If you are ready to start potty training your little girl, you may have some unanswered questions.
Learning to use the potty is a big step in your little one’s development. One of the challenges with potty training is that each child is so different. Some children find this transition reasonably easy, whilst others take a little longer to get the hang of it.
This may not be your first rodeo, yet you may still feel as though you are unprepared for potty training your daughter. Or perhaps you have previously potty trained a little boy, but this is the first time you are potty training a girl. Either way, this article will provide you with the information you need to confidently potty train your daughter.
When is the Right Time to Potty Train?
Every child is different; some children are ready to start potty training as young as 18 months old, whilst others may only show signs of readiness between 3 – 4 years old. Unlike other milestones such as crawling, this is not about age as it is about being emotionally and developmentally ready. So rather than focusing on the age of your little one, look for potty readiness signs.
There is little value in starting before your little one is ready. Starting potty training too early is often met with more reluctance from your little one, and the whole process can ultimately take longer. Use our potty training checklist for the signs of potty training readiness.
How to Potty Train Girls
Let her observe and imitate
We all know that toddlers are excellent mimics, and this is how toddlers learn by imitating what we do. Letting your little one watch you use the bathroom is a helpful first step. As your little one watches you, you can talk about the body parts. It is best when teaching toddlers about body parts to use the correct terminology. Although you may feel tempted to use an alternative name for vagina, this can be confusing and send the wrong signals to your little one. When other body parts such as legs and arms etc., do not have alternative names, using an alternative word for vagina may suggest to your little one that her genitals are something to be embarrassed about.
Be prepared with the right equipment.
Having the right potty training equipment is vital for success. Most experts advise using a potty or a potty training toilet (they look more like a toilet than a potty but are smaller and more accessible for your toddler to use.
Of course, you could opt for a potty training seat that you place on the full-sized toilet; however, this can make some children fearful, especially in the early days of potty training.
Some toddlers are scared they will fall into the toilet. If you do choose this option, ensure that the seat secures firmly and feels comfy and secure. In addition, you will have to invest in a little step so that your daughter can get up and down to reach the toilet on their own.
Potty training books are a great resource to help your little one understand all the new information.
Get your child comfortable with the potty.
Before you start the process of actually potty training, it is a good idea to get your daughter used to the concept of the potty.
If possible, let your daughter help pick out her potty and then personalise it by putting her favourite stickers on it or writing her name.
Then use the potty as a seat to read books together while she is still fully clothed. All that you want to do at this point is get her used to the idea of the potty.
After a week or so, you can suggest sitting on the potty without her diaper or training pants. If your little one resists, do not be concerned and do not pressurise her to do so.
Continue to get her to sit on the potty with her clothes on, perhaps use a favourite doll she has to demonstrate how to use the potty. Or place the doll on a makeshift potty of their own next to your daughter while you read together.
Related Articles: Tips for Potty Training Success for Boys and Girls
Buy underwear your daughter will love.
Let your little one help you select her big girl underwear. There are so many great underwear options available in terms of both style and print. Let your daughter choose the ones she would like. Underwear with their favourite characters and colours will help your daughter feel excited about potty training.
Have a training plan
Getting a little one out of diapers and fully potty trained often takes a village. When planning potty training, consider your daily schedule. Does your daughter go to daycare or preschool? Are they looked after by other caregivers such as grandparents? If so, you will want to ensure that everyone is aware of the training plan.
The opinion is divided on the best way to transition to underwear, so ultimately, you will have to decide what is best for your little one – there is no right or wrong way as every child is different.
Regardless of what you decide for during the day, you will still need to continue to use diapers at night.
Be prepared for poop.
One challenge many parents face during potty training is that their daughter will wee in the potty but not poop. Some children go and hide to poop, and others try to keep their poops in, resulting in constipation.
If your daughter starts to avoid pooping in the toilet, resist the urge to go back to diapers. Instead, try to understand why she does not want to poop in the toilet and help her to overcome any fears she may have.
