Why Potty Training My Daughter Was Bittersweet

girl sitting on potty

My daughter has an independent streak a mile long. While I think this will serve her well for the rest of her life, it made potty-training a longer process than I anticipated. She's three and, as of a month ago, finally fully potty-trained. I'm totally proud of her but I'm also, to my surprise, kind of sad.


Now, let me be clear: I don't miss carrying a diaper bag or changing a stinky diaper from a toddler who overdid it on guacamole. I'm flat-out thrilled to not have to spend any more money on diapers and wipes. My daughter is so proud of her "big girl unders" and I'm delighted by her excitement every morning as she decides if she wants flower or superhero underwear.

But my daughter is my youngest and my last child. She is the baby of the family, the much loved little sister of four boys. From the moment she was born, we knew our family was complete, so milestones with her have been my last everything: My last time being pregnant, my last time nursing, my last time listening for those sweet first giggles and words, and my last time feeling the cozy heaviness of a baby asleep on my chest.

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It was easy, when she was still in diapers, to think of her as my baby. Even as she got big enough to tell me she needed a change, our diaper change routine hadn't changed since she was an infant. I'd lay her on the floor and change her diaper and then give her tickles and kisses.

Now, she hollers to me that she used the potty and demands "I do it myself!" when I ask if she needs help. She takes care of her own business, like the big kid that she is.

I recently went through the house and gathered up all the diapers so we could donate them to a local diaper bank. We filled the bag with swim diapers, a handful of cloth diapers, and almost a full box of size 6s. I'm glad to pass them on to someone who needs them, but I can't help but feel like I'm giving away the last pieces of her babyhood.

I love the big girl that she is becoming. She is whip-smart, loving, and silly. She is still affectionate, so I still get to give tickles and hugs. But our days of diapers and sleeping on my shoulder are over. We had a good run, but it was over more quickly than I expected. I can't help but wish for one more day of baby.

But, instead, I'll try to celebrate her big girl accomplishment and maybe just save one last diaper to remember the baby days.


Photo via iStock.com/Saklakova

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