right settings with a single touch of a button.
Electric bidets plug into a nearby outlet and have a ton of useful functions some of which kids don’t need. Being electric, some of the functions might pose a risk.
Avoid Long Periods of Sitting on the Seat
Most bidet manuals (I’ve read several by now) warn against prolonged sitting. This goes for both adults and children and kids are mentioned specifically.
Bidet seats can get pretty warm over time because they house a lot of technology. I’ve never noticed my electric seat being hot to the touch, but prolonged exposure to a warm surface (even if it’s unnoticeable) can lead to low-temperature burns.
Not only do seats contain a lot of technology that naturally leads to the surface getting warm, but most models also have a heated seat setting. It’s not hard to imagine a kid fiddling with the controller and turning it on. Again, it wouldn’t result in scalding but could cause a low-temperature burn and skin irritation.
This brings us to the next point.
Turn the Seat Heater “Off” and Put the Dryer to “Low”
Nicer electric bidet seats come with dryers.
This warning concerns kids who are not yet able to apply the right settings themselves. So, you’ll want to do this in the initial phase when training. Eventually, kids should be taught to apply the right settings on their own.
That should do it for now.
Kids can use bidets but need to be trained first. The amount of training it takes depends on how old the child is when starting to learn and the type of bidet used.
If you’ve encountered conflicting info on the subject it’s probably because the word “bidet” is used to describe so many different devices. And each device has its own level of sophistication.
Overall, it seems that lower age limits apply to electric bidets. Kids can learn to use non-electric bidets (including standalone units) in tandem with toilet training.
Obviously kids with developmental or learning disabilities will require special considerations.
As always, consult with your Pediatrician when making decisions regarding your child’s safety and health.
That’s it for now. Thanks for reading.