9 Biggest Differences Between Babies & Toddlers

9 Biggest Differences Between Babies & Toddlers
Image: iStock.com/wundervisuals

toddler lying grass

To the untrained eye, babies and toddlers may not seem all that different. Both are small people with tendencies to cry, sleep often, and poop their pants. But for anyone who has a 2- or 3-year-old, toddlerhood is a far cry from the now seemingly serene days of infantdom. Things that were so easy with a baby, like changing a diaper, now require the skills of MacGyver, James Bond, and a Navy SEAL all rolled into one.

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The problem is that toddlers can move too now! And they have no concept of time, or why wearing pants is important, or why they can't be having their needs met all the time. So making them do things they don't want to do -- like putting on clothes, ending playtime, or going to sleep -- can feel like real injustices to these little guys.

Wouldn't you be excited if you had just learned to walk, jump, and run? Wouldn't you just want to do those things all the time, while mom is trying to get your shoes on to go to preschool?

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Let's get real, no matter what the reason is -- dealing with a toddler is not like dealing with a baby. And the ways they differ can drive a good mom crazy ... Take a look at our list and see if any of these sound familiar.

  • Putting a Shoe on a Baby

    cute baby shoes sneakers

    Putting a shoe on a baby is as simple as, well, putting on a shoe. Your little one likely just lays there, blob-like, staring at you, delighting in every little thing you're doing.

  • Putting a Shoe on a Toddler


    First thing's first. Before you attempt to put shoes on your toddler, you need to get your running shoes on. Because that's what you're going to be doing for the next five minutes. Other optional equipment? A catcher's mask for random things that will be thrown at your face and one of those rock climbing hooks for furniture you may have to scale.

  • Changing a Baby's Diaper


    Sellers Patton/Flickr


    Aw. Isn't changing a diaper fun with a baby? He lays on his little changing table, cooing at you while you make silly faces? They may be a little messy, but changing diapers is a snap with an infant!

  • Changing a Toddler's Diaper

    © KidStock/Blend Images/Corbis


    Cooing? Laying? Bahahahaha! The minute you pick your toddler up to bring him over to his changing table, he's going to start flailing about like a just-caught fish. A just-caught fish with poo all over him. Spoiler alert: Not a fun combo.

  • Leaving the House With a Baby


    © moodboard/Corbis

    Sure, you've got stuff to carry, but when you leave the house with an infant, you simply pick her up and place her in her car seat or stroller. No biggie.

    With a toddler? Not so much.

  • Leaving the House With a Toddler

    © Roberto Westbrook/Blend Images/Corbis


    When you leave the house with a toddler, in addition to lugging diapers, drinks, entertainment, and snacks, you need to wrangle your child. In order to do this, you must approach your child gently, slowly, possibly with a toy or the promise of obnoxious music. You need to have the agility and speed of a tiger stalking his prey. Then, when you're close enough, you snatch the child up, run out of the house ... and lock your keys inside. (And if you think being stuck inside with a toddler is bad, try being stuck outside!)

  • Coming Inside the House With a Baby


    © Christine Schneider/Corbis

    Although they seem to enjoy the fresh air, babies don't seem to mind too much when it's time to come inside on a nice day. It's basically a two-step process: You scoop up your baby up and bring her inside. Boom, done.

  • Coming Inside the House With a Toddler


    © Roderick Chen/First Light/Corbis

    Two-step process? Try more like 200-step process. Once you utter the dreaded five words to a toddler -- "it's time to go inside" -- be prepared for all hell to break loose. There will be tears. There will be running. There will be arched backs and kicking legs. And the word "no" will be uttered screamed approximately 47 times.

  • Going to the Bathroom With a Baby


    © Ryan Smith/Somos Images/Corbis

    Going to the bathroom doesn't entail too much when you've got a super tiny one on your hands. You either leave them in the bouncy seat to bat at some shiny things while you do your business, or bring said bouncy seat in the restroom with you. Either way, it's a relatively relaxing experience and not much different from using the bathroom in your childless days.

  • Going to the Bathroom With a Toddler


    © Image Source/Corbis

    Unless your child is asleep, there's really no such thing as "pooping alone" anymore. And oh what fun a bathroom is for a toddler! There are shampoos to touch, toilets to flush, and rolls of toilet paper that clearly are there for no other purpose than unrolling, ripping, and throwing on the floor.

  • Trying to Have a Conversation With an Adult in Front of a Baby

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    Save for the times that your baby starts crying, it isn't all that difficult to have a conversation with another grownup when a baby's around. They typically sit there in your arms, engrossed in whatever it is you're talking about. Or engrossed in their drool. Either/or.

  • Trying to Have a Conversation With an Adult in Front of a Toddler

    © Ronnie Kaufman/Blend Images/Corbis

    When there's a toddler around, there isn't too much "talking" that happens amongst other adults (exceptions being when there are other kids there, the TV is on, they've magically become engrossed in a toy for the moment). The standard way adults speak in the presence of a toddler is with the toddler wrapped around one of said adult's legs, screaming like a monkey.

  • Looking at Your Phone Around a Baby


    © Roy McMahon/Corbis

    Every once in a while when you want to check your phone around your baby, no biggie. Sure, they can become entranced by the bright screen, but really all the situation involves is you looking at your phone and then putting it away. Easy-peasy.

  • Looking at Your Phone Around a Toddler



    Toddlers and smartphones don't mix. Or maybe they mix too well? The moment your toddler sees your iPhone, they turn from adorable little Gizmos to technology-hungry Gremlins. They're on to what that thing can do and they want a piece of the action.

  • Going to the Store With a Baby


    © Tom Grill/Tetra Images/Corbis

    Babies seem to love stores, and what with all the pretty colors and different people, they seem to be perfectly content chillin' out in the Baby Bjorn, stroller, or in your arms. Sure, it's a little bit more difficult to quickly run in and run out, but nothing you can't handle.

  • Going to the Store With a Toddler


    © 2/Ryan McVay/Ocean/Corbis

    It's hard to tell if toddlers love stores or hate them, but one thing's for certain: Parents don't love going to the store with a toddler in tow. There are far too many tantrum triggers to be had, and staying in the cart? Hahahaha! That's a good one!

  • Taking a Baby Out of the Bath


    Future Street/Flickr

    It's very likely that your adorable little one cries when being taken out of the bath, because, well, who likes getting out of a warm and luxurious bath? But it's relatively easy to scoop up your baby, wrap him in a towel, and soothe him.

  • Taking a Toddler Out of the Bath

    © Sandro Di Carlo Darsa/PhotoAlto/Corbis

    Like babies, toddlers don't like getting out of the tub either. But unlike babies, toddlers have the ability to make it damn near impossible to take them out of the bath. Wet, slippery body that's moving all around? Check. Windmill-style kicking legs? Check. Slight terror in Mom's heart that she's going to drop her wiggling child on the bathroom floor? Checkity check check check!

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