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The Easiest Way To Check Diapers (How Do I Know If They Are Wet?)

The Easiest Way To Check Diapers (How Do I Know If They Are Wet?)

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Checking to see if your baby needs a diaper is a constant throughout the day, and even at night. There are different methods and ways to check, but which way is the easiest way to know if your baby needs a change?

There are several ways to find out if your baby has a wet or soiled diaper, but the easiest is to do a quick pat or diaper pinch to feel if the diaper is filled with pee. This can be done no matter what the baby is wearing and is very simple and easy to do. It can also help determine if your baby has pooped as well once they are eating solids.

Keeping reading to find out the different ways to check your baby’s diaper and how to know if the diaper is indeed wet.

How to check a baby’s diaper

There are several ways to check your baby’s diaper, including the pat or pinch check, the thigh check, the butt check, and the sniff test.

The easiest way to check if your baby is wet is to do the pat or pinch check. Simply pat or gently squeeze the front of the baby’s diaper to see if it feels squishy, which indicates that there is pee in the diaper. Once the baby is eating solids, this check on the bottom will also be helpful to see if the baby has poop.

The smell check goes hand-in-hand with the pat or pinch check. If the baby passes the pat or pinch check, lift their still diapered bottom up to your nose and smell. You should be able to tell if they have pooped.

The thigh check is another technique and is very easy, especially if your baby is in a onesie or romper. Lift your baby’s leg up and place a finger between the diaper and their inner thigh, pulling the diaper away just enough to see inside. You should be able to see if the baby has poop in it, however, be prepared with wipes because you may end up with a little poop on your finger.

The last way to check is the butt check, which is very similar to the thigh check and easy to do if the baby is just in a shirt, dress, or two-piece outfit. This check is mainly for poop and you start by pulling the back of the baby’s diaper out enough to see into the diaper, usually far enough to see the baby’s butt crack. You will be able to see if the baby has poop in that diaper.

How to know if a baby’s diaper is wet

It’s usually pretty obvious when your baby has pooped, but it can be hard to tell if the diaper is wet until it’s uncomfortable and leaking.

The best way to check to see if your baby’s diaper has pee in it is to do a quick pat or squeeze check. The diaper will feel heavier and fluffier than a dry diaper, letting you know it may be time for a change. 

You can also use the wetness indicator, a stripe in the front of many diapers that turns blue when wet, to help figure out if the baby has peed in it. This is not fool-proof though, since there are times there is not enough pee to trigger the indicator or the urine misses the area of the indicator, which might be more of an issue with boys than girls.

It is important to keep track of a newborn’s urine output since you want to make sure they are properly hydrated. The pee indicator will sometimes miss when they pee, so constantly check by doing a pat check or checking the diaper itself. The rule of thumb is to change a newborn every 2-3 hours during the day and you will be able to tell if the baby has peed.

Do babies cry when a diaper is wet?

Advances in the absorbency of diapers means that sometimes babies don’t know if they have a wet diaper, meaning they can’t tell you when it’s time for a change.

Not all babies will cry when in a wet diaper. Some babies will be content sitting in a wet diaper while others will want a change immediately. It mainly depends on the child and their personality. 

“My baby cried every time she peed or pooped, disposable or cloth diaper didn’t matter, for the first 6 months of her life.” said mom with the username Skyimp in a Reddit forum.

Emeraldeyes from the same forum also said, “My daughter HATED wet diapers when she was a newborn. Cried almost every single time she was wet (strangely didn’t mind poop so much).”

There are others who truly didn’t mind being in a wet diaper. “My D[arling] S[on] never did, so we had to constantly check to see if he was wet or dirty.” said Hsam1 in a Babycenter forum.

Another parent, Las Cucarachas, also replied with, “My D[arling] S[on] never cared either way if he was wet or poopy.  He honestly still doesn’t.” If your baby is not upset about being wet, it is especially important to do constant checks, especially for poop.

Checking a baby’s diaper while they are asleep

Checking a baby’s diaper while they are sleeping can be one of the most stressful moments in a new parent’s life. If your baby is sleeping, the last thing you want to do is wake them up for a diaper change.

Here are some tips for when your baby is sleeping and you need to check their diaper:

  • Be as quiet as you can, moving as stealthy as possible if you absolutely need to check the baby’s diaper in the middle of the night or during their nap. The goal is to get into the room and out as quickly and quietly as possible so you do not wake the baby.
  • Keep lights off or as low as possible and be gentle in your checking.
  • Do a pat check to see if the diaper is very full. If it is not, then you can leave the baby in that diaper until their next wake up.
  • If the diaper is not full you can also do a smell check to make sure the baby has not pooped, but do not move the baby when attempting this in order to keep the baby sleeping.

How do you know if a baby’s diaper needs to be changed?

Once you’ve determined that your baby has a wet or poopy diaper, you need to decide if it’s worth risking your little one to change it.

Poop needs to be changed immediately in all circumstances since it can cause a diaper rash, which is incredibly painful for a baby. But pee does not need to be changed immediately unless the diaper is very full since today’s diapers are very absorbent and will pull moisture away from the baby.

Urine also has very low levels of bacteria and is generally harmless for a baby so if the baby is sound asleep, I’d wait until the next wake up to change them.

How often should you change a pee diaper?

How often you should change a pee diaper depends on how old your baby is as well as how often he pees. Newborns will need to be changed more often versus an older infant.

It is important to change a newborn’s diapers every 2-3 hours since it will also help you monitor their urine output. This is important during the first couple of weeks to make sure that the baby is appropriately hydrated.

After the newborn stage, diaper changes can be stretched out as long as there is no poop in the diaper and the diaper isn’t full.

A full diaper can lead to leakage, causing the baby’s clothing to get wet and potentially cause a rash due to the wet clothing rubbing against the baby’s sensitive skin. Be sure to change your baby before it gets to that point.

Should you wake a baby if they pooped?

No matter how important is it to you that your baby continues sleeping, sitting in a dirty diaper for too long can cause a diaper rash, or make an existing minor diaper rash more severe.

Babies need to be changed as soon as possible when they poop. You should do your best to not wake the baby and some are able to be changed if in a deep sleep, but be prepared for your baby to awaken during this diaper change.

Keep lights down low during this change to help keep the baby from fully waking up.

Should you wake a baby if they peed?

Sleep for parents is very precious so if your baby has peed, it may not necessary to risk waking them up.

If they simply have a little pee in their diaper, then let them sleep and change it in the morning or when they next wake up. However, you will need to change them if they have a full diaper or it has wet their clothing. 

Determining when to potentially wake your baby for a change is stressful but remember that they can stay in a pee-filled diaper for a longer period of time and it can most likely wait until they wake up.

Joshua Bartlett
Joshua Bartlett

My name is Joshua Bartlett I run this blog with my wife Jarah. We have more than 11 years of parenting experience including three girls and one boy. I started this blog in late 2018 when I realized that I was dealing with baby-related issues on a constant basis…please read more about me here!