How Often Should You Change A Baby’s Diaper

How Often Should You Change A Baby's Diaper

I notice that my baby pees a lot, most times without me knowing when he peed. I checked on his diapers very often, and I realized I have been changing it a lot! Then I thought, wow! He is using a lot of diapers! Should I be changing it every time he pees or poops? With some practice, I figured out something that worked for me.

So, how often should you change a baby’s diaper? You should always change your baby’s diaper immediately after he poops. For urine, you should change the diapers every two to four hours if you use regular diapers. Overnight diapers can last for up to 12 hours and may not need changing for the whole night.

Let’s cover some other common things, like should you wake your baby up at night to change his diapers? What can you do to reduce the number of times you need to change his diapers? We’ll be covering those and more in this article.

Should you wake your baby up at night to change his diapers?

If your baby poops, you should change his diapers. You don’t have to wake your baby, just change it while he sleeps, he may or may not wake up. You don’t have to worry that he will lack sleep, babies will sleep whenever they want.

If he pees, you shouldn’t need to change unless it is full. You can know how full your baby’s diaper is just by touching the diaper. Get into a habit of checking, and it will come to you naturally. You should also know that not all babies will cry and let you know they need a change, my son is 18 months old, and he never cried or tried to get our attention when his diapers are full.

About the fear of waking your baby, I understand that putting your baby to sleep can be very challenging. You’re also lacking sleep and hoping deep down that he will sleep through the night. As a mom, I feel the same way, but I will still highly recommend that you change the diapers if he poops to keep his skin healthy and reduce the risk of skin complications. Tip, don’t on the light, use dim lights, so it doesn’t wake your baby or hurt his eyes.

That said, I admit that I sometimes get so tired I fail to change his diapers. When he sleeps through the night, I will also not check on him, and sometimes there’s poop in the diaper when I check him in the morning. It’s doesn’t happen often, but he’s been fine so far. Don’t be too hard on yourself, just do your best.

How can I reduce the need to change diapers at night?

For urine only, overnight diapers can normally last until the next morning, so if the diaper you’re using cannot last so long, consider changing to a different brand. Many diapers out there can last for 10 hours like the Pampers Swaddlers.

That said, while diapers can last that long, but if it is wet and stays in contact with your baby’s skin for long hours, it can still irritate his skin. An easy and effective solution is to use diaper liners.

Diaper liners act as a barrier between your baby’s skin and the diaper. Unlike the diaper, the liner will dry off after a while, so your baby’s skin is not directly touching the wet diaper, but the dried liner. Liners are cheap too, and it as worked well for us.

Do you need to immediately change his diaper after he poops?

When you notice your baby has pooped, you should try to change it as soon as possible. But sometimes when you’re in the middle of something such as driving, cooking, or you’re at somewhere you cannot make a diaper change, I notice that waiting for 10-15 minutes is fine. I have waited up to 30 minutes, didn’t see any problems with that for my son.

Sometimes, you won’t realize that your baby has pooped, and many hours could have passed when you finally notice it. It happens sometimes, don’t be hard on yourself.

If you notice that your baby gets rashes when you don’t change his diapers immediately, then you should change it the soonest and put some diaper cream. It’s common for rashes to come from the laundry detergent you use or even the washing machine, I suggest you check out this article if your baby gets rashes often.

Which one lasts longer? Cloth and disposable diapers?

We have used both cloths and disposable diapers, and the disposable ones outlast the cloth diapers every time. During the daytime on average, if we use cloth diapers, we need to change eight to ten sets of diapers, whereas we only need to change five to seven sets for disposable diapers. That is if our son doesn’t poop since that requires an immediate change. Babies sometimes don’t poop for days that’s why we can make that estimate.

In the beginning, we use cloth diapers during daytime and disposable diapers during the night. It saved us a lot of money, but it was also a lot of work, especially when he poops. Using diaper liners made cleaning the cloth diapers much easier, but it’s still difficult.

After a few months, my husband and I decided to stop using cloth diapers. It saves us a lot of money but uses a lot of our energy. If you can allocate money for disposable diapers, it may improve your experience of motherhood; it definitely did for me.

Should you wipe your baby every time you change his diapers?

Yes, before putting on a new diaper, we will always wipe him first. We don’t know how long he has peed, and the urine could have seeped into his skin folds. Other moistures can also seep into his skin folds too, so it’s better to give him a thorough wipe, it’s refreshing and comfortable for your baby.

