Your baby has grown up a lot! Around the time you start to plan his second birthday, he might be gaining the language and physical skills needed to start toilet training. The end of the diaper era isn’t quite over, yet. But your child’s needs are changing.
To master this new stage of diaper duty, keep these five things in mind.
1. Check the size.
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, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians.
During your baby's first year -- when you see your pediatrician all the time -- add his latest weight to your memory or smartphone.
In year 2, when you don’t go to the doctor quite as much, you may not know what your toddler weighs. You can try him on your home scale. If he won’t stand still for it, hold him 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.
2. Choose a good place.
Your toddler might squirm too much for the changing table in your nursery. It's not worth risking a fall. Use a changing pad on the floor, says Lucinda Brown, RN, a spokeswoman for the Society of Pediatric Nurses.
Change your toddler in an appropriate place, though. You might be so used to poopy diapers that it becomes easy to forget that everyone around you isn’t.
3. Don’t ignore dirty diapers.
If a wet diaper’s not bothering your toddler, it’s tempting to leave it just a little longer. But it can still cause diaper rash.
Toddlers get these sore skin irritations less often than babies. The rashes peak when babies are between 9 and 12 months old, partly due to the transition to solid foods. But they still happen.
4. Soothe 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 an 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 pediatrician Lisa Asta, MD, of Walnut Creek, CA.
5. Make diaper time fun.
Brown suggests you give your child a toy to play with at changing time, or sing songs to distract him if he's fussy.
Don’t negotiate, even if your toddler gets cranky with you, Brown advises. “Don’t approach your child by saying, ‘Is it OK for me to change your diaper?’ There are lots of things you can battle with kids over, but changing a diaper isn’t one of them.”