How to Change an Adult Disposable Diaper on a Patient in Bed

Adults with certain illnesses, injuries or disabilities may spend a lot of their time confined to bed and may also experience incontinence from time to time. They often use adult disposable diapers to prevent soiling bed linens and clothing. There are a few different ways to change an adult disposable diaper, but completing the task with the patient lying in bed may be the easiest. Of course, for patients confined to bed, you’ll have to do it that way.

Things You’ll Need

Adult disposable diaper
Disposable wipes or washcloth and soap

Step One

Select the proper size adult disposable diaper for your patient. Disposable diapers for adults come in small, medium, large and extra large sizes. Diapers should fit snuggly but not uncomfortably tight or so tight the elastic around the leg holes leaves significant marks on the skin.

Step Two

Unfasten the tape on both sides of the disposable diaper the patient is currently wearing.

Step Three

Roll one side of the disposable diaper up as close as you can to the patient’s bottom on one side. Tuck the rolled up side of the diaper under his hip as much as you can.

Step Four

Turn the patient onto his side, facing the direction in which you rolled up the disposable diaper.

Step Five

Use a washcloth with warm, soapy water or disposable wipes to clean your patient’s bottom thoroughly.

Step Six

Gently tug on the other side of the diaper, the side you did not roll up, until it slides out from under your patient. Tug gently so the diaper does not tear.

Step Seven

Roll up one side of a clean disposable diaper. Position the diaper behind the patient’s buttocks, with the rolled up side against his bottom. Tuck the diaper under his buttocks as much as you can. Position the diaper so that the tapes will be in the back of the patient.

Step Eight

Roll the patient onto his back and gently tug the rolled up side of the disposable diaper out from under him. Tug gently so the diaper does not rip. If necessary, roll the patient to his other side to make it easier to pull out the rolled up side of the diaper.

Step Nine

Fasten the adhesive tapes in place.


Explain to the patient what you are doing every step of the way.

Be sure to protect your patient’s privacy while changing his disposable diaper.


Wear gloves if there is a chance your patient may have a blood borne illness like hepatitis B or HIV.