7 Practical Steps on How to Change a Diaper

By John Cruz

Last Updated:


Changing a diaper is common sense, right?

There’s a back and then there’s a front.

The straps might be confusing but at the very least, we know that there is only two ways that it can be put on.

This can be screwed up to the newest of parents or even the parents with 5 kids.

This thing we know as parenting is an ever-changing cycle and not everything is the same as they were even just 10 years ago.

These days, there are all kinds of inventions and whatnot that it has us doing things differently.

Diaper changing has not changed much and the same principles apply but there are some things that can be understood.

One is that diaper changing does require some skill and technique.

Unless you aren’t looking to improve your parenting skills, this post is going to show you everything you need to know about how to change a diaper.

Some might be common knowledge to you but I’m sure you can and will learn a thing or two from what I am about to discuss.

Without wasting any more time, let’s get right into things.

You can always check out the video below for the basics but do check out our guide as it is for a more advanced parent.

Thank you Pampers for the video and thanks for the household name that we all use when referring to the oh so lame diaper.

1. Make Sure Baby Went

Before you get to changing anything, you need to ensure that your baby has actually peed or pooped.

It happens all the time and the baby will let out a crazy fart that has you guaranteeing they actually did a #2.

Go and try to change them, just to find out that it was a misfire.

I mean, what are you going to change if there’s nothing to change?

This is the first step to changing a baby’s diaper and one that most will never consider.

Sometimes it might just be pee but usually, it’s just a very potent fart.

2. Prepare Diaper Changing Essentials

This is the first thing you need to do as soon as you are certain that the baby has actually wet its diaper.

Most parents rush to change their baby’s diaper just to find out that they’re missing this and missing that.

For one, it makes things less functional and two, it makes for a lot of unwanted stress.

Before you even take the baby to their next diaper changing spot, please make sure you have everything you need.

At the very least, you will need the diaper and wipes.

I sometimes grab 1 or 2 baby wipes depending on the assessment of the damage.

Quite a number of times do I find myself having to grab a couple more, so I do recommend you grab the wipes pack or container.

3. Clear Your Work Station

As a parent, we all know that there is no such thing as a “diaper changing station”.

Sure we might designate some area or even the actual changing table but that lasts for a good week before we go back to being practical.

This workstation turns into the floor, the bed, and sometimes even on your lap.

Wherever this workstation may be, do try to keep it clear from anything.

Move clothing, toys, and whatever else that might harm the baby or get harmed by baby’s poop.

4. Lay Baby on Their Back

Lay baby on their front when changing a diaper, said no one ever.

That’s because you have to lay them on their backs.

I personally like laying them on top of a blanket and on the floor as there is nowhere that they can fall from.

If you prefer the bed, that’s your most comfortable alternative but still requires 100% eyes and hands-on.

Now if you are using a changing table of some sort, please use the straps as you don’t want the baby rolling anywhere.

When it comes down to practicality, you will most likely find yourself changing baby right on the same spot where you sleep.

5. Remove Clothing

Rompers (aka onesies) are always going to be your best bet for babies and changing diapers.

They come with little buttons at the bottom, which makes for easy access and lots of functionality.

These are great for kids but I wouldn’t recommend them for adults.

Especially men.

My other half has one but trust me, it does not look good on her even if she thinks it does.

Once you have removed the clothing, you want to place it away from the baby or they might just grab it.

Once that happens, you take the risk of getting it dunked in their poop, which I’m sure you don’t want to happen.

This step also includes any shoes they might be wearing as this can also become another problem.

If they are wearing pants, you might need to remove them anyway.

6. Remove the Diaper & Wipe Baby

This part can be a little tricky.

The first thing you need to do is unfasten the straps.

Obviously, cloth diapers don’t have this, so this is more for disposable diaper users.

If the baby just peed it’s a lot simpler but let’s go with the scenario that the baby took a doo doo.

Upon undoing the straps, you want to grab the baby’s ankles with one hand, lift the baby up, and wipe their poop with the clean, back part of the diaper.

This helps to keep things cleaner and also conserves your wipes.

Once that is done, you can either hold that position and use the wipes to continue cleaning or you can lay them down and then wipe.

I recommend you keep the baby lifted so you can clean them better as well as keep your changing space clean.

You typically want the baby to dry off a bit but I find it easier to grab the new diaper and place it under them immediately after wiping.

Then you can let them dry a bit or just close up shop.

7. Replace the Diaper

Putting a diaper on can sound very simple but I’ve seen many parents screw this one up.

With most (if not all) diapers, the back part of the diaper is the one that has the attaching velcro straps.

That’s the side you want to put the baby on.

When setting the diaper, you want the back part to go right at the end of their lower back.

That’s the sweet spot that will usually have the diaper fit perfectly.

Once that is done, you then grab the front part of the diaper gently, to ensure that you don’t pull the diaper from underneath them.

place that part right below their tummy and then fasten the straps.

