Potty training is an important event during toddlerhood since it leads to less dependence on diapers. It is also the time when the toddler becomes partially independent with their toilet habits. The training is usually similar for most toddlers. However, potty training a girl could have slightly different nuances and approaches.
Starting potty training at the correct stage could ensure that your daughter learns it right. Read on to learn about when to start potty training a girl and tips to make the training effective.
What Is The Best Age To Potty-Train A Girl?
There is no exact age to begin potty training a toddler, irrespective of their gender. Most children younger than 12 months have no control over their bladder and bowel movements. The toddler may gain little control after 18 months with greater control once older than 24 months.
According to experts, the average age when toddlers are ready for toilet training is 27 months (1). Nevertheless, parents may consider toilet training their daughter after her first birthday. You may have to check for certain factors to determine if the toddler is ready for potty training.
How To Tell A Toddler Is Ready For Potty Training?
The presence of favorable indicators and factors could be a better determinant of the toddler’s readiness for potty training than their age. The following behavioral attributes may usually suggest that the toddler is ready for potty training (2).
- Communicates when they need a diaper change
- Asks to be taken to the toilet
- Shows interest in a potty or the toilet
- Mimics your actions and follows your instructions
- Sits on a potty willingly and without fussiness
- Walks independently and can reach the potty
- Communicates when they feel the urge to go to the potty
- Pulls down their diaper or underwear on their own
- Understands words associated with toilet or relieving oneself
- Shows dry diapers for at least two hours
- Shows dry diapers after most naps
Most toddlers display these signs after the age of 18 months, but some may do so after 12 months. It is best for a toddler to display most of these signs before you initiate potty training.
When To Avoid Starting Potty Training?
You may avoid starting potty training when the toddler is experiencing potentially stressful life events, such as those mentioned below (3).
- Illness or disease
- New life events, such as the arrival of a sibling or a change of house
- Toddler has recently switched to sleeping alone
- Toddler has joined a new daycare
- Stressful life event, such as family crises
Initiating potty training during these events may increase the risk of accidents and create a negative perception of potty training for the toddler.
Tips On Potty Training Girls
1. Involve in buying a potty
Potty training begins with purchasing the right potty, which are of two types — stand-alone toddler potty and toddler seats for conventional adult toilet. Pick the one that you feel your toddler prefers the most. A stand-alone potty can be used anywhere, including the toddler’s room, where they may feel most comfortable initially. A toddler toilet seat introduces the child to the toilet and makes the cleaning process easier for parents. If you pick a toddler toilet seat, you may have to invest in a small stool for your child to support her legs.
Involve your daughter in the purchasing process. Make it a big event and tell her that she is getting a new present. It could make her excited about the potty, making it easier to encourage use. You may ask her to sit and try multiple potties at the store before you pick the one she likes the most.
2. Take it slow
Begin by letting your daughter sit on the potty with her clothes on. Toddlers should not be stopped from playing with the potty. Let her spend time with the potty each day so that she grows familiar with it. You may gradually transition to letting her sit on the potty with only her diapers on. Once she seems ready, you may make her sit on the potty without her diapers.
3. Make mock demonstrations
Some toddlers understand better through observations. You may make a mock demonstration by sitting on the adult toilet yourself. If the toddler has older siblings, you could enlist their help, too. You may also consider the use of dolls or toys to demonstrate the use of the potty. Certain specialized potty training dolls or toys could even help make the task easier.
4. Let her take the lead
Be patient and let your toddler take things forward at her own pace. Potty training is most successful when paced as per the toddler’s willingness to use the potty. The toddler may initially spend several minutes without relieving herself. Sit with your toddler, and do not rush the process. You may read a book during this time or talk about potty training with the toddler.
Keep a watch on whether the toddler has relieved herself. It may take five minutes for some children to empty their bladder alone. It may take longer initially since she is used to diapers, and the feeling of sitting on the potty could seem unique. If there are no excretions for more than ten minutes, you may put her clothes on and try again later.
5. Be prepared for accidents
There are likely to be accidental spills initially. Do not scold or punish your daughter since she is still figuring out things herself. Punishment will create a negative perception of potty training, making it harder for you to make the toddler use the potty eventually.
Some toddlers may sit on the potty for several minutes without any results and may relieve themselves the moment you put on the diaper. It is a common occurrence since the child has been used to diapers up to this point. Dispose of the excrements in the potty or toilet while your daughter watches you. It could make it easier for her to understand the purpose of the potty.
6. Choose clothes suitable for training
Dress your daughter in clothes that are easy for her to take off whenever she intends to use the potty. If the weather is warm, you may dress her in a diaper and training pants. Looser lower clothing, such as pajamas, could also be a good option. Easy-to-remove clothes could make potty usage seem less of a chore for the child.
7. Teach the correct way to wipe
Wipe from front to back after toilet use and teach it to your daughter. It can prevent bacteria from reaching the urethra, reducing the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs). Supervise your daughter even when she is doing it herself to avoid any accidental mistakes. You may give the process a name or teach it through simple steps to make it easier for the child to remember.
8. Create a potty training schedule
Once your toddler is using the potty, set a schedule where you place your daughter on the potty at fixed moments in a day. A few examples are after meals, before naps, and before bedtime. Let your toddler use the potty on demand beyond these times, too. If you are using a stand-alone potty, keep it easily accessible or within the child’s line of sight to encourage use.
9. Praise achievements
Toddlers learn better when they receive positive feedback from their parents. Praise your daughter when she goes to the potty by herself, when she follows the instructions, or when she relieves in the potty instead of the diaper. You may use rewards, such as potty-training stickers, to mark achievements and track progress. Use positive words, hugs, and claps to appreciate her when she follows good potty habits.
10. Teach words to communicate
Potty training works best when your toddler considers visiting the toilet, even when outdoors. Teach your toddler simple words or phrases, such as “loo,” to communicate to you whenever they intend to use the toilet.
During potty training, do not use unfavorable words, such as “dirty” or “stinky,” to describe excrements. It may make the toddler conscious and embarrassed to approach you, making them prefer relieving in their diapers to keep things discreet. Use words, such as urine or poop, as it is to describe excrement.
11. Go diaper-free for some time
Once you sense your daughter is adept at using the potty, you may switch from diapers to standard underwear. Do note accidents may happen, and you must not be angry. If you are not fully confident yet, you may let the toddler wear diapers during naps and when going outdoors. You may stop dressing your daughter in diapers if you often see dry diapers or when she insists on going to potty even with diapers on.
Potty training is an achievement for your little girl and you as a parent. It could take weeks or even months for your child to be potty-trained. Most toddlers are diaper-free and potty-trained by 3.5 years (3). Remember to have patience and maintain consistent efforts to make your daughter fully potty-trained.
2. Potty Training Your Child; Seattle Children’s Hospital
3. Potty Training: Learning to the Use the Toilet; Zero to Three
4. The Right Age to Toilet Train; American Academy of Pediatrics
5. Toilet Training Guidelines; American Academy of Pediatrics