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How to Potty Train a 2-Year-Old Girl

by Sara Ipatenco, studioD

You might be in a hurry to ditch the diapers once your daughter reaches her second birthday, but not so fast. While most 2-year-old girls are capable of being potty trained, you should wait until your little girl shows an interest in using the toilet, which is likely to occur sometime before she turns 3. Otherwise, you run the risk of it being harder for her to master and also taking longer. Your daughter might resist your efforts, too. Once your daughter has expressed a desire to use the big girl potty, a few tricks and techniques will make the process as smooth and painless as possible.

Take your daughter to the store and let her pick out a few pairs of big girl underwear. Encourage her to choose underwear in her favorite color or that has her favorite cartoon characters on it. The more exciting you make the underwear purchase, the more willing she's going to be to give potty training a try.

Show your little girl the potty chair and demonstrate how to use it. Let her practice sitting on it while she still has her clothes on so she can get used to it.

Create a potty schedule. Choose a few times that you'll take your daughter into the bathroom, help her remove her pants and underwear and sit on the potty chair. For example, you might take her once an hour or build it into her routine so she practices before nap time, after she eats and before she goes outside to play. Be consistent about taking your daughter to the potty at these times every day.

Encourage her sit on the potty for a few minutes to see if she can go. If she can't, let her get down and resume her normal activities.

Show your little girl how to wipe from front to back when she goes potty. That will help reduce her risk of getting a urinary tract infection. Demonstrate how to wash hands with soap and water after she goes potty, too.

Reward your little girl when she successfully uses the potty instead of soiling her pants. Let her put a sticker on a piece of colored paper to chart her progress. Praise her efforts and let her know how proud you are of her.

Continue your potty schedule and rewards until your daughter is able to recognize the cues that she needs to go and heads to the bathroom by herself.

Items you will need
  •  Big girl underwear
  •  Potty chair or seat
  •  Colored paper
  •  Stickers


  • If your daughter is extremely resistant and won't cooperate, take a break for a few weeks and then try again.


  • Potty-training can take up to six weeks.
  • Don't punish your daughter if she has an accident. Instead, ask her to help you clean it up and encourage her to keep trying.


About the Author

Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.

Photo Credits

  • Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images