We investigated the utility of a dynamic approach to risk factors for early to middle childhood maternal corporal punishment. Archival data from Families and Child Wellbeing Study mothers (N = 4364) were used to model the associations of several risk factors (maternal depression, maternal substance use, parental burden, child negative affect, and intimate partner violence victimization), repeatedly measured at child ages 1 and 3, with both the age 3 level of and age 3–9 linear change in corporal punishment. Unlike most previous research, we distinguished between two types of variation in risk factors, reflecting occasion specific fluctuations as well as their absolute levels. We concentrate herein on the potential role of occasion specific variation in the above risk factors at age 3—variability that is not a carryover effect from a risk factor's past level. Mothers who reported perturbations of (i.e., occasion specific variation in) depression, substance use, parenting stress, and child negative affect between ages 1 and 3 reported higher age 3 corporal punishment. Yet age 3 to 9 change in corporal punishment was not successfully predicted. The results underscore the importance of considering occasion specific fluctuations in risk factors, alongside their absolute levels, in the development and prevention of corporal punishment.