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baby refuses diaper change

Question:

Our granddaughter is almost 1 year old and hates diaper change! When we lay her down to try and change her diaper she screams like someone is killing her and she can’t catch her breath. She also tries to get away.

We get her every month for a week and this is the first time she has done this. Help, she’s our angel and we need to know what to do.

Thanks


Baby Helpline:

Tips When 1 Year Old Refuses Diaper Change

Natural development to assert her independence

What a lucky girl to have her grandparents for a week!

There is nothing wrong with your granddaughter – I think she’s being a typical 12-month-old asserting her independence, which is a good thing, but exhausting…

Children that are very determined and want to be exploring and doing their own thing don’t want to lie down and have their diaper’s changed. How boring! And they are also in a position of dis-empowerment.

This is something we all go through – one minute we have this angelic, smiling little bundle who seems happy to go with the flow, the next we have this opinionated, stubborn and vocal little person who makes her feelings known when she/he doesn’t like something.

There’s not a great deal you can do about this, and you shouldn’t either, because it is a natural, healthy development. But there are ways to deal with this specific situation!

Hands-on tips when baby or toddler hates diaper change

It is really hard trying to change a messy diaper with the baby trying to get away! The best thing at this age is distraction. Tell her beforehand you are going to change her diaper so she is not taken by surprise, but also offer a distracting choice.

1. Prepare her by talking about it

If firstly you say what you are going to do and why and talk and explain to her, she will start to understand reasoning, plus if you offer a distraction that has a choice about, she has some power.

She will also have the time to mentally prepare for having her diaper changed.

I know she is still young, but in addition to words, you can show her the diaper and point to the bathroom, so she understands what is going to happen

Many parents get into a power struggle with their babies and it becomes really unpleasant with Baby getting a smack to keep them still.

2. Consider your timing

Unless the baby or toddler is very prone to diaper rash, waiting five or ten minutes to let your granddaughter finish her playing, or for you to connect first by playing together, isnät going to do any harm at all.

Why not first “change diapers” together on her teddy bear, and then move on to her… (If she appreciates that game.)

3. Offer fun distraction

Far better than a power struggle is to give her something interesting to do or play games like where’s your nose? Where’s your chin? That way change time is interesting and fun, not a battle for domination.

4. Make yourself a fun interaction

Be creative! Is there a song she loves that you can sing for her? Does she like it when you make funny faces? Maybe you can make funny faces together

5. Special toys for the occasion

Could you buy a couple of “diapering toys” that she would appreciate and that she only gets to play with during diapering?

6. Offer a choice

Another possible distraction is to bring two books or toys and offer her the choice – “Do you want to read this book or this book while I change your diaper?” (and have the other one on hand too!)

7. Change diapering position

In addition to pleasant distraction and interaction, another possible solution to consider is to let your granddaughter stand up while changing the diaper. This, of course, can’t be done until she is able to stand up without falling, but if she is, then you can consider trying to change her diaper while she is standing on e.g. the toilet (of course supported by you).

I started with changing diapers while my toddlers were standing up quite early with all our kids exactly for the reason you describe – they started refusing to lie down. Just a thought. It might be a bit too early for that, but keep it in mind in the coming months.

8. Early potty training

Another long-term solution – if she continues to hate diaper change and if she behaves the same way with her parents, is to consider introducing the potty and see how it goes.

My youngest son was just like your granddaughter. He also took his diapers off any time he could. He hated both diapers and diaper change. For being a boy he was early to start with the potty. For some toddlers, this is an option too, although it won’t solve the immediate situation, of course.


It is a really good thing she is this determined, even though it is very hard to manage, particular at change time! But babies who display their own mind, and determination are going to be adults who are responsible, keen to learn, more likely to be leaders, and are creative thinkers. So bear with it, she may well be destined for great things!

You can read a bit more about 1-year-old babies and games to play with them here.

And for some awesome tips on how to escape the power struggles and make kids cooperate in general, check out this awesome e-course on positive parenting.

Enjoy your time with your grand-daughter.

All the best,
Paula

Does anyone recognize this situation? How did you solve it? Add your comments below.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Avatar

    My daughter is 7 months old and already started doing this at about 5 1/2 ms! I think it’s just that they have their own little agenda and it doesn’t match ours at the moment… Diaper changing is not on it. I try singing the hokey pokey to her so it will be fun…a little distraction goes along way. 🙂

  2. Avatar

    Go here to look the video Potty Training in 3 Days:…
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