Baby Fights Diaper Change (19 Effective Tips To Stop The Madness!)

If your baby fights diaper changes, squirms, kicks, moves and rolls around a lot, and prevents you from changing them properly, these hacks will help.

Are you sick and tired of wrestling your baby just to change their diaper? Especially when it’s filled with poop?

I get you. I remember those days and I was thisclose to screaming my kid’s head off as it was so frustrating to make her lie down for a quick diaper change.

Why are they always fighting necessary activities that keep them healthy, safe, and alive?! I digress.

Anyway, you’ll find more than a dozen tips and tricks here on how to change your baby’s diaper when they’re moving a lot and/or they’re fighting it.

But let’s start first with the probable causes of your baby’s hate for diaper changes.

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Why Does My Baby Suddenly Hate Diaper Changes?

Understanding the probable reasons why your baby is refusing diaper changes can help you become less frustrated.

Here are some common reasons why your baby might be fighting diaper changes:

  • Their basic needs are not met: Ensure your baby isn’t hungry, sleepy, or uncomfortable before attempting a diaper change.
  • They’ve become more active: As babies grow, they become more aware of their surroundings and may resist lying still.
  • They don’t want to stop playing: They’ll hate interruption for a diaper change if your child is engrossed in playing
  • They’re asserting their independence: Babies, especially toddlers, are known for asserting their newfound independence. They may sometimes feel that diaper changes are challenging their sense of independence.
  • They’re ready to be potty trained: Some toddlers show signs of readiness for potty training, hence the hate for unnecessary diaper changes.
  • They’re not feeling well: Discomfort from teething, illness, or diaper rash can make diaper changes uncomfortable for your little one.

Do This Before a Diaper Change

Before we get started on how to stop your child from rolling around and fighting diaper changes, consider doing these steps first before changing their diapers:

  • Gather all supplies: Use a diaper caddy and make sure you have everything you need within arm’s reach. 
  • Pick a place: Choose a comfortable and safe space for the diaper change.
  • Check if anything’s cold: Make sure that the room temperature is not cold, as well as their wet wipes and diaper changing table.
  • Call for backup: If possible, enlist the help of a partner or family member to distract or assist.

Baby Fights Diaper Change: Ways on How to Stop It!

Diaper changes can turn into a wrestling match faster than you can say “diaper duty.” If your little one has started treating diaper changes like an Olympic sport, fear not! We’ve compiled a detailed set of strategies to turn the squirming and tantrums into a more cooperative experience.

Have a Consistent Routine

Why it works: Babies thrive on routine (eg. Eat-Play-Sleep Routine) and diaper changes are no exception. Establish a consistent sequence of events around diaper changes so your little one knows what to expect.


  • Use the same changing area whenever possible.
  • Maintain a predictable order of steps, like removing the old diaper, cleaning, and putting on a fresh one.

Pick a Good Time

Why it works: Timing is everything! Choosing the right moment can make your little one more cooperative, especially if they’re in the middle of playtime.


  • Aim for a time when your baby is well-rested and fed, or has finished playing, reducing the likelihood of crankiness.
  • After a nap or a meal can be ideal.

Give Them Some Form of Control

Why it works: Babies, especially toddlers, love feeling in control, even if it’s just handing you a diaper.


  • Allow your little one to participate by choosing which diaper to wear or selecting a wipe. Or make them choose what clothes to wear after.
  • This small act of independence can make a big difference.

Make It Fun and Entertaining

Why it works: Turning diaper changes into a fun activity can help turn a squirming baby into a more cooperative, less squirmy one.


  • Sing a silly song or use funny voices to keep things light.
  • Engage in a playful conversation.

Provide Distractions

Why it works: A distracted baby is often a more compliant one. Keep their attention focused on something other than the diaper change.


  • Give them a toy or object that they can only play with during diaper changes.
  • If they like listening to stories, play a podcast of their favorite book.
  • If they’re only a few months old, set a mirror near them so they can take a look at themselves.
  • If they’re a toddler, let them watch an educational show while changing their diapers.
  • If they have siblings, get them to help by making funny faces, talking to them, anything to distract them.

Get a “Special” Diaper Changing Mat

Why it works: It contains your baby and also prevents them from touching their dirty diaper. 


Make Them Your “Diaper Helper”

Why it works: It gives them a sense of autonomy and makes them feel like an active participant.


  • Let them choose a clean diaper or let them pick the wet wipes.
  • Before changing their diapers, you can also ask them which shorts they want to wear and let them hold them for you.

Switch Locations

Why it works: Changing your baby’s diaper in different places now and then can bring a little fun to the routine.


  • Change the diaper in a different room or spot, eg. the living room, bathroom, etc., or use a portable changing pad.

Praise Them

Why it works: Positive reinforcement goes a long way in encouraging good behavior.


  • A simple “Good job!” or a round of applause can make a significant impact.
  • Offer enthusiastic praise for their cooperation.

Change Their Toy’s Diaper First

Why it works: It lets them know what to expect, turning it into an educational and entertaining experience.


  • Pretend play by changing a stuffed animal’s diaper.
  • Make it a game and involve your baby in the pretend play.

Reward Them

Why it works: A small reward can serve as positive reinforcement for a successful diaper change.


  • Consider a sticker chart where they earn a sticker for each cooperative change.
  • A small treat or extra playtime can also be effective.

Check for Irritants

Why it works: Uncomfortable diaper rash or irritation can turn diaper changes into a painful experience.


  • Ensure there are no signs of diaper rash or skin irritation.
  • Use gentle, hypoallergenic wipes and creams to minimize discomfort.

Hold Baby’s Ankles as Long as Possible

Why it works: Securely but gently holding your baby’s ankles can prevent sudden flips and turns.


  • Hold their ankles until the last moment before securing the clean diaper.
  • This helps maintain control while minimizing their ability to squirm away.

Place Them “Upside Down”

Why it works: The novelty of changing their diapers with their head near you can be amusing for babies, providing a momentary distraction.


  • This can be an uncomfortable position but if you’re desperate for a diaper change, change on the floor, and put your baby in the opposite direction – turn your baby away from you.
  • Now crouch and put their upper torso between your knees to prevent them from rolling. Change their diapers quickly.
  • Combine this with a playful comment to lighten the mood.

Step on Their Arms

Why it works: It can stop a younger baby from rolling over as you’re stepping on their arms, albeit in a gentle manner.


  • This can only work for younger babies. 
  • Wear clean socks or make sure your feet are clean before doing this. 
  • Take a look at the pic below on how to do it:
toddler rolling during diaper change

Try Pull-Ups

Why it works: Transitioning to pull-ups can make the diaper-changing process so much easier.


  • This works for toddlers who can already stand up and walk around comfortably. I used pull-ups with my baby when she was 8 months old. Related Article: Diapers vs Pull-Ups
  • Pick your chosen pull-up brand then let them try it on.
  • Highlight the “big kid” aspect to make them feel more grown-up.

Put Them In a “Cage”

Why it works: Putting them in a tight, small spot will force them to stay still, giving you ample time and space to change their diaper.


  • I used this trick on my cheeky monkey when we started using pull-ups.
  • The supposedly “cage” was her crib. 
  • She was cruising by age 8 months but she can’t walk fast or run away yet so it was just the perfect age for her to stand still, long enough for me to change her diaper.

Be Firm and Kind

Why it works: A gentle but firm approach establishes boundaries while maintaining a positive environment.


  • Communicate clearly and calmly throughout the process.
  • Reassure your baby with a soothing voice and gentle touch.

Lose the Diapers

Why it works: If your child is ready, transitioning to potty training can eliminate the need for diapers.


  • Gradually introduce the concept of using the potty.
  • Click here for more detailed tips on potty training.
  • Remember, every baby is unique, so feel free to mix and match these strategies to find what works best for your little one. 

FAQ: Baby Moves A Lot During Diaper Changes

Why does my baby fighting diaper change?

Your baby fights diaper changes because of various reasons, such as discomfort, independence, or readiness for potty training.

How do I get my baby to stop hating diaper changes?

You can get your baby to stop hating diaper changes by establishing a consistent routine, making it engaging, and providing positive reinforcement.

Why does my baby cry hysterically when I change diapers?

Your baby cries hysterically when you change their diapers because of irritation, or a desire for independence.

How do I get my baby to withstand diaper changes?

You can get your baby to withstand diaper changes by involving them in the process, offering distractions, and making it a positive experience.

At what age do babies start fighting diaper changes?

Babies start fighting diaper changes when they’ve become more aware of their surroundings, typically around 6-9 months.

Why won’t my baby lie still during a diaper change?

Your baby won’t lie still during a diaper change because of increased mobility and a desire for independence.

Baby Fights Diaper Change: Final Thoughts

Try to stop stressing about diaper changes, and remember, it’s okay if it doesn’t go perfectly every time. 

Avoid power struggles, and try your best to keep diaper-changing a positive experience. Remember, you’ll be doing this for a few years or at least until you’ve jumped the gun to potty training!

I hope you find this “baby fights diaper change” article useful.

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