My child won’t lay still for a diaper change!

lay still

If your infant will not lie still for a diaper change, then they are trying to tell you they are ready to take on more responsibility at diaper time. They are telling you they will not be passive recipients and they need to participate! You can give your infant an opportunity to lift their legs, open their diaper, open up the new diaper, and pull out a wipe or two. Once your child is a toddler give her an opportunity to take off her pants, remove her diaper, get a fresh diaper from the stack, sit on the potty, flush, close the snaps, and redress herself.

This is not a quick fix and you may be tempted to distract your child but hold to your long term goal of working with your child. Slow down. Hold your child firmly but calmly on the table. You can say, “I won’t let you turn over. Right now we need to work together to get you a fresh diaper.” Wait for your child to slow down and try to re-engage her in helping. It can feel like diaper changes take forever but if you practice calm leadership,  your child will soon know just what to expect. Give your child opportunities to contribute and before long she will be doing more for herself.

Some words to help you through the wiggly diaper change:

  • “I know it’s hard to stop playing for a fresh diaper.”
  • “We can work together to get this done lickity-split.”
  • “Where are those tabs? Can you help me open this diaper up?”
  • “Can you help pull out the wipes?”
  • “I’m going to hold you here on the table until you are calm.”
  • “I’m right here with you.  We are going to get through this together.”
  • “You have a lot of energy in your legs.  Can you push your toes into my hand up here while I wipe your bottom?”
  • “I can see you’re mad that I’m holding you. You’re ready to get back to play.”
  • “Our plan is to wipe, diaper, pants, then play.”


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