I don't know about you, but potty training was one of those parenting moments that tested my patience in a way very few things can. And as a mother to a daughter, I can tell you that figuring out how to potty train a girl was no picnic. While there are similarities in the overall experience regardless of your child's sex or gender, there are more than a few things only moms potty training girls can understand. Trust me.
According to the website, New Kids Center, girls show potty-training readiness three months sooner than boys, on average. Of course, your experience potty training will depend entirely on your child, and things like a big life change, a loss of interest, or straight-up resistance can derail the process entirely. In the end, and in my experience, it's best to follow your child's lead.
I waited for my daughter to show she was interested in using a potty before trying to train her. When she seemed curious I purchased a small potty to sit beside the big one, and in the beginning she would simply watch and observe. When, on some random day, she used the potty, I immediately created a sticker chart and praised her for her efforts. While the entire experience wasn't easy, waiting for her to be ready certainly helped push us toward more pee- and diaper-free days.
My experience with my son was different, though, and while there were a few similarities he seemed much less interested in the potty, and way more interested in simply sitting on it to waste time. So trust me when I say there are a few things only moms potty training girls will understand, including some of the following:
According to Parenting, the equipment you use when potty training a girl matters. "Try using a potty chair," writes Jessica Kowal. "Her feet will touch the floor, which relaxes her pelvic muscles." The same article encourages parents to provide a step stool for their young daughter if she wants and/or is able to use the "adult toilet," too.
The Wipe Is Important
When it comes to maintaining good hygiene, potty training my son was a lot easier. I don't mean less gross — because he wins that category, hands down — but the wiping situation wasn't quite as important.
According to Parenting, it's important to teach your child to wipe front to back. Well, I had a hell of a time trying that to my daughter. Every time she goes into the bathroom I just cross my fingers and hope all ends well. According to Parents, you can use a doll as a visual aid to show the correct way to wipe, but even at kindergarten age-level you'll likely still need to help your daughter wipe.
The Right Underwear Can Make Or Break This Thing
Seriously. I've found this to be true of both my kids, but more so with my daughter. If you spend a little money on underwear decorated with characters they adore, they don't want to "go" in them. Accidents happen, sure, but when my daughter ruined her favorite underwear when she was potty training it really bummed her out.
She Should Sit With Her Knees Apart
According to Parenting, it's best to encourage your daughter to sit on the toilet and/or miniature potty with her knees apart. Apparently, this position also helps your daughter to relax her pelvic muscles while going to the bathroom.
She Will Learn To Use The Potty Faster
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, boys have a tougher time sitting still, which could be a factor that contributes to any potty training delays. And according to Care.com, some of the reasons why it might take longer to potty train a boy versus a girl include "the lack of a male role model showing them how to potty, lower maturity level of boys versus girls, higher activity (fidgeting) level of boys, gender roles of standing up versus sitting down, and basic practicality for mothers with regards to those gender roles."
See, it's not all bad!