Clothes Tips & Hacks

How To Tell If A Diaper Is Wet

Here are five easy ways to tell if your baby’s diaper or nappy needs to be changed.

Pat or Squeeze Front Of Diaper

One of the easiest ways to check a diaper is to pat, squeeze or pinch the front of the diaper.

If it feels squishy, or appears full or “padded out” compared to a fresh diaper, then there is pee in your baby’s diaper and it’s time to put them on their changing table.

Smell Check

As the name suggests, carrying out a quick sniff of your child’s diaper will quickly reveal whether a diaper change is necessary.

Poop is obviously easier to smell than pee, especially if your baby has experienced a blowout that has leaked onto their under garments.

While the smell of pee is often mild, with a bit of experience you should be able to tell if your baby has done a pee just by smelling their diaper.

Butt or Thigh Check

If your baby has done a poop, but you don’t fancy having a sniff, then looking inside their diaper or nappy will quickly let you know what the situation is.

This can either be done from the front, by pulling the diaper away from their thigh, or from behind, by pulling the back of the diaper away from your child’s bottom or lower back and taking a look inside the diaper.

Wetness Indicator

Many disposable diapers contain an indicator that turns a particular color when wet, which is very helpful in alerting mom or dad to the fact that a diaper change is required.

The indicator is normally a line which runs along the outside of the diaper, and it turns from yellow to blue once the diaper becomes wet.


For many parents, once their baby gets into a regular routine, it can be a good idea to change a diaper based on how long it’s been since the last change.

So for example, you may wish to change your baby’s diaper every 3 hours, unless you can see or smell that your little one has done a poop (in that case you’ll want to change it immediately to avoid diaper rash).

Similarly, you may wish to change the diaper if your baby is about to go down for a long daytime nap and it’s been some time since the last change, irrespective of how wet or dry the diaper may feel.

One neat tip or hack to learn more about what a wet diaper feels like is to pour water onto a clean diaper.

So try pouring 5 or 6 tablespoons of water (around 70-90 millilitres) onto a clean diaper and observe what it looks and feels like.

This way you will know exactly what a wet diaper feels like, and be able to easily spot if your baby’s diaper needs a change.

Related: The Complete Guide To Buying & Caring For Baby Clothes

How To Tell If A Disposable Diaper Is Wet

As we saw above, many disposable diapers and nappies come with a wetness indicator.

This is a clever line on the outside of the diaper which turns a certain color when the diaper comes in contact with liquid.

For many diapers the line will be yellow when dry, and blue when wet – the stronger the color of the blue line, the wetter the diaper.

What Does A Wet Diaper Feel Like?

There are certain characteristics that you’ll want to look out for to help you know when it’s time for a diaper change.

These include:

  • Warm to touch
  • Smelly
  • Heavier than a clean, fresh diaper
  • Squishy
  • Puffy

Do Babies Cry If They Have A Wet Diaper?

Newborns and infants may cry if they need a diaper change, but this certainly isn’t the only reason why they may cry (other reasons include being too cold or warm, hungry, stressed, overtired or even misplacing their pacifier).

In addition, not all babies cry when they have a wet diaper or have pooped, so it’s best not to reply on this as your sole indicator of whether or not your baby needs a diaper change.

How Many Wet Diapers Should A Baby Have By Age

While the exact number will differ from baby to baby, here are the average number of wet diapers or nappies a baby will have broken down by age:

  • Newborn to 1 month: 10 per
  • 1 month to 5 months: 8 diapers per day
  • 5 months to 12 months: 6 diapers per day
  • 12 to 18 months: 5 diapers per day
  • 18 to 24 months: 4 diapers per day
  • 24 to 36 months: 2 diapers per day

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Tori is mama to 3 year old Isabella and co-founder of Rockinbaby. She has a BSc in Psychology, is a certified yoga teacher and is a working mom. In her free time Tori loves cooking delicious foods and baked treats, entertaining and working out. Learn more about Tori here.

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