How to potty train a girl

Did you know that it’s easier to potty train a girl? That’s what people say at least, and it might be true, but it’s not my experience. Potty training girls is very similar to potty training boys. But don’t worry, with my method it’s going to be easy either way.

Potty training a toddler – (c)

I have a daughter who was successfully potty trained at a very young age. In this article I will share how I did and what I felt was important to me. I will share what to think of when you potty train a girl, how to know when she is ready to start and what equipment you need. I will also share some advice and how I solved problems that showed up while potty training.

My daughter was potty trained before the age of 1. This is very young and at this age it’s not really potty training but more a combination of potty training and elimination communication (which I will talk more about in a separate article). At this age she wasn’t able to walk or pull down and up her trousers by herself. She was able to tell us whenever she needed to use the toilet. Then we could take her there and she would pee or poo.

This was working very well but we were still using diapers just in case. She grew older and got more independent, now she could walk to the bathroom and always wanted to do everything by herself. At 14 months we started the transition to make her fully potty trained. I came up with my own potty training in 3 days method based on other methods, our values and information from recent studies. It went so well I want to share it with you on this webpage about how to potty train a girl.

How do I know if my daughter is ready for potty training?

Are you waiting for your daughter to show “that” signal that she is ready for potty training? Then you might have to wait for a very long time. You as a parent must take the initiative and decide when to start potty training your daughter. In this article we want our girl to use the potty on her own so there are some things she needs to be capable to do. There are also some general things to consider if the timing is right. Here’s a list of things to consider.

  • That your child is healthy and feel well.
  • Your family situation is safe and calm, for instance that you didn’t move recently, new daycare, divorce or a stressful period.
  • That your child can follow easy instructions.
  • That your child can communicate her own will. Either by sound, signals, body language or by talking.
  • That your child can get to and from the potty by herself.
  • Your child should be able to sit on the potty by herself.


Apart from that, trust your own gut feeling. You know what your girl can manage since you know her best. Trust your own instinct and you will know when to start potty training!

There is no specific age for when the above will happen. In my case I potty trained our daughter at the age of just 14 months, but then we had already practiced elimination communication for a long time. It’s common for children to fulfill the above list at an age somewhere between 18 and 24 months.

If you wait too long things usually gets a bit harder. Somewhere after the age of 2 years, children have developed a strong will and see themselves as independent persons. This makes them want to do their own choices rather than listening to their parents. Drama, tantrums and lots of will won’t make potty training any easier. We want to avoid this, especially when we potty train a girl.

Prepare for potty training your girl

Prepare yourself
Potty training in 3 days book

The most important thing to prepare is you as a parent. Your attitude, being calm, being consistent and have a plan is key to success. It’s not a good idea to potty train a girl if you’re not getting enough sleep or if there’s a family situation having a big impact on your life as mentioned in the list above.

Second thing I did was reading. Read as much as you can about potty training. I recommend reading more than one book and also checkout a few pages on the internet, both about potty training in general but also about how to potty train a girl specifically. That way you will get a better understanding in the different ways of potty training and also how you want to potty train your girl and how you don’t want to potty train her. When I did research on potty training I read everything I could get hold of. Not only books and articles but also research reports and more academic papers. The more I read the more interesting it got. 😊

Select a method or pick parts of different methods to create your own potty training method. Whatever you feel comfortable with. Not all methods work with all children so there’s a slight risk the method you’ve chosen won’t work. In that case it’s important not to do changes or switch method while practicing the current potty training method. If it fails I recommend to try a different method after a few weeks.

Prepare your girl
Prepare by reading books

The best way to prepare your child for what’s coming is to read books. There are plenty of books about using the toilet or potty that will make your child curios and want to do the same. This is a great way to start a bit of interest in potty training before starting. The goal is to make your child familiar with the potty so when she sees it she knows exactly what it is and how to use it, even without you showing her. This will make the potty training much easier. The potty books are great!

Ask your girl to pull down and up her trousers by herself. You can do this every time you are changing diapers. When cleaning you can ask her to clean herself. It probably won’t be perfect but as she practices she will get better at it. This is also where one of the biggest differences between potty training a boy and to potty train a girl is. You should teach your girl to wipe from front to back or just pat the area dry. This is very important to avoid that she gets an infection.

General preparation

To potty train a girl you will of course need a potty. Choose one that’s stable, easy to clean and doesn’t get stuck on her butt when she gets up. I recommend the one from BABYBJORN. It might not have the most exciting design but it’s safe and functional. You can buy it here from Amazon.

I also recommend getting a travel potty. A travel potty should be easy to carry, not too heavy and easy to clean. Most important, it should be fully sealed when closed so that nothing comes out by accident. I recommend the portable potty from ONEDONE. It has a nice design, suitable for when you potty train a girl. It’s great and has received a lot of positive feedback. You can buy it here from Amazon.

