11 Tips for a Messy Diaper Change (& How to Avoid it Next Time)

Are you dealing with a messy diaper change? Here are 11 tips for changing your baby with less mess & how to prevent the next blowout.


When you have a baby, you are no doubt going to be changing a lot of diapers.

It’s good to know how to handle a messy diaper change (and how to prevent the mess next time.)

Here are a total of 11 tips to help you manage and prevent a messy change.

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1.) Before you get started changing a messy diaper, get all of your supplies out and ready.

changing supplies are next to a baby on his changing pad as his dad is about to change his dirty diaper

For a blowout, I usually pull out at least 4 baby wipes, and take out and open up the clean diaper I’m about to use.

The last thing you want is to be fumbling around trying to find your baby wipes when your baby is wiggling around with a poopy bottom.

2.) When baby has a blowout, take everything off, (dirty clothes too,) and completely clean them up before putting on another diaper.

a baby lays on a bed in just a diaper as him mom finishes changing him

I have seen some parents try to put on another diaper before taking off their poopy clothes.

But I don’t recommend doing this with a blowout, (or when they leak pee on their clothes.) This often results in getting poop (or pee) on the outside of their new diaper, and makes it messier.

Take everything off first, completely wipe down your baby, and wipe the surface under them, (they may get some poop/pee on the changing pad too,) before putting on a clean diaper.

Note: You also don’t want to put a clean diaper under their dirty diaper if they’ve gotten pee or poo outside of it.


3.) If your baby is wearing a onesie during a messy change, pull it down to take it off.

blue, purple, green, and pink onesies

When possible, pull down onesies (or other outfits if it works,) to take them off, instead of up & over your baby’s head. 

Don’t risk smearing poo or pee all over your baby if it can be avoided. 


4.) When your baby’s dirty outfit can’t be pulled down, fold the cleaner/drier parts of the fabric over the wet/dirty parts before pulling it over their head.


At times my baby has had a shirt with poop on it, I have often been able to fold or roll over the extra clean fabric over that area. That way it doesn’t smear up their back or get in their hair. 


5.) If your baby is wearing a shirt that isn’t dirty, roll it up above their belly prior to the change. 

a baby's shirt is rolled up before his mom changes him

Babies often wiggle around during changes, and it’s easy for a mess to spread from just their diaper or pants to their shirt and everywhere else.

But when you roll up their shirt, you keep it out of the way and prevent more of a mess. 


How to Prevent Future Diaper Blowouts & Leaks


6.) Go up a diaper size as soon as it fits your baby comfortably.

diapers on a table in front of a blue wall with starts on it

Even though it may cost a little more per diaper, I have found it’s beneficial to go up a size, when the next size fits my baby comfortably.

Bigger diapers cover more and hold more and will help prevent messy diaper changes.

Put your baby in the size diaper that fits them best, rather than going solely by the recommended weight on the diaper box.


7.) Make sure the diaper is pulled up high enough and is snug enough.


If your baby’s diaper isn’t snug enough, particularly around their belly and back, it will be more likely to leak when they go.

This is especially the case if your baby is laying down or leaning back, like when they’re laying in a crib, bassinet, or in certain bouncers.

Of course, you don’t want the diaper to be too tight. But you don’t want it so loose that there is a gap where pee or poo could easily drip out.


8.) Keep a written daily schedule & change your baby at intervals throughout the day.

a mom holds her baby as she writes her schedule out for the day

How often you need to change your baby will depend on their age, and every baby is different.

Pampers states that “experts recommend that you change your newborn’s diaper every two to three hours, or as often as needed.”

You can get into a routine of checking your baby’s diaper at certain times of the day. If you aren’t currently in a good routine with an adaptable schedule, you can grab our free printable sample schedule worksheets here

If you go too long between changes, your baby will go multiple times in their diaper, and they are more likely to have a blowout or leaky diaper if it’s too full.

To plan out my days every week, I use a physical planner with hourly time blocks, such as this one.

You can also use electronic reminders throughout the day to remind yourself to change them.


9.) Change your baby right before bedtime to minimize nighttime changes and leaks.

a mom holds her baby and changes him right before bed

Babies, especially younger babies that need to nurse or feed through the night, will often go a lot at night.

Newborns will often need to be changed during the night regardless, but there will be less in their diaper, and less of a chance of a leak, if you make sure they are freshly changed when you first put them down for the night.


10.) When baby is pooping, if possible place them in a sitting up or semi-sitting up position versus laying flat.

a mom supports her baby, sitting her up, as she goes inside her diaper

If you notice your baby is pooping, it’s better to sit them up, at least somewhat, so it doesn’t run down their back and get on their clothes.

With young babies especially, whose poo may be more watery, this can happen when they’re laying down, even when their diaper is on properly.

You will need to hold your baby/support their head & body if they are still too young to hold themselves up.


11.) If you are having frequent messy changes after putting on the diapers properly, consider switching diaper brands.

mom holding a pack of diapers in the store as she debates on which brand to try

Some brands really do work better than others. Not all generic brands work equally well for each baby either.


So those are 11 tips to make diaper changes less messy and for preventing future messes.

Granted, you will still have somewhat of a mess sometimes. But by taking steps to contain the mess, and doing things like choosing a good-size diaper, changing them before bed, and cleaning things up before putting on another diaper, you can have smoother changes.


Don’t forget to grab our free printable sample schedule worksheets before you go!


DISCLAIMER: This post was updated 10/18/2020. I am not a medical professional or expert. Articles on this website are for informational purposes only, and we are not responsible for any decisions you make acting on or failing to act on info from our site. See our full disclaimer policies here on our Terms of Use page.

Have a great day & thanks for reading!


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Are you tired of messy changes? Here are 5 tips for how to make diaper changes less messy. These tips are great for anyone with a baby or if you're going to have a baby. | diaper changing tips | new mom tips | baby tips | newborn tips | how to make diaper changes less messy | #baby #babytips #newborntips #newborn #newborns #babies
a mom with a yellow mask on is changing her baby's messy diaper

How do you deal with messy diaper changes?


  1. Ashleigh Cooper | 18th Sep 18

    This article was great! I’m pinning it on my Baby Tips board on Pinterest! I think this is a great post for new moms that may not have a ton of experience changing a baby.

    • Ellie | 29th Sep 18

      Hi Ashleigh, thanks so much for stopping by and sharing! 🙂

  2. shonell | 10th Oct 23

    “Thanks for these super helpful diaper tips, Ellie! 👶💩 Definitely going to use these to make diaper changes smoother. I especially love the idea of rolling up the shirt and the tip about sizing up for better coverage. Parenting can be messy, but you’ve made it easier with these suggestions!” 😊🍼

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