I'm usually outside most of the time and I was wondering what is the best method of changing a diaper of a toddler while preventing them from constantly moving around to make a mess if they pooped. Many times I don't have access to a table or chair especially in public bathrooms.

What is the best method of changing a diaper while preventing the child from constantly moving to interrupt your changing process?

4 Answers 4


We've been changing diapers on floors since each of my kids were able to roll over in any direction, as both of them prefer to move every way they can to lying still. One's still under 2, so he's the one who's difficult to handle when he's standing.

We have a fold-up changing mat (Skip Hop brand I think) that we carry with us and lay it down on the floor of a restroom, a corner in any other room, on a public hang-down changing table in a "family" restroom. The folding mat has a place for the kid to lie on top of, a pocket to wipes and one to hold diapers.

A good way to keep them from moving around is keep their attention on your face, distracted from everything else... sing to them playfully, create a little game with their nose or their ears, give them mouth-things to play with. Toddlers don't have complex thoughts, so talking to them needs to as much like personal play as you can get it. I sometimes start singing louder to bring their attention back, and then change words in a song to include their name, or some silly rhyme, or snag their ear and tickle it.

Any activity that grabs and keeps and re-grabs their attention is my sole surviving tool in the diaper-changing-toolbox.


Back in the day we had a changing bag that included a thin folding mat, and if necessary we just put that on the ground out of doors and worked there.

  • 2
    Yep. This is what we always did.
    – Rory Alsop
    Jun 19, 2017 at 22:08
  • On the floor in the public bathroom?
    – Grasper
    Jun 20, 2017 at 19:52
  • @Grasper: The answer says "out of doors". But in bad weather, you could do it on any surface indoors, too.
    – sleske
    Jun 21, 2017 at 10:12

My wife is a pro in this and she suggests:

Standing up. And let them hold your arms or give them tasks, like open the new diaper

  • Sounds nice, but of course that would not work for a newborn which you have to change lying down.
    – skymningen
    Jun 20, 2017 at 6:56
  • @slumming, the OP was asking of a toddler
    – Grasper
    Jun 20, 2017 at 19:49

On your lap! I've mastered this technique since we live in a place with very few changing tables and I wasn't going to let that stop me. This only works if you have fairly long legs... but my kid was able to continue being changed this way until the age of 2.5 years old.

  1. Sit down on the ground with your legs in front of you, which gives the maximum space for baby to lie down, or if you are in a public restroom, sit on the closed toilet. You can put a cloth over your lap if you want to.
  2. Fully clothed baby / toddler straddles your lap facing you
  3. Tip the kiddo backwards so feet are in the air and their bottom is near your belly
  4. Hold the ankles with one hand and pull the pants down to the kid's ankles with the other
  5. Put the clean diaper underneath the closed dirty one
  6. Carefully open the dirty diaper, slide it out of the way, wipe, and toss
  7. Close up the clean diaper and voila!
  • I have a similar technique I'm pretty comfortable with but would add a couple caveats: There is a learning curve, if the diaper has leaked or the kid is squirmy there is a non-trivial chance of soiling your clothes, and I'm disinclined to aim a bottom at my face.
    – user26011
    Jun 22, 2017 at 6:17

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