Age-by-Age Diapering Guide
- Many parents opt to use disposable diapers during the early newborn phase, simply because of the overwhelming amount of dirty diapers (especially explosive bowel movements) that characterize the early weeks.
- If you choose disposables, know that many brands call their newborn line “Swaddlers.”
- They make diapers that have a color-changing strip to help parents easily detect wet diapers.
- Look for diapers with an umbilical cord cutout for those early days.
- Before coming home from the hospital, have both newborn and size 1 diapers on hand, because you never know how big your baby will be at birth. We’d recommend starting with only one or two newborn packages because some babies are born close to or over the 8-pound limit, putting them in size 1 to begin with.
- Also, don’t run out and buy three jumbo packages of size 1 diapers because you might want to try out different brands before settling on one.
3 – 5 months
- Your baby will still be producing a lot of wet diapers and having multiple bowel movements a day, yet could very possibly be sleeping for longer stretches of time at night. If your little one is leaking through his or her clothes, try overnight diapers for more absorbency.
- As your baby’s bowel movements diminish and become less explosive, now might be an easier time to switch to cloth diapers.
- Some find that cloth diapers fit better and are more absorbent, while others still prefer overnight disposables for nighttime leaking. This is going to be a trial-and-error period in finding what works best.
- If you’re already sick of using diapers, look into the method called “elimination communication” which requires you to be in tune with your baby’s bathroom cues and basically anticipate when he or she needs to urinate or pass a bowel movement. It might sound intense and overwhelming but a lot of families find it to be very successful.
6 – 12 months
- Once your baby starts solids, you’ll find that everything changes down there. On the plus side, stools eventually become more solid, which means less liquid mess with cloth diapers. On the downside, there’s definitely a more offensive, human-like odor and larger loads.
- Your baby is also more prone to diaper rash as more foods are introduced into his or her system, so really keep on top of changing your little one.
- And as your baby starts to become more mobile — creeping, crawling and cruising — you’ll want a more flexible diaper with strong tabs.
- Some will warn that potty training before the 12-month mark can cause a harder potty training process; yet others believe that all babies should be potty trained by the time they’re a year old. With all of the contradictory information out there, it’s obvious that both potty-training methods will work depending on your approach, commitment and – most importantly – child.
12 – 18 months
- By now you’ve probably settled into a pretty comfortable diapering routine with a preferred disposable brand and/or a reliable cloth diapering system.
- Your toddler is definitely on the move now, which requires a stretchy, durable diaper that will keep up.
- You’ll probably start to notice that your toddler is dry for a longer period in between diaper changes, which means less leaking and fewer diapers.
- Some parents start to gear up for potty training as they near the 18-month mark, but don’t worry if you don’t feel ready quite yet. You might want to buy a potty seat just to get him or her acquainted with it.
18 – 24 months +
- Start looking for signs that your baby is ready to take the big potty plunge (if you haven’t already), and read up on different tactics and advice.
- Some parents swear that using cloth diapers helps in the potty training process because kids can better feel when they’re wet, while others go straight to underwear to make toilet use almost necessary. If you want a more gradual potty training process, many parents prefer potty training pants that are more like a diaper than underwear. Find whichever method works best for you and your child.
- If you round the 24-month mark and your little (or not-so-little) one is no where near being potty trained, take a deep breath and realize that different children might be potty-ready at different times. They all get there eventually.