How to Get Preschoolers to Lie Still for Diaper Changes

By Kathryn Hatter
A preschooler might need special persuasion to cooperate with diaper changes.
A preschooler might need special persuasion to cooperate with diaper changes.

An active and rambunctious preschooler might have little patience for indignities such as diaper changes. Although difficult, the reality is that if your child is still wearing diapers as a preschooler, she will have to cooperate with diaper changes to ensure that she stays clean and dry. You might need to get creative and imaginative, while using a firm approach, if your preschooler won’t lie still for a diaper change.

Explain the need for diaper changes to your preschooler if he objects and is being uncooperative. At the preschool stage, your child is old enough to begin to understand that a mess in his diaper necessitates lying still for a diaper change.

Gather everything you’ll need for the diaper change so you are completely prepared for the process. By eliminating the need to hunt for needed items, you streamline the process, ensuring that it takes as little time as possible.

Provide your child with a special toy or book to keep him occupied during diaper changes, suggests Robin Goldstein, author of “The Parenting Bible.” For optimal success, save a couple of favorite toys or books just for diaper changes -- and make sure your preschooler only sees or plays with these items during diaper changes.

Sing happy songs to your child to distract him from squirming during diaper changes. Recite rhymes or funny riddles to entertain your child. You might even try out your best animal impressions or other goofy noises to make diaper changes more pleasant.

Perform uncomplicated and mess-free diaper changes while your child stands to make life easier, advise authors Lindsey Biel and Nancy Peske in “Raising a Sensory Smart Child.”

Try diaper changes in various alternative spots if your child objects to a diaper changes on a changing table. Your preschooler might be more cooperative if you change her on the floor or on the couch instead. Try involving other adults or caregivers in diaper changes to get your preschooler to cooperate.


Consider encouraging your preschooler to potty train if she continues to feel uncooperative about diaper changes. Your child might be developmentally ready to use the toilet if she objects strenuously to diaper changes.

About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.