My toddler is just not ready to give up her diapers. And frankly, for the last few months I haven’t been either. We’ve been busy with moving into and setting up our first home, and that is not the time to introduce potty training! Even though she will be three this summer, wearing diapers is still the norm for her other than the occasional pull-up or squirmy adventure on the toilet.
In fact, when I suggest she try underwear and the potty instead, she often has a melt down and climbs up onto the change table shrieking “Diaper change, diaper chaaaaaaaaaaaaange!”
So, you think she would be happy when I give in and put a diaper on her right? Well it is sometimes really difficult to change her diaper because even though she says it is what she wants, she can be awful about holdings still and actually letting me put it on her. She has even been known to kick – hard! My spleen hasn’t been so happy about that one.
So while my goal is to focus on potty training this summer, I’ve compiled a few handy tricks for “how to diaper change your twisty toddler,” because I can’t be the only one right? RIGHT?
Since I cloth diaper, I’ve split up the list into general tips plus some cloth-diapering specific ones at the end.
Tips to Get Your Toddler into a Fresh Diaper without Losing your Sh*T
1) Ask first, and wait until he or she is ready.
When my daughter was a baby I felt guilty if I left her diaper on too long, but now that she is fully able to tell me when she needs a diaper change, I don’t feel so bad. Even if it is making a big stink in the house, I’ve learned to still ask her “Would you like me to change your diaper?” If she says no, I wait a couple minutes and try again. “I think you would feel better with a fresh diaper on. Would you like me to change it for you now?” Eventually she does say yes, and it is amazing how much more calm she is about it when it is on HER terms.
Of course, sometimes I am in a time crunch and the above method isn’t an option, which is why I have developed a few other strategies.
2) Sing an actions-based song.
The Wheels on the Bus works really well for this. Teach her a song like this one that requires a number of different arm actions outside of diapering time, and when it becomes a favourite for your child, use it during a diaper change. (Avoid songs with leg actions though. Diaper changes are not a good time for We are the Dinosaurs Marching!) She will have to lie down and focus on the actions –and you can focus on getting the task at hand done as efficiently as possible.
3) Let your child help.
My daughter sometimes decides she really wants to help out by wiping her own bum and putting her own diaper cream on. So, I have chosen to go with the flow and let her “help.” Of course, this means she washes her hands afterwards as well!
4) Let your partner step up.
I realize that sometimes you will be the only adult around and this won’t be an option. But if your spouse or a grandparent is available and willing, sometimes just a different person doing the change or talking to your child as a distraction makes a big difference in your ability to get diaper duty done efficiently. With my husband, I find I have to assure him that he is freeing me up to do an equally important task while he changes the twisty toddler – like dishing up dinner or putting the diaper bag together if we are going out.
5) Give up on the toy distraction strategy.
Giving my daughter a toy to hold worked when she was one and under, but at nearly three it is just not worth it. Even my cellphone ends up on the ground with the battery spilled out over our tile floor. Not worth it! Other toys just get chucked too.
Cloth Diapering Specific Strategies
During my new mom keener days when I had time for oodles of research, I ran across comments saying cloth diapered children often potty train earlier because they feel the wetness more easily than in typical disposables. Well I guess I just did a way to good of a job picking out moisture wicking fabrics because this was not true for us!
1) Have a stash of your simplest diapers set aside for when your child is most uncooperative.
One minor drawback of cloth diapering is that it does take a few seconds longer to put on a new diaper. But when your toddler is frothing around like your latest attempt at blending up a healthy smoothie concoction, every second counts.
While I primarily use fitteds or prefolds with covers as a budget-friendly approach, I have also invested in some pockets and all-in-ones because sometimes I just can’t keep my daughter distracted long enough to add the cover over top. My Simple Stash includes pre-stuffed or pre-snapped together diapers such as Omaiki All-in-Ones, Funky Fluff Athletic Wicking Jersey pockets, Lil Helpers Charcoal Cloth Diapers and one bumGenius Elemental all-in-one.
2) Let your child pick the diaper (this can work with cute print disposables too).
One of my favourite things about cloth diapering are the freakin’ adorable patterns! And my daughter has her favourites too. So sometimes the way to get her to accept a diaper is to let her pick… “Oooh this one has owls sweetie. Hoot hoot! Or we could use the diaper with lions on it – RAWR! Which one do you like?” You get the idea.
3) Get your diapers folded and put away quickly after laundering.
I am terrible some days for getting laundry put away! A basket of my clothes can sit around in my room for days. I make an effort to get to the cloth diapers quickly though, because there is nothing worse than using one hand to keep your flopping, fish out of water child on the change table while using the other hand to root for all those diaper pieces you still need to snap together.
What are you tips for making diaper changes easy? I would take any words of advice or encouragement on actually getting this potty training train out of the station too!