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Baby's Big Triumph: No More Diapers

There are certain moments of my first years as a mom that stand out with freeze-frame clarity. Like the time my then lumpish 2-month-old, Henry, rolled over from his tummy to his back  -- a feat I found so impressive I actually brought him into work the next day so my colleagues could watch. (So much for my carefully cultivated professional cool.) Or the summer day eight months later when Henry pointed a pudgy finger to the sky and said "Kite!" when he saw one flying in our backyard. I swear I can still hear this first squeaky word hanging in the air.

Your baby book's "Memorable Moments" page may start out blank, but those "firsts" rack up fast. Even when you know to expect them, milestones can surprise, thrill, or sometimes even unnerve you. Here, how your baby reaches this moment, and what you might experience when she does.

No more diapers
(2 ½ to 3 ½ years)
Sixty percent of toddlers are potty trained by age 3 and 98 percent by age 4. Most show the classic signs of readiness between 18 and 24 months: dry spells, regular bowel movements, and curiosity about bodily functions. This is when it's a good idea to introduce the idea of toilet training and make a potty available. However, it's not until they're well into toddlerhood that most kids have the physical and mental ability to respond well to training.

What you're feeling: Potty training is one milestone few parents shed a bittersweet tear over. Although it's a skill requiring a certain level of biological and mental sophistication, most moms and dads are so over diapers that pride is pushed aside for other, more primal emotions. "The feeling was definitely relief  -- no, elation," says Mary Bailey, a mom of three from Knoxville, Tennessee, about her third child Lizzy's recent goodbye to diapers, a month shy of her third birthday.

There's the joy of finishing training  -- a messy and sometimes arduous process that can seem never ending. And then there's the bliss of life after diapers. "I can tell you this for sure," says Bailey, "I was definitely more excited about it than my daughter was!"

Paula Spencer is a contributing editor at Parenting and a mom of four.

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