Designing vertical-flow constructed wetlands (VFCWs) to treat both rain events and dry weather flow is a complex task due to the stochastic nature of rain events. Dynamic models can help to improve design, but they usually prove difficult to handle for designers. This study focuses on the development of a simplified hydraulic model of French VFCWs using an empirical infiltration coefficient – infiltration capacity parameter (ICP). The model was fitted using 60-second-step data collected on two experimental French VFCW systems and compared with Hydrus 1D software. The model revealed a season-by-season evolution of the ICP that could be explained by the mechanical role of reeds. This simplified model makes it possible to define time-course shifts in ponding time and outlet flows. As ponding time hinders oxygen renewal, thus impacting nitrification and organic matter degradation, ponding time limits can be used to fix a reliable design when treating both dry and rain events.