You could say that we timed the birth of our three children well: We’ve never had more than one child in diapers at a time.

While there is an upside to this — we never had to buy diapers for multiple children or worry about changing two kids at a time — it’s meant that over the last 8 years since our oldest child was born, we’ve had exactly 9 months where our home was diaper-free.

That’s right, we’ve had about 7 years and 3 months of changing diapers around the clock. That’s one-fifth of my life. (And my mother wonders why I’m so excited to start potty training our youngest already.)

It’s estimated that a child will go through 2,500 to 3,000 diapers a year. If that’s true, it means we’ve gone through a little more than 18,000 disposable diapers since our first child was born in 2009, spending a grand total of around $4,000. Sure, we could have saved money and lessened our environmental impact by using cloth diapers instead. I admire those parents who do. But as a mom who already works full time and teaches on the side, a little bit of sanity was worth the extra cost.

I feel like I’m a mom who has lived in the trenches. We’ve done the late-night feedings, with infants waking up at all hours; we’ve had our fair share of baby-proofing, baby-wearing, of burp cloths and bottle weaning. I know what it’s like to search the house on all fours desperately trying to find a pacifier; I know the feeling of tip-toeing out of the nursery, praying our infant doesn’t hear me leave. I’ve done the day-care drop-off, the pre-school send-off, the loading the kiddos in and out of our family van.

But for this trench-embedded mom, the one who has been dug down deep in diapers for one-fifth of her life, I can see light at the end of the tunnel — and I can’t help but be excited about it.

Our third child, our little caboose, is turning 2-years-old next month. We started talking to her about going potty at 18-months-old; a couple months later, we started reading Alana Frankel’s book, “Once Upon A Potty,” which is a classic, in my opinion. Last week, we finally got down the plastic, lime-green “frog” training potty out of the attic.

We sat it down, first in the bathroom and then reluctantly in our living room, trying to coerce our very independent, very strong-willed toddler to try it out. Her answer was simple: “No.”

I tried reading her the “potty book” again. But again, it was “No.” A few days later, our youngest daughter did decide to try it out, but she would refuse help. Instead, she wanted want to sit on it backwards, or sit on it fully clothed. She tried to stand in it or would take the removable bowl and run around with it on her head.

“Let’s sit on the potty,” I’d suggest.

“No,” she’d answer as she ran away.

I realize it’s still early, as she hasn’t even turned 2 yet. Her sister was easy, as she potty trained herself at barely 2-years-old. Our son was a little more difficult, as it goes with boys. He was 3-years-old by the time it finally sunk in. That was the last time we got to be “diaper-free” in the Avant household — we found out I was pregnant with No. 3 the same month. Life is funny that way, sometimes.

And so, I see the light at the end of the tunnel. The fog of sleepless nights, late-night feedings and midnight diaper changing is starting to clear. Will I miss the baby years, the moments of having a cuddly, squishly little nugget to snuggle? Absolutely, I already do. But enough to have a baby No. 4?

Not by a longshot. I’m saying goodbye to the early years of parenthood and welcoming what may come — diaper free.

— Lydia Seabol Avant writes The Mom Stop for The Tuscaloosa News. Reach her at lydia.seabolavant@tuscaloosanews.com.