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If you think babies need a lot of stuff, try packing a diaper bag for a toddler!
(This post is geared toward toddlers 12-24 months old.)
Better yet, try packing a diaper bag for a baby/toddler in the 1-2 year old range. The list of things they might need while out and about seems almost endless.
I think this is because they are not quite out of the diaper phase yet but they are also moving into the phase where you need to make sure you have food and entertainment readily available. It almost feels like your packing a diaper bag for two different age groups.
Even though lugging around a diaper bag packed with stuff isn’t the most enjoyable thing at times, you will be grateful to have everything so easily accessible when you’re away from the comforts of home.
Sometimes having the right stuff at the right time can make the difference between a successful outing or a chaotic one.
The Diaper Bag
Before I get to the list of things you should put inside your diaper bag, first you will need the actual diaper bag!
I am assuming since this post is about diaper bag essentials for toddlers, you already have a diaper bag, so I won’t go too crazy.
But just in case you wanted a new diaper bag or some suggestions of diaper bags I think are great, I’ve included some below.
I got my dapper bag on Amazon on a whim and I love it.
It’s technically not a diaper bag, it’s just a backpack. But it is full of pockets and compartments and has that Mary Poppins quality that allows you to fit a surprising amount of things inside. I was also surprised at how great the quality was for the price.
This is my current diaper bag and this is my DREAM diaper bag!
17 Diaper Bag Essentials for Toddlers
If your toddler is still in the 1-2 year old range, chances are they are still in diapers. If your child is already potty trained, please email me ASAP and tell me all your secrets! lol
My 17-month-old is not potty trained so I have 4-6 diapers in my diaper bag at all times. Obviously, if I know I’ll be gone for a longer period of time I’ll pack more diapers.
Lily uses Bambo Nature diapers and we love them! They are non-toxic and all natural. They are the softest diapers you will ever feel and they were my saving grace when I was trying to stop my daughter from having daily blowouts.
I always have a full-size package of wipes in my diaper bag at all times. The comfort I feel knowing that I have a way of cleaning up sticky messes and poopy butts at any moment are worth the space it takes up in my bag.
I use Joonya Eco Wipes for Lily because they are natural and gentle on her extremely sensitive skin. I also love that I bought a 24-pack forever ago and I’m still working through them. These things last! Which is wonderful for a mom like me who loves clean hands and faces.
I don’t use diaper rash cream on Lily every time I change her; however, I always keep a tube in my diaper bag just in case she gets any irritation while we are out.
My all-time favorite diaper rash cream is the Babo Botanicals Sensitive Baby Diaper Cream. If I change Lily’s diaper and see that she is starting to get some irritation or redness I apply a thick layer of Babo Diaper Cream and within 1-2 diaper changes the rash clears up.
I always keep a sunscreen stick in my diaper bag because it’s compact and easy to apply on the go. It great for those moments when you weren’t anticipating intense sun exposure and just want quick and easy application before your toddler gets a burn.
The sunscreen I use on Lily is the Babo Botanicals ( Surprise, surprise!) Clear Zinc Sports Stick. It does go on a little thick, but most natural sunscreens do. Plus, I like it a little thicker for Lily’s sensitive skin anyway for greater protection.
Even though Lily’s days of constant blowouts are now behind us, we are far from being mess-free. I never leave the house without having a change of clothes for Lily in my diaper bag.
You never know when there will be a spill or something and having a clean change of clothes on hand is very comforting.
I usually pack her change of clothes depending on the weather and pack pieces that are compact and don’t take up too much room. Right now, at the start of spring, I have a pair of leggings and a thin long sleeve shirt in my diaper bag.
There are times when you might want to pack more than one outfit or pajamas depending on what you have planned for the day.
I ALWAYS put a sweater or jacket for Lily in my diaper bag. This is year round!
In the fall/winter, I keep an extra sweater as a part of her change of clothes. I even put a sweater or jacket in my diaper bag in the spring and summer. I know for me there is nothing worse than being in a dress or tank and going into a highly air-conditioned restaurant or store and not having a sweater. So I sure as heck am going to make sure Lily has a sweater if she needs one at any time.
I always keep two pairs of socks for Lily in my diaper bag and have since the day she was born. I feel like socks are sweaters and/or protectors for your toddler’s feet and you should never be without them.
