Diaper Detective – The Toddler Edition


Before your little one was born, it is likely that no one told you that beginning on day one of your precious baby’s life outside of the womb, you would be investigating the contents of baby’s dirty diapers in addition to changing them. When your baby arrives, you quickly learn what to look for as far as frequency of wet and dirty diapers, color, consistency, and all that good stuff. Now that you have a toddler, the days of diapering are nearing an end. However, every child learns to use the toilet at his or her own pace. You may be changing (and checking) diapers for a while yet, so why not learn a little about decoding your toddler’s dirty diapers.

Often, the contents of your toddler’s diaper will be a reflection of what he or she has been eating. Because toddlers make the transition from formula or breast milk to solid food gradually, with the ratio of solid food increasing over time, you will gradually see a change in your toddler’s diapers, too. One major difference between the diapers of toddlers who drink breast milk in addition to eating some solids and toddlers who drink formula in addition to eating some solids are that the diapers of breastfed toddlers may still contain poop that is rather squishy, while the formula fed toddlers may have more solid poop. As your toddler eats more and more solid foods, his or her poop will become more solid.

If you change your toddler’s diaper and you notice small, dry poop that resembles rabbit pellets, your toddler is probably constipated. Occasional constipation is not normally cause for concern, and usually resolves itself or is resolved when your toddler drinks juice or eats fruit. If your toddler seems to be constipated often, check in with your pediatrician to see whether any changes to your toddler’s diet or other methods of relief are recommended.

On the other end of the spectrum, if your toddler’s diaper contains a watery mess, then he or she has diarrhea. Sometimes it may be a simple matter of having eaten too much fruit. Other times, it can be caused by drool from teething, or from an illness. Since diarrhea that lasts for any length of time can cause dehydration, it is important to check in with your child’s pediatrician right away if you notice a couple of watery diapers in a row.

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