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How to Diaper a Resistant Toddler Baby

How to Diaper a Resistant Toddler BabyI’m sure I’m not the first parent to battle an insistent, strong-willed, soon-to-be toddler over diaper and outfit changes. My husband walked into the bedroom the other night asking, “Why is she crying like that?”

I held up a finger covered in Boudreax’s Butt Paste, using my other hand to grab two flailing legs, and with my third hand… wait, there’s the problem. My daughter proceeded to spread diaper cream on her ankles, knees, and toes (everywhere except her butt basically), as I said, “I’m changing her.” My tone suggested this was explanation enough.

“So?” my husband asked, raising an eyebrow. “Does she do that every time you change her?”

I stopped, looking up from the tangle of arms and legs. “You mean she DOESN”T act this way for you?”

“No,” my husband answered. “Don’t you give her a shoe?”


My husband grabbed a size 2 Old Navy Tennis shoe off the floor and said, “You just have to give her a shoe.” Our daughter took the shoe, smiled, placed it in her mouth, and I continued with the diapering. Easy as tying a shoelace.

But when the shoe trick gets, well, as boring as an old shoe, what else can the parent of a toddler do to make changing time go easier?

Keep all supplies well stocked. This is good advice regardless of your baby’s age — you don’t want to have to go running around the house looking for a diaper with baby on the changing table. But with a toddler, you only have one chance to change each diaper before you have a naked baby streaking through the house, so you better get it right!

Keep messy objects out of reach. As soon as your little bundle figures out how to open the cap on the diaper cream, get it out of there.  (Fortunately, I didn’t have to learn this one from experience!) Remove from reach anything you don’t want your toddler grabbing for; this frees up your hands for the important tasks — holding baby down, wiping, fastening diaper tabs.

Keep toys within reach. Whether it’s a shoe, a lovey or a favorite teething ring, giving your child a toy may keep them occupied during changing. In fact, the mobile that you can’t use in the crib anymore because your on-the-go baby uses it to pull up on works great above the changing table, where baby can watch her favorite, familiar characters go round-and-round. Just make sure it’s out of reach or it becomes just another thing baby can grab and use as a weapon, er, object to pull up on.

That strap on the changing table? It actually has a purpose. I have a confession. The first time I placed the changing table pad on the changing table, I thought the straps were designed to go under the pad, securing it to the table. Now I know better!

Although experts recommend always strapping your baby down, it doesn’t become mandatory, from a practical standpoint, until your child begins rolling. Using the restraint signals to a squirming toddler that it’s time to be still, just like in the car seat. My husband (who is, apparently, the diaper-changing pro) strapped down our daughter for changing time the other day, and it actually made the process much easier.

When all else fails…  Use the Amazing Standing Diaper Change. I read this post by Brit several months ago and never forgot it. While my husband’s the diaper changing pro, I almost have this move mastered. Let baby stand up, occupied and playing with whatever toy they like, while you quickly remove old diaper (yes, even if it’s dirty), wipe baby, and put on new diaper. Experienced mom Brit makes it sound so easy but, really, it truly is easier than getting an uncooperative toddler to lie down for a diaper change.

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