Honestly, How do you do a Standing Diaper Change?

By Carrie

Around 10 months A. started fighting me on diaper changes.  All my patience and loving words from Time for a Diaper Change didn’t prevent me from getting kicked on multiple occasions.  It wasn’t until I had a huge bruise on my chest about the shape of her foot that I admitted something had to change.

A. was able to stand by holding onto furniture by this time.  She wasn’t very steady but had been pulling up on everything since 8 months.  My Montessori training had said to transition to doing standing diaper changes once the child was able to stand.  This embraced the child’s changing development and didn’t continue to put the child in an infantile state that they were physically past.  By doing diaper changes while the child is standing the adult sends a strong psychological message that they are affirming the child’s new abilities.  I understood Montessori infant/toddler centres did standing diaper changes.  But I couldn’t figure out how to actually do a standing diaper change!

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I changed my diapering supplies to the bathroom itself in the little cupboard beside the toilet for easy access and put my changing mat on the floor in the bathroom.  It was another step towards toilet learning by changing all things elimination to the bathroom.  I figured that A. would need to hold onto something and the toilet seemed quite logical to me.

I was all set to go!  Day 1 – a complete fail!  It was an awful day!  I was ready to give up.  That night I reflected upon A.’s reaction.  She had been so much happier.  And cooperative.  So I turned to the internet for more advice.  Daicia’s post1 and post2 completely restored my sanity and determination to give it a try for a second day.  A huge thank you for these two posts!  I was onto Day 2.

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Sitting behind A. so I could support her if she became unsteady and started to topple over (yes this happened many times), I took off her pants.  Pants down, left leg out, right leg out.  I would roll up her shirt or if she was wearing a onesie I would unsnap it and snap it over her shoulder.  Undo the snaps (or velcro) of her diaper, keeping my arms wrapped around her for stability, and placed it to the side.  If it was just a pee it was easy but poops were definitely more difficult.  Wipe front to back, lift right leg, wipe, lift left leg, wipe, and another centre wipe for good measure.  I wanted to ensure she was completely clean so I laid her down on the changing mat.  She was never completely clean.  Still to this day I lay her down for one last wipe.  She doesn’t fight that last wipe (very cooperative actually) and I feel better knowing there won’t be any poop irritating her.  I still don’t know how others do a fully standing diaper change for messy poops.  Perhaps it’s easier when the child is steady on their feet and can bend over a bit more.  Or when poops are solid logs and don’t get mashed in all the crevices.  This solution has worked for us.

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She would sit on her potty as I dealt with her soiled diaper.  Putting on her diaper wasn’t easy at first but didn’t take too long for me to figure out.  Position the diaper on, do up the right side, do up the left side, and “fix” the diaper to ensure it was on properly.  Keeping my arms around her for stability was key.  She definitely gained a better awareness of the process of pulling pants up and down for diaper changes.

No more fights.  Increased awareness for A. of the toileting process.  Diapering was completely moved to where toileting happens (the bathroom).  We were one step closer to toilet learning.


Filed under 12-18 Months, 6-12 Months, Carrie, Diapers/Toileting

19 responses to “Honestly, How do you do a Standing Diaper Change?

  1. Ana

    Hi Carrie! Love these post on toliet training. A huge help! Quick question: what to do if the only bathroom available is too small to fit a changing station for the child? My bathroom was an awful awkard shape. I don’t have the space to sit like you in the photo and there is nowhere to fit confotably me and her. :/ i am trying to plan ahead, but i am finding this obstacle…any thoughts?!

    • If you can figure out how to wipe without laying down you don’t need the change pad in the bathroom. I really lucked out with my bathroom that it fit there perfectly. In my downstairs bathroom is it much smaller and I am very cramped sitting with her. The first couple of times I just put her over my lap and wiped her so perhaps you could try that. I believe others have moved their potty to right outside their bathroom to provide a little more manoeuvring room but still keep the association of the bathroom for toileting needs.

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  3. Mama's Happy Hive

    Great post! 🙂 I wish I has started this with Little Bee when he was younger. Now he can stand, walk, and almost run. So whenever I try to change him standing up, he wants to run away. That is not a good thing when there is poop involved! I will keep trying.

    • You could try involving him as much as possible with the diaper change. This really works well for standing diaper changes as the child can grab a fresh diaper, a wipe, help pull down pants, etc. Sometimes my daughter likes to play with her clean diaper or underwear as I wipe her. This might help him to be involved & “occupied” while you figure out how to wipe and do a standing diaper change.

  4. STL

    Perhaps this is not something you’d try, but here in Italy the bidet is a beloved member of the bathroom. After a poopy diaper (or even a messy trip to the potty), I will wash her in the sink (our actual bidet is currently her sink area). This eliminates the need to ever lie her down for a diaper change and fresh all day!

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  9. Hi, Carrie!

    Thank you for your comment over at my blog! I’m so happy you talked about standing diaper change! I trained for Montessori 3-6 and only have some knowledge of infant Montessori through my own readings so I’m glad you guided me towards this! My instinct was telling me to change diapers while she was standing up, but didn’t know it was Montessori and didn’t think it was something I can do properly. I’m going to do this today and practice! Thank you so much!


  10. Vanessa Vance

    Thank you for the pictures. I have been trying to do the standing diaper change for awhile….but getting it into the bathroom was my barrier. Your post helped my family soo much. Thank you!

    • So glad you found it helpful! It was a struggle for me at first too but like all things, just give it a solid effort and you will find a way that works for you, your child, and the diapers that you use.

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  12. Allie

    Any idea on keeping curious hands out of the toilet while you do this?

    • I didn’t have this problem as A. used her hands for support on the toilet lid at first. I engaged her by talking to her about the process and involving her wherever possible. She played with a clean wipe or a clean diaper. When she became able to do so she would obtain these things and pass them to me. You might find that the toilet doesn’t work for you. Perhaps try using a stool for support or install a little bar for your child to hold onto. If your child is able to stand independently, then no support is needed. Good luck!

  13. Reblogged this on anandamontessorichildrenshouse and commented:
    This is a wonderful article on the process of learning how to support independence as a child is showing readiness.

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