Diaper Changing Struggles

Updated on February 10, 2010
W.H. asks from Groton, CT
14 answers

My DS is 16 months old. Everytime I go to ghange his diaper he screams and wiggles and tries to run away. I give him a toy to play with, i sing to him, I yell at him. It is not the nice nuturing experience that I would like it to be. It is also exhausting.What can I do. Help! I am a single parent so giving up and letting someone else do it isn't an option.

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answers from Hartford on

Definitely have everything ready to go before you start the diaper change. It's time to realize that at 16 months old he's not the little baby who's going to stay still any more. He's got things to do, things to see, things to DO MAMMA AND DO THEM NOW DON'T YOU REALIZE YOU'RE HOLDING ME BACK MAMMA? ;-)

Have one of his favorite toys ready, or have him choose to bring whatever is most interesting to him at the moment to bring along. Make him part of it. Or maybe you could see if he's interested in starting to toilet train. That's an active and on-the-go activity and it's something new. Plus if you're all right with the concept you might consider Pull-Ups as an easier option for a transition into underwear. He's not too young to toilet train if he's ready and showing signs of it.

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answers from Jacksonville on

Think about it W., our babies do not come in this world asking for clothes, grooming and all that stuff, so it is not a priority on their list to be dressed..:-)) For all they care, they could pee, puke wherever without restraints...so since it's the parents and our way of life that dictates these things, strategize - don't agonize. Try to pin the diaper first and then pull it up on him like a underwear. My son is a wiggly too and that works for me. Hope that helps.



answers from Barnstable on

It's a phase...I had to use the leg theory. Sit on the floor, with son in front of you, put your right leg over his mid section and change diaper as fast as possible. You'll get really good at it really fast. My son freaked out but he wasn't being harmed and his diaper HAD to be changed.



answers from Springfield on

My little guy went through the same phase at around that age. It lasted at least 2 months, and there were some fierce physical struggles during this period. It was SO much easier with a partner, if grandma/grandpa/sitter is around that will help. What ended up working best for us was to do it in the living room with the tv on (a treat at that time). Having him 'hold the tabs for Mommy' while he was standing up (urine-only diapers) was also pretty effective, and that technique is still working.
Best wishes, and this will pass!


answers from Burlington on

We had the same issue. Along with other great suggestions here -- the "warning" really works for us, too -- you might try giving him a book to read. Our son calms down when he has pictures to look at and pages to turn.



answers from Boston on

We just went through this with our almost 2 year old. She fights it partly because she wants to do everything herself, and hates that I still have to do things for her. I explained to her several times that she needs to lay down on her back for her new diaper. WHen I announce that it's time for a new diaper, I remind her again that she must lay down on her back. If she resists, I give her a choice, "You can do it, or mommy will do it," meaning that mommy will lay her down if she doesn't do it voluntarily. At this point she will usually do it herself because she doesn't want me to do ANYTHING for her... very independent. I made up a silly diaper changing song that I sing (it's just long enough to get the job done) and I also told her that if she cooperates she gets to have cooperation kisses after the diaper is on (kisses on belly). I made up about 10 other silly things before I found that this combination works. It's been working for about a month now. I'm sure she'll get testy again in another month and I'll have to jump through hoops again... :) Try to make up something silly that will get him interested in sitting still for you, and try to give him a simple choice that will make him feel like he has SOME control over the situation, (like, 'do you want to bring this toy or that toy to the changing table.') I also have resorted to putting a diaper on one of her stuffed animals and making a big show of it, and talking about how the teddy bear did SUCH a good job cooperating, etc. This usually gets her attention, and suddenly she wants me to change her diaper too.

Also, if you haven't done so already, this might be a good time to introduce the potty. I don't mean potty training, I just mean get him a potty and let him know what it is for. He might show some interest in it. I think the refusal to change a diaper has more to do with independence than anything else.



answers from Boston on

Have you tried changing his diaper while he is standing? I'll have my kids lean on a coffee table with a toy while I change them. A little tricky at first but now I have my technique down. Maybe he'll find it less annoying?

Otherwise, the other thing I do is have everything ready: The new diaper fully opened, the wipes already pulled out of the pack and in reaching distance. When I change (I do it on the floor) I'll just put the dirty diaper on the floor out of kicking distance so I don't have to worry about sealing it shut until after I'm done securing the new diaper on.

By 16 months they are so strong! I know it can be aggravating. I try not to yell but I definitely talk in a low firm voice telling them that it is unacceptable to kick/ fight/ resist diaper changes. Just remember like all other frustrating phases-It will pass ;)

Good luck!



answers from Washington DC on

I have a 15 month old son who does the same thing...it's gotten to the point where I have to use my legs to hold down his arms (gently, of course) and just change him as quickly as possible.



answers from York on

Try letting him run naked for a few minutes and let him air out then when he is preoccupied again grab him quick and put the new one on as quick as possible. Then let him go. Does your son go to a care giver? You should find out what she does to get him to change his diaper? Its something,.



answers from Dallas on

My daughter is the same way and the same age. For pee pee diapers I change her while she is standing up...there is a lot less struggle. I bought a toy cell phone from Leapfrog...it does more than just say the number and talk it also has a small screen with a puppy that comes out ($14.99). The ONLY time I let her play with it is during diaper changes. She gets so "in" to that coveted toy she forgets to struggle. There is a little fussing when I take away the phone, but it is short lived.( I actually have two of them, I keep one in my purse for when we are shopping or at a restaurant and I am desperate for her to be distracted.) Now if I could just find a way to end the fight over brushing her teeth. :)



answers from Portland on

Do you have a changing table? My 20 month old still uses his and with my older child we used it until she was completely out of diapers. The shape of it gives you more control. Besides that - giving him something to hold is helpful. Try having him hold his diaper (or an extra one) and talk to him about it the whole time. What's on your diaper? Can you help mama? It seems to offer some empowerment and my kids anyhow, were a bit more cooperative.
good luck.


answers from Portland on

This is a tricky age and it sounds like you are being very patient! You could tell him that he can have a sticker (or other small treat) if he stays still during his diaper change. Stickers are a wonderful incentive at this age. You can distract him by having him find his body parts - where's your head, eyes, ears, etc. Or you could try changing him in a new location, like on the floor. Sometimes switching locations can break the habit.



answers from Milwaukee on

OK, this is going to sound maybe a little strange, but I received this advice when I was struggling with changing my first daughters diaper and it really worked, so much that I use the same advice on my very active and wiggly 1 year old and it works 90% of the time.

Give him some heads up. Seriously say we have to change your diaper in a minute. Then say we're going to change your diaper now give him plenty of warning that he is going to get his diaper changed. They understand a whole lot more than you think. You can imagine if someone tore you away from something you were doing and held you down to try to do something to you without any warning. So seriously give it a shot.. it really worked for me here. If you have something that you can hang over his head while changing him to give him something to look at might help as well. I was EXTREMELY skeptical when I read it but thought it doesn't hurt to try so I did for about a week and by the end of the week she would allow me to change her diaper. Make sure he is allowed to go back to what he was doing afterward if it is possible.



answers from Boston on

When my youngest was this age and I couldn't get him to sit still to change his diaper...I started putting hi in pull ups which are much easier to change, because you can change them while they are RUNNING away from you and they don't have to lay down to do it.

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