Does anyone really like diaper changes? I doubt it!
Whether you are the one changing the diaper, or the one being changed, it’s no fun! If your toddler hates diaper changes, then it can be incredibly frustrating!
Why does my toddler fight diaper changes?
There are a lot of reasons why toddlers hate diaper changes. It’s really helpful to know the reason in order to reach the best solution.
The Problem: Sometimes your toddler doesn’t want to get their diaper changed because they are uncomfortable. They might not like the place where they are getting their diaper changed.
The Solution: Check out where you are changing them. Is it soft? Are they too cold or too hot? If possible, make sure they have a nice, comfy spot to get their diaper changed.
You might try using a different spot. You can use a changing table, the living room floor, or a bed. Just use a changing mat to keep the mess under control!
My silly toddler always asks for a pillow under their head. Although it seems unnecessary, I’ve found it helps my little one to be more relaxed during diaper changes.
If your child is old enough, ask them what you can do to help them feel better during diaper changes. If not, try a few different places to change diapers, or offer a pillow. It just might do the trick!
2. Feels powerless
The Problem: It may be that your child feels like they don’t have any control over the situation. As toddlers, it’s really hard to not be able to get to do much on your own.
Think about it, we are constantly telling them what they need to do next. If they don’t get any say in what is happening around them, they might cause a fuss!
The Solution: Make your child a helper instead of a fighter. Toddlers LOVE feeling special and getting to be helpers!
Sometimes I have my kids get their own diapers, or find the wipes. This simple change gives them some control and can make them feel less frustrated.
Make a big deal out of them being a good helper! Praise and thank them for helping you. While you change their diaper, talk about them being a good helper. This small distraction can go a long way!
The Problem: Your toddler might fight diaper changes because they are in pain! If your child has a rash, you need to take care of it as swiftly as possible.
It’s no surprise that they hate a diaper change if they are in physical pain!
The Solution: If your little one has a rash, take a few steps to ease their pain.
If the rash is a common one, you can use water instead of wipes to clean up and rub on some diaper rash cream. Be gentle as you apply it because any kind of touch can hurt more.
You can also let them sit in the bath for a little bit to help them feel better.
Sometimes if the rash doesn’t go away, it might be something to talk to your doctor about. You might need more than the over-the-counter cream that’s available. Check out this article from Mayo Clinic for more info on severe rashes.
4. Bad memories around diaper changes
The Problem: If your toddler hates diaper changes, it might be because it has become routine for there to be a fight every time they need one. Toddlers have a good memory for how things make them feel.
If you are constantly having a hard time with diaper changes, you need to change things up. You have to break the pattern of the bad experience.
The Solution: If diaper changes have been a struggle for a while, it’s likely that you are stressing about them, too. One of the best things you can do during diaper changes is to stay relaxed.
When you are frustrated, your child can pick up on that. If you can stay calm, your child is more likely to stay calm too.
I know that’s much easier said than done, but do your best. As you get ready for a diaper change, remember that your toddler is little, and it’s normal that they get upset about these things.
Check out my article about how to change your attitude during tantrums or other negative behaviors here.
5. Doesn’t want to stop what they are doing
The Problem: Most toddlers have a really hard time going between activities. It is especially hard if they are doing something they enjoy, like playing.
They don’t understand that they can get back to their fun after the diaper change is over.
As an adult, I also don’t like to have to stop something I am enjoying. Sometimes, I want to throw a tantrum if I have to be pulled away from my favorite show! It’s no wonder they get upset, too!
The Solution (Part 1): Transitions are so hard for toddlers! Give them a little warning before you yank them from their fun. This will set the stage for a better diaper change.
You can give your child a warning by telling them how many more minutes they have to play. Even better, set a timer so they can hear when the timer goes off.
I also love to give my children a warning by saying, “You can do two more fun things, and then it’s time for a diaper change”. Kids aren’t great with time, so this is a little easier for them to understand.
Check out my article about other ways to ease transitions with your toddler.
The Solution (Part 2): Let them know when you are almost done
If the diaper change has been especially difficult, letting your child know that it’s almost done is helpful.
Some kids will calm down just knowing the end is near! I often say “one more wipe” and this helps them relax as I finish up.
I also like to tell my kids what we are going to do after the diaper change so they have something to look forward to.
The Problem: Sometimes your toddler might be bored while getting their diaper changed. They might get extra crazy and wiggle all over while you try to change them. And when kids are moving all over while you change them, a mess is far more likely!
The Solution: Distract your child! Make diaper changing time fun by doing something else while you change your toddler.
Option 1: Sing!
One of the best things you can do is to distract your child from the diaper change. My kids all love singing through hard times. It’s a game-changer!
As soon as I get started I begin singing a song.
You can sing common nursery rhymes (“Wheels on the Bus” or “Itsy Bitsy Spider”) or you can make up your own song!
I made up my own song for diaper changes. You can absolutely steal it if you want! (It’s nothing impressive, but it works for us!)
"Cause you got a dirty diaper, You got a yucky, stinky, icky poopy diaper. Let's clean it up now!"
If you want more information on why singing with your toddler is so great, check out my article here.
Option 2: Tell a story
Telling a story is another great way to distract your toddler during a diaper change.
Distraction is one of my favorite techniques to use when my toddler is having a hard time with anything. Sometimes kids just get into a rough pattern of being upset, and the best way to stop it is to distract them!
In our house, made-up stories go a long way to help our kids deal with hard things.
And don’t fear, kids do not care about the quality of your story! Sometimes I tell great stories that are pretty fun and even have a lesson. Other times, I just make up a story about what we did that day.
The key to telling a good, distracting story is to use facial expressions and to be silly. Include your child as a character in the story or one of their favorite stuffed animals.
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