Transitioning into underwear is a big deal for every toddler. However, while the end result is rewarding, the road to get there can be challenging for parents and kids alike. Potty training can feel like an overwhelming process, and when minor leaks or accidents occur, it can be a disappointment.

As a pediatrician and a mom of three, I know that no two potty training experiences are the same, so keeping it simple and laying the proper foundation are essential for your little boy or girl.

Every child is different, but it is true that in general, potty training for girls tends to start earlier than for boys. This may sound like a stereotype, but I find girls in general tend to be more aware earlier in age of feelings of bodily functions, can control their body earlier, and just don't like being as dirty and messy compared to toddler boys.

Tips for Potty Training a Boy vs. a Girl

Below are some tips for potty training your son or daughter:

  • Practice patience: Potty training is a developmental milestone and should never be rushed with any boy or girl. It is usually somewhere between 2 to 3 years of age when a toddler is ready to begin underwear training, but remember that every child is different and don't put too much pressure on it.

  • Pull out the underwear drawer: I recommend putting Pampers Easy Ups in your children's dresser drawer, as if it is actually underwear, to help them get excited and make the connection that they're graduating out of diapers. Make sure your child is able to easily reach the Easy Ups and get your little boy or girl used to pulling the training pants on and off.

  • Excite with characters: New Pampers Easy Ups have cute characters that both genders can get excited about wearing. For your little girl, try the Dora the Explorer™ and Hello Kitty™ designs. My little guy loves the Thomas the Engine™ design on his Easy Ups.

  • Take a seat: Both girls and boys can learn how to the use potty sitting down. When potty training for boys, it's often easier for them to learn to pee initially sitting down. As soon as they're able to control their stream and aim, switch boys to standing up just so it's easier and cleaner when you're out and about in public restrooms.

  • Be a role model: As a parent, you are the best role model for your kids and the best example to show them how to go. I encourage moms and dads to allow their children into the bathroom with them so they can see how easy it is. It is also important for parents to teach their children to wash their hands immediately after, so that good hygiene practices are instilled from an early age.

  • Make it fun: Always remember that positive reinforcement is key with kids, and never discipline them for not going. I find that small immediate rewards are the best way to make underwear training a breeze. Create a fun little dance that you do right after they successfully go or find other creative ways to reward them, like a sticker or a hand stamp. It is important to make children feel rewarded for accomplishing this major milestone.