Are you a sleep-deprived new parent who wants to know when to stop changing diapers at night?
I remember those nights of frequent feedings and diaper changes.
It seems like a hellish phase I couldn’t get out of.
As a new mom then, I hated changing her diapers at night as half of the time, that will wake her up, totally disrupting her sleep!
I kept waiting for the day my baby could go to a long sleep and wouldn’t have to feed or change diapers every 2 to 3 hours or so.
And you know what, that came by without me even realizing it! Cause I was busy again mulling over another milestone.
But I digress.
If you’re wondering when you should stop changing your baby’s diaper, check out the signs below.
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When To Stop Changing Diapers At Night
You can stop changing diapers at night when your baby is physically and developmentally ready.
And that could mean a couple of things: when they’ve adjusted to a routine, when they don’t need to feed every 2-3 hours anymore, when a wet diaper doesn’t bother them, etc.
9 Signs That Can Tell You To Stop Changing Diapers at Night
You can gradually stop the nighttime diaper changes when your baby is showing a few signs below:
When Your Baby is Between 4 to 6 months old
Newborns and younger babies don’t have fully developed digestive systems yet, which means frequent bowel movements and diaper changes.
However, when they reach a certain age (between 4 to 6 months old) their gut system becomes more developed, which can impact the number of wet diapers at night.
Leading to lesser diaper changes.
When A Consistent Routine Has Been Established
During the 4th trimester, you and your baby will go through a lot of new learnings and adjustments.
But things will eventually settle down and you’ll be able to figure out a schedule that fits your family.
Once that’s established and your baby reaches a certain age, your little one will eventually get used to the routine, which can mean less to zero nighttime diaper changes.
When Your Baby Takes Less Nighttime Feedings
Older babies eventually outgrow the need to have more nighttime feedings.
They feed more during the day as they get a lot hungrier using up their energy for playing with toys or doing developmental activities.
However at night, when a routine and a weaning schedule have been established, your little one’s system will slowly adjust to it.
They will get used to getting one bottle or one last nursing before bedtime and getting none at all during the night.
And that means fewer wet diapers which eventually leads to doing less to zero diaper changes at night.
When Your Baby Starts Sleeping Longer
Most babies at a certain age and with the right set of routines can eventually get around to sleeping longer stretches at night.
They slowly regulate their circadian rhythm, eventually training their bodies to get sleepy when it’s dark and to be alert and active during the daytime.
They can also hold in more calories, decreasing the need for nighttime feedings, which makes up for uninterrupted nighttime sleep.
And if your baby is sleeping without any issues like diaper rash, sickness, or what, you don’t need to bother them with a diaper change!
When Their Diaper Doesn’t Get Very Wet
Newborns and younger babies have frequent bowel movements, which leads to wet diapers.
There is an urgent need to check and change their diapers every 2 to 3 hours.
That will eventually change when their body starts developing and their digestive system matures.
When that happens, they poop less at night and their bladders can take a little bit longer to fill up, leading to fewer wet diapers.
If your baby constantly wakes up with a slightly wet diaper or a relatively dry diaper, then there’s no need to bother them for a diaper change at night.
When Baby Doesn’t Wake Up From a Wet Diaper
Stewing in one’s pee and poop overnight is very gross and uncomfortable and babies can feel that way too!
If they wake up wailing from even a slightly wet diaper, then please continue changing their diapers.
But if it doesn’t bother them and they haven’t pooped, and they can sleep through the night with it, then don’t bother changing their diapers.
When Your Baby Stops Pooping at Night
An older baby with a more mature digestive system, especially ones that are doing baby-led weaning, will eventually have a less messy diaper output.
Some could even poop less overnight.
And some that follow a more consistent schedule, can eventually stop pooping at night.
And if they’ve been regularly waking up with a relatively dry diaper, then it’s time to finally stop diaper changes at night.
When Your Baby Doesn’t Have Diaper Rash
Babies who frequently experience diaper rash should continually have frequent diaper changes, even at night.
This can help in making the rash less worst or can at least alleviate any uncomfortable or painful feeling they might be having from it.
