Cloth Diapering in Daycare

With Real Diaper Week approaching, many cloth diaper users are considering ways to educate their communities about cloth diapers.  On Thursday, 4/19, one of the focuses will be on educating daycare providers about cloth diapers.  But how easy is it to use cloth diapers in daycare?  Read on to find out…

Choosing the right daycare is one of the hardest decisions parents face when going back to work.  The desire to cloth diaper your baby does not have to add to the anxiety!  With modern cloth diapers, it’s just as easy to use cloth in daycare as disposables.

To begin with, familiarize yourself with your state’s regulations, as many daycare providers may not be certain if they can use cloth diapers or not.  The regulations for your state can be found here.  If you haven’t yet found the right daycare, the Real Diaper Association has compiled a list of many providers who already use cloth diapers, or are willing to do so.

Consider using All-in-One cloth diapers or pocket diapers in daycare, even if you use a different system at home.  For an every other day wash cycle, I suggest 15 cloth diapers just for daycare.  This allows for 6 diapers per day, plus a few additional for a little wiggle room.

Don’t forget the cloth wipes!  To make diaper changes quick for your provider, keep a supply of pre-moistened cloth wipes at the ready for them.  Cloth wipes can easily be stored in the plastic tubs used for disposable wipes.  To keep the wipes from taking on a musty smell from sitting wet for too long, keep only enough in the container for approximately two days of changes, and be sure to cycle fresh wipes into the container whenever you bring in a new batch of diapers.  I suggest a daycare cloth wipe stash of 16-20 wipes.

Talk with your daycare provider and determine if they prefer to use a diaper pail with a liner, or a hanging wet bag.  Wet bags take up a bit less room, and can be hung on a wall, out of the way.  Plan to have two, so that you can take home the soiled diapers at the end of each day, and drop off a clean bag each morning.  There are a variety of wet bags available for purchase, and you can even make one!

With an every other day wash schedule, a daycare diaper schedule can look like this:

Monday: Drop-off a clean wet bag and a full stash of clean diapers and wipes. Pick up the wet bag and soiled diapers at the end of the day.

Tuesday: Drop-off a clean wet bag.  Pick it back up with the soiled diapers at the end of the day, as well as any remaining pre-moistened wipes.  When you get home, start a load of cloth diaper laundry, adding in any soiled diapers from home.

Wednesday: Drop-off a clean wet bag, the clean diapers, and fresh wipes.

Thursday:  Do the same as Tuesday

Friday: Drop-off a clean wet bag.  At the end of the day, bring home the wet bag, soiled diapers, and any remaining pre-moistened wipes.

Be flexible with your daycare provider, and offer to meet with everyone who works there to show them how easy and beneficial modern cloth diapering is for your baby.   They can do this!  I have not yet come across someone who isn’t at least intrigued by modern cloth diapers, and when caring for my youngest, they are always happy use them.

For even more information, including a great tip sheet you can print out to keep handy when talking to daycare providers, visit The Real Diaper Association.

– Jamie Karutz, owner of Celtic Cloths and Cloth Diaper Educator, has been cloth diapering for over 4 years, and is organizing a Great Cloth Diaper Change event at Belly Sprout in Santa Ana, CA.

Great Cloth Diaper Change

About The Great Cloth Diaper Change Ambassadors

We are a team of writers who are all part of The Great Cloth Diaper Change, an international initiative organized with the help of the nonprofit Real Diaper Association. The event is designed to show the world that cloth diapers are a real option for today’s families. The Great Cloth Diaper Change is an exciting Guinness World Record breaking event, and in 2011, more than 5,000 babies were changed simultaneously. For more information visit

One thought on “Cloth Diapering in Daycare”

  1. Great article! Thank you!

    As a Cloth Diaper Advocate in Western NY, I have spoken with many day care centers. Each have their own requirements and concerns, and rightfully so! The conversations, even if a center was not willing to use cloth, have been pleasant and informational. It is important to consider the view of the day care center just as you would like them to consider your view. Honesty between you and the director of the day care is the best policy so that you know if you are choosing the right day care for your child.

    The day care my son attended was very happy to cloth diaper for us. We agreed to supply disposable liners with each clean diaper. We also packed individual clean diapers in their own individual wet bags. The soiled diapers went into a single size wet bag and then into a diaper pail with a large wet bag. The disposable liners caught the solid waste and went into the trash, just like a disposable diapers. While some day cares will flush the solid waste, others are not logistically set up to do so, which is why the disposable liners are helpful. Our day care preferred disposable wipes, so we purchased disposable wipes for day care and used cloth wipes at home. Compromise!

    I also learned that some day care centers are open with advertising their acceptance of cloth diapering families while others do not want to be inundated, so they only cloth diaper for families who request it.

    As you visit and interview day care centers, ask if they will use cloth diapers…even if you think they do not. You never know! The answer should be a yes or no, not maybe. Commit to a day care who can guarantee that they will use cloth diapers on your child. A “maybe” might leave you disappointed in the long run and add a disposable diaper bill to your grocery bill!

    Happy cloth diapering!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *