Discover How to Make a Diaper for a 13-year-old
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I was talking to a close friend before about our children when she asked me how to make a diaper for a 13-year-old. Her son was having problems with bed wetting at night, and it is becoming too expensive for them to buy disposable diapers to use continuously.
At first, she was hesitant to ask me about it since her son was ashamed that someone would know. It took a long time for him to tell her what he is going through until the time when she discovered it herself. She said that she and her son are having a tough time dealing with the situation.
I understand how it can be difficult to go through a condition similar to what my friend is in now. Wetting the bed is normal for children. Even teenagers and adults may sometimes undergo such phase. While it may seem unusual for some people, there is nothing to be ashamed of when such concern arises.
To help my friend, I told her that I would try to find creative and practical ways on how to make a diaper fit for her son. She felt relieved knowing that there is someone who understands and would help them. I advised her to seek a consultation with their doctor, so they will know the reasons behind the bed-wetting and what they need to do to avoid it.
Why Do Children Need Diapers?
A diaper is a piece of absorbent material used to wrap around the waist of a child, covering his bottom to catch poop and urine. Babies need diapers since they are unable to go to the bathroom by themselves and do their business. Also, they cannot speak out if they need to go.
For toddlers, diapers aid them whenever they cannot control their need to urinate or poop. Many parents still rely on them especially having encountered emergency bathroom situations when they are away from home. But, it is crucial to gradually wean toddlers from using diapers and practice going to a potty.
However, for older children and adults, the reasons may not be the same. First, they may not be able to feel when their body needs to urine at night. They cannot wake up to urinate hence their body would just excrete urine without their knowledge.
Second, they go through a psychological issue called infantilism. It is a condition when adults manifest childish behavior or infantile characteristics such as wearing a diaper and wetting in bed during the night.
Third, they cannot control their bladder. Even when teens are awake, there are times when they burst out their bladders without reaching the toilet. Wearing diapers help them avoid wetting their pants.
Fourth, they may feel depressed. Some teenagers go through anxiety and wetting the bed is one of the symptoms.
Things That You Will Need to Make a Diaper
- Look for an absorbent cloth. You will need it to absorb the urine and keep it away from your child’s pants or bed. Cotton fabrics are excellent absorbers. You may also use old and clean towels.
- Prepare your sewing kit. It helps to sew your diaper in place, so it will not easily move around and make an uncomfortable feeling to your teen.
- Have pins and other strong adhesives ready. You will need these to lock your diaper in place. Use big safety pins, so these are strong enough not to break from constant movement easily.
Different Methods of Making a Diaper
There are several ways on how to make a diaper for teenagers. Below are the standard solutions on making your own at home.
Using an old t-shirt
The cotton shirt provides a porous material that is ideal for absorbing liquids. All you need is an old t-shirt that is in the right size to cover the bottom of your child. For instance, an average sized 13-year-old can fit in a medium to large adult t-shirt while kids with a bigger body mass may want to try extra large shirts. The shirt also needs to have three-quarter length sleeve so it can wrap around the waist and easier for pinning.
First, lay the t-shirt flat on a surface. Then, fold one side of the shirt over the middle. It should be about 1/3 of the way, keeping the sleeve of the shirt pointed outward.
Fold the other side of the shirt over the folded side. It should be the same dimension of the other, so you have a third of the shirt left. It also must have a “t” shape or a cross. Next, bring the top of the shirt down. Only use the extra top part of the shirt above the sleeves. It will now give you a shape of capital “T.”
You can now fold the bottom into half starting from the bottom line of the shirt to the lower sleeve line. It will shorten the shape in half but will still look like a capital “T.” Wrap it around the bottom of your kid and pin it in the middle.
Using a grocery bag
This method will require you to use a wider and clean grocery bag. Before you begin, measure the bag that will fit your child's hip size in circumference. Create two leg holes at the bottom of the bag.
Step inside the bag and fit his legs into the holes. Slowly pull the bag upward towards his upper legs. Make sure that it is in a tight seal as you pull. Using an absorbent and soft towel, fold it up and place it in between his legs, resting at the bottom of the bag. Then, start to pull the bag up to his bottom. Adjust the bag and the towel to his comfort.
Tie the handles together in the front. You can use a string to secure the handles in place. You might want to double up the bag to lock in the diaper in place. It will have a backup support in case the first bag gets ripped off.
Using a Blanket
In this case, you can also use a soft but absorbent fabric if you do not have a blanket ideal for your teen's size or an old, large receiving blanket. Cut the sheet into a square. Make sure that the fabric size is big enough to wrap your child’s waist.
Lay the blanket flat on the floor. You may want to smooth out the wrinkles so you can make the most of the fabric. Then, fold the sheet into two using the two right-hand corners. Again, bring the blanket to a fold using the two top corners towards the two bottom corners. Right now, you have a square shape fabric.
Using one corner, fold the sheet into a triangle starting from the top left bottom to the right. The corner must be to the right of the blanket, forming a full triangle shape with a square shape under it on the left. Carefully, flip the fabric over grabbing the bottom right and the top corner of the triangle. Flatten it on the surface and smoothen any wrinkled parts.
Next, grab the edges on the left and fold them two to three times over, lying in the middle of the triangle. When using the diaper, the wider side of the triangle must be lined on their waist. Then, you can fold the bottom to the front side and fold both sides of the triangle to meet the front. Secure it with a safety pin.
