Timing is important when potty training your baby girl; success is dependent on the trainer’s devotion and consistency and the readiness of the child. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that most children are ready to use the potty between 18 and 24 months, but some may not be ready until they are 2 ½ years old. Potty train with positive reinforcement, and never punish a child for having an accident or not following directions. Over the course of a few months, your baby girl will be out of diapers and using the potty like a big girl.
Look for signs that the child is ready for the potty. A child who is uninterested in the toilet and not able to communicate when she needs to go is not ready. Good signs are dry diapers for longer periods of time, waking up dry after a nap, pulling her pants up and down, and showing interest in the potty and its use.
Purchase a potty chair and underwear for your baby girl; it’s fun to make a big deal out of it and let her pick between a few choices. Set the chair up in a common room of the house for the child to get familiar with it. Let her sit on it with her clothes on, and explain to her what the potty is used for.
Let your child go into the bathroom with you so she can see how to use the bathroom and flush the toilet. Explain that instead of wetting or dirtying a diaper, she should sit on her potty chair when she feels the urge to go. After a few days, put the potty chair in the bathroom.
Begin the first day by putting the child on the potty chair with no pants or diaper, and ask her to try and potty. Sit with her for a few minutes, encourage her, sing a silly song about going potty or read a book. When the baby does go in the potty (which may not even happen the first day), respond with exaggerated excitement, jump up and down and congratulate her. Some children are motivated by a sticker or small piece of candy.
Continue to put the child on the potty every hour throughout the day. Devoting a weekend to beginning potty training is a good idea. Let the baby girl wear underwear when she is awake, and put her in a diaper for naps and bedtime; staying dry during these times will take a bit longer to learn.
Clean and change the child whenever she has an accident in her underwear, and take her promptly to sit on the potty. Gently remind her that she needs to go in the potty and not in her underwear; do not punish her.
Be consistent and encouraging as the child learns—don’t give up. Put her in a diaper or training pants if you must leave the house and are worried about accidents. Ask her to use the potty immediately before leaving and immediately when returning home. Don’t allow training pants to become a substitute for diapers. If you choose to use them, training pants should be used like underwear.
Give the child increased fluids like juice and water when beginning potty training. This will increase her urge to go and allow more opportunity to use the potty chair.