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Wondering how to use cloth diapers with Toddlers?
January 27, 2023 7:25 am | by

If you are wondering how to use cloth diapers with toddlers, this post is for you!

Cloth diapering a toddler or preschooler is a little different from cloth diapering a snuggly baby who doesn’t do any wiggling. By this time, your priorities may have shifted… You might want a trim solution that will enable your baby to wear the right size pants, for example. Or, you might struggle to find a solution that doesn’t have compression leaks every time your toddler sits down. Whether you’re looking for a way to increase absorbency (to handle a toddler who is holding their pee and flooding all at once), or you’re simply after a nighttime solution for an older kid, sizing your cloth diapers to ensure you have the just the right fit and the right amount of absorbency will help your little one stay clean and dry.

Troubleshooting Fit Issues with Toddlers

The way you put on your baby’s diaper has a huge impact on how well it will fit! This impact doesn’t necessarily consist of the way it looks under their clothes, but more so the fact that you’ll have to change your little one’s clothes if the diaper leaks due to an incorrect fit.

Here are a few tips to ensure you have the right fit:

Make sure that the diaper is low enough in the back. It doesn’t have to be at baby’s natural waist! If you don’t have enough room in front or if your baby is close to outgrowing their one-size diapers, try bringing the diaper up, just over the top of baby’s crack to get a little more room.

Give it a squeeze. Tuck the diaper into the creases of your little one’s legs. Cloth diapers fit best in underwear lines.

Check the rise. You may need to go back to a smaller rise setting. Toddlers often thin out when they get mobile. All that running around causes them to have a smaller measurement around their legs or belly. If the diaper is sagging between your little one’s legs, try a shorter rise setting.

Troubleshooting Leak Issues with Toddlers

So, your diapers always seemed to fit fine… you didn’t have any issues and then all of a sudden… the leaking begins. Your little one is constantly on the go, so those leak issues might not even show themselves until there’s a trail of pee down the hallway—which, of course, you’ll find by stepping in it. If you’re having leak issues, don’t worry. Simply give these basic troubleshooting steps a try.

Check the fit. Is the diaper tight enough around your toddler’s legs that it doesn’t have any gaps, but loose enough for you to insert a finger? Is it tight enough around the waist? If the answer to both of these questions is yes, it may be time to consider a larger cloth diaper (see below).

Check the absorbency. At the toddler stage, a baby will often have a lot more output than when they were a newborn. Some of this is due to their ability to hold it for a longer period of time — and that means that your diapers have to be up to the task. Build the right insert stack by combining microfiber inserts with cotton prefolds to help  to speed up the absorbency of your insert stack. Have you found an insert stack that works well for you? Share it with us below!

Is the diaper full? Sometimes a cloth diaper will over-flow when it is saturated. The only real solution is to change the diaper, but adding hemp or using a cotton solution like a cotton prefold in your pocket diