When raising a toddler, it can be difficult for parents to determine what behaviors are normal and due to the changing developmental stages a child is moving through, what behaviors might be cause for concern. Many children develop aversions to having their diapers changed in their second year – most around 12-18 months. For some parents, this offers the opportunity to naturally introduce early potty training, but for others, the ordeal of fighting with their children multiple times a day over diaper changing can threaten to become unmanageable. Read on to learn more about how to deal with a child’s resistance to having their diaper changed.
Why Toddlers Resist Diaper Changes
Pediatricians will often ask parents if their children have begun to fight against them when it comes time to have their diaper changed; this is a normal part of a child’s developmental progress. While this information may not make it easier to win diaper wars, it can be very reassuring for parents to know their children’s behavior is completely normal. At this age, toddlers are often acting out their independence in new ways, learning their boundaries, and figuring out what they can do to have more control over their environment.
How To Deal With A Diaper-Change-Resistant Toddler
In the cases of diaper changing, some parents find that by rewarding their children for changes with stickers, songs or praise, they can create a positive feedback loop. Other experts recommend trying to set a timer for a child, and letting them know that when the timer goes off, it will be time to change their diaper. Being consistent with toddlers – reminding them in a firm, warm tone that it is important that they behave and stay still while mom or dad is working on getting them into clean diapers – can help to reinforce positive behaviors, encouraging toddlers to behave more manageably during future changes. Finally, many parents look for fun word or voice games. The primary effective methods for convincing children to allow caregivers to change their diapers involve elements of surprise and distraction, as well as entertainment.
If They’re Done With Diapers
Some children decide, almost as if on their own, that they no longer want – or need – to wear diapers. If this happens, then depending on the child’s age, it may be time to consider permanently removing diapers from their daily routine. Most children are ready for potty training around the ages of 18-24 months, and checklists are available to help parents determine whether or not their child has reached a state of readiness for potty training. This is important, since expert opinion shows that children can take longer to potty train if they are not ready for this training to begin.
Parents and caregivers faced with toddlers who resist diaper changes may feel frustrated, aggravated and impatient. By taking a step back, approaching the problem with a clear mind, and staying involved and aware of a toddler’s preferences, parents can successfully overcome this hurdle in their child’s development.