Make sure you have lots of clean trousers or panties if you prefer. Bring a plastic bag and change of clothes if you leave the home. Apart from that there’s not much more you need. It’s a good idea to make your home somewhat wee safe. Before you start potty train a girl, or a boy, I suggest you remove or protect carpets, sofas, chairs and things you don’t want pee on. You also must make sure you got 3 consecutive days where you can focus 100% on potty training your girl.

Never force or stress your girl when potty training

I can’t emphasize this enough, it’s the most important thing to remember for a successful and pleasant potty training. Forcing, stressing or making your daughter feel guilt will only make things unpleasant for your girl thus making it more difficult to potty train. I believe in a gentle approach, that way she will have a positive experience and she will learn to be gentle to others as well.

You can still be strict and set up rules, this is something I encourage since your daughter should feel that you know what you are doing and that you are in control. The way you talk to your daughter have a great impact on how she will feel about the whole potty training thing. If you tell her “You’ve been a bad girl peeing on the floor”, she will feel guilt and stress. If we tell her “Oh noo, look there’s wee on your trousers! That must be sooo uncomfortable for you? Do you remember what to do when you feel that you need to wee? Please come and let me show you”, then she will feel your empathy and be encourage to learn.

Praise and rewards when potty training a girl

This is a hot subject where opinions differ. I’m against praise and rewards when potty training. What could possibly be wrong with praise and rewards, you might be thinking? There’s nothing wrong with praise and rewards when used in the right way an at the right time. Many people, including myself, don’t think potty training is the right time. One reason is that using the toilet should not be associated with performance. It should be a natural part of life to use the toilet.

Praising and rewarding will give your girl pressure to perform (which is the whole point), this could make your girl feel stressed and is unnecessary since it’s possible to potty train a girl without praise and rewards. Another problem with rewarding is that you are basically bribing your child to do what you ask her to. That just doesn’t feel right to me.

One more problem from a wider perspective is that you are fostering a look-at-me-child. This happens when we keep telling them how good they are instead of telling them how much we like being with them or how much we like who they are. In the long run this can make her feel that what she does is what we value instead of who she is. This will lead to the need to perform all the time and a bad self-esteem. I potty trained both my children without the use of praise or rewards and as you probably know by now, it went very well!

How to potty train a girl?

Potty train a girlAll right, let’s get started. Apart from the things I’ve already mentioned there’s no real difference in potty training a boy or a girl. I embrace using a potty training in 3 days method. You can read more about it on my Potty training in 3 days page. The short version goes something like this.

On the day you’ve decided to start potty training, place the potty in the bathroom when she doesn’t notice. Don’t tell her about the potty. Tell her you are going to use the toilet and then go to the bathroom. Either she will follow you or join you after a while. Act surprised when she sees the potty and let her explore it on her own. You can ask her if she needs assistance, for instance to take of her diaper, if it looks like she needs help. It’s important to intervene as little as possible and to not be pushy.

If she seems okay with the potty you can remind her about taking off and on her pants/panties, wiping herself and washing her hands (if you’ve been practicing on it). Always try to sense how she’s feeling about the potty so you don’t go too fast forward. After taking of her diaper, don’t put on a new one. Only put on a pair of trousers or panties. Tell her that she doesn’t have any diaper now, so she must use the potty when she needs to wee or poo, else it’s going to get wet and uncomfortable.

Continue with your regular morning routines but keep a hawk eye on your girl. Look for signals that she might need to use the potty. If you suspect something you can tell her “remember to tell me if you need to use the potty honey, okay?”. Never ask her if she needs to use the potty like “do you need to use the potty honey?”, do you see the difference?

Whenever there’s an accident tell her something like “Oups I can see there’s wee in your pants, that must be very uncomfortable. Let’s go and change pants”. Then walk her to the bathroom, show her the potty and tell her “If you don’t want to get wet again you can use the potty next time, do you want to try?” Hopefully she will want to try. 😊

Change trousers/panties and repeat the process until she gets the hang of it. If there’s pee in the potty, don’t reward her. Be happy and confirm that you can see she did pee and that it must have felt good!

Keep doing this for 3 days, on day 2 she most likely will have gotten the hang of it. There will still be accidents though and this is normal but will become less frequent.

Keep using diapers during nap time and when sleeping in the night. You can stop using diapers during sleep when she has been dry for a few consecutive weeks. This can take months or even years and is nothing you can affect. You can read more about nighttime potty training HERE.

This was it! Hopefully potty training your daughter will be as smooth as it was for me! I strongly recommend you to read some of my other articles as well if you haven’t done so already. Good Luck with your potty training!

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