Have a little girl who you think might be ready to ditch the diapers?
You’ve come to the right place: a comprehensive guide full of tips on when and how to potty train girls.
From frequent reminders to celebratory dances, we’ll lead you every step of the way.
You’ll learn the best approaches for potty training girls and before you know it, she’ll be even more thriving and independent.
In this article: 📝
- When to start potty training girls
- What is the best age to potty train a girl?
- How long will it take to potty train my daughter?
- How do you first potty train a girl?
- How to teach a girl to wipe front to back
- Are girls harder to potty train?
- Potty training tips for girls
- Useful resources on how to potty train a girl
- What is the best girls’ potty?
When to start potty training girls
So first off, when’s best to potty train girls?
You can start potty training girls as early as 18 months up to 3 years old, but the best time to begin is around her second birthday, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
After 24 months, toddlers can become more strong-willed and it’s harder to get them to go on the potty.
Your little girl is ready to start potty training if she:
- Follows basic instructions and rules
- Knows when she’s peeing or pooping (like she tells you when she has)
- Shows interest in the potty
- Can pull up her dress or push down her pants
“Many kids don’t have the fine motor skills to pull up/push down pants until they are older and some kids never show an interest in the potty!”, says potty training expert, Allison Jandu.
What is the best age to potty train a girl?
The best age to potty train a girl is around 24 months, though some parents wait until after their little girl turns 2.
Starting after two can be more of a challenge, but if your little girl has already celebrated her second birthday, no need to fret.
She’ll be totally fine, and many girls learn to potty train between ages 2 and 4.
What is the average age of potty training for girls?
The average age of potty training for girls is around 2-3 years old, according to the AAP, while being fully trained for nap and bedtime might not happen until age 4 or 5.
And according to a study in 2022 by Timothy Schum, “the median ages for readiness skills for girls and boys, respectively, were as follows: ‘showing an interest in using the potty’, 24 and 26 months; ‘staying dry for 2 hours’, 26 and 29 months; ‘indicating a need to go to the bathroom’, 26 and 29 months”.
How long will it take to potty train my daughter?
It can take quite a while to properly potty train a girl, usually an average of 3-6 months.
But you can teach your girl the basics in a few days ‒ the rest is encouraging her when she uses her potty so it becomes a regular daily occurrence.
There may be a few accidents during these 3-6 months, but that’s totally normal and usually nothing to be concerned about.
Do girls take longer to potty train?
Sometimes, yes ‒ many of our Peanut moms found that their girls took longer to potty train than their boys, but they were also ready and willing to learn how to use the toilet earlier.
But every kid is different ‒ some girls might be quicker to start but slower to learn, some boys might be slower to start but quicker to learn.
You might find some info out there that suggests girls are ready for potty training on average about 3 months earlier than boys, but it’s more down to different personalities than genders.
How do you first potty train a girl?
You start potty training girls by taking a couple of days at home without diapers to teach them that pee and poop go in the potty and to help them get to the potty when she needs to go.
Look for cues that she needs to pee and ensure she makes it to the potty before it’s too late.
When accidents happen, try not to get upset.
Instead, remind her calmly that pee goes in the potty.
Within a few days, she’ll show signs that she’s making the connection, and you can venture out for short errands.
As she practices and you gain more confidence, your trips away from home can become longer.
You can also work on using the potty in new places, like the grocery store, grandma’s house, and the park.
We love the idea of normalizing potty training during storytime with interactive kids books.
What is the fastest way to potty train a girl?
First, try not to set unrealistic expectations of your daughter.
Potty training a girl (or any baby!) in 3 days is pretty unheard of ‒ although you can go through the essentials, she’s likely not fully potty trained for about 3-6 months, when she can confidently go to the toilet without reminding.
However, you can potty train a girl in 3 days by having her wear no pants or underwear, teaching her to sit on the potty, and gradually adding pants or dresses in.
Look for clues that she needs to pee and help her get to the potty as soon as possible.
Start with short outings once she has the basics down, and increase the length of time you’re away from home as she learns how to use the bathroom in different places.
Even if your girl is a potty-training pro, remember that accidents will happen.
It doesn’t mean she’s not getting it, it just means she needs practice.
How do you potty train a stubborn toddler girl?
First off, most toddlers can be classified as “stubborn”, so you’re not alone.
You potty train a stubborn girl by giving her independence, not creating a battle of wills, and giving her some autonomy and reward systems.
Just like you taught your stubborn girl not to run into the street or to eat her vegetables, use the same gentle techniques that make her feel in control.
What is the easiest way to potty train a girl?
It’s all about making things easier for your little girl when you first start potty training.
Try to think about what potential obstacles there could be and eliminate them before you start, and if you come across any unexpected obstacles, plan for accidents and try to stop them from happening again.
Having a few potties around, particularly for a bigger house, can make a world of difference ‒ after all, she may not be too confident with walking just yet.
A reward system is one of our Peanut mamas’ favorite ways to potty train a girl, with most of them saying it’s the easiest, most effective way to potty train girls.
What’s the best way to potty train a girl?
There’s no single best way of potty training a girl ‒ every child is different, so different approaches will work for different girls.
