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Tips to Diaper Your Growing Baby

By Betsy Riley
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Roy Benaroch, MD

At around 24 months, your child might be gaining the language and physical skills needed to start toilet training. But diapers are still a fact of life for most young children at 2 and beyond. 

Here’s what you need to know to master this new stage of diaper duty.

Diaper size can change quickly. Before you stock up at the wholesale club, make sure you’ve got the right size. Children grow at such different rates that weight is better than age for judging the right size diaper, says Wanda Filer, MD. She's the president-elect of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

During your baby's first year -- when you're visiting her doctor all the time -- add her latest weight to your memory or smartphone.

In year 2, if you’re not sure what your toddler weighs, lead her to your home scale. If she won’t stand still on the scales, hold her and then step on the scale to weigh the two of you together. Remember that number. Then weigh yourself and subtract how much you weigh from the bigger number. That should give you an idea of your baby's weight.

Don’t ignore dirty diapers. If a wet diaper’s not bothering your toddler, it’s awfully tempting to leave it just a little longer. 

But a wet diaper can still cause diaper rash.

Toddlers get diaper rash less often than babies. These sore skin irritations peak when babies are between 9 and 12 months old, partly due to the transition to solid foods.

Attack a rash quickly. If your toddler does get diaper rash, treat it like you did when she was younger. Slather on plenty of ointment. Watch for signs of infection like fever, ulcers, or a rash spreading outside the diaper. If you spot any of these symptoms, ask your doctor about medicine.

As always, wash your hands before and after every diaper change.

If you recently started using pull-ups, consider going back to diapers or switching to another brand, says Lisa Asta, MD. She's a pediatrician and spokeswoman for the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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