Diaper Bag Must Haves - Toddler & Preschool Stage
Before having children, when I thought of diaper bags my mind went to the basics of diapers, cream, and wipes – which yes, that all checks out. However, after having children, I know much more goes into choosing your diaper bag contents AND those contents change as your children grow!
In recent months, our preschooler has potty trained and our baby is no longer a baby but a full-fledged toddler. Of course, with potty training I no longer need to carry diapers for my daughter, but I have replaced those with other items that have proven to be useful.
Swap Diapers for Underwear
We still carry diapers for our toddler, but it’s been nice to swap out the larger sized diapers for a couple of pairs of underwear instead. We also make sure to keep one pull-up/training diaper for emergency cases like an unexpected sleep over or tummy bug.
Swap Sippy Cups for Water Bottles
We’ve been out of the baby bottle game for a while now, but we were still carting around smaller sippy cups – especially for the younger one. We’ve recently switched these small sippy cups out for a larger water bottle like the YETI youth rambler. We have one for each child that slides right into the side pockets of our bag that were originally intended to keep baby bottles insulated.
Swap Baby Toys for Activity Centric Toys
Gone are the days my children require a stuffy rattle or teething toy – so it was time to add in some age-appropriate toys. We love having a small bag of colouring supplies like crayons and activity books which I can easily find at the dollar store. Usborne also has some great wipe away books that keep the preschooler entertained. Other additions to our bag include books, small figurines, or pop-its to keep the kiddos entertained at places like the doctor’s office.
Swap Baby Snacks for Big Kid Snacks
We no longer need to carry five fruit pouches around in our bag, but we can NEVER go without snacks, or we wouldn’t survive any outing! We made the swap from pouches to big kids snacks like cut up fruit, crackers, and granola or fruit bars. We love having a wide selection available as it keeps us from picking up something less nutritionally dense and spending money we didn’t budget for. We keep one of the bigger zip up bags stocked full and the kids both know where they can easily find something to satisfy their rumbling tummies.
Collapsible Toilet Seat:
I immediately purchased this item after one full day out and about. If you have recently gone through potty training, then you know that your kid is going to want to see and use EVERY SINGLE TOILET in every single establishment you visit. I ordered this seat because I was tired of touching gross public toilets while helping my daughter cling for dear life on the adult size toilets. This foldable seat comes in a zip up, plastic sleeve so you can easily store this item in your diaper bag without worrying about cross-contamination. It folds so easily that you can do it without touching the bottom of the seat that touches the public toilet seat. You can clean and sanitize it in a jiffy by using a Lysol wipe and its ready to go for another day of adventuring with your little.
First Aid Kit:
As your children grow from being an immobile infant to a toddler with a death wish, the items you hoped you had in your diaper bag change. I caught myself so many times wishing I had a small collection of Band-Aids in my bag as my children became more and more mobile. While this particular kit isn’t even a real first aid kit, it does the trick for those minor bumps, cuts, and scrapes toddlers and preschoolers are prone too. It’s small and light and doesn’t take up much space and has just enough band-aids to get through until you make it home.
If you have a toddler or preschooler, then you know runny noses are a constant in your household. And, with the growing independence your preschooler craves, they’ve probably learned how to blow their nose. A small pack of Kleenex is a great addition to your diaper bag especially for in those moments where your child is INSISTING on doing it themselves – a wipe just won’t cut it anymore!
This one may be controversial, but as we find ourselves out for longer periods of time, we have put this bad boy to good use. At the end of the day when our kids are absolutely losing their minds and we’re stuck somewhere like in the middle of a meal in a restaurant, we have been known to pop on an episode of Paw Patrol. We were so tired of trying to prop our phones up on random items like the salt and pepper shakers that when I stumbled upon this holder in IKEA one day (AND it’s only 99 cents) I promptly put 4 of them in my cart! We keep two of then clipped to the key clip in the bag for easy access (and so we don’t lose them in the abyss of the bag). They are also great to add to your list of travel essentials if you’re planning a plan trip any time soon.
While so much changes as your children grow and develop, so many things stay the same! I have found this to be true with my diaper bag needs as well. There are few things have remained a staple regardless of how old my children are getting:
Not only do I still have a child in diapers, but wipes are great for so much more! We use them to clean up after ourselves in restaurants, to wipe up messes in the car, as napkins, and the list goes on. I honestly have no idea at what stage of parenthood will I ever not need wipes, so for now, they stay in the bag!
Change of Clothes
I did have to go through and audit for sizes, but I have been caught too many times by surprise vomit or spilled drinks, to NOT always have a change of clothes for both kids in my bag.
This is self-explanatory however it also come in use with my preschooler since potty training. There have been a few times where the public washroom was out of soap, or it was impossible to get my daughter up to where the sink was, so we’ve sanitized her hands. I also use this to spray down surfaces I use like food court tables or children’s interactive stations at doctors’ offices.
I have carried around a small roll of trash bags (think doggy poop bags) for years now to bag up dirty diapers before throwing them away in public trash cans. These bags have also come in handy for soiled clothing, wet bathing suits, and other situations. You can find them anywhere, but I always get mine at Dollarama.