>When it comes to changing toddlers’ diapers, often the visions that diaper companies portray on television are scenes with cooperative babies that go smoothly and leave both caregiver and child both happy and clean. However, more times than not, that is not how diapering a toddler is in the real world. Add cloth to that mix, and it becomes a race to outrun the child’s temper tantrum as well as your own eventual meltdown–all for just trying to change a soiled diaper! Toddlers have an agenda, and staying still for you to change their diaper is not high on their list. As the mother of a toddler, I often muse to myself about the simpler days of so many more frequent newborn diaper changes. Nevertheless, from my supporting role on the stage of cloth diaper changing a toddler, here are some hard learned lessons and earned tips.

Preparation is Key

No matter what system you use to diaper your toddler, you must be ready before you even get your child on the changing table. Diapers should be laid out and ready to go, wipes and rash-fighters all within reach, and you should have a second diaper just in case your first attempt is thwarted.

I always put my toddler in his crib to await diaper changes. It keeps him out of trouble and lets me set up his diaper in readiness for a quick change. I have dedicated the top drawer on his dresser to hold my stash. I also leave this open during changing so I have a little extra surface area just in case I start losing the wiggling match. I pop the top open on my wipe container so that no matter what I may meet inside his diaper, I am ready with as many back-up dancers as necessary. I open my diaper stick because who has time to fumble with a screw top once the show has begun!?

Now, you may have already learned all that by yourself while diapering an infant and are saying to yourself, “I’m not learning anything new here. How is this any different than before?”

Razzle, Dazzle ‘Em

Billy Flynn’s advice to Roxie Hart in Chicago before her trial began was that the point of the song is to keep them looking one way so they never know what you are doing in the other direction. The same principle applies to cloth diapering a toddler; distract them through whatever means you have available so they don’t know they are laying still while you are changing their diaper. I always keep two or three special, easily cleanable toys that my toddler can only play with while on the changing table. If he is onto me with the toys, I have also been known to start singing or making crazy noises and faces. The more fun you are having, the more likely it is they’ll join you in the fun.

Toddler-Friendly Cloth

I have found that cloth diapering, despite claims to the contrary, has a huge advantage over disposables when diapering a toddler. For one, the diaper stays in the room while the poop doesn’t. I don’t know about you, but when I visit disposable homes with toddlers, I often baulk at the smell coming from the diaper pail. Plastic does not keep that smell from assaulting our nose–it only ripens it. I love cloth because I can either use a diaper sprayer and rinse the poop down the toilet, or I can invest in diaper liners and catch the poop to flush down the toilet as well.

The second advantage cloth diapers have over disposables with toddlers is the option of having snap closures. Snaps are a little trickier than plastic tabs to undo , so it is a little extra security to guard against your little star’s need to disrobe and run straight to your clean whatever and plant their bum on it.

The third advantage is of cloth is with the wetness factor. This is key because when a diva is wet, a diva is unhappy. Wetness alerts your toddler that they have gone to the bathroom so they can let you know it is time for a costume change, thus minimizing the time they spend in their diaper and cutting down on diaper rash occurrence. An added bonus is that the knowledge you are wet can increase the likelihood of success during potty training.

Hopefully, with these few tips—and with cloth on your side—you, too, will be able to master the art of changing a toddler! Now go break a leg!

About the Author: The ArtsyMama was cast in the supporting role of mother to her son in February of 2010. She has since tirelessly worked to perfect her craft in what is said to be the ‘role of a lifetime’. The ArtsyMama would like to thank her fellow castmate and husband for always being there to lend an extra hand during diaper changes and on laundry days. The ArtsyMama blogs about nursing, cloth diapers, and greener living at http://theartsymama.blogspot.com. You can also find her on Facebook

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