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Apryl Duncan

Duct Taping Diapers - Practical Solution or Cruelty to Kids?

By February 15, 2010

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Potty talk isn't an off-limits issue with moms. One benefit of having mom friends is how easy it is to discuss kids' pees and poos in a public place as freely as if you were talking about the weather.

Duct Tape and a Diaper
Do duct tape and diapers mix?
Photo Apryl Duncan

So when I stressed over my son's almost there but not quite potty training progress, I got all sorts of advice. A few friends suggested leaving him in diapers overnight and using duct tape to keep the diaper on. The duct tape goes around the diaper to cover those easy-to-peel tabs but, of course, the tape doesn't touch the skin at all.

I began studying up on other ways to help him overcome his potty training hurdle so we could ditch the diapers forever. As I looked online, I saw more and more moms recommending duct tape be run around the diaper to prevent kids from taking it off and exploring what's inside. I even found a site showing off babies in duct tape diapers.

I also noticed plenty of people opposing this method entirely. Some called duct-taped diapers "cruel" and "abusive."

Now it's your turn. Is using duct tape on diapers a practical solution to keep diapers on or is it a cruel and abusive tactic?

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February 15, 2010 at 3:26 pm
(1) Jennifer says:

I’ve never heard of this technique, but using it during potty training seems like a mixed message to me. “I want you in underwear, but I’m duct-taping your diaper on so you can’t take it off.” I think it could easily turn into a power struggle, too, which could draw out the whole potty training process and turn what should be a successful, esteem-boosting experience into something negative.

February 15, 2010 at 3:28 pm
(2) Jackie says:

Hmm, while I wouldn’t even dip a toe into the side that calls duct tape “cruel” or “abusive” – gimme a break! – my problem with the duct tape tactic (which I used when the little tabs ripped off or needed to be resealed), is more one of efficiency in potty training. Once my kids hit that point, the training process went faster if they could strip off their diaper or pull-up when they needed to and race for the bathroom. That said, they weren’t, er, smearing anything anywhere. If that’s the case, then I say, bring on the duct tape! :-)

February 15, 2010 at 3:32 pm
(3) Susan says:

This topic reminds me of the discussion which flares up occasionally about baby leashes/harnesses. People get very upset about them because they remind them of putting a pet on a leash. It’s an emotional reaction with no basis in logic. If a leash keeps an active kid from getting lost, it is a useful tool.

I think people react badly to duct tape because it has been used in abductions and crimes. That’s also an emotional association. If the duct tape doesn’t touch the skin, this grandmother can’t see any problem with using it to secure a baby’s diaper.

February 15, 2010 at 3:32 pm
(4) Anne says:

Duct tape user. Proud of it!

My daughter will not go on the potty. She takes her diaper off after she does #2.

Before duct tape, I got up 2 hours every morning before she did so I would be ready the second she woke to go to the bathroom. She held it instead and got really sick from constipation. She’s not ready for potty training. She is strong enough to take off her diaper.

I figure it is much less of a hazard to put duct tape around her diaper than to let her smear her #2 on the walls and into the carpet. That’s gross and far more dangerous!

February 15, 2010 at 5:49 pm
(5) Stephanie Brown says:

This is no more abusive than putting clips or pins on cloth diapers. Give me a break!

February 15, 2010 at 6:19 pm
(6) Elizabeth Kennedy says:

As the mother of a child who once took off her diaper during nap time and smeared the poo contents all over the sides of her crib, I am all for duct tape to keep diapers on. I wouldn’t use it for potty training, though, because of the need to get diapers off quickly.

February 16, 2010 at 12:07 am
(7) Megan says:

Oh my goodness, I have never heard of this. It just hasn’t been an issue for us (knock on wood). Our problem is how enthusiastically our daughter yanks the bucket of tinkle from the plastic potty to dump it into the real toilet. She just gets so dang excited–we’ve had a few spills.
After seeing instructions on You Tube, I’m planning on making myself a duct tape dress form (for sewing clothes for myself). It involves wrapping my body snuggly with three layers of duct tape. I’ll let you know if it crosses the line into cruelty when I’m done.

February 16, 2010 at 10:49 am
(8) Jennifer White says:

Abusive, nah not at all.

I do have to take a bunny trail and say that I am an avid cloth user and really, really believe in the benefits of either going straight to training pants or using cloth diapers when potty training.

Potty training was a breeze for my children and were completely out of diapers for good (days and nights) by 27 months and 23 months.

February 22, 2010 at 11:22 pm
(9) Kayte says:

My daughter has taken off her diaper and I have found poop all over her bed in the morning. I put her in onesies that snap in the crotch and haven’t had a problem since then. I would use duct tape as a last resort. As long as it doesn’t touch the skin, it isn’t abusive.

June 18, 2010 at 8:17 am
(10) Stephanie says:

If you ask me, there’s nothing wrong with taping a diaper. Your kid knows it’s not supposed to smear poo/pee all over the place. Why wouldn’t you want to instill in your child that you have the power to control whatever situation they think they’re going to win one over on you in? And who wouldn’t want the mental clarity of knowing that you won’t have to scrub crap off of your walls. Parents these days are WUSSIES! I can’t believe anyone would say that putting a little tape on a diaper is abusive. I’LL SHOW YOU ABUSIVE!!! hahaha. (just kiddin) .n___n.

October 29, 2011 at 6:46 pm
(11) Justin says:

Wow it seems I’m the first father to post on here… I have a Autistic 3 year old that is in the beginning lessons of potty training… As a mother or father it’s hard seeing your child come from his/her bedroom time after time seeing a brown stain on there little booty and the thoughts of what has happened to there bedroom is almost scary… So is this a bad “temporary” alternative??? I don’t believe it is… As long as the duct tape ISN’T pressed against the skin it should be fine… However, there is always someone in every crowd that would see this as cruel and abusive, and like those, they have perfect children or no children at all… I believe these decisions are best made by best of us… And each of us will make the best decision…

June 10, 2012 at 10:58 pm
(12) Genevieve says:

I am trying clear packing tape on my daughter tonight. She is almost potty trained and one time made it through the night. HOWEVER, almost every night she takes off her diaper what I can only imagine is shortly after I put her in bed since it is always dry and thrown on the floor. She isn’t a night pooper (thankfully), but I am getting SO TIRED of washing her sheets every day!! We have talked about keeping the diaper on and I have even praised her immensely when she does…but the fact of the matter is that she is definitely not nighttime potty trained and NEEDS to where the diaper and keep it on at night. Hence, packing tape at night with none of it touching her skin of course. I’m not going to tape her during the day because that seems counter intuitive. She does need to be able to get her diaper off easily at that time. (And fyi, she told me she needed to pee after I taped it up tonight–we went into the potty and I was able to slide it down off her and slide it back on; however, I think it would be VERY difficult for her to do on her own).

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