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How to Change a 4-Year-Old Girl's Diaper

By Shelley Frost ; Updated April 18, 2017
Children may need diapers at night even at age 5 or older until they are fully potty trained.

Potty training often happens during the early toddler years, but your 4-year-old girl may still wear diapers for a variety of reasons. Potty training resistance, regression, physical challenges or developmental delays can be contributing factors, according to HealthyChildren.org. Because she is older, your 4-year-old may feel embarrassed about getting her diaper changed, even if she only wears one at night. Use a preschool-friendly approach to smoothly change your child's diaper.

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Gather all of the diapering supplies, including diapers, wipes and diaper cream, in a central location, such as the bathroom. Use diapers large enough for your 4-year-old -- often a pull-on style or overnight diaper.

Position your preschooler over a hard floor surface, such as tile or hardwood, that is easy to clean up if the diaper spills. Changing diapers in the bathroom may encourage your preschooler to try the toilet if you're working on potty training. This also gives you easy access to a sink for cleanup.

Ask your preschooler to pull off her pants if she is physically able to do so. This encourages her to become self-sufficient. Help her pull off her diaper, being careful not to spill the contents if she had a bowel movement. You can have her lie down on the floor like you would with a younger child. If you use this method, have her lift her bottom off of the floor so you can remove the diaper easier.

Dump any stool in the toilet. This shows your preschooler where her stool should go.

Wipe your daughter from front to back to avoid spreading bacteria. If she shows interest, let her wipe herself. Teach her the front-to-back method so she gets in the habit of wiping in that way.

Apply diaper cream if necessary to prevent a diaper rash.

Hold out the fresh pull-on style diaper so your 4-year-old can step into it, or hand the diaper to her if she is able to pull it on herself. Support her so she doesn't fall over while putting on the diaper. If you change her diaper while she lies down, have her lift her bottom off the floor so you can slide the diaper in position.

Wash your 4-year-old's hands, especially if she helped with the diapering process, as well as your own. This teaches proper hygiene and protects against the spread of bacteria.

Things You Will Need

  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Diaper cream


Consult your pediatrician to identify factors that may be making an older child resistant to potty training.


Never express anger or irritation about changing your child's diapers. Follow your pediatrician's guidance for handling a diaper-dependent older child.

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About the Author

Based in the Midwest, Shelley Frost has been writing parenting and education articles since 2007. Her experience comes from teaching, tutoring and managing educational after school programs. Frost worked in insurance and software testing before becoming a writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education with a reading endorsement.

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