Potty training marks the transition from toddler to childhood.

How to Potty Train a 2-Year-Old Girl

by Stacy Zogheib

Conventional wisdom might say that potty training girls is easier than training boys, but parents who have done it know that potty training either gender requires preparation and patience. While most parents would love to have their children out of diapers as soon as they are walking, waiting until your little girl is ready to potty train will drastically increase the chances of success. Since many little girls begin to show interest in using the toilet around age 2, you can start training when you both feel ready.


Begin changing your child’s diaper in the bathroom if at all possible. This communicates to her that elimination-related activities occur in the bathroom.

Let your child watch you use the bathroom. Explain what you are doing and tell your daughter that big girls like her mother, siblings and older friends use the bathroom instead of using diapers.

Take your child to the store and let her pick out her own “big kid” underpants. Explain that she is going to learn how to stay clean and dry.

Choose a child-friendly potty chair or seat insert. If you use an insert for a full-sized toilet, consider using a small footstool as well. Some children feel more secure on a big toilet when they have somewhere to rest their feet.

Watch potty-related videos and read age-appropriate books about toilet training. Emphasize that your daughter is going to learn how to use the toilet like Elmo, Dora and her other favorite characters. Teach your daughter the words you’ve chosen to use for pee, poop and the toilet.

Show your child her sticker chart if you are using one. Explain that each time she uses the toilet she will get a sticker, and after a certain number of stickers she will get a special treat. The treat can be a toy, a prize or a special event.


Remove your child’s diaper in the morning. If she is dry, have her sit on the toilet or potty chair for a few minutes. If she uses the bathroom, praise her. Help her wipe, flush and wash her hands. If her diaper is wet in the morning, put her underwear on and ask her to tell you before she needs to go so that you can help her go to the bathroom.

Dress your daughter in something that is easy to remove. Elastic pants or shorts are perfect. Avoid overalls and one-piece outfits for a little while.

Establish a routine of taking your child to the bathroom 15 to 30 minutes after snacks or meals and every hour or so during the day.

Sit your child on the potty for a few minutes at a time. Stay with her and encourage her to use the bathroom. Praise her or add a sticker to her sticker chart when she goes. If she doesn’t go, help her pull up her pants and get on with her day.

Put training pants or diapers back on your child at night until she is able to stay dry most nights.

Items you will need

  • Children’s underpants
  • Potty chair or seat insert
  • Potty-related videos and books
  • Easy-to-remove clothing
  • Sticker chart and small prizes


  • Teach your daughter to wipe from front to back after urinating. Wiping from back to front can cause infections in this area.
  • Daytime potty training a child can take several months, and many children take a year or more to learn to stay dry at night. You might want to carry a potty chair with you in the car during training since you will not have much notice if she needs to use the bathroom.
  • If your child gets restless on the toilet, create a special basket of toys or books that she only has access to when she is using the bathroom.


  • Do not force your child to sit on the toilet. You can be matter-of-fact and encouraging but if she refuses to go, just ask her again later. Don't turn toilet training into a power struggle.
  • Don't punish your child for accidents. Instead, matter-of-factly say, “Oops, accidents happen. Help me clean up.” Your child can put soiled clothes in the laundry after having an accident.
  • If your 2 year old shows extreme resistance to using the potty, she may not be ready to toilet train yet. Put aside the underwear for a few months and try again when she shows interest in learning.

About the Author

Stacy Zogheib's writing has been published in various online publications. She is a teacher and developmental specialist with experience teaching first grade, special education and working with children ages 0 to 3. She has a Bachelor of Arts in elementary and special education from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio and a Master's degree in Early Childhood Education from Northern Arizona University.

Photo Credits

  • Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images