What I Would Recommend
While the methods above suggest an effective way to make a good diaper, there are certain drawbacks to each of the procedure. For instance, the old t-shirt may not fully support a heavy load of urine for a longer time. It requires constant changing and may risk leaking during a long night.
The grocery bag method may be useful, but it also risks ripping when used for a long time. The plastic material is not thick enough to support a heavy towel. Also, it produces heat hence may be impractical during the summer.
As for the blanket, the method may seem a challenge especially if you are in a hurry. It also risks leaking during a heavy flow. What I would recommend is to sew a diaper cloth, following the form and mechanism of a disposable diaper. One of the main advantages of this method is the ease in reusing the diaper. You do not have to fold and adjust the diaper each time your teen wear one.
Another advantage is the effectiveness of using the diaper. Since it has a soaker, you can be assured that it can hold on to more liquid for a long time.
Steps in Making the Pre-fold Sewn T-Shirt Diaper
Step 1 – Printing and Cutting Patterns is Fun
If you love patterns, you will love looking for the perfect diaper pattern to print out and cut. Print it out the scaled pattern or the measurements pattern.
A scaled design will give you the exact sizes for the diaper. You can print them out on a colored printer and tape together the shape according to the guidelines. A measurement pattern gives you the reference of the form, and you can just draw the pattern depending on the size you need to make. Cut the pattern using scissors.
Step 2 – Tracing is Never Boring
Make your child do this step. Lay down your fabric on a surface and lay the pattern in the middle of the sheet. Make sure your shirt is inside out. Secure the pattern in place with pins and smooth out the fabric, so it is not wrinkled. Trace it along the cloth using a marker or a sharpie.
Step 3 – Make Him Cut!
After tracing the pattern, remove it from the shirt and adjust the two side of the shirt in place along the marked cutting lines. Pin both layers of the shirt so you can get the same shape and size after you cut.
Using sharp scissors, cut through the two layers of the shirt, following the shape.
Step 4 – Recycle, recycle, recycle!
Make a soaker. Use an old, clean and porous towel to absorb the liquid in your diaper. Cut the cloth in a rectangular shape. You may want to cut in a medium size of 9” by 16.5” or in a large size of 10” by 19”, depending on the size of your teen.
Then, fold the soaker in half along the short side. Lay it on the center of the diaper along with the wings on both sides. Secure the soaker with pins on the top and bottom.
Step 5 – Teach Him the Art of Sewing!
Start sewing around the diaper shape except on the bottom part where you can find the soaker. Use a ¼” stitch line from the edge.
Then, turn the shirt inside out through the bottom hole. Adjust the diaper and smoothing out the edges and the soaker, so it looks like a perfectly shaped diaper. Make sure the soaker is found in the middle of the diaper.
Step 6 – Secure to Ensure
Start sewing along the middle of the diaper. Secure it with a stitch on all sides so that the soaker will stay in place. After sewing the soaker, sew along the bottom of the diaper to close the opening.
To use the diaper, you can fold the long edges together, leaving only the wings to stick out. Then, fold the bottom up to the front and pull together the wings around the waist. Secure the diaper with a safety pin.
Alternatively, you can sew a robust and sticky adhesive, similar to diapers, so it is easier to secure in place.
Helping Your Teen Get Through It
The changes and adjustment that teenagers undergo in their lives are stressful enough to keep them on the rocks and moody at times. They may not fully understand the things happening to them. Sometimes, it affects how they see life, interact with others and make decisions.
The need to wear a diaper can also add to their overall pressure as a teen. Considering that at their age, it is considered unusual to wear a diaper, they may feel embarrassed about their situation and afraid of being teased or bullied.
As parents, we must be there for our children during these tough times. Even if we do not want them to experience such, our support and care are essential for them.
So, what must you do to show that you are there to help?
Talk to your teens. It is normal for them not to easily tell you about the changes in their bodies even their need to use a diaper. If you notice something unusual about them such as being ashamed on topics of sleeping and urinating or being reserved, ask them what they feel and what they are going through.
Never laugh or get angry with him. It is not his fault that he is in such situation hence he does not deserve any negative reactions from you. The critical part is that your response can either make him feel confident or break him inside. Be on the positive side.
Ask him what you can do to help. If he needs you to make his diapers or prepare his bed, do these things to show your support. Sometimes, small things like this can make a difference in how your child will feel. Even if he can do this himself, it means a lot to him if it comes from you – especially if he asked you to.
Show him that you understand. Ask him about what he feels. Allow him to vent out without you interrupting or creating assumptions or commentaries in between. Remember, most teens find it hard to express their feelings especially to their parents. Then, relay back to him how he feels to show that you understand him.
Help him make a plan. There is more to help your child than just listening to him and making his diaper. You must also help him make a long-term solution to get out of the problem. Sit down together and try to create a plan on what you will need to do next. You might want to schedule a visit to the doctor.
It is Easy!
Making things at home is not only a practical thing to do but also a bonding moment with your family especially if they are helping out. It is also easy and fun and can make you think more creatively.
I recommended this method to my friend, and she was happy to make it at home. She and her son did the homemade diaper together, and they had a lot of fun sewing and putting the soaker.
It eased up the tension that the entire situation brought upon them. My friend even said that her son became more confident knowing that his mother is there to support and accept him as he was.
I was very happy for my friend. I hope that you also enjoyed the tutorial and found it very useful as she did. Tell us more what you think through the comments below.