Potty training typically takes place between 22 and 30 months, but each child is different. Girls, however, are normally ready to potty train before boys, but that doesn’t make the process any easier.
If you’re looking for tips for toilet training a girl, look no further. Here, Dr. Nakia Williams, a Henry Ford Health System pediatrician based in Detroit, offers potty training advice.
Toddlers love to imitate everything you do – good or bad. Why not let your daughter watch you go to the bathroom so she can learn, too?
“You have to model the behavior for your child so they know this is a normal part of your day,” Williams says.
Have your child sit on her potty when you sit on yours – and be sure to tell your child what she should be doing step by step.
Use her favorite doll or stuffed animal to demonstrate how to use the potty. Your child will think this is so cool. Their toy does everything with them anyway, so going potty should be something they do, too. There are even baby dolls that come with their own potty, so you can have the doll sitting on that potty while your child is sitting on hers.
2. Buy the right equipment
Because many kids are afraid of the larger toilet, purchase is a child-sized potty. There are also adapter seats that are a good thing to have on hand for when your child expresses that they want to try out the bigger potty. This soft, cushy seat will fit on top of your toilet and will be more comfortable for your kid to train on. Most have cool characters that your child will adore and handles for them to hold onto so they feel safe.
It is also a good idea to have books and movies about potty training on hand. Your child will love to watch their favorite characters using the potty and it might encourage them to do so, too.
A couple training items worth considering include Potette, a portable potty that’s been around for 17 years and helped millions of moms potty train their toddlers. Plus, purchase the Potty Watch Toilet Training Timer, a watch that will help your little one feel more independent and remind them when to go.
3. Help them get comfortable
Don’t push your daughter to start toilet training until she is ready. A sign she could be ready? “Your child is ready to start toilet training when they follow you into the bathroom, and play in or flush the toilet,” Williams says.
First, get your daughter familiar with her potty, FamilyDoctor.org suggests. Have her sit on it with her clothes on – just to see what it feels like. Then after a couple weeks or so, let her sit on the toilet, even if she doesn’t have to go – just to see what that feels like.
Baby Center suggests letting children personalize their potties with their name or let them decorate it with stickers. It’s important that your child feels like this is theirs and that it is something very special for just them.
4. Set up a schedule
Setting up a toilet training schedule may be difficult. It’s important to know when it’s the ‘right’ time. You do not want to start potty training your child right when there’s a big move or something other stressful in their life is happening. This might cause your child to regress and you will end up right back where you started.
There are many different toilet training methods that you can try. Some parents let their child run naked for a few consecutive days. Others have a calculated time that their child should go, and no matter what, their child goes every 30, 60 or 90 minutes.
Williams recommends books about the three-day method, which she has found helpful with some of her patients.
“Parents just have to put in the time and be committed,” she says. “It’s important to have patience when cleaning up accidents.”
It’s also important to talk to your child’s daycare provider, babysitter or teacher so that everyone is on the same page. This will help your child remain consistent while toilet training. They should be doing the same thing with your child that you are doing at home. If you give stickers, for example, then they should, too.
5. Help them with hygiene
Teach your child how to wipe – and remind her time and time again to wipe front to back. Make sure you explain to her the importance of doing this in order to avoid getting an infection. You should also wipe after she does to make sure she is dry and clean.
Williams says parents should speak to their child about clean vs. dirty because that is something that a child would actually understand. You know that adorable Charmin toilet paper commercial? Use that as an example since those cartoon bears resonate with kids. Williams also says for parents to be sure to stress the importance of hand washing after going to the bathroom.
6. Motivate and reward
Before she even starts potty training, take her shopping for big girl underwear, Baby Center suggests. Let her pick out whatever kind she wants, and chances are, she will want to wear them then – and be motivated to ditch those diapers.
“No one wants to pee on Lightning McQueen,” Williams says.
The way you set up the incentives is up to you, but rewarding her for her successes will only make your daughter want to try harder to go on the potty.
Once your daughter starts training, you can use stickers as an incentive. “Children love stickers, so that’s a great one,” Williams says.
Along with stickers, parents can give their children toys, candy, juice, raisins or just good old positive reinforcement. Williams says you don’t want the kid getting used to material things because then they will expect it every time they go.
7. Positivity and patience
Accidents do happen. You should always have a positive outlook on toilet training so that your daughter will, too. Kids can sense when something is upsetting you and if they think it is them, then all that pressure might get them upset, as well.
“Be patient, Williams says. “(Putting the) cell phone down and be(ing) patient is the whole key to the process.”