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How Do I Change a 5-Year-Old's Diaper?

author image Michelle Powell-Smith
With a master's degree in art history from the University of Missouri-Columbia, Michelle Powell-Smith has been writing professionally for more than a decade. An avid knitter and mother of four, she has written extensively on a wide variety of subjects, including education, test preparation, parenting, crafts and fashion.
How Do I Change a 5-Year-Old's Diaper?
Stack of diapers and diaper covers. Photo Credit: kasjato/iStock/Getty Images

Unfortunately, sometimes potty learning doesn't go as planned. Your 5-year-old might still be in diapers due to developmental delays, physical difficulties or a simple reluctance to use the toilet. Managing diaper changes in a practical, efficient and kind way can help your day go smoothly and reduce power struggles with your growing child. You can also use changing times to encourage your 5-year-old to gain independence with daily life skills.

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Step 1

Lay out a waterproof changing pad on the floor or bed. Choose one large enough for your 5-year-old. Check medical supply stores for larger changing pads. Gather a clean diaper or training pant, wipes and diaper rash cream before you collect your child for a diaper change. Encourage your 5-year-old to take responsibility for diapering supplies if possible.

Step 2

Make diaper changes as pleasant as possible. Use this time to sing songs with your child or offer favorite toys only used during changes. Practice letters or numbers with your 5-year-old or use this opportunity to teach days of the week, colors or other key skills. A happy child is a cooperative one, and can make the diaper changing process faster and easier.

Step 3

Remove wet diapers or training pants with your child standing if possible for a faster change. If she is able, encourage her to put on fresh training pants independently or have her lie down and assist her with a clean diaper. Know your 5-year-old's abilities and expect her to take as much responsibility as possible during this process to encourage toilet learning.

Step 4

Insist that your child lie down to remove a soiled diaper or training pants. Physically help him to do so if necessary. Open the tabs or tear open the sides of training pants and lift his lower half to remove the diaper. If he is too large at 5 years old for you to comfortably lift, roll him to the side to remove the wet or soiled diaper, according to Mountainside Medical. Roll the diaper up and set it aside.

Step 5

Use a wet washcloth or baby wipes to thoroughly clean away any waste. Treat any rash or irritation that may be present with your preferred diaper cream. Use this opportunity to talk about reduced discomfort or irritation if she uses the toilet, if appropriate.

Step 6

Secure a new diaper into place or have him step into a clean pull-on training pant.

Step 7

Shake solid waste into the toilet, recommends and dispose of a disposable diaper into the garbage or an appropriate diaper pail. Place worn cloth diapers into your diaper pail after removing solids to await laundry day. Encourage your 5-year-old to help or do this part of the changing process if he is able, suggests Keep Kids Healthy.

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