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Improvised Diaper

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Jo: Is that a shirt and duct tape?
Charlie: Yeah.
Gabe: I call it the Shirt Diaper. The good thing is, that's she's protected, and it's not my shirt.
Good Luck Charlie, "Charlie in Charge"

So you're nearly complete with the dreaded Diaper Change. The dirty diaper has been disposed of; the baby's bottom is clean. All that's left is to put a clean diaper on its bottom. But oops, there aren't any clean diapers available. What are you going to do? After all, you don't want the baby to have an accident all over your nice clean floors. The Answer? Find the nearest available fabric or paper and wrap it around the baby's bottom. A bit of MacGyvering will probably be necessary to keep this jury-rigged diaper in place. Despite your attempt to be safe from a bathroom mishap, this DIY solution is unlikely to hold back the mess...

A Sub-Trope of Improvised Clothes. This trope is most often used when the caretaker is taking care of a child under the age of three years old and has little to no experience in changing diapers, particularly if the caretaker is a male. Overlaps with Wearing It All Wrong if another piece of clothing is used as a diaper.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Dragon Ball Z, at one point Bulma must change baby Trunks while on the run from the androids. With only Gohan and Yajirobe around and no supplies at hand, she takes the latter's scarf and diapers her son. It's confirmed in a later scene that Trunks made use of it, right as an angry Yajirobe is shown furiously washing his scarf.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Shoot 'Em Up, a newspaper is used by Mr. Smith and DQ as a diaper for the baby. In fairness to them, they're more immediately concerned with keeping the baby alive than with diaper shopping.
  • In Jack & Sarah, newly-widowed single dad Jack wraps his newborn daughter in a towel and puts her in a big envelope for lack of a diaper.
  • After Dana and her son have to flee their home in Ghostbusters II and head to her old flame Peter's house, he rigs up a diaper for the infant using a New York Jets t-shirt.

  • In Burglar Bill, Bill is forced to use a towel as a nappy while changing the baby he accidentally brought home with him.
  • Not an actual diaper, but in the Froggy book Froggy Goes To The Doctor, Froggy has forgotten to wear underwear when he has to strip down to change into a hospital gown. His mother makes him underwear out of the paper from the doctor's exam table, and Froggy thinks it looks like he's wearing a diaper.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The pilot episode of Full House involves Uncle Jesse and Joey changing Michelle's diaper at one point. After putting the dirty diaper in Tupperware and cleaning Michelle's bottom with a sink spray and a fan, they are unable to find any clean diapers, but they do find some paper towels and a bag. Subverted a second later when Stephanie reveals she had the clean diapers the entire time, but "Nobody asked me".
  • In the Drake & Josh episode "Two Idiots and a Baby", after cleaning up the infant son of Josh's Dad's boss, Drake, Josh, and Megan are about to put a clean diaper on him when he pees all over their faces. They wipe their faces with the last of the clean diapers, and have to resort to using the kitchen curtains as a diaper. When the baby goes missing, Josh finds his curtain diaper on his catapult and thinks that it launched the baby onto the roof. At the end of the episode, Audrey asks Drake and Josh why her kitchen curtains smell like pee.
  • Although not seen, In the Yes, Dear episode "Home Is Where the Heart Isn", Kim tells Greg that she had been waiting an hour for Greg to buy her clean diapers and had to use a roll of paper towels as a diaper for Emily.
  • In the Good Luck Charlie episode, "Charlie In Charge", Gabe has to change Charlie's diaper while Amy and Bob are on an extermination job on their way to the spa and Teddy is taking P.J. to the dentist. When he runs out of clean diapers, he uses a shirt held together with duct tape.
  • In the Mr. Bean episode "Mind The Baby, Mr. Bean", the eponymous character uses a girl's teddy bear as a makeshift diaper for the baby that he accidentally winds up in the possession of, tearing up the bear and taking out the stuffing so that it can fit the baby real nicely.
  • In the Sam & Cat episode "#MotorcycleMystery", the two titular heroines have to use a garbage bag as a diaper for a baby they're looking after because Sam had used his diapers to polish her motorcycle.
  • Charmed (1998): The sisters briefly take in an infant who's being hunted by a ghost. Prue does have enough sense to get a large pack of diapers, but—not knowing anything about childcare—doesn't realize they come in different sizes. Luckily, neighbor Dan the Handyman comes through and turns a dishtowel into a diaper, significantly impressing Piper.

    Western Animation 
  • Family Guy:
    • In "Baby Not On Board", Stewie has to resort to using Meg's hat as a diaper when the Griffins forget to take him with them on their family trip and he has to take care of himself.
    • In "E. Peterbus Unum", Stewie has to use newspapers for diapers. He gladly defiles The Family Circus.
  • Rugrats:
    • In "Regarding Stuie", in a rare example not part of a diaper change, when Stu gets amnesia and thinks he is a baby, the Rugrats find a sheet hanging on a clothesline and put it on over Stu's pants.
    • A straight example occurs "Chuckie Vs. The Potty", where Lil suggests to Chuckie to stuff a lot of napkins in his pants and use them like a diaper in order to avoid being potty trained. Although it isn't seen, Chuckie mentions he tried that method.
  • The New Woody Woodpecker Show episode "Baby Buzzard" involves Woody looking after a poorly disguised Buzz Buzzard. When Woody has to change Buzz, he realizes he forgot to buy clean diapers before starting his babysitting service, so he resorts to using a piece of wallpaper as a diaper, then later, the parlor room curtains when the former doesn't work.
  • Another rare example not part of a diaper change occurs at the end of the Ed, Edd n Eddy episode "To Sir With Ed". When Eddy's tongue gets caught in his bedroom door, Ed takes Jonny's Urban Ranger hat and pins it over Eddy's tongue.
  • In the The Loud House short, "No End in Bite", Lynn Jr. changes Lily's diaper, but since she ran out of clean diapers, she uses the last page of Lucy's Vampires of Melancholia book as a diaper, prompting Lucy to think up her own ending to the book. At the end of the short, Lynn Jr. gets Lucy a new copy of the book from the library, provided Lucy changes Lily's next diaper. Lucy reads the book, and decides she likes her ending better.
  • Ninjago: When the ninja unexpectedly find themselves having custody of a baby, they quickly realize they don't have diapers and resolve to use someone's hood. Luckily, they were wrong about the baby needing to be changed, so they didn't have to go through with it.
  • In the Ned's Newt episode "Citizen Ned", during a montage of Ned delivering papers to everyone and them wearing the papers as clothes, a baby is seen wearing one for a diaper.