Health Library
Health Library

    How to Potty Train a Girl: A Practical Guide

    Published 14 January 2020
    Fact Checked
    Tanya Tantry, MD
    Reviewed by Tanya Tantry, MD, Obstetrician & Gynecologist, Medical Consultant at Flo
    Flo Fact-Checking Standards

    Every piece of content at Flo Health adheres to the highest editorial standards for language, style, and medical accuracy. To learn what we do to deliver the best health and lifestyle insights to you, check out our content review principles.

    If you have a little girl, you might be wondering how to potty train a girl and when the right time for potty training is. We’ve outlined the process for potty training girls and added a few tips to help you ditch the diapers.

    When to start potty training a girl

    Studies show that children start showing signs of being ready for potty training at around 18 to 24 months. This age can be a good time to start.

    Each child is different, though, so don’t worry if your little girl isn’t showing any signs yet. Potty training requires children to have developed several different skills in different areas, and some children take longer to collect all those skills than others. 

    The skills a child needs to begin potty training are:

    • Neuromuscular — They need to be able to control their bowels and bladder (for at least two hours).
    • Communication — They need to be able to tell you they need to go.
    • Motor skills — They have to be able to pull their pants up and down by themselves.
    • Temperament — They need to be motivated and willing to try potty training.

    Some children develop one or more skills before the others, but potty training won’t be successful until they have a grasp on all four skills. You’ll know when it’s time to potty train your child by watching for these skills.

    Let her watch you, or other children, use the toilet. Talk to her about potty training and make it interesting. Once she gets motivated and excited about it, she’ll be more prepared once the last skills are developed.

    How long does it take to potty train a girl?

    It takes about three to six months to potty train a little girl. They tend to pick up on the techniques quickly and can sometimes complete potty training as soon as three months quicker than boys. 

    It’s important to note that even if your child is potty trained, they may still need some assistance at night. If they have accidents at night, it’s completely normal. Many people suggest pull-up diapers at night right after potty training, just until your child has better control in their sleep. Others suggest a waterproof liner for the mattress to make cleanup easier. Your child may get upset if they have an accident, so let them know that it happens and use positive reinforcement to give them confidence. 

    Preparing for potty training a girl

    Potty training a girl can take time, but usually doesn’t take longer than six months.

    If your child is around the right age and you feel they’ve developed all the necessary skills, then you’re ready to learn how to potty train your child. 

    You need to gather some equipment first to make it easier on you and your child. These products come in various colors and styles. Choose colors that are engaging and interesting to your child so they’ll want to use them. 

    Here are some things you might want to get:

    • A training toilet is a useful way to get a child familiar with the toilet. This gives them incentive and motivation to properly use the toilet. 
    • An insert in the toilet can help prevent them from falling into the bowl once they’re going to the bathroom on their own.
    • Getting a soap dispenser or a bar of soap that’s colorful or cute will make your child want to use it after every attempt.
    • A fun and colorful step stool can be a great help. Let your child move it to encourage more motor skills.
    • Wipes are great for quick and easy cleanups. Sometimes getting used to toilet paper isn’t an easy process, and accidents can happen. 
    • Some parents like to give their child extra incentives to encourage potty training. They get child-friendly books about potty training or use potty training charts with cute stickers. Other parents even take their child shopping for some toddler underwear as an incentive as they progress through their potty training. 

    Pay attention to their individual likes and dislikes when choosing colors and styles. If you take them shopping with you when you go out for supplies, let them pick out their favorites. 

    Potty training tips for girls

    Children learn how to do things by mimicking others around them. Letting them pretend and mimic you is the easiest way to help them learn potty training. 

    There are some easy steps you can follow that show your child what the toilet is for and how to properly go to the bathroom. Take each step slowly, and talk to your child through the entire process. Ask her how she feels about each step, let her ask questions, and keep it positive and fun. 

    Here are some steps to follow to potty train a girl:

    • Take poop from her diaper and let her watch you put it in her potty training seat.
    • Let her watch you transfer the poop from the seat into the toilet.
    • Let her flush the toilet. This helps her learn where her poop goes.
    • Be alert to when she shows signs of needing to go to the bathroom. Take her to the toilet or training seat and let her try to use it. Praise her for telling you so quickly. 
    • Teach her to stop what she’s doing when she feels the urge to go so she can go to the bathroom.
    • Stay with her while she’s learning to use the toilet. Reading a potty training book or talking to her can help her relax. 
    • Teach her how to wipe from front to back to keep her genital area clean.
    • Ensure she washes her hands after every attempt, even if she doesn’t end up going.
    • Praise her every time she sits on the toilet, even if she doesn’t do anything. She’ll learn to connect her urge to go with using the toilet, and positive reinforcement helps a lot. 

    Some parents start their girls on a potty training schedule to get them used to regular bowel movements. This can also help them better understand their urges to go.

    If at any time your girl struggles with a step, keep trying, and continue positive encouragement. If she loses interest and starts to ignore your efforts, it’s completely normal. That’s called regression, and some children do it a couple of times throughout potty training. Drop the subject for a couple of weeks, and start again from the first step when she shows signs of being ready. Potty training a girl can take time, but usually doesn’t take longer than six months.


    By following these steps and keeping your child’s interests in mind, you can successfully potty train your daughter. 

    Potty training is a unique experience for you and your little girl. If you notice she’s losing motivation, getting fussy, or unable to remember the steps, you can try to add some incentive prizes to get her back on track. Other times it’s wise to back off and try again in a couple of weeks. In the end, you’ll have a potty-trained child who’s ready to take on the world.