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Why Diapering a 1-year old is Challenging

Compared to an adult or even an older child, a lot of change takes place in the first twelve months of a child’s life — including how much energy and effort you’ll need to exert for routine caretaking tasks.  For example, as a child gets older and more independent, you may find yourself participating in the occasional wrestling match at the changing table.

Why it can be so difficult to change toddlers’ diapers has a lot to do with their development. (In other words, it’s totally normal.) Sure, newborn diaper changes are far more frequent — most newborns need around a dozen diaper changes a day. But in the early weeks of your baby’s life, a diaper change is also relatively quick, largely because most infants are content to lie on a changing table for a few minutes.

By the time your child turns one, you’ll likely be changing about half as many diapers as just a few months ago, which can save a bit of money. But with your one-year-old’s burgeoning independence and exciting developmental milestones may come some new struggles with diaper changes. Here are several reasons why changing a 1-year old’s diaper is challenging:

  1. Growing Independence: One-year-olds are at a unique phase. While they may still be dependent on their parents for most activities, like eating and bathing, they’re not exactly babies, either. They are learning how to do things independently for the first time, and they’re excited about it. You know exactly how determined one-year-olds can be if you’ve ever seen the look in a toddler’s eye when he or she screams “I do it!”
  2. Developmental Curiosity: Developmentally, one-year-olds are all about exploring their surroundings. Right around the first year, your child should be sitting up and crawling and possibly standing or taking their first steps. Typical one-year-olds get to know their surroundings by shaking, banging, or throwing, and around the same time, they find all sorts of clever ways to “get into” things. (Pro tip: Now’s a great time to start baby-proofing if you haven’t already.)
  3. Too Busy to Sit Still!: Along the same lines, one-year-olds are simply busy. Your one-year-old is probably perfectly happy to play alone, and at the same time far less likely to be bothered by a wet or dirty diaper than their younger counterparts.
  4. Testing Boundaries: Socially, one-year olds are learning how to use their behavior to “test” their parents. That may mean that during the toddler stage, your normally docile baby might start to say “no” more frequently, including resisting heading toward the changing table — or refusing to stay still while he or she is already on it.  

All these things add up to a lot of extra work for caretakers (and some inevitable frustration for the little ones) when it comes time to swap out diapers. The good news is, just as you’re not trying to lose your patience with your toddler, it’s not likely your little one is actively attempting to make diaper changes difficult. For a one-year-old, lying down on a changing table for even a minute probably feels a bit like compromising their newly found autonomy. A short burst of entertainment (like the kind diapertainment can provide!) will make this challenging but critical task much easier!

Diaper changing your toddler may be frustrating in the moment, but remember: Each phase of your child’s development comes with unique joys and frustrations. And when you look back on this stage, chances are, you’ll wish you could go back.

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