How To Change an Adult Diaper

diaperI bet you are looking at this right now wondering why in the world I’d want to write about such a topic. Well, this is something important for many people–more than many think.

All too often, the caregiver will surf the web looking for the best way to do things for the one in which they are caring for. They want to learn how to perform certain tasks but don’t know who to go to for answers: or, they feel too embarrassed to ask. Sometimes, caught in the moment of stress, they may not know what they are even looking for or where to find it.

One touchy topic that is unfortunately taboo is changing the diaper of an adult. And, being that it is taboo, it makes it hard for anyone needing help to want to seek it. Society puts into our heads that if one needs diapers, they are babyish. It also has us to think that diapers are for the old grannies. So, if one doesn’t fit into those two classifications, they are taboo.

When the average caregiver surfs the net for information on diaper changing, curing diaper rash for an adult, and things of that nature, they will more than likely find things having to do with babies. That is not helpful now is it? So, this is the reason I have decided to write this post.

Below, will be a step by step guide on how to change the diaper of an adult whether the one should be mentally retarded, physically disabled, or just an elderly person going through the average aging process who needs care. Note that this can also apply for older children who are mentally retarded or handicap.

What You Need

  • Clean Diaper Tub Or Pack of Wipes
    Don’t just bring one or two to the changing because you never know how much you’ll need, especially if the person has messed himself.
  • Baby Powder
    This is not necessary: but, it is a great help for preventing rash and taking away odor as well as keeping the area dry. Diapers cause that area to sweat, and just as baby powder is used in shoes for feet, it is also best used in this area for the same reason. Of course when the diaper is wet, it means nothing than: but, it makes the wearer comfortable in the meantime.
  • Trash can
    This is to easily dispose of things during the change. You won’t have to worry about cleaning up afterwards. That is a pain in the butt anyway. (Pun unintended.)
  • Barrier cream such as Desitin or A&D Ointment
    It is not necessary but if applied with each change, it aids in preventing diaper rash. It should also be used to treat a diaper rash when one is present. Then, these creams DO become necessary. But, as a rule of thumb, you should always have them on hand.
  • A Towel
    This is to collect anything that were to come from the diaper. A Blue pad also known as a chuck can also be used. However, since they are disposable and can’t be reused, they cost much more. A towel can be rewashed. But, the choice is yours.)



1. Make sure you have all of your supplies within arm’s reach. There is nothing worse than being unprepared, especially for a task like this one.

2. Get the person lying in the bed, on a changing table, or on the floor. Whatever is comfortable for you.

If the person is full sized and unable to walk or get up from the floor on his own, then the bed or changing table–if you have one–is the best way to go. However, if the person suffers mental retardation and is capable of getting up fluidly and is physically fine, or the person is smaller in stature, then the floor is fine to use. There is nothing more back breaking than having to pick a full sized person from off the floor when he can’t walk or support himself.

3. Remove the person’s pants completely not just pulling it down to the ankles. Make sure all clothing is out of the way as well as all blankets if you are using the bed. You don’t want anything to get on them causing you to work harder by doing more laundry.

4. Undo the tapes of the diaper and pull it back. Don’t take it out from under the person since it could be useful for collecting waste during the change if the one you are changing should have an accident.

5. Take your forearm and put it behind the knees pushing them almost to the chest. This will raise them up allowing you to clean them more effectively.

6. Wipe them from front to back. This is especially crucial for girls. And, don’t quit until they are completely clean. Put the wipes into the older diaper that is beneath them as you wipe.

7. Fold up the old diaper and put it in the trash can next to you using one hand as you keep them held up behind the knees with your forearm. If you feel you need two hands to fold up the diaper, take it out from under them, let them lay on the towel, fold up the diaper, and put it in the trash.

8. Now, lift them up by putting your forearm behind the knees again and put the clean diaper under them. The part of the diaper with the tapes should be in back. Make sure the back of the diaper goes above their tailbone a couple of inches.

9. Let them down to lay on the diaper. It is now that you can apply the baby powder and cream to them.

10. Pull the diaper up between their legs and fasten the tapes on each side. Make sure the diaper is snug and comfortable.

11. Put back on the clothing you removed. Now, there you have it. You have accomplished the task.

How To is a series of self-help leaflets designed to provide you with tools and tips for Caregiving. External authorship is cited where known. Neither the authors nor The Caregiver Foundation is engaged in providing medical, legal or financial advice. You should always check with your own professionals before taking action on any ideas presented in this series.

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