Getting Horizontal

Amelia has the urge to bolt as soon as I try to change her diaper. If I could harness the combined mental and physical energy that is sometimes exerted by the two of us while I wrestle a diaper on her booty, we could probably light a small village.

A catalog specializing in baby and toddler products arrived in our mailbox recently. I usually flip through the glossy pages and mentally window shop for things I don’t really need, but could convince myself I can’t live without, however I pity the fool who buys one of these new-fangled shirt suspender thangs for their child. I can barely diaper and fasten snaps on Amelia’s outfits without her attempting to escape my clutches, so I can’t imagine her calmly lying still while I fasten a suspender under her booty so that her shirt stays tucked in. And if you are the kind of parent who is that concerned about your child’s shirt staying tucked in then you’ve got a lot more time on your hands than me. I guess what I’m asking is, “WHAT KIND OF FREAK PARENT WOULD BUY THIS?!?”

I thought I’d share some of my creative tactics for distracting a 21-month-old during diaper changes, now that simply handing her a toy or singing her a song isn’t captivating enough. And by my calculations I’ve officially changed thousands of diapers which should mean something significant, but really just means I’ve seen every vintage of poop known to man (from early meconium poop to breastmilk mustard seed poop to poop explosions that seep up the back to solidified rabbit pellet poop.)

Silly Foreign Language Babble
Start speaking a crazy, foreign tongue as if you are carrying on a very lively conversation with your child. This is also very amusing to my 4-year-old. Thankfully I don’t have to use the Silly Foreign Language Babble technique to get Caitlin to use the potty. Now that would be a hoot, wouldn’t it? (Especially in public restrooms.)

Change of Scenery
Plop your kid on the sofa, their older sibling’s bed, the breakfast bar, the hood of a non-moving vehicle…anywhere but their changing table can serve as a distraction.

You Got a Panty on Your Head Mama
Put your child’s dress bloomers over your head like a smart beret. Well, this only works with girls. Remember to take the bloomers off your head, though, or it could be quite embarassing.

Fun With Ordinary Household Objects
Pick some random item for your child to play with, whether it be a plastic clothes hanger, an old TV remote, or maybe a sealed pack of mints they can shake, although Amelia can gnaw through the seal in about .2 seconds before I have to take it away from her.

Get Vertical
This is my least favorite technique, as Amelia inevitably wriggles from my hold and runs away, diaperless, and laughing her head off.

Feel free to share any tips you have for distracting your buck wild toddler and getting them horizontal long enough for a diaper change.


  1. mayberry says:

    We do not do horizontal. I am a master at the one-handed, quickie stand-up change. Opie has a low window in his room so the best plan is to plant him in front of it and pray for a passing truck.

  2. malia says:

    When Boo resists a diaper change and starts to run away, I plop down on the floor throw my arms open and say, “HUG!!” He can not resist that. Of course once I have him in my clutches, I hug him and lay him down on the floor. Lately though, he’s become wise to my game. I think I may have to try that foreign language babble trick. That’s sounds like something he would get into!

  3. laura says:

    I am not at this stage yet, but I heard that sticking a fun sticker to one of their palms will keep them occupied for a while – they peel it off one hand, it gets stuck on the other, etc. etc. You can buy 1,000’s of cheapo stickers at the $1 store. If you do this, tell me if it actually works!

  4. RichieAnn says:

    I have to do the exact same thing to change my son’s diaper. It sucks. I usually hold his chest down with one foot while my fingers fly like crazy to fasten the velcro. I use cloth diapers making it even more of a chore.

    My husband totally things we need those under-booty suspenders! Ha!

  5. Shauna says:

    Pea generally doesn’t mind diaper changes. She does like me to sing, and will say “NO” to every song I start until I find the right one.

    On a related note, she’s getting a potty for Christmas. At what age did Caitlin start the potty business? Any advice?

  6. Colleen says:

    You want me to share tips? I’ve got none. In fact, I’m going to use each and every one of your fabulous ideas because they sound like winners and I’m battleworn from trying to change Delaney’s diaper lately. Thanks for sharing!

  7. mamatulip says:

    Oliver is the same way…I’m learning how to change him while he’s standing up. It’s messy at times, but I’m getting the hang of it.

  8. Blonde Mom says:


    The girls’ pediatrician does the sticker on the belly and on the knee, etc., trick when he is listening to them breathe and their heart rate but I had never thought to use it during a diaper change. That’s a great idea!

    All you women who can do the vertical diaper change…I bow down to your diaper changing ability!

  9. Ashley says:

    I also try the distraction techniques, they work pretty well, until one day Paisley decided to stick the remote control between her legs and into her open, poopy diaper.

  10. Carolie says:

    Ha ha…I LOVE The Silly Foreign Language Babble! My nieces are now 9 and 7 (wow, when did THAT happen?) and we still play that game, all three of us carrying on a conversation in ridiculous babblings. Strangers have stopped to ask me what country they’re from…and then we all get the insane giggles.

  11. Paige says:

    I am worried that my 15 month is already doing this and your 21 month old is STILL doing it. Man I was hoping it would get better as he got older.

  12. WWF Mommy says:

    My 15 month old and I used to wrestle, WWF style, for at least 20 minutes every diaper change. I’m talking 8 a day; 160 minutes! I’ve found though that if I give her a sippy cup with nothing in it she gets so mad she is only able to lay there and scream. Is it sad that the alternative to poop all over my walls as she’s running away from diaper change, is intentionally making her screaming-mad just to get her to lay still for 10 seconds??? BTW, this is not a tip…

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