Ferroelectrics are multifunctional smart materials finding applications in sensor technology, micromechanical actuation, digital information storage, etc. Their most fundamental property is the ability of polarization switching under an applied electric field. In particular, understanding of switching kinetics is essential for digital information storage. In this regard, scaling properties of the temporal polarization response are well-known for 180°-switching processes in ferroelectrics characterized by a unique field-dependent local switching time. Unexpectedly, these properties are now observed in multiaxial polycrystalline ferroelectrics, exhibiting a number of parallel and sequential non-180°-switching processes with distinct switching times. This behavior can be explained by a combination of the multistep stochastic mechanism and the inhomogeneous field mechanism models of polarization reversal. Scaling properties are predicted for polycrystalline ferroelectrics of tetragonal, rhombohedral, and orthorhombic symmetries and are exemplarily demonstrated by the measurements of polarization kinetics in (K,Na)NbO3-based ferroelectric ceramic over a timescale of 7 orders of magnitude. Dynamic scaling properties allow insight into the microscopic switching mechanisms, on the one hand, and into statistical material characteristics, on the other hand, thereby providing the description of temporal polarization with high accuracy. The gained deeper insight into the mechanisms of multistep polarization switching is crucial for future ultrafast and multilevel digital information storage.

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