Why Potty Training My Daughter Is Making Me Cry

ByJessica Collins Grimes
Mar 2017
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Photo: Dr. Greene / The Bump

My daughter, who turns two next month, recently started the process of potty training. This is happening much earlier than I expected. Potty training was a long, drawn-out process with my older son and every time we thought we were making progress, we’d take three giant steps backwards. So when my daughter started showing interest a few months ago, we went with it. And while I’m incredibly proud of her, I’m not exactly jumping up for joy like I did with my son (cha-ching, no more diapers!). Instead, I’m surprised to find that I feel mostly… sad.

Why? It sounds ridiculous, I know, but diapers are one of the last remaining ties to her babyhood. This sudden and unexpected transition from the changing table to the potty is yet another sign (all of which I tried to ignore) that my baby — my last baby — isn’t really a baby anymore. She is becoming a “big girl” (which she will proudly tell you, dare you imply otherwise). Before I know it, we’ll be shopping for toddler beds and putting the crib in storag … this time for good.

Potty training is forcing me to face the reality of our decision to only have two children.

My husband I decided awhile back that two was our “magic number.” But ever since we began our potty training adventures, I’ve been finding myself longing for the days when my daughter would nuzzle in the crook of my arm and of all the times we spent in her rocking chair nursing, singing and napping together, of those adorable baby yawns and stretches and squeaks and lastly (but maybe the most bittersweet of all them all), of that sweet baby scent.

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Yet at the same time, I know our decision is right for us. Because, truthfully, I don’t know if I could handle having three kids:  emotionally, logistically or financially. All I know is after six years, I’ve finally given away my son’s baby clothes. I started handing my daughter’s newborn outfits and snowsuits and jackets down to my sister. I’m passing baby gear out to neighbors and friends who can use them.

So I am trying to see potty training for what it is: an exciting new chapter in my little girl’s life, even if it does make me feel wistful and nostalgic. And I need to remind myself that it’s okay to feel that way and acknowledging those feelings doesn’t mean I’m questioning our decision to stop at two.

In the meantime, I can’t help but laugh, though, because who would have thought the idea of saying goodbye to diapers would trigger such an emotional response?!  Just one more thing to chalk up to that roller coaster of a ride called parenthood!

What milestones have made you a little teary?

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