How do I keep my child's diaper from leaking? (and prevent myself from going crazy at the same time!)

There's nothing more annoying than washing your child's sheet and blanket (and whatever else fell victim to pee) for the fourth time--in like four days! It can drive almost any parent to the brink of insanity, especially if you have to go somewhere to wash said sheet or if you are away from home. If you've experienced this, I feel your pain. I've dwelt with it with both my boys, and yes, it has almost made me go gray prematurely!

Luckily, there are several things you can do to prevent
this leakage during the day and at night, although they aren't 100% fool proof. But maybe they'll be foolproof enough to keep you from pulling out all your hair :)

  • Take a few extra seconds to make sure the diaper is put on well. Keep the diaper nice and snug around the waste (without causing constriction for your little one), high up in the front, and make sure the leg openings are fanned out correctly. If you have a boy, make sure the pee stream will be going down not up--you know what I mean ;)
  • Avoid drinking liquids close to bedtime. This one sounds pretty obvious, but it's amazing how often it's the culprit. Don't worry about a couple sips of water before bed, but try to keep much more than that further away from bedtime. If your child still has a milk feed before bed, consider offering part or all of it a bit earlier, or if they are old enough, drop the feed before bed. If your child is addicted to going to sleep with a sippy or bottle of water, only put a small amount in the bottle/sippy or try a substitute for this attachment (yes, you'll have a few rough days in there as you transition to something else).
  • Try adjusting the diaper size. Much of the time, a bigger diaper (especially at night) will help avoid leaks, but if you go up too big, you'll end up with an even worse problem.
  • Try a different brand of diaper. While there are some better diaper brands out there than others, much of what makes a brand good depends upon the child's body shape. So try a different brand and see the new fit is just what your child needs to prevent leaks.
  • Try a night time/overnight diaper. These are more expensive :( but they fix the problem for many children. Less frustration and less washing is likely worth the extra price. The huggies brand is generally the brand that parents have the most success with.
  • Try a diaper insert/diaper doubler/diaper soaker. These are a pad placed in the diaper that increase the absorptive power of the diaper. I've used cloth diaper inserts (the gdiaper ones I had on hand) as well as disposable inserts. Inserts can be tricky to find in stores, so you may have to buy them online. Some people will also use two diapers on top of each other instead of a diaper insert, but I like to first start with the smaller sized insert.
  • Try a diaper soaker cover. I haven't tried these before. I've gotten {this close} to trying it but have ended up being able to get other stuff to work instead. The extra cost of these and extra laundry don't make them my favorite option, but if they work, I'm sure it would be worth it! For those of you who buy most things (outside of food) off of amazon, you can find some there, but I'm thinking that a cloth diaper site like would give you a better  selection.
  • Wake your child up before you go to bed and take them to the bathroom. I call this the dream pee. I don't love waking a child up at night while they are sleeping, but it's better than the alternative. Take note that this worked well for one of my kids but not for the other (who is always delirious upon waking). You'll have to try it to see if it works for your child.
  • Try tight fitting clothes at bed. Sometimes the issue isn't that your child pees too much but that your child simply sleeps in a way that there are gaps in his diaper. Having tight clothing can help keep the diaper nice and snug to the body so you are less likely to have these naughty little gaps. Try a 2 piece outfit with elastic around the waste compared to a loose fitting one piece.

If you have tried all the above and you are still having frequent leaks, I'm oh so sorry! Make sure to carry lots of extra clothes (for baby and you!) and diapers with you. In addition to a waterproof mattress cover (which I'm hoping everyone with this problem is already using), you can use a waterproof pad so you don't have to change the whole sheet each morning, or you can try putting multiple waterproof sheets on top of each other so at least you don't have to put on a new sheet each day, you just have to take the top layer off.

If you have any extra tips, please let everyone know!


  1. How topical that I stumble upon this at our first middle of the night feed. My 9 week old's diaper has blown out, up the back, 5 times at night in the past 2 weeks. First I blamed the brand. After 3 explosions, I tried a different brand: no luck the first night and got a rash to boot. The following night, I sized up, putting my 13 lb baby in sz 3's, which fit her better, but didn't stop the poo. Tonight I put a PUL cover on her, we have some since we cloth diaper in the day without incidence. Things are in tact for now but I'm at the end of my rope with these 3 am changes... I used diapers successfully for 2 months! I don't know why they can't handle her anymore! I'm also wondering why her biggest poos of the day are now in the middle of the night. She's EBF and eats every 2.5-3.5 hrs.

    1. Anastasia,
      She is still really little and her body is likely still adapting to when to go poop or not. I would give it more time and not worry too much about it. I did wake to sleep when I had this problem, but it was with an older child (there's a post on it). As for why it is leaking now, maybe she is pooping less often and more at each poop, maybe she is sitting in just the perfect way to have the poop go straight out the sides and not in the middle, maybe she is extra gassy and it is flying out with more force (make sure feed fore milk AND hind milk before nursing on the other side). Hopefully it will just go away soon on its own. Babies change so much at this age.


    2. I figure I would update. She's 14 weeks now and I think its a matter of body type. Her big poos just cannot be contained by disposable diapers. The PUL cover was a bust: it contained the poo gave her a rash because it doesn't breath.
      She's been pooping less at night but I think its cause we have fewer night feedings in general. Morning explosions about half the time- I'm just learning to accept it.

    3. Anastasia,
      Yeah, sometimes you have to just accept the situation for a while until it changes again. My 11 week old baby always poops half way through a nap so we have a nap ruined every day or two--and it always goes everywhere. I have her sleep on a lap pad so it doesn't get on the sheet but there isn't much more than I can do right now besides that. Sorry the PUL cover didn't work! It's sad to have spent the money on it when it didn't help!

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    5. Actually we've been using cloth in the daytime since she was a week old so I already had them. Disposables are just more absorbant so it works better for night time. Incidentally they keep the poo in really well because of the elastic.

      She's started pooping before bed now so she's sleeping through the night better and better.

    6. That's great to hear Anastasia. 'Time' often makes a big difference with babies this young :)