Between the ages of two and three, 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. Of course, this doesn’t mean it’s smooth sailing – and clean undies – from here on. Potty training girls is a challenge but knowing a few tricks can help you beat the bowels!
Remember, Children Learn from Observation
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 :-)): 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.
Make Sure You Have the Proper Equipment
A child-size potty isn’t just cute; it’s practical. A small toilet tends to make toddlers feel much more secure than large toilets. They’re safer too – the rims of full-size toilets are wide, allowing your child to unwittingly go for a swim. Instead of buying a tiny potty, you may also buy an adapter seat. But make sure it’s comfortable and securely fastened.
Children who feel comfortable on the toilet are much more likely to take to potty training – from the start, make it clear that the toilet is your daughter’s special place. Allow her to personalize it with stickers or dry-erase markers. And even let her take practice runs where she just sits on the toilet and pretends to go.
Buy Underwear that’s too Pretty to Soil
Many girls enjoy looking fancy – they dress up in flowy 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.
Keep Cleanliness in Mind
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.
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.
Prepare for 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.
Make it Fun
Make feces fun? That’s a little out there, but making the process seem more like a journey and less like a chore can help motivate your child. You may use food coloring to change the color of the toilet water or reward her with something from a treasure box afterwards. You may read her a favorite story as she goes or sing a song. Make it fun and you’ll make it stick.
Don’t Ignore 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.
Make a Big Deal of the Little Things
When your daughter pees in the potty, celebrate! When they poop in a bowl and not in their diapers, acknowledge them. Celebrate triumphs and a job well done. But don’t go over the top – too much hoopla can make your child nervous, ultimately discouraging her from potty use in the process.
Pee, Pee, Again
All kids have accidents – using the potty isn’t really something you get down on the first try. But the more your daughter uses the potty, the more she’ll grow accustomed to it. To help her along the way, be cautious of clothing. Refrain from dressing her in anything that has too many buttons or an outfit too large.
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.