5 Steps to Potty Training Your Daughter

pull-ups sticking upIf you’re reading this, you’re either very, very tired of buying and changing diapers or your little girl is telling you she’s a big girl now. Either way, congratulations, you’re on your way to a potty-trained daughter! Every child is different, so what works for one child doesn’t always work for the next, but that’s why fantastic resources from other parents who have been there, and companies like Pull-Ups®, who have created tools for success are so important. With that in mind, here are 5 steps to get you started on your journey to saving $20 or more a week and downsizing from luggage to a regular purse — all while fostering your daughter’s independence as a person. Happy potty training!

1. Wait For Signs of Readiness

Potty Training should never be forced so always watch for signs of readiness, which include: Interest in the potty, telling you she has to go potty, refusing to wear a diaper, and wanting big girl underpants. If you aren’t already a registered user of Pull-Ups Big Kid Academy,  I recommend you sign up now (its’ free!) then take the readiness quiz, and print a prep list and progress chart to get started (there are also a ton of super helpful articles on this topic, and activities on this site for members).

2. Foster Learning

Without pushing the subject, offer information about potty training to your daughter. Buy books and videos about potty training (my daughter loved No More Diapers For Ducky and we watched the Pull-Ups Big Kid Potty Dance video a lot). Buy a small child-sized potty (nothing fancy, just a basic one that they help pick out and like), and place it near the toilet in a bathroom you most often use so that your child can sit on their potty while you sit on yours if she chooses to. Last, but most important: Buy Pull-Ups to transition between diapers and underwear.

Keep in mind that just because she’s a girl doesn’t mean your daughter will necessarily potty train before any boys she knows, and that she may be interested in the potty but then regress to the safety of diapers. It’s all normal. Savannah was super interested in trying out her little potty at 18 months old, but when we tried to add potty time to her day care routine she stopped wanting to go at home. It took until she was about 23 months for her to be fully interested in going in her big girl potty again. But we still talked about the potty and went every so often (without pressure) in between.

3. Follow Cues

If you notice your child is showing positive feelings toward potty training, and expressing interest in trying to use the potty, start having her try to go potty when you need to go. Watch for any cues she may have that signal she’s about to go potty in her Pull-Up, and take her to the bathroom before she goes. My daughter, Savannah, watched her big  cousin’s cues before he went potty and picked up those as hers as well, so every time I see her grab her private area I know she has to go (even if she denies it). Some parents like to also set a potty timer on their phone for the first week or two (trips to the potty ever 30-45 minutes depending on your daughter’s bladder control).

pull-upsbathroom floor4. Make it Exciting

Create a potty reward system with your child. When my daughter was potty training we downloaded the Pull-Ups Big Kid app and she got a star for every time she tried to go potty. After getting a certain number of stars, Savannah could unlock one of the cute Disney games available in-app. If she actually went potty, I gave her a star and a temporary tattoo (and a lot of praise, of course). She looked forward to going potty and picking out her tattoo so she quickly started going potty more and more once we did this.

Some parents use food as a reward, but I recommend choosing something that’s more about time spent with you as a parent like ice cream out or a movie if she goes potty for 5 days (doesn’t need to be consecutive) and cute little gifts like tattoos or a toy car for each trip. The Pull-Ups Big Kid Academy has a bunch of activities for potty training families to do in celebration of the big flush, too. Super proud of your little girl today? Schedule a Character Call with Mikey Mouse! Track her progress on your own printable chart, or pick your instruments to make celebratory music.

5. Help Her Stay On Track

My daughter loves the Daniel Tiger episode (111) that focuses on how kids who don’t feel like stopping what their doing to go potty should go right away because they can come back to their toys or activity after. Another one of her faves is Disney Junior’s new show Nina Needs to Go! that centers around waiting until the last minute to go potty. Both of these are pretty spot-on about how kids (even seasoned pros like my daughter) will try to put off going potty. But they can’t always hold it, so help out your kiddo by setting the time on your Pull-Ups Potty Timer app to remind your little one she needs to try to go every few hours at the very least.

As a parent,  be mindful of the clothing you buy for your daughter now that she’s in Pull-Ups and underwear — stick with dresses or two pieces (no more onsies, overalls or jumpers for a while). Making sure your daughter’s clothes support going potty (especially at the last-minute) will save you on laundry.  Also keep a lookout for bathrooms whenever you go out of the house, in case you’ll need to take your little one.

By the time you’ve accomplished steps 1-5 above, you’ll be well on your way to a potty-trained kiddo, but there’s still more to do! Once she has daytime down, begin to teach her how to wipe herself. This is where I’m at with my daughter . . . it’s a work in progress. Most kids can’t reach well enough to do a super job of wiping, but it creates independence and is important for when she goes to school and won’t have help. (Interesting fact: Savvy Every Day polled some moms and most said they’re child was nearly 6 years old before they could really wipe themselves well).

Inspired to get started on your child’s journey to becoming a big kid? Good luck!

A special thank you to Pull-Ups® for sponsoring this post. The opinions in this post belong to the writer alone.

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    1. I’m sure you’ll do fine 🙂 Boys and girls potty train differently but there are some common training tips in this post that may help.

  1. Great tips! I could have used these several years ago:)

  2. It’s so good that they have these cute reward systems for kids!! Good luck with the potty training

  3. great tips!! when i worked at a preschool i wish i would have thought to give parents of potty training kids some helpful tips and some of these app ideas!! how helpful! I love the potty dancing videos haha

  4. For my future this will be very valuable information, thank you

  5. I hope that this will definitely be a valuable topic for my future, thanks for giving me a peek into what I should prepare myself for. 🙂


  6. These are awesome tips! Potty training can be so frustrating, I remember when my brother potty trained it was like pulling teeth! He knew he had to go potty and would find a corner, squat and do his business. It was the weirdest, funniest, cutest thing!

  7. Pinning this for later use!!!

  8. Awesome Tips! I am working on potty training my little one right now and we’re even attending a seminar for it! That’s how clueless I am, LOL.

  9. These are all great tips. My son is 20 months and we are introducing him to the idea but not pushing him. We are on his time right now, and he uses the potty at least once a day!

  10. I just posted about my two year old and his diapers. Potty training is right around the coroner for me and I’m not looking forward to it.

  11. Oh how I miss the days of potty training! These are excellent tips!

  12. I started potty training my daughter but decided to hold off a couple more months. #1 on your list is definitely number one in potty training. Look for the signs. My daughter needs to know the signs before instead of after. So I sit and wait.

    1. That’s definitely important, and it’s great that you recognize that before moving on in potty training.

  13. With my niece we had a “potty song” and dance we’d sing and dance but ONLY if she used the potty like a big girl. She loved dancing with us so it was a little reward for her when she used the potty. It was embarrassing in public but she loved it and that’s all that really mattered.

    I can’t really remember all of it now but it was based on the Safety Dance song by Men at Work. Something like, “You can pee if you wanna! You can leave your poo behind. Don’t take the chance, and pee in your pants, just leave your waste behind! FLUSHHHHHHH!” LOL. So cheesy but she loved it.

  14. I don’t have any children yet, but these sound like great tips. Awesome post that will probably help some frustrated parents out there!

  15. Great tips. I shall be potty training my son soon too, would have loved to have seen the word ‘child’ instead of ‘daughter’ in the title 🙂

    1. Thank you, Fi! I’m planning on a post specific to boys, and another one for kids in general. Boys and girls potty train differently, but there are some tips that benefit both, for sure.