How Many Hours a Diaper Can Be Used?

Whether you are a first-time or seasoned mom, your baby’s activities will be limited by how old they are. However, high on their list is pooping and urinating, so diapers are meant to make that part of your life easier. As such, you want to know how many hours can a diaper be used from the day your child is born until they’re three or four years old.

Seeing as each child is unique, the amount of time they’ll use a diaper is dependent on the frequency of their urination or defecation. You’ll find that some soiling will require immediate changes and on other occasions, your baby can keep their nappies dry for up to four hours.

For instance, if you still have an older kid using diapers, they may only require one throughout the night. If you’re an expectant mother, it’s easy to get carried away and buy a room full of diapers. There are, however, factors to consider, such as your baby’s weight, the diaper fit, plus whether you’re going with a cloth or disposable nappies. In this article, I will show you how many hours your child can stay diapered and why.

Why Should You Change Your Baby’s Diapers as Soon as It’s Wet or Soiled?

Diapers are an integral part of any mum’s itinerary. Whether disposable or reusable, kids will go through thousands of nappy varieties from newborn to pre-school ages or beyond. Experts recommend that newborns be changed two to three hours or according to how often they go. It’s, therefore, safe to say that this amount of time increases as your baby grows older.

With chemical engineering innovation and material developments, diapers, particularly the disposable type, have turned super-absorbent. One product claim to keep your baby dry for up to 12 hours, and other options available are similarly eye-opening.

But it all hinges on how often changing is needed, seeing as your child may urinate every one to two hours with two to five bowel movements a day. Besides, you have to consider the overall health risks of keeping diapers on too long. These include;

  • Diaper rash
  • Skin infection from poop
  • Bladder infection, especially in girls

On top of these, a soiled diaper will possibly leak and stain your child’s clothes, their beddings, or high chair. Frequent changes or those you can schedule and time are the safest way to go. You can change your baby after feedings or before and after they take a nap. Otherwise, you might end up feeling like your days and nights are full of changing diapers.

How Many Hours Can I Keep a Diaper on My Child before Changing?

During your baby shower or after the newborn comes, a huge percentage of gifts will include newborn diapers, as well as receiving blankets. But babies grow fast, especially in the first three months, to gain at least three pounds. So how do you estimate your child’s diaper size, usage, type, or brand to avoid stockpiler’s remorse?

I say type because you may not have decided which to go with, disposable or cloth diapers. If not, there’ll still be time to try each and weigh its impact on your baby’s skin, costs, and daily usage. One rule of thumb is to buy no more than two sizes at any age or use the following range chart to help your decision.

Table of Diaper Use per Hour by Age and Weight of Your Baby

Age rangeWeightDiaper sizeUsage in hoursUsage in a day
PrematureBelow 6 poundsPreemieAs requiredAs required
Up to 6 six weeks10 pounds and aboveNewbornOne to two hours per diaper8 to 12 diapers daily
From four months8 to 14 poundsSize 1One to three hours every diaper8 to 10 diapers a day
Three to eight months12 to 18 poundsSize 2Two to three hours per diaper6 to 10 diapers each day
Five months to two years16 to 28 poundsSize 3Two to four hours each diaper6 to 8 diapers per day
18 to 36 months22 to 37 poundsSize 4Three to four hours for each diaper4 to 6 diapers every day 
Older than three years27 to 35 pounds and aboveSize 5 or 6As requiredAs required

Always change your baby’s diaper each time they have a bowel movement or urinate. That means depending on their age range, plus extenuating factors like their weaning phase, changing should be at least two to three hours.

How Can You Tell Which Size of Diaper Best Suits Your Baby?

To make their diaper supply last longer, many mums affect less frequent changes. That jeopardizes your baby’s health, as they’ll become prone to rashes, yeast, and bacterial infections. Go with a diaper that’s one size larger for disposable nappies, checking your baby for signs that you’ll need a new size.

Some of these include not closing well at the waist or stomach and finding your child’s skin is red, marked by elastic seams, or irritated.

It’s recommended that two finger widths fit between the baby and the diaper’s waistband or leg elastics. The waistband’s top must lie at least 2 inches below your child’s belly button as sitting too high or low leaves them weak against leakages or the occasional blowouts.

Once your baby reaches active mobile developmental milestones of crawling, rolling around, your choice of diapers must also move with them to prevent messes. You’ll also notice less frequent wettings when your child starts on solid foods, and diaper changes will mostly involve soiling bowel movements.


A diaper can be used for two, three, and four or five hours, depending on how frequently your baby passes urine or soils them. You’ll be checking whether your child is wet during the day, but one or two changes will suffice for most nights.

Maintain proper hygiene for the changing are by using cotton or wipes when your baby has done potty. Avoid putting on diapers while your child’s skin is wet, and use a cream to combat rash. A diaper-free one or two hours helps when you notice irritation or redness on your baby’s skin.