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Changing a Toddler's Diaper: Real Mom Tips

By: Melanie Edwards

I never thought I’d say that I miss changing a baby’s diaper, but the truth is that save for no diapers at all, it’s the next best thing to changing a toddler’s diaper. Changing a toddler’s diaper can be a trying, challenging, and humorous part of parenting. You may not laugh in the moment, but let’s face it, chasing a toddler running away in his diaper is funny stuff. Let’s take a look at a few challenges that come with changing a toddler’s diaper (and a couple of tips), shall we?

Challenge #1: Getting Your Toddler to Lie Down

When you realize that your toddler needs a diaper change, you probably announce it to him/her first. Parents, I am not sure why we do this to ourselves, but I think it’s because we’re tricked into thinking they can be reasoned with since they’re now saying a few words. The alternative is to just grab your toddler, but chances are that will only cause a tantrum. So, announcing a diaper change does seem to be the best way to go about it, plus your toddler will (hopefully) get used to the idea after hearing the words a few times.

After announcing the imminent diaper change, more than likely your toddler begins to run away from you. This begins a game of chase the toddler around the house. After much giggling, you finally find a way to get a hold of your toddler and are now tasked with getting him/her to actually lie down on your changing table, bed, couch, floor, or wherever you decide to change the diaper.

Tip #1: Use a Distraction and Talk with Your Toddler

I used to just grab baby boy and lay him down for a diaper change, but recently I talk him through it. First, I ask him to sit down. Then, I give him some type of toy, book or distracting item. Usually the TV is on too, distracting him from what’s going on. As I guide him down, I also ask him to lie down. Since he’s already aware that we’re going to do a diaper change, the process of lying down becomes easier.

Challenge #2: Keeping Your Toddler from Touching the Diaper Area

Once your toddler is lying down for his/her diaper change, the next challenge is keeping him/her from touching the area you’re trying to clean. Even if a distraction was used, toddlers can easily lose interest in the item, causing them to toss the toy and promptly put their hands in the diaper area.

Tip #2: Make a Game of It

One thing my husband did with our baby boy was teach him to keep his hands up or on his chest. Our boy still tries to touch his diaper area, but we remind him to "put hands up" and he proceeds to do so – it’s like a game for him! Of course, there are times that either my husband or I will have to hold down his hands (gently) while the other cleans him up.

Challenge #3: Wriggly, Squirmy Legs

Those toddlers sure do know how to wriggle and squirm, don’t they? It’s amazing how fast they can move their legs and get away from your hold! Squirmy legs make it pretty hard to properly put a new diaper on and fasten it, so controlling them is key.

Tip #3: Use Whatever Means Necessary

Sometimes my baby boy behaves and doesn’t squirm too much. But, when he does, I find myself doing whatever works in the moment – usually this means pinning down his leg with my arm.

Changing a toddler’s diaper can feel a bit like a wrestling match at times, but hopefully these few tried-and-true tips will help you out the next time you engage your toddler in a good game of "let’s change your diaper!"

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