A tip. Instead of using baby wipes, consider buying cotton and have a small container of water nearby. It’s so much easier to wipe my boy using wet cotton, try it, I can wipe my boy much faster and cleaner with cotton. Cotton is also much cheaper than baby wipes, and you can really save a lot! I just buy cotton rolls and cut them myself, but cotton buds work too.

How about babies with diaper rashes?

Our baby has a bit of rash that will surface from time to time, and we notice the cause is almost always because of 2 reasons.

  1. When he has diarrhea or watery poop
  2. When we keep his diaper on for too long

From that, I learned to be more observant when he has watery poop, and change his diapers immediately after he poops. I’m also more observant about how full his diaper is and will sometimes change a little bit quicker than normal. Soon, his diaper rash will fade, and I’ll go back to what I normally do. I’ll talk about diaper cream in a while.

There may be a third reason for rashes to appear, and that is cloth diapers. If your baby is sensitive to the fabric, try changing to a different cloth diaper. But many times, it’s not the fabric, but the detergent you use to wash the diaper that is the problem, and if you use the washing machine, that can also be another reason. Read this article about using laundry detergents for baby clothes, apply it to cloth diapers, it can likely solve your problem.

How often should I apply diaper cream and in what quantity?

I apply diaper cream when my baby gets rashes and none when he is fine. Yes, diaper creams can help prevent rashes, but I find that as long as I keep him clean, I don’t need to apply the cream all the time. I don’t want his skin to be dependant on the cream, and so far it is giving me good results.

Apply the cream on the affected areas in moderate amounts. I squeeze out the cream to the size of a red bean, and that is enough to cover his whole bum if needed. Sometimes when the rashes get bad, I will apply it on and between his buttock cheeks, and around the anus.

I tend to keep creams and ointments down to a minimum because if misused, it can cause skin problems or make your baby smell bad. By the way, if you use creams to cover baby odors, read this article on why your baby may be smelling bad, it might be caused by cream misuse.

Should you use a bigger sized diaper so it can last longer?

No, that’s not a good idea. My experience with using bigger sized diapers is that it causes leaks, poopy leaks! If your diaper is too small, poop may leak out if your baby is making a big dump! Using the correct size is the best.

As your baby grows, sometimes you will realize that he’s stuck in the middle of 2 sizes. The smaller size is a little bit too small, and the bigger size is a little bit too big. I find what worked for me is to switch between tape and diaper pants. I notice that diaper pants tend to be slightly bigger than tape diapers of the same size, so here’s what you can do.

  1. Size 3 or L size tape diaper is getting small, but size 4 or XL tape diaper is too big, consider getting the size 3 or L diaper pants.
  2. Size 4 or XL diaper pants are too big, but size 3 or L diaper pants are too small, consider getting the size 4 or XL tape diapers.

It worked for me, but if it didn’t work for you let me know!

How long can I keep a soiled diaper in the house?

We all dispose of our baby’s soiled diapers into the bin, right? The problem is there are three places where I change my boy’s diapers, the bathroom downstairs, the bathroom upstairs, and in his room. Where I change his diapers will depend on a few factors, but the point is the diapers will be at three different bins, and sometimes I don’t clear them daily, so how long can I keep it in the house before I need to get rid of it?

The best is to get rid of it within the day, the maximum is three days, and after that, you must get it out of the house. Let me share with you the consequences I faced when I kept the diaper for a prolonged period of time.

How long can you keep it at home?What are the consequences?
Disposing on the same dayGreat, no problems.
Keeping it overnightIt's fine, may stink a little bit the next day.
Keeping it for 2 daysStarts to stink a lot, the smell will probably fill the bathroom.
Keeping it for 3 daysThe maximum before something bad happens. The stench is really bad!
Keeping it for 4-5 daysWorms start to appear in the bin, which can crawl out and become a big problem, may bite your baby.
Keeping it for a weekWe tried this once, and it was BAD! The stench has spread to many parts of the house and the number of worms was insane!

It’s not that I intentionally left it there for a week to test it out or something, I forgot about it until my husband asked me about the bad odor, we found the source and well, he was tasked to get rid of it because I’m not going to touch that bin 🙂

Related Questions

Is there anything I need to be aware of for newborns? You should use newborn diapers as they do not cover the umbilical stump. If you use the regular ones, roll the top later of the diaper down, so it doesn’t cover the umbilical stump.


James & Esther have been married for three years, have a baby boy named Nathan. Esther has a diploma in early childhood education and has been taking care of babies and toddlers since her early teens. She was a kindergarten and school teacher for many years, but today, she is a full-time mom taking care of Nathan at home while furthering her studies in early childhood education.

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