Do not stretch the first strap immediately because you have to leave some room for the other one.

If one is longer than the other, make the proper adjustments accordingly.

Put on their clothing and voila!

You have just changed a diaper.

Frequently Asked Questions

Diaper changing can have its steps and whatnot but that’s only half the battle.

A lot of the more unrecognized struggles come outside of the diaper.

If you know what I mean.

This is where the frequently asked questions come into play and it can be as complicated although seemingly simple.

For that purpose, here are some of the most commonly asked questions that usually come from a newer parent who knows nothing about diapers and baby poop.

Do you need a changing station?

Of course not.

You’re not going to carry around nor will one be available for you wherever you go.

I’ve done diaper changing in the car, on two restaurant chairs, and even on my lap.

As a parent expecting or a new parent, you need to understand that you need to work with what you got.

Leave the baby in that wet diaper and keep them fussy or change it and have them comfortable?

I’m sure you want them changed and that’s why you need to do what you can.

Sometimes you can work as a team to help for a much faster diaper change.

Have mom hold baby, while you undo some flaps, wipe, and change out that dirty diaper.

This is equivalent to them tire changers you see in Nascar, so pretend that’s you and diaper changing can actually be enjoyable.

As a parent, practicality and simplicity is going to be your key to diaper success, so learn, grow, and definitely improvise.

How many diapers should you bring?

A number is not really what you want to ask but rather where you should keep diapers.

Of course, your diaper bag is going to hold the most and we usually bring around 10 diapers.

The bedroom acts as the warehouse but all diapers are distributed to the diaper bag, the car, and any places you might frequent like grandma/grandpa’s house.

How many wipes should you use?

As a more conservative parent, I use only one for pee and it usually takes two for when they poo.

I sometimes get away with using just one but that usually happens with a more hard or dry poop.

Those wet ones require more but don’t go being wasteful either.

Wipe with one side, fold it, wipe some more, and fold it again if possible.

Are there changing stations in the men’s restrooms?

These days you will find more and more changing stations in men’s restrooms.

Not every establishment or public place has them but your chances of finding one are a lot higher than you would just 5 short years ago.

Dads are very involved and I’m sure everyone else is seeing this too.

What diapers do you recommend?

I’m more of a practical parent and not one that conforms as easily as everyone else does.

Most will go for the more popular and “in” thing, while I go with what works best.

For the best price and one that can do that job, I personally like Luvs.

Huggies will definitely hold a lot more but I think it allows parents to become lazy.

I do diaper changes once the baby goes and that’s why I prefer Luvs the most.

It does what it’s supposed to do and helps parents avoid trying to leave the baby in a wet diaper for long periods of time.

There are much better diapers out there but for a more wallet-friendly but still gets the job done kind of diaper, Luvs is the way to go.

What are the best baby wipes?

When it comes to baby wipes, I can’t say there is one that is best.

For more of an all-purpose type of baby wipe, I personally recommend the Pampers brand.

Now I do look at wipe usage differently than most and here is how I do it.

I typically have two kinds of wipes and they are for two different kinds of jobs.

One is a wetter kind of wipe, while the other is more on the dryer side.

Wipes that are really moist are used for when the baby just pees.

This helps clean them better and will help in avoiding rash as well.

The dryer wipe is what I use for when the baby has a really wet poop.

This wipe will scoop up more wet poop than a dryer wipe and that’s why I use it.

Once all the poop is cleaned, that’s when I’ll finish them off with a wetter wipe.

How do you prevent diaper rash?

Diaper rash can start in several ways but it can also be prevented.

In my experience, most of the rash actually comes from the cleaning process.

Just like I mentioned about the baby wipes, you always need to consider that first as dry and scented baby wipes are usually the culprit for the baby’s rash.

Make sure the baby’s diaper is not on too tight as it will make for irritation and eventually rash.

When changing babies, make sure you clean them thoroughly but remember that wiping and scrubbing is not good for rash.

Just because you can’t smell anything does not mean the baby didn’t go.

Check them every now and then and do not let them sit in a soiled diaper for even 30 minutes.

Diaper Changing Complete

What seemed like a very simple task has turned into a really long post.

I do like the reminders that I just gave myself as my princess has just gotten off of diapers.

Not to say that I’m ready to change more because I am far from that but it does give me the reminder that newer products will be hitting the market all the time.

I’m a fan of new products and I’m an even bigger fan of improving the lives that we parents live.

So if you know of any cool or crazy diaper changing ideas, please do let me know about them in the comments section below.

Besides that, I hope you have learned how to change a diaper in the more practical and efficient way possible.

Until next time, happy parenting and don’t forget to check baby’s diaper regardless if you smell anything or not.


About the author

With four humans of his own, John is our parenting expert. He loves being a dad, and when he's not trying to work on his golf game, you'll find him at his kid's soccer games or at the mall with his kids.

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