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Recently, my two-year-old son has been taking off his diaper at nap time. It's usually full and dirty and makes a big mess. He has managed to do it while wearing all types of pants (even overalls). This only happens at nap time. Does anyone have any advice?

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It sounds like he's ready for toilet training! Though inconvenient and messy, this isn't something I would discourage. –  nGinius May 15 '11 at 14:15
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If his diaper/nappy is full, why not change it? That way he can sleep better without getting rash/burns, especially when teething. –  JBRWilkinson May 15 '11 at 20:05
    
@JBRWilkinson I am sure Yedida would change her son and isn't trying to prolong the amount of time he is in a dirty diaper, just trying to contain the mess until she is aware of it to deal with it. –  Jim McKeeth Jan 25 '13 at 0:23

9 Answers 9

  1. He is taking the diaper off because he is uncomfortable. BIG SIGNAL that is time to potty train and a really good reason not to force him to stay in it. How well do you sleep if you are uncomfortable anyway?
  2. Ask him to sit on the potty about 15 minutes before naptime. While he sits, read stories, play clapping games, sing songs etc so that it is fun to be there. He may not poop, but he might and he'll most likely at least pee if he is relaxed enough. Don't sit so long waiting that he becomes uncomfortable, but at least give him the chance to "get it out" before nap so that he isn't laying in a mess during nap. This may help temendously with potty training as well anyway. Leave enough time to still do your regular nap time routine after the potty part.
  3. Put him in pull ups (during naps only, regular pants the rest of the time so he can still feel the wetness) and let him get up during nap to use the potty if he "feels the need". Let him know he should come get you. That way you can help clean him up without a huge mess if he is waking up dirty. I know it means an interruption to nap and that sucks, but if he gets the hang of potty training relatively quickly this will only go on for a month or two.
  4. You may be concerned he will begin to use this as an excuse not to take a nap and the reality is that MIGHT happen, if it does you can cross that bridge when it comes. Even if you waited, this issue will arise eventually anyway. In a classroom of 20 "2's" we always had 1 or 2 kids for whom this became an issue (true in the threes as well). It is just one of the realities of toddlerhood some parents must find a way to deal with. Once he is fully potty trained you can say things like, "you should only need to get up to go potty once". . .
  5. Expect him to sleep later and alter his sleep schedule if needed to help avoid bowel movements during sleep.

It is a tough transition that affects sleep, your entire schedule really and means messes and accidents for awhile, but think about this: once you bite the bullet and make the transition, you won't be buying diapers anymore, (although you'll still be lugging around a big bag of kid stuff), having to find places to stop and change the diaper will be in the past and although you will still need to find potties, you can plan ahead by asking him to go when you ARE near a potty. This will reduce accidents, rushing around in a panic, and is an introduction to teaching him about "planning ahead" for other things in life too.

For the actual potty training - there are LOTS of ways to go about doing it. You are even lucky enough to have him telling you he wants to potty train when it is summer and he can safely and comfortably play naked at times (immediate understanding of the "prefeeling" before peeing and the other one, because he will see it happen) A quick search will give you lots of options for techniques and I believe there are a number of questions about potty training right here on stack exchange.

I personally think the best way is to get them comfortable with the toilet (its sounds, sitting on one, washing hands after . . .) by spending time in the bathroom together singing songs, play hand clapping games, I used to sing to my 2's class, "tinkle tinkle in the potty, get that stuff out of your body, it is so much better for you, to use the potty for your pee pee and your poo, tinkle tinkle in the potty. . . It always got a laugh.

I would also suggest you spend this time in the bathroom (and out) reading books about going potty. There is a book with Elmo with buttons (that make noises like the toilet flushing and water running in the sink) that talks about buying "big boy pants" and the whole process as well as an episode that can be purchased all about potty training where Elmo helps (I think it's baby bear's little sister if I remember correctly) with her potty training and we meet Elmo's dad etc. There is even a song called "accidents happen". There is also "no more diapers for ducky" (another book) and a set of books that is something like "the potty book for boys" and "the potty book for girls" that are all really good (plus numerous others)

Any time he goes poop in the diaper, have him watch you roll the poop off the diaper and into the toilet while you talk about how poop and pee belong in the toilet and then flush it together. I am not a fan of "rewards" or "punishments" there are natural rewards like, not feeling "icky" and the reward of the independence that comes with being diaper free and becoming a "big boy" that are likely to work with your kid (simply talk about them), but rewards work really well for lots of kids too.

