My son was never difficult to diaper change. He actually enjoyed having a fresh diaper put on him and would gladly come to me to get changed. My twins are a totally different story, especially my daughter Molly. Shew!!! Can you say Difficult? Here is what I have learned to do to deal with a baby or toddler that resists or makes diaper changes challenging.
1. Give a warning: If your baby or toddler is in the middle of play and it is time for a diaper change, give them a warning that you need to change their diaper. I usually say and sign diaper when I need to change their diapers. I do this about three times before I remove them from their play situation to change their diaper. That has helped to soften the blow and makes them more compliant towards coming with me for the diaper change.
2. Keep a basket of books, toys, and pictures near changing area: Give your child a distraction to keep them from fighting you. My girls love to look at books and photos. They are love touch and feel books so that has helped cut down on the tantrums and fighting while changing their diapers.
3. Have everything ready to go: Make sure the diaper, wipes, or whatever else you might need for a diaper change is already out and ready to go. You want to make sure that the diaper change happen as quick as humanly possible. The longer you take to set things up while your little one waits, the more resistance and frustration your child will build up waiting to be changed. I had to learn this the hard way.
4. Bribe: I know this probably not the best tactic, but there have been times when my girls will not come to me for a diaper change or are being very difficult. I offer a bribe at these times, especially when I am in a hurry to get somewhere or get out the door. I give them one M&M, a few goldfish, or a mum-mum. That seems to help calm them and make them more compliant for the diaper change.
5. Praise, Praise, Praise: Make sure you praise your child for coming to the changing area on her own. Also make sure to praise your child for being still while changing her diaper and for doing a good job helping mommy. I have found the more positive praise that I give, the more willing they are to come to the changing area easier next time.
6. Signing: My daughter Molly LOVES music. Her favorite song is the “Itsy Bitsy Spider”. So I end up singing that tune a lot while changing her diaper. She uses her hand motions while I change her diaper to accompany the song. The length of the song is just long enough for me to complete the diaper change too.
7. TV: I usually change diapers on a blanket in our playroom. I have a TV in that room. I sometimes turn on Baby Signing Time and that will provide a long enough distraction for me to a lour them to the blanket and change their diapers without too much fuss. I use this strategy when I can tell that the diaper change might be a doosey if left to my normal tricks, LOL.
8. Pops and times outs: When my girls get very physical and start to kick and even bit me, I have resorted to a pop on the thigh. I try to use this as my last resort. And even still, the pop does not always work. It is just a quick hand to the thigh to grab their attention, which is followed by a stern “no”. If that does not work, I will remove my daughters from the situation and place them in their pack n play or on a wall out of the room in order for them to calm down. Then once they are calm, I bring them back to the changing area and finish the diaper change. I make sure to give a lot of verbal praise if they are able to come back to the changing table and let me finish the diaper change without a lot of fuss.