See what works for your daughter ‒ you know your girl best, after all.
How to teach a girl to wipe front to back
Proper hygiene is so important for girls of any age.
That’s why it’s important to know how to teach toddler girls to wipe after peeing, and how to do it the right way.
Wiping from back to front can mean that bacteria from the anus can make their way into the vagina, which can cause uncomfortable infections.
So it’s important that you show your girl how to wipe from front to back before she tries on a potty herself.
You could demonstrate on a doll the first time, then encourage her when she does it herself ‒ you may have to remind her quite a bit the first few times!
Are girls harder to potty train?
It’s hard to compare the potty training habits of boys and girls ‒ beyond sex or gender, it’s more down to the individual child.
So if your little girl is already a confident communicator (from words or body language), then she could be easier to potty train than a child who has difficulties communicating.
“Why is my daughter so hard to potty train?”
We hear you, mama.
Some girls don’t take to potty training quickly or easily ‒ it doesn’t mean there’s anything the matter, but sometimes, there could also be a reason.
Change is hard for any child, so learning how to potty train could be the reason itself.
But here are a few other reasons why your daughter might find potty training tricky:
- A new baby in the family
- Toddler milestones, like stopping breastfeeding or moving from a crib to a toddler bed
- Moving house
- Illness, like constipation, could mean they want to avoid going to the toilet altogether
- Embarrassment from bedwetting or going to the toilet in public
- Fear of change ‒ learning something new is hard
Potty training tips for girls
Looking for the easiest way to potty train a girl?
Well, we won’t say it’s easy, but here are the best tips on how to make “no diaper days” as smooth as possible.
1. Stay focused
The quickest way to get your girl to make the connection that pee goes in the potty is to watch for cues and help her get to the potty asap.
For the first few days, be extra vigilant.
Whether she does a little dance or stares at you when she has to go, learn what her signs are.
Sometimes that means literally picking her up and setting her on the potty.
A training potty like this is recommended and is easy to take from place to place once you start leaving home.
“Mine didn’t fully get it until 3.5 and she will be 4 next month. She is now fully trained, both poop and pee. Just keep her out of pull-ups and make it fun. Rewards worked for me and we sang potty songs, read books, etc. Be patient but persistent.” ‒ Nicole
2. Practice the up and down
Forgo the diaper and pants for the first couple of days — it raises the stakes for her to get to the potty.
After that, she’ll need to know how to lift her dress or push down her pants before taking a seat.
Play “dress up” with lots of practice with pants and skirts, so she is ready to master the squat.
Stick with pants that have elastic bands, as buttons and snaps can be a roadblock.
3. Stay calm
Accidents happen, and how you respond is what matters.
Try to remain calm and level-headed.
Rather than scold her, remind her that pee always goes in the potty.
Most of all, you want her to form a healthy connection with the potty.
4. Start with a pat
You should show your girl how to sit on the potty and wipe herself from front to back.
This is important so she avoids getting an infection, especially when she wipes for #2 (but most kids don’t fully wipe for poop until age 4 to 6).
If she’s not able to wipe for pee, show her how to dab the area gently.
5. Avoid asking if she has to go
Looking for potty training tips for girls?
One of the best out there is to not ask her if she has to pee.
Most toddlers will respond with an automatic “no”, even if they need to ‒ it’s almost a reflex!
Instead, remind her at regular intervals to sit on the potty, once you know roughly how often your child going pees or poops.
(Hint from Allison Jandu: “Focus on helping them learn your child’s body cues for when they need to go to the potty”.)
Before you leave home or have lunch, tell her it’s time to stop by the potty and then wash her hands.
If she can’t reach the sink on her own, consider a step stool that will help her wash her hands all on her own.
6. Listen to what she’s telling you
Your little girl is different from any other out there.
Pay attention to what is clicking for her, and what she’s struggling with.
What signs is she giving you before she has to pee?
Is she having a hard time reaching the toilet paper?
Take note of any hurdles and find solutions.
“You have to watch for her potty signs CONSTANTLY. It can be exhausting, but the bare bottom part might only last a couple of days.” ‒ Jewel
7. Move the potty to her
In the initial days, she won’t be able to hold it for more than a few seconds.
Place the potty in the playroom, outdoors, or wherever it’s easily accessible.
Help her make as many successful trips to the potty as possible.
When you leave home, bring her little potty along and inform her of its whereabouts.
8. Opt for a good diet
Nothing derails potty training girls like constipation.
Make sure she’s getting a well-rounded diet and enough water to keep things moving.
9. Let go of crutches
Diapers and pull-ups can sometimes show your child that poop doesn’t go in the potty ‒ which is not the message we’re aiming for here.
When she’s awake, aim for no diapers and pull-ups.
Keep them on for nap and bedtime, unless you want to do day and night training all at once.
It’s also worth packing spare clothes if you leave the house, just in case of accidents.
“Pull-ups confuse most kids, cost more, and the children know they can just pee/poop in them and there’s no mess. Underwear or nothing worked best for my daughter.” ‒ Kitty
10. Don’t set a specific timeline
You’ll see some kids potty train in a matter of days, while others take weeks to get it down.