Good Luck!

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Link is to a synopsis of the video on amazon. –  balanced mama Jul 10 '12 at 17:59

We used the sleeping bag type outfits - you know, the ones with holes for arms and head. These not only removed any possibility of removing the nappy, but also stopped our kids waking up because the had kicked their covers off, and stopped them getting out of bed at 4 in the morning and wandering!

(they learned to climb out of a cot at a very early age, so this was essential, the little monkeys)

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+1 for the sleeping bag, but my "little monkey" can climb and walk around even when he's in it! I'm wondering whether he's got some levitation trick going. (Where's Charles Xavier when you need him?) –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Jul 13 '11 at 12:04

Masking tape has been working pretty well for our daughter with the same issue (any time, day or night). We have to wrap it all the way around her waist so she doesn't take it off. I'm glad she's almost ready for toilet training. Good luck!

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Take a one-piece pajama, the sort with long arms and legs, but without feet, that has a zipper running from one leg to the top, and put it on backwards. It's completely tamper-proof, easy to "service", and ought to be equally comfortable.

We have tried many of the other suggestions (diaper backwards, onesie, onesie plus some kind of trousers, "duck" tape, sleeping bag), but they were all found out after a short while. If he gets the backwards pajamas off, he'll be ready to join a circus.

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This was genius. WE actually cut feet off a pair as we didn't have any of that type without feet. Thank you so much for the help!!! –  morah hochman Mar 28 '12 at 19:53
    
Yeah, we ended up cutting the feet off a few as well, as it is more useful that way. Also, it allows the pajamas to be used longer, as the child grows. –  Peter Eisentraut Apr 1 '12 at 23:54
    
I have heard this suggestion from many, many parents. Never had to use it, but one of those things I file away in case I do! –  Meg Coates Jul 10 '12 at 18:39

I find that putting a Onesie and overalls on our 20-month-old son usually does the trick. Overalls over the diaper still allows access from the top. But with the combination of the two, he'll have to work his way from the top and bottom.

We actually used a Onesies, then pants, then another Onsie with overalls on top (it was during winter). He gave up after that.

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I put the diaper on backwards AND used duct tape with my daughter. We started potty training IMMEDIATELY when she started peeling off her diaper.

My son? He could care less about taking off his diaper. He wants to try to climb up the drapes.

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You can try putting the diaper on backwards which may only work for a little while.

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Duct Tape (aka Duck Tape). We actually had to do that a couple times. Of course be sure you check on your son frequently, because he may have an aversion to having the stinky diaper on - he may be developing a diaper rash. Also be sure the tape doesn't get on his skin as it will probably irritate his skin.

Our son got through it after a while and we didn't use the tape for long.

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+1: Duck tape is a brilliant answer :). –  Andrew Aylett May 13 '11 at 11:36
    
Great idea. We use the white medical tape sometimes for diaper fasteners with inadequate adhesive. Not as strong as duct tape, but not as bad for your child's skin either if it accidentally gets on. –  Karl Bielefeldt May 13 '11 at 14:16
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Actually, it sounds like he's trying to tell his parents something - namely, that his diaper needs to be changed. Forcing the kid to wear the diaper anyway isn't cool, don'tchathink? –  Ernie May 18 '11 at 17:32
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@Ernie: Totally, which is why I said check on the kid frequently and don't leave them in a soiled diaper. The thing is it is better to have them in a soiled diaper then to have them remove the diaper and cover their body with poop. Either way they will be in poop for how ever much time it takes you to notice they need changed. The duck tape just keeps the poop and diaper in a smaller area. –  Jim McKeeth May 19 '11 at 7:21
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@balancedmama: I'm not suggesting leaving your child duck taped into a soiled diaper. Sure, potty train them, by all means. But with our son he had no interest in potty training at the time, he just started taking his diaper off if he got stinky while in the crib, which is what I thought Yedida was asking about. Duck Tape is not an alternative to potty training or changing diapers. It just contains the mess, same as a diaper. You wouldn't suggest putting your child to bed without a diaper on before they were potty trained would you? –  Jim McKeeth Jan 25 '13 at 0:25

Sorry, I couldn't help laughing out loud :-) Been there, done that, but the pants thing has always worked for us. Sometimes easier said than done, but you can try moving nap time so he can finish it with a clean diaper, or maybe try a heavier duty/more absorbent brand. It sounds like he's just uncomfortable.

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