Maybe I put her in sandals for the day but she falls asleep in the car and I want her to feet to be comfy but still warm? Socks. Maybe she wants to run around without shoes at someones else house but I don’t know how clean their floors are? Socks. Maybe she was wearing socks but ripped them off like she loves to do and lost them? Socks.
There are many instances where your toddler might need socks. You will never regret having extra socks. Just trust me and stick some in your diaper bag.
This might not be a big deal for you mamas with toddlers who don’t use pacifiers, but for those who do have pacy loving toddlers…THIS IS A MUST HAVE!
There is nothing worse than being out of the house and realizing you don’t have a pacifier. This is coming from a mother who (unfortunately) has a toddler who loves her Nuky.
Whether or not pacifiers are a good thing, if you are past the point of no return with your toddler, you should always have an extra pacifier or two in your diaper bag at all times.
Lily loves the Natursutten pacifiers and she has used them since she was around 4 months old. They are our favorite non-toxic/natural pacifiers and the only brand we tried that didn’t smell like rubber. I highly recommend them!
I use receiving blankets for everything. They have been my most used baby product since Lily was born. I used them as a blanket, nursing cover, clean up rag, and diaper changing mat.
Now that Lily is moving into toddlerhood, I really only use them in lieu of a changing mat. I can roll them up really small so they don’t take up too much space in my bag.
If I am going somewhere outdoors or think I’ll be out later in the day when it starts to cool down I’ll add a muslin swaddle blanket. If I think I might need a blanket for Lily but don’t want to bring a big heavy one, swaddle blankets are easy to roll up and shove inside my bag.
I always put a small toy or two in my diaper bag because, well, toddlers. Lily has some small books as well that I will bring if I think she might need more distraction depending on what we are doing that day.
You will be thankful you have some toys handy if you’re at a store or restaurant and your busy toddler starts to get antsy.
This one is pretty new for us because my sweet toddler only recently starting liking food. I plan on writing a blog post on my child’s peculiar eating habits later, but just know snacks are a must for most toddlers.
Things like fruit pouches and crackers are great on-the-go treats that won’t go bad if you forget them in your bag. Apples are also a fan favorite and super easy to quickly throw in your bag.
Bringing a sippy cup with you on the go is pretty essential when you have a toddler and I always forget to put one in my diaper bag. I am hoping by adding it to this list it will be at the forefront of my mind and next time I leave the house I won’t forget it!
My favorite sippy cup of Lily’s is the Munchkin Trainer Cup because it mimics a real cup. Plus it’s not too big so it fits nicely in my bag.
I have a condition called FONHMS…Fear Of Not Having My Sling! So I pretty much always throw one in my diaper bag before I leave the house.
If you have a toddler in the 1-2 year old range (or under 35 lbs.) than there is no reason for you not to be wearing them every chance you get.
It’s also nice if you don’t want to bring a stroller somewhere but know your toddler will eventually tire out and want to be held. Having a wrap or sling with you at all times can really be a lifesaver. Or at least a back saver.
Keeping a bottle of saline nose drops in your diaper bag is absolutely essential in my opinion. Toddlers in the 1-2 year old age range are not very good at blowing their noses. A few squirts of saline water can help to loosen stubborn boogies and clear their nasal passage.
I use Little Remedies saline nose drops on my daughter at least once a day, so I like to have them in my diaper bag just in case Lily needs them when we aren’t home.
A lot of parents carry hand sanitizer in their diaper bags. I used to carry Honest Company Hand Sanitizer in my bag but don’t anymore. I like to use hand sanitizer sparingly and only in “emergency” situations. So if Lily happens to touch something that makes me uncomfortable and there is hand sanitizer around, I’ll use it. If not, I prefer to use soap and water if it’s available.
If you would like to know why I choose to stay away from hand sanitizer and only use it in emergency situations than you can read this article here.
Ziplock bags are good for 2 things: dirty diapers and wet/dirty clothes.
If you are on the go and need to do a diaper change but aren’t near a trash, having a ziplock bag handy will keep everything in your diaper bag from smelling like…well, dirty diaper. Ziplock bags are also great for dirty or wet clothes due to leaks, blowouts, spills, etc.
I always forget to put a couple ziplock bags in my diaper bag and regret it when my bag ends up smelling like toddler pee. So take it from me and throw some in your bag when you have the chance!
Comment below one of your toddler diaper bag essentials!