Diapering a Wiggly Toddler

IMG_1690Changing a toddler’s diaper can be challenging. They can be squirmy, kicky, touchy, and grabby. Keeping feet down, hands up, and bums holding still can be a heck of a challenge. This gets harder as they grow, however, because they will eventually become MOBILE.

Mobility is awesome. You get to watch your little one learn to crawl, roll, walk, and climb. It’s amazing watching them discover all these new talents. It’s not so amazing when you just want them to hold still so you can clean that poopy diaper. Gone were the days I could just say, “Snnnnnaaaaaaap!” in an ever-rising, silly voice and entertain my children as I snapped their diapers up while they giggled away.
With my oldest child (now potty trained), I used my Mommy Necklace as a distraction. I would hand him the necklace to entertain him a bit while I wiped. The novelty of that wears off, eventually, and then you have a bored child that just wants down. It’s funny to see mom react when you try to flip over while she’s wiping poop off your butt, after all!I learned to change it up. Sometimes I would hand them the teething or nursing necklace I had on, other times I would take in a random wooden (and easy to clean) toy. Car keys (albeit a dirty alternative) seem to work well from time to time, also.

My favorite discovery with my oldest was a game that taught him things at the same time. We would name body parts as he touched them (also while nursing… if he touched my mouth, I would say mouth) all throughout the day. It became a game at changing time. In an effort to keep hands away from his diaper area (because we do NOT need pinkeye again), I would ask him where his nose was. He would point to his nose, and I would make a big deal out of it. GOOD JOB!!!! Then I would keep naming parts. By the time he was 18 months old, he knew many more body parts than others his age. You can do this game with signs if you do ASL, too.

If your little one will play peek-a-boo with you, that might be a good time to try to get them to play. This will keep hands away from the mess while you clean.

My daughter is trickier. She’s been mobile since a much younger age than my oldest child, and she wasn’t at the point where she would be able to play the body part game with me. I’ve sung to her, handed her random things (she loves the NoseFrida!), given her the really tiny board books to look at, and talked to her about the decorations on the wall. Wall clings near a changing table can be an awesome thing!

For Peek-a-boo, I end up throwing a patterned cloth wipe over her eyes and the top part of her head, and then I start my change immediately. She will lose interest in the game after about two peeks, but then gets interested in the print on the wipe (or diaper cover if I grabbed one of those instead).

For this wiggle worm, what seems to work best is singing…. and only one song at that. I can only please her singing “Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?” from Disney’s Frozen. She is getting better at her signing, and has taken a keen interest in body parts lately, so I have a feeling the “body part game” or “show me a sign” game will be in our near future. She’s also really into animal noises, so we might be able to play a “what does this animal say” game soon.

And here I thought I would have a system down-pat when baby #2 started becoming mobile! Every baby is different, and every baby loves different things. Take what interests your baby the most and try to incorporate that (like singing a specific song, books, or making specific animal noises). If need be, keep a few different items near the changing table (if you use one) so you can give them something different each time.

Mobile babies are tricky, so if you find something that works for you, stick with it! What’s your secret to changing a wiggly toddler?

Christine Kangas is a mom of two trying to lead a greener life. She lives in the mid-western U.S. with her family and three cats.

Tags: chewbeads, diapers, games, mommy necklace, toddlers, toys, wiggly

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