How Often Should You Change Your Baby's Diaper?

Every baby is unique, and how often your little one “goes” can vary from day to day. The general rule of thumb when it comes to how often you should change your baby’s diapers is about every two to three hours if they’re a newborn, and less frequently as they get older. But what if they’re not wet or are fast asleep? Read on to learn how you can adjust diaper changes to fit your baby’s schedule, how to tell if your little one needs a dry diaper, and what you can do to take the guessing game out of nighttime diaper swaps.

How Often to Change a Newborn’s Diaper

When your newborn finally arrives, it’s all about the cuddles and the love you feel for them. Along with these joyful parenting moments come less glamorous chores, of course, such as changing wet and poopy diapers. So, how many diaper changes does your newborn need per day? Experts recommend that you change your newborn’s diaper every two to three hours, or as often as needed. Why? Your little one may urinate as often as every one to three hours, and have between two and five poops (bowel movements) a day. And there are a few health reasons to consider as well:

  • Overly wet diapers left on too long can contribute to the risk of diaper rash—one of the four main causes of diaper rash—which also includes increased pH, poop left on the skin, and friction

  • Poop can irritate your baby’s skin

  • Leftover bacteria may lead to a bladder infection (which is generally more common in girls because their urethra is shorter and in closer proximity to their anus).

Plus, a soiled diaper can cause leaks, and the mess can spread to your baby’s clothes, crib, car seat—you name it! The simplest way to avoid the mess is with frequent diaper changes.

When to Change a Newborn’s Diaper

Still, changing diapers around the clock may leave you feeling as though that’s all you’re doing. Try not to let diaper changes consume your daily routine; simply be mindful of when your baby's diaper may be wet or dirty.

Another great time to change your newborn’s diaper is before or after feedings. If you’re breastfeeding, as you switch from one breast to the other, take the time to check their diaper, and change it if needed. If you’re bottle-feeding, check their diaper right before you give them the bottle. After they’re done with the bottle, you can check again if they haven’t fallen asleep. If they have gone to sleep, then there’s no need to wake them unless you feel they’re overly wet or they’ve pooped in their diaper.

How Often “Should” You Change a Newborn’s Diaper at Night

And what about those nighttime diaper changes? You may be wondering just how frequently your newborn’s diaper really needs to be changed when they’re fast asleep, and if it’s ok not to change your newborn’s diaper at night. If they aren’t overly wet you can probably let them sleep. Pampers offers super-absorbent nighttime diaper options like Pampers Swaddlers Overnights to help prevent leakages and keep your baby comfortable as they sleep. However, it’s best to change those soiled diapers if you can.

How Often to Change a Baby’s Diaper After Introducing Solids

As your baby gets older and you adjust their feeding schedule to include solid foods, you may wonder how many diaper changes they may need per day. It’s likely they may produce fewer wet diapers than before. Though diaper changes may be less frequent now, continue to check their diaper every few hours to ensure they’re not too wet. Always change them after they’ve pooped. A diaper change is required with every soiled diaper to prevent skin irritation, especially when babies become more active and mobile. As your baby reaches developmental milestones such as rolling over and crawling, they’ll be moving a lot more often. Avoid any messy situations with a diaper that moves with them, like Pampers Cruisers 360°®,.

Diaper Changing Tips

Haven’t changed a diaper yet? Don’t worry; with a few tips and some practice, you’ll be a pro in no time.

Start by gathering all the diapering supplies you will need:

  • A clean diaper in just the right size. Check out the diaper size and weight chart to learn which diaper fits best for your little one.

  • Baby wipes. Pampers® Sensitive Baby Wipes are a great choice for your baby’s delicate skin.

  • Changing pad (you can find disposable pads for added convenience when on-the-go!)

  • Diaper rash ointment to prevent skin irritation. Speak with your baby’s healthcare provider if you have questions or for recommendations on rash prevention.

It helps to keep all the diapering essentials in one place for easy access; after all, you will be changing diapers quite frequently! Check out our diapering station image below for an example of how to set up your space.

Once you’ve gotten all the diapering essentials together, it’s time to change your little one. Here’s how you can change your baby’s diaper:

  1. Remove the used diaper and throw it out

  2. Clean your baby’s diaper area

  3. Apply a diaper rash ointment or barrier cream if your baby has diaper rash

  4. Carefully lift your baby’s legs and place the opened diaper underneath. Then place your baby down onto the diaper and pull the front of the diaper up between their legs, and place it on their belly

  5. Close the wings of the diaper, and seal the tapes so that they are symmetrical. Run two fingers between the diaper and their stomach to check that the diaper isn't too tight.

Read our article on how to change a baby’s diaper for more detailed instructions.

For a step-by-step visual guide on how to change your baby’s diaper, check out the video below.

The Bottom Line

Now that you’ve mastered diaper changes, consider downloading Pampers Club app for rewards on your diaper purchases. Since you’ll be going through an abundant amount of diapers, rewards can help you save on diapering essentials. And if you’re looking for a practical and convenient way to receive all the diapers you need, consider creating a Diaper Stash. This innovative diaper fund allows your friends and family to contribute funds to your Diaper Stash instead of gifting actual diapers, ensuring you can buy the right size and type of Pampers diapers whenever you need.

How We Wrote This Article The information in this article is based on expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. You can find a full list of sources used for this article below. The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.