Cloth Diapers in Daycare :: How to Make it Work

One of the most common questions we’re asked at our New & Green Cloth Diapering 101 workshops is about cloth diapering at daycare. Do daycares allow cloth? Which diapers are best? Do I need any special equipment?

From the bit of research we’ve done, it seems the vast majority of daycares in the Lower Mainland are happy to accommodate cloth-loving parents, provided the process is made easy for the care providers.  We definitely recommend that you “know before you go” – call your daycare (or prospective daycares) and find out what they specifically prefer so that you don’t end up buying diapers and supplies you don’t need. Also, check out the Real Diaper Association’s excellent tip-sheet for some great info.

Basically, when it comes to cloth diapering in a daycare, it boils down to this:

KISS (Keep It Simple, Silly): Make it as easy for the care providers as possible.

  • Use diapers that are most like putting on a disposable – either an All-in-One or a pre-stuffed pocket diaper with Velcro closures. Velcro closures make diaper changes both easy and speedy!
  • Have a zipper-closure wetbag big enough to hold all the diapers from the day. A bag with a hanging loop is extra handy.
  • Considering using a disposable liner such as Bummi’s Flushable Bio-Soft liners and pre-line all your diapers. This way, poop is easy to deal with for the care provider and you’re less likely to have super-poopy diapers coming home for you to deal with later! (Always a plus!)
  • Remember that some daycares require that everything belonging to the child must be labeled, including cloth diapers. You can either stick these labels right on the diapers or hand-sew a little tag onto the diaper to hold the label so that you can easily remove it later. Laundry-safe labels can be found by searching online for “children’s clothing labels” (or some such variation).
  • If you want cloth wipes used as well, consider having them pre-wetted in a travel-size disposable wipes container so they are easy to grab and ready to use.

Be prepared: About 93% of the daycares we surveyed on the North Shore  stated that they would be happy to use cloth diapers, provided they were shown how to use them. At your first meeting with the provider, bring along samples of everything you’ll be sending with your child and be prepared to show them how to use it. It often helps if you’re upbeat and positive, emphasizing how easy the process is!

Be flexible: If your daycare isn’t quite sure about cloth diapering – even after your enthusiastic tutorial – perhaps propose a trial period, say three weeks, in which to try cloth. Likewise, choosing a different type of diaper may help the daycare as well. Be flexible in accommodating their needs as well as your own – some of them may never have seen modern cloth diapers.

Be happy: We believe that choosing cloth is a wonderful, fun, and sustainable choice for you and your family. Extending that choice to other people who care for your children can require courage, wisdom, and knowledge – you should be happy knowing you’ve prepared yourself for this journey and your child will reap the benefits. Hip hip hooray!

5 thoughts on “Cloth Diapers in Daycare :: How to Make it Work

  1. The Green Mama

    This is a great posting. I have found that a lot of daycares tell their people “no” to cloth diapering or, even, “Only with a doctors note.” The rules and regulations around cloth differ from state to state but it is almost always the case that a daycare CAN choose to allow cloth diapers. AND some of them are starting to PROVIDE cloth themselves. I have worked with a couple daycares considering this and one in particular that does all cloth–sending out the cloth themselves, training their staff, and reducing the disposable diaper use of their facility by thousands a week! This daycare–The Little Green Treehouse–is in Chicago and has gone all the way with green: organic food, wood toys, low-VOC indoor spaces, and green cleaning. As more consumers start to ask for it, hopefully more will provide this option. Learn more at

    1. Karen

      Very cool Manda. I think you’ll find that there are a lot daycares in the Vancouver area that are accepting of cloth and more often than not a bit of gentle education goes a long way in helping them to break through their barriers and understand that it is do-able and so.much.better for the environment!!
      Thanks for visiting and leaving your info!

  2. Michelle

    Thank you very much for this blog post. I will be putting my one year old son into daycare soon. The provider said she would be happy to use cloth diapers even though they don’t currently have any children with cloth diapers. I want to make it very easy for her so there are no complaints…these ideas are very helpful.

    1. Karen

      Hi Michelle,

      Glad that you found the ideas helpful. Do let us know if you need any support with the transition. We are always happy to brainstorm and collaborate.

  3. Joanne

    Awesome blog post. Very informative! I have been debating whether or not to go cloth, and I didn’t think many daycares in the Lower Mainland area promote using cloth diapers when it is so much better for the environment, as Karen mention. But keeping it simple with AIOs seem like the way to go!


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