Both boys and girls generally go through 5 stages of puberty, marked by visible changes in sexual maturity. These are sometimes called the “Tanner” stages and understanding them can help you know what to expect as you guide your daughter through this process.

Stage One
In this stage girls don't show any visible signs of puberty. However, toward the end, the brain starts to send signals to the body to prepare for changes. This typically happens sometime after a girls’ 8th birthday.

Stage Two
Characterized by the beginning of physical development, usually between ages 9 and 11. In stage 2, breast buds start to form under the nipple and a little pubic hair starts to grow on the vulva.

Stage Three
Typically begins in girls after age 12. Physical changes become more obvious. It starts with a growth spurt and continues as hips and thighs swell. Breast buds continue to get bigger and pubic hair gets thicker and curlier. Girls may start to notice vaginal discharge. Girls in stage 3 also begin to grow armpit hair and may start to have acne on their faces and backs.

Stage Four
During this stage, which generally starts around age 13, girls’ breasts become fuller, pubic hair gets thicker, and their growth spurt somewhat slows down. This stage is also when most girls get their first period.

Stage Five
Your daughter reaches physical maturity, growing perhaps an inch or two beyond her height at the time of her first period. Her breasts will reach adult size, pubic hair fills out, reproductive organs and genitals are fully developed, as is her shape (hips, thighs, and butt).