Teach her to sit and wipe
Teaching your daughter to wipe correctly is essential. Show your little one how to wipe from the front to the back, especially after a bowel movement, to avoid infection.
Although uncommon, bladder infections are more likely in girls during potty training. Should your daughter show any symptoms of infection such as feeling the sudden urge to wee, needing to wee frequently or a burning sensation whilst urinating, it is best to have it checked out by a doctor.
Set aside some naked time
Naked time is a strategy worth trying; however, please note it is not for every child. The idea is to get your little one to spend some part of the day without a diaper.
The theory behind this strategy is if your child does wee without a diaper, they will be more aware of the sensation of urinating, thus making them more aware of when they need to go. However, the feeling wee running down their legs can upset some children and cause them to resist potty training.
If you decide to give your little one some naked time each day, then ensure that the potty is easily accessible and remind your little one to sit on the potty at regular intervals. You could also buy a potty training watch, which can be set with a reminder at predetermined times.
Reward and celebrate triumphs
There will undoubtedly be accidents in the early days of potty training, but there will be times when your daughter successfully does something in the potty. Celebrate this with some fanfare but try not to overdo the celebrations every time she uses the potty, as this may result in her feeling self conscious about going (a fine line, I know).
Rewards do not have to be significant; it can be as simple as a sticker on a reward chart, and then a certain number of stickers could mean that your daughter gets a treat like a special trip out with Mum or Dad, a small toy or an extra 5 minutes of TV etc.
Like any new skill using the potty takes time to master. Help make things a little bit easier for your daughter by dressing them in loose-fitting clothing. Now is not the time for clothes with lots of buttons and zips. You want your toddler to be able to pull down her bottoms on her own quickly.
Remember that accidents will happen. Even when potty trained, many children will delay going to the toilet even though they know they need to go. Often because, going to the potty means stopping an activity they are enjoying. Sometimes though, the accidents can be due to your daughter experiencing potty training regression.
When there are accidents, deal with them calmly and try not to scold or show your frustration. If you can see that your little one is starting to resist the process, take a break for a couple of weeks and then try again.
Make potty time fun
Whilst potty training can feel like a never-ending process, try to keep up your little one’s motivation by making potty time fun. Read a favourite book together, place food colouring into the toilet so she can watch it change colour, use the time to let her talk about her favourite toys etc.
If your little one is having fun, she will be more motivated to keep using the potty.
Move to naps and nighttime.
Most children only become dry during naps and at night after they are fully potty trained. Unlike daytime potty training, you cannot train for nighttime. Nighttime dryness is physical development. As your child gets older and has more control over their bodily functions, their bladder control will improve, and they start to be dry at night. Children can be as old as 5 or 6 years old before they are fully dry at night.
Related articles: Best Pull-Ups for Older Bedwetters
If your little one has a few consecutive nights of dry nappies in the morning, you can probably ditch the diapers; however, still prepare for the odd accident or two. Once you ditch the diapers at night, help your daughter to stay dry at night by limiting the amount she drinks before bedtime and ensuring she makes a trip to the potty right before bedtime.
Get rid of the diapers.
Once your child is underwear 24/7, it is time to get rid of the diapers. Get your daughter to help you give away any leftover diapers to family or friends with younger children or by packing them away if you have or are planning to have another child.
Potty training can be stressful, but it does not have to be. Check out our review of the Tiny Potty Training book here. This book lays out the process to potty train your child in just seven days. The method in the book is optimal to begin when your child is around 18 months old. However, parents can translate the principles to older children. This makes the method suitable for children of any age, as the steps remain effective at most stages of child development.
One thing you will not miss as your daughter grows up is changing diapers; however, this does not mean that you should be in a hurry to potty train your little one. Teaching your daughter to use the potty requires time and patience from you and readiness and motivation from your toddler.
Luckily for you, experts agree that girls are generally easier to potty train than boys. 😊