But if your baby doesn’t really have any diaper-related issues, and wet diapers don’t really bother them, then you can confidently stop changing diapers at night.
When Your Baby Has Been Potty Trained Successfully
Potty training is usually reserved for toddlers but some babies have successfully been potty trained using the Elimination Communication method.
If that’s the case, then it’s quite normal to assume that their bodies have been trained to do bowel movements at a certain time, thereby stopping the need to change their diapers at night.
Precautionary Tips When Stopping Diaper Changes at Night
You might be ready to stop doing diaper changes but your baby might not be fully on board with it.
Accidents can still happen so remember not to get complacent and to do the following things to avoid diaper blowouts and related messes such as below:
- Always change their diapers before bedtime
Give them a fresh diaper and apply diaper cream all the time, to reduce the risk of a diaper rash.
- Use overnight/ extra-absorbent diapers
Some diapers are just more absorbent than others. So always choose those that can take in a lot more pee and mess, especially during night time.
- Upsize diapers
If your baby is still going through a lot of diaper leakages, it may not necessarily mean that they still need frequent diaper changes.
Maybe they need to upsize their diapers!
Maybe the leakages are caused by an ill-fitting diaper going up a size first and see if there are some improvements.
- Always use a mattress protector
Never forget to use a mattress protector on your baby’s crib or bassinet.
In fact, try doing this – stack 1 layer of a mattress protector and mattress sheet then add a 2nd layer to protect the mattress.
So how it goes is you put in the mattress protector, then the sheet, then another mattress protector then the sheet!
That way, in case your baby does a poonami, you can easily remove that 1st layer of mattress protector + sheet and just leave the 2nd layer on the bed.
- Make them wear disposable training pants
If you’re potty training your toddler and you’re not mentally ready yet to deal with the inevitable accidents they might make on the bed, make them wear disposable training pants.
- Get a portable potty chair
If you want to completely potty train your little one, consider keeping a portable training potty chair in their room.
So you can teach them to pee there instead of wetting themselves.
Check out some potty chairs below:
Real Feel Potty with Wipes Storage, Transition Seat & Disposable Liners
Nuby My Real Potty Training Toilet with Life-Like Flush Button & Sound for Toddlers & Kids
How To Change Your Baby’s Diaper With Minimal Disruption
- Dim the lights
Accidents can still happen and you might still need to change your baby’s diaper at night sometimes.
Just remember to always use a night light so as not to completely wake up your baby.
- Don’t engage
If your baby starts cooing at you, don’t talk back.
Avoid eye contact as much as possible.
Push the need to carry and rock them back to sleep.
- Just don’t engage
Your goal is to eventually stop diaper changes at night so for the unavoidable heavy leakages and accidents, just go in there, change their diapers, and get out fast.
- Use easy-to-remove nightclothes
Choose clothes that are easy to remove and put on, and that won’t startle your baby from their sleep.
Personally, I find onesies with zippers much easier and quicker to deal with than clothes with buttons or velcros, which can definitely wake up your little one!
FAQ on Should I Change My Baby’s Diaper During the Night
Can a baby go all night without a diaper change?
Yes, your baby can go all night without diaper changes IF they are developmentally and physically ready.
That means they have gotten older, can feed less or not at all at night, don’t have any diaper rash, can sleep longer, wake up with a relatively dry diaper, stops pooping at night, and such.
Is it okay to leave a baby in a wet diaper at night?
Yes, it’s okay to leave a baby in a wet diaper at night provided that your baby doesn’t have a diaper rash, when a wet diaper doesn’t bother them and it doesn’t look or feel like the diaper is too heavy with pee.
When To Stop Changing Diapers At Night: Final Thoughts
Take note that every baby is different.
One might be ready for the diaper changing to stop early on while some might still require frequent diaper changes at night.
Especially if they’re heavy wetters.
So look out for cues first if your baby is ready or not to stop changing their diapers, then gradually make the change if needed.
Just remember to manage your expectations and don’t stress out too much. You will eventually stop changing diapers at night and that will come sooner than you think.