Between the ages of two and two and a half, most girls show signs that they’re ready for potty training. They don’t tuck a newspaper underneath their arms and make a beeline to the bathroom after a heavy breakfast, but they exhibit eagerness, nonetheless. Tapping into this enthusiasm is a great way to potty train girls.
Child see, child do-do
There are a few ways you can accomplish this. To start, use your daughter’s desire to imitate you to your advantage (assuming you’re potty trained, of course): she wants to be like mommy and daddy. Show her how you use the toilet by letting her look on as you go about your business, then encourage copycat behavior.
Many girls enjoy looking fancy – they dress up in flowing gowns and put on their mother’s heels. This is something else that works for potty training girls: take your daughter to the store and allow her to pick out the prettiest underwear she can find. She’ll be much less likely to soil something she views as beautiful or elegant than she will a boring diaper that’s soooo last year.
The art of cleanliness
Girls have an innate desire to stay clean. They’re much more concerned than boys about sitting in their own filth: they’re defiant towards the doodie. Thus, if you ask your daughter if she needs to go, she’s likely to be honest with you – she knows that using a toilet keeps her much cleaner than peeing her pants in the middle of the rec room.
A word about wiping
Of special concern for girls is the act of wiping – they must be taught to wipe from front to back to prevent germs from entering the bladder. Where boys are more prone to “air dry,” girls take special precautions. In fact, urinary tract infections are much more common in girls in the middle of toilet training than they are at other times.
If the concept of front to back is too difficult for your child to grasp, teach her to pat herself dry. If she’s not thrilled about the concept of wiping – because, hey, who is? – consider buying specially-colored toilet paper to urge her on. You might also find paper with her favorite characters – T.P. with Tweety Bird.
So much poop
Don’t be surprised if your daughter takes to the toilet to pee, but prefers to do her pooping outside the lavatory: she does number two at the zoo, inside a canoe, or while shopping for shoes. When this is the case, refrain from switching back to diapers. Yes, it’s a choice that’s crappy (literally), but going back to diapers might cause potty training regression. Try instead to talk to your daughter about being a big girl. She’ll be a trooper for the pooper eventually.
Tap into imagination
Girls are known for their imagination – playing pretend games with dolls and stuffed animals – so help your daughter imagine a household free of diaper bills. Play pretend with her by showing how her stuffed bear poops on the potty before heading off to hibernate. This reinforces the copycat behavior and solidifies the root of the concept: going to the bathroom in a bathroom is good; going to the bathroom in the bedroom is not.
Potty training isn’t something people love: no one goes around claiming to like long walks on the beaches, golf, and exposure to E-coli. Still, if you’re a parent, it comes with the territory. So remain determined – your daughter will follow suit.