Learning to use the potty is a big deal for young kids. But it’s important to remember that there are some differences if you’re potty training girls as opposed to boys.
With the help of this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about potty training girls, from common problems you may encounter to tips and tricks for success.
What is the best age to potty train a girl?
There is no set age to start potty training your daughter. Some girls are ready to start training by 18 months while others aren’t ready until they’re 3 years old. They key is knowing when your own child is ready to start training.
Instead of looking at your child’s age, it’s better to look for signs of potty training readiness.
Potty training requires several different skills, including both physical skills and mental preparedness. As you’re figuring out whether your girl is ready to start the process, look for these physical factors:
- The ability to walk and run. Your child will need to be able to get herself to the bathroom when the urge strikes. And since some of those bathroom trips will need to be made quickly, having the ability to move fast on her feet is essential.
- Taking off her clothing. To be able to use the potty, your child will also need to be able to pull her pants up and down on her own.
- Sitting still for minutes at time. In order to successfully use the potty, your child will need to be able to sit still on the toilet while they pee and poop.
- Control of bladder and bowel movements. While other physical factors are a great indicator of potty training readiness, the most important physical skill your girl must master to potty train is bladder and bowel control. If your daughter is able to tell you when she needs to go, as she’s going in her diaper, or can keep her diaper dry for an extended period of time (more than two hours), she may be ready to start potty training.
In addition to physical abilities, your daughter must also master some cognitive skills before she starts training. Here are some mental factors that go into potty training:
- Communication skills. Your daughter must be able to tell you when she needs to use the bathroom. That means the ability to speak or sign is essential.
- Following instructions. Using the bathroom requires several different steps, so your toddler must also be able to follow simple instructions to learn how to use the potty.
How do you start potty training a girl?
If you think your daughter might be ready to start training, there are a few steps you can take to prepare her for the process.
Since potty training is a new adventure, start preparing your daughter for the process before you get started.
Try these fun activities and ideas to get her excited about starting potty training:
- Read books and watch videos. Help your daughter get used to the idea of potty training and all the steps involved in using the potty by reading books and watching kid-friendly videos. Potty training books featuring her favorite characters and fun videos with kid-friendly songs are a great way to introduce the concept to her.
- Bring home a potty seat. Before you start asking your daughter to use the potty, try to get her used to the idea of sitting on a potty seat. This is especially important for girls because they don’t have the option of standing. Buy a toddler-sized potty chair for her to sit on. Or purchase a toilet-seat insert that’s designed for toddlers. Allow her to practice sitting on the seat with her clothes on for a few days before letting her try to go potty.
- Purchase big kid underwear or training pants. Let her go to the store with you to pick out her first pair of big kid underwear or training pants. Underwear featuring her favorite characters or colors is a great way to get her excited about potty training.
- Keep the bathroom door open. Since toddlers often learn by imitation, watching you and your family members use the bathroom is a great way to pique her interest. Talk about the things you’re doing while you’re going to the bathroom and let her practice with her own potty seat.
Potty Training Problems
While some kids pick up potty training on their own, most of the time you’ll run into some problems along the way. Remind yourself that potty training problems are often common occurrences, so there’s usually no need to worry.
If you run into some of these issues as you’re potty training your daughter, try some of the suggestions listed below to remedy the problem.
In the beginning stages of potty training, your kid might resist the process. When this happens, it usually means that she’s not ready to start potty training just yet.
While your daughter might be in the right age range to start training, remember that every kid is different.
Instead of trying to fight against her resistance, hold off on training for a week or two to see if she’s more willing to give it a try then.
When potty training girls, accidents are bound to happen. Whether she just can’t make it to the bathroom on time or she gets too busy and forgets to go on the potty, accidents are common during the first few weeks of potty training.
When your daughter has an accident, treat it lightly and avoid getting upset. Punishing your child for having an accident often backfires and could cause her to regress. Instead, remind her that she needs to pee in the potty and not on the floor, then move on.
If she continues to have accidents after a few weeks of potty training, it may be a good idea to take a break and revisit the process in a couple of weeks.
Fear of Falling In
The toilet can be a scary thing for a young child. So, if your little one is showing fear of the toilet, she’s not alone.
Whether the loud sounds scare her or she’s afraid of being sucked into the toilet while she’s sitting on it, a fear of the potty isn’t uncommon.
To help lessen her fear, let your child take control of flushing the toilet. Show her how to flush, then let her watch the water go down. If she’s still afraid after flushing the toilet herself, try using a stand alone toddler potty until she’s more comfortable sitting on the full-size toilet.
Hiding to Poop
Even if your toddler has mastered the act of peeing in the potty, she may still hide to go poop or ask for a diaper for her bowel movements.
Pooping in the potty is often more difficult for a toddler for several reasons.
Kids may be upset that their poop gets flushed down the toilet when they’re finished because they feel an attachment to the poop after it comes out of their body. Or they aren’t able to relax enough to allow the poop to comfortably come out while sitting on the toilet.
Either way, poop potty training may take longer than expected.
If your toddler wants to use training pants or a diaper for her bowel movements, let her and suggest she poop in her diaper while in the bathroom. Once she’s comfortable moving to the bathroom to poop, slowly transition her to pooping on the potty.
If your toddler has been fully trained and suddenly wants to wear a diaper again or starts having accidents, you may be alarmed.
Potty training regression is a common occurrence – especially if your toddler has dealt with a stressful situation recently.
Regression often passes with time, but if it’s been going on for a long time, it may be a good idea to discuss the issue with your child’s pediatrician.
While potty training girls is similar to potty training boys, there are a few minor differences and with the right training and understanding and encouragement, your daughter will be on her way to potty training success.