04 December 2006

Getting beyond a toddler's diaper change protests

Amanda calls this "toddler diaper ju-jitsu:"

Our almost-2 year old occasionally mounts a violent protest when we try to change her.  Sometimes, offering her a "standing change" works (and, if you haven't tried it before, it's surprisingly easy as long as your kid is standing, not dancing or walking).  Otherwise, we've had last-ditch success by offering her a "pull-up" -- a regular diaper with one tape already closed.  She pulls it on over one leg, and I fasten the tape on the other side.  Big smiles all around.

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My 16 month old girl is doing this lately, too! Do you think it's because it's cold? Out of frustration one day, I sighed, hard, with my head down (causing the air to tickle her tummy). She started cracking up. So now, I blow on her belly button if she starts to fuss, and she stops.

She also thinks it's funny when I pretend that I'm spitting. That one worked to calm her down the other day when she fell with her sippy in her mouth and was bleeding. I was trying to get her to spit so that I could see if she'd knocked out a tooth (there was a lot of blood - thankfully all her teeth are still there), and when I demonstrated, she started cracking up. I never did get her to spit, but I got her to stop crying, which is just as good.

A stage I did not enjoy with either child. I doubt it has anything to do with the cold; everything to do with control. Distraction is your best bet; go for the tickles, zerberts and similar tricks. If distraction doesn't work, I gave a stern look and just waited, looking bored, until he was ready. If I wasn't trying to hurry him he seemed to give up trying to slow me down.

We have this problem with our daughter who is remarkably strong-willed. We'll try this but a very firm voice seems to work best.

Having them help with the change helps for us, too. Getting out the diaper, getting out the mat, getting out the wipes and the ointment (all placed at floor-reach level in our case, since I don't do changing tables, especially with twins...). If they're the boss, it works better.

Of course, there's also jealousy, not that I *necessarily* recommend doing it on purpose - change her sister, and she'll complain that she didn't get to have her diaper changed first! Ah, twins... (maybe change a bear?)

But yeah, age-related!

I have had success with this method: Spread the diaper out along your leg, front end by your knee. Pick up babe, set her on your leg, straddling it. Pull up front and back, and wrap tabs around the sides. It's the only way that has defeated every version of the wiggling attempts for me.

Oh yeah, and when she was younger, she liked being given tasks - holding the wipe until I was ready for it, holding up her legs, opening her knees, handing me the new diaper or cream, etc. That paired with kisses and pats on soles of feet in time to rhymes helped a lot until she was just too active and I had to move to the straddle method above.

Oh thank you! My daughter is 11 mos old and has started doing this at EVERY changing, day and night. Your comments are gold.

Re: standing diaper change. A guest did this in our living room, and was surprised to find a poopy diaper. Her kid then sat down, bare poopy butt, on our carpet. She was mortified. Luckily, we have washable Flor carpet tiles for just this sort of thing. But something to beware of with the standing diaper change!

My toddler cooperates with diaper changes if I let him choose the location. His favorite spot is on the carpet with his head under his toddler bed. I'll ask him, "Do you want to get your new diaper under the bed or over by the door?" and he always chooses one.

Another trick that always works to keep him cooperative during poopy diaper changes is to play elevator with his legs. He loves to make the elevator go down (so I can open the tabs) and up (so I can clean his tush), then open the elevator doors by spreading his legs apart (so I can clean on the sides).

My favorite approach for handling a younger squirmy toddler is to lie the child on their back on a changing pad on the carpet, then sit with one of my legs placed over the child's stomach to gently pin the child down with the back of my knee. Works every time!

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