How To Potty Train Girls
It probably seems like yesterday when you gave birth to your baby girl and now she’s not a baby anymore (sniff). And here you are, already thinking about potty training tips for her.
If you’re the kind of person who needs to be prepared well in advance, you might be reading ahead. Your little girl might still be just a baby or maybe you haven’t even given birth yet.
If this is the case you might want to look at our article Elimination Communication.
If you didn’t do elimination communication with your little one, here are some useful tips on how to potty train girls.
Maybe you don’t plan ahead much, or you used to but, now you’ve become a mother, there’s no time to read about things unless they’re already happening. In that case we’ve compiled the best potty training tips for girls.
Little girl potty training
Boys and girls are different – not only physically but also in their behavior, right from birth. Most babies behave very differently inside the uterus, depending on whether they are boys or girls. Potty training for girls and boys has many aspects in common; however, there are specific tips for each sex.
To find out more, you might want to read How To Potty Train Boys – 5 Easy Steps.
Now let’s have a look at some helpful information about potty training success for girls.
How do you start potty training a girl?
The key to potty training relies mainly on the girl being ready to start the potty training process. If she’s ready, then potty training shouldn’t be a big deal and she’ll probably be fully potty trained in just a few weeks.
For this she needs to be mobile enough to take herself to the potty when she needs to. She also needs to be able to sit down on her own.
7 potty training tips for girls
#1: Make sure she’s ready
This is the number one key to success in potty training. When a child – whether it’s a girl or a boy – is not ready, there’s not much we can do about it and potty training at this stage will be quite difficult.
You can always try, though, especially if there are circumstances where your little girl needs to be potty trained before she’s really ready. For example, she might be attending a nursery or creche where they ask this as an entry requirement. However, if this is the case, and it’s possible to choose a different place for your little girl, it would probably be your best option.
To potty train a girl when she’s not ready might not bring the desired results and could turn the healthy achievement of a milestone into an uncomfortable process for everyone involved.
You’ll know a girl is ready to start potty training when:
- She shows she’s uncomfortable wearing a wet or dirty diaper
- She hides herself to do a poo
- She wakes up dry after her nap time
- She shows interest in others using the potty or the toilet.
#2: Get the little potty out and ready
It’s very important that the potty is in sight and it’s attractive to her. Maybe you could buy her a brand new potty in her favorite color. Make sure you get the right child size potty chair for her.
You can start with designated potty time, inviting her to sit on the potty when she wakes up or when it’s been a while since she’s given elimination cues. Then keep offering the potty at regular intervals.
Make sure she has easy access to the potty. Keep it close to where she is, even if that means having the potty in the living room instead of in the bathroom. This will be temporary – just until she’s fully trained.
Try to be with her and doing something she enjoys when she’s sitting on the potty so she enjoys the activity. If she’s left on her own she might soon get tired of it and might not want to sit on it in the future.
#3: Get her big girl’s underwear
If she’s wearing pull ups she probably felt like a big girl when she started wearing them. Many girls have a transition phase in terms of underwear; they go from pull ups to disposable training pants to regular underwear. She will very likely feel proud and special wearing big kid underwear like her older siblings or like her mother.
She can also take part in choosing the underwear she likes the most. It’s very likely you can go on online to purchase underwear that features her favorite characters.
#4: Lead by example
For kids to show an interest in something it’s important they see others doing the same thing. Allowing your little girl to see you sitting on the toilet will make her want to copy what you do. This example is the best of all potty demonstrations.
You can also get her a special toilet seat that makes the hole smaller and is adapted to her little body.
#5: Ditch the diapers
Although it might seem messier at the beginning, getting rid of the diapers is usually the best approach to toilet training.
When a little girl is diaper free it will be easier for her to be aware of her elimination needs. It will also be easier to sit on the potty on time and avoid accidents.
Wearing a diaper gives toddlers a sense of security and they might be unaware of their needs as they’re so used to wearing one. When the diaper is gone it’s easier to realize the big change.
If she sometimes wears a diaper, she might not want to remove it; alternatively, she might be upset when she is wearing one.
#6: Celebrate triumphs
This is a very important part of toilet training. Every time your little daughter spends time on the potty, succeeds in identifying her need for the toilet, or remains dry for long periods, then praise her. When she stops what she’s doing and runs to the potty you must celebrate her actions, even if she’s not completely successful. This will act as a positive encouragement and she’ll want to keep trying. She will enjoy this major change because she feels proud and supported.
#7: Be patient, empathic, and supportive
Learning to pee and poo in the potty or the toilet is a big change for most children. As with any learning process it will take a little bit of time and there will be a few misses and fails. That’s totally normal. Make sure you stay calm so she can also remain calm when she has an accident.
Start training from a place of love and understanding. Reassure her when she doesn’t reach the potty on time and let her know how proud you are of the progress she’s making. Perhaps you could use a reward chart, where you note down her achievements. Remember, though, that reward charts are used for positive encouragement and should just highlight the successes.
Some children who are fully potty trained sometimes go back to needing diapers for some time. There’s usually a reason for that and it’s often associated with making a big change in their lives – such as moving house, the arrival of a new baby, the loss of a loved one, or changing to a new daycare provider.
If this is the case, parents should be aware that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with their girl and all she needs is a little bit of reassurance and time to adapt to the new situation.
What age should you start potty training a girl?
Research shows that girls are usually ready to start potty training earlier than boys. Each person is different, however, and this might not be the case with your child, which is okay. Many children, especially girls, start showing signs they’re ready at 18 months of age. Others might not show any signs of readiness until they’re 3 years old.
Each child is unique and parents should respect their timing. Every child will be ready at some point.
How to potty train a girl at night
Potty training is obviously more easily achievable during the day when the child is awake and she’s offered the toilet regularly. Because she’s been asleep, night training might take a bit longer. You can use a pull up diaper for the first few nights to avoid accidents.
Potty training a girl in 3 days
There are some programs that claim you can potty train a girl fast in just a week or even in 3 days. At Bellybelly we don’t agree with these methods. They are very unnatural and place young girls and their parents under a lot of stress to achieve something that should never be forced.
You can read more in potty training tips.
Signs your child is not ready for potty training
Sometimes you want to start potty training when your child isn’t ready to let go of her diapers yet.
Your little girl isn’t ready to start toilet training if:
- She shows no interest in using the potty
- She doesn’t mind wet or dirty diapers
- She makes a fuss when you suggest she uses the toilet
- You’ve removed her diapers and she’s almost constantly wet
- She has difficulty removing her clothes or underwear.
If this is the case for your little one, there’s no rush; just wait until she’s ready. She’ll definitely learn how to use the potty when the time is right for her.