Try your best to take it one day at a time and listen to your girl.
With consistency and these other potty training tips, she’ll be trained before you know it.
11. Keep her company
Whether it’s her Frozen doll or fire truck, bring her favorite friends to the potty.
Make it fun by singing or reading stories.
Have her teddy bear give her a high five when she’s done.
The more exciting the trip to the potty, the better.
12. Gather support
After a long day of potty training, reach out to a mom friend who knows what it’s like.
Read up on areas where you’re struggling.
Ask for input, and celebrate the wins.
While potty training can seem endless, with a little support by your side, it’ll fly by.
13. Show excitement
Little girl potty training is an incredible milestone, and shows how independent your gal is becoming.
Be sure to offer her praise, and show her that you’re proud.
Consider a sticker or reward chart for successful trips to the potty, or keep it simple with a fun celebratory dance.
14. Be aware of regressions
Things that can derail potty training for girls?
Teething, illness, or another major change like a new baby can set your girl back in her progress.
While it can be frustrating, usually it’s just a phase.
With a little time, fortitude, and consistency, she’ll be back to being the no-diaper queen.
15. Hold off on bedtime and naptime
While you can try to rip the band-aid off all at the same time, most parents find it easier to focus on daytime potty training for girls before nighttime.
If she starts waking up dry from her nighttime sleep, consider forgoing the diaper.
Keep a pad or mattress protector on her bed for accidents.
As Allison Jandu says, “All daytime diapers should be removed from the get-go, even for naptime!
Sometimes keeping naptime diapers can lead to a child withholding until naptime, making the process take even longer.
Most kids are capable of staying dry through naps after the first couple of days.
Have a potty visit to empty their bladder just before they lay down to encourage dryness.
Nighttime training can be focused on later, but that is each family’s choice!”
16. Subtly prepare for accidents
Naturally, you don’t really want pee and poop all over the place while she’s learning to use the potty.
But having fail-safes all over the place can make your daughter feel like either she can go to the bathroom anywhere, or, subconsciously, she may not trust that she can learn.
Keeping towels hidden out of view of your toddler but easily accessible for you can mean you can mop up accidents quickly and easily, without causing a fuss.
17. Try going pants-less
Not you, mama.
Some of our Peanut mamas found that dressing their girls in just t-shirts or dresses (no tights, pants, or underwear) helped speed up the potty training process.
This only really works when you’re in your house, but it can help them know when they need to go.
“One week of nothing on but a t-shirt or dress till my daughter got the concept of where she’s supposed to potty, she didn’t have many accidents when we put pants on her.” ‒ Bernadette
18. Potty role model
It sounds a bit unorthodox and pretty weird, but if you don’t feel self-conscious about it, some of our Peanut moms found that letting their toddler girls watch them go to the bathroom helped show them what to do.
Or if they have a slightly older sibling or cousin they look up to, letting her know when they go to the bathroom might help.
“Having them watch you pee helps too. Eventually, they get it.” ‒ Athena
19. Work out her pee-schedule
After having a drink, see how long it takes for your girl to go to the bathroom, then use that as a rough guide.
After each drink, wait for a bit, then take her to the bathroom. Simple!
“Gave her lots of fluids in limited amounts and had an alarm on my phone to sit on the toilet every 15-20 mins for the first couple of days, then longer periods in between if she did good!” ‒ Edel
20. Let her choose her potty essentials
Take your little girl shopping for her potty and let her pick which one she wants.
This could help her get excited and less afraid of the change of going to the potty.
“I’m starting with my daughter who is 22 months. She picked out a Cocomelon potty and Cocomelon training underwear.” ‒ Makeda
Useful resources on how to potty train a girl
Want more info on how to potty train a girl?
Check out these books written for little girl potty training.
- 3-Day Potty Training Method by Lora Jensen
- Oh, Crap! Potty Training by Jamie Glowacki
- No-Cry Potty Training Solution by Elizabeth Pantley
What is the best girls’ potty?
So now you feel ready to start potty training your girl toddler, which potty do you get?
It’s important to get a toddler-sized potty, especially early on in your girl’s potty training, to make it as easy as possible for her.
Here are our Peanut mamas’ top favorite girls’ potties:
- Summer My Size Potty, Pink: This looks just like a normal toilet, just smaller and pink! While it’s not portable, it is easy to clean and can make your little one feel all grown up.
- The First Years Minnie Mouse Imaginaction Potty & Trainer Seat: Perfect for your little Disney fan.
- Potty Training Seat with Step Stool Ladder: If you don’t want to empty a girl’s potty, you could invest in a toddler’s step stool with a comfy potty seat to use on your normal toilet.
- Be Mindful Moby Potty: A cute design with a toddler-friendly seat, the Moby potty is also easy to clean and empty.
- Travel Foldable Potty Seat for Toddler Training: If you’re planning a trip or visiting friends and family, this portable girls’ potty can help avoid accidents.
- HEETA Non-Slip Potty Training Toilet with Lid and Removable Container: A simple, modern design with a lid to keep nasty smells at bay.
And to find moms who are also learning how to potty train a girl, connect with them here on Peanut.
You’ve got this, mama.