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  • Post last modified:July 30, 2022
  • Post comments:3 Comments

What is a toddler or baby poops in sleep at night and doesn’t wake up… Should you wake the baby to change diapers? 

Read this dad’s question, our answer, and other parents’ views here. 

baby poops in sleep at night

Dad’s Question:

My one-year-old baby has bowel movements early in the night. Should I change her diaper at night if I notice that she has pooped when I peek in?

She poops just after she’s gone to sleep, but doesn’t wake to complain about it.


Baby Poops in Sleep: Change A Poop Diaper At Night – Yes Or No?

Reasons to Change Diaper or Not for Sleeping Baby

Whether to change the diaper at night or not when the baby continues to sleep,  depends to a large extent on what is in the diaper and what time of the night that the “accident” occurs…

Many new parents change their babies’ diapers at night even when they have just peed. I remember doing that as a first time mom, on recommendation from my midwife. After three kids, I cannot understand why on earth she told me to do that. It just disturbed both my and my baby’s sleep for no good reason at all.

Today’s diapers can certainly hold a whole night if using the right size. (Of course, if your baby does have a bad diaper rash, then go ahead and change!)

Poop, on the other hand, is a whole different story!

Since poop may quite rapidly lead to severe diaper rash, I definitely think you should change the diaper if your baby has pooped at night, especially if the pooping happens early at night and your baby is likely to sleep with dirty diaper for several hours.

The type of poop does matter, as well as your baby’s age. Young, breastfed babies often poop after every feeding and do feed often. In such a case, you could probably wait until next feeding at night if the baby happens fall asleep while nursing – it will only be a couple of hours and breastmilk poop is often not very irritating.

However, a 1 year old baby has started with solid foods, and the stools will be much more irritating for the skin.

The older the baby, the higher is also the risk that the child will stick his or her hand into the diaper to scratch for example, which can become quite disgusting.

Changing Diaper At Night Without Waking The Baby

Having to wake up a baby at night is NOT fun when we strive so hard to make our little ones sleep through the night. But if your daughter just fell asleep, she might be in deep sleep, and if you’re lucky you may be able to change the diaper without waking her up. Have you tried that?

Here are a few tips to avoid waking your baby up when changing diapers at night:

  • Check first if your baby is in deep sleep by lifting a leg and see if she reacts at all. If she doesn’t, chances are that she is in deep sleep and the risk is a lot lower that she will wake up by the diaper change. If she is not in deep sleep, consider waiting some 10 minutes and see if she is in deep sleep then.
  • Use only dim light.
  • Change the diaper in the bed if at all possible. But don’t do it if you risk soling the bed. In such a case, try to arrange with a changing table really close to the bed instead.
  • Use a baby sleeping bag instead of a pajama or blanket. There are sleep bags with zippers that open at the bottom first so that the sleep temperature for the baby is almost unchanged during the diapering.
  • Also, remember to prepare well in the evening. Keep wipes, diapers, and so on close to the bed and also get yourself a night lamp.

To make her stop pooping after going to sleep, consider giving her a last feeding earlier and maybe she’ll get her pooping done before falling asleep.

Here is another discussion among parents with babies that poop at night.

Hope this helps!

If your baby poops in sleep, what do you do? Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment below!

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Kortney

    I agree on not waking baby up for pee… I have a 1-year-old and we change him right before he goes to bed and again if he wakes up in the middle of the night (which he doesn’t much anymore) and if not then, first thing in the morning.

    We want him to be able to soothe himself back to sleep so we do not disturb him just to change his diaper and we haven’t had any problems with diaper rash from doing so.

  2. Jack

    Both very helpful; thanks for your replies. I’ll wake her. She appreciates the hygiene.

  3. Lynda G

    Hello Jack,
    Some babies don’t mind being woke up to have a diaper change, but some really do.

    If she doesn’t mind it’s probably best to change her to avoid rashes etc.

    But if you find she has a really hard time going back to sleep, with a lot of crying and fussing you might try coating her bottom with Desitin or another thick diaper rash cream and just waiting till morning.

    Changing the contents of her meals might help a bit too. Try yogurt or fruit earlier in the day to facilitate a bowel movement.

    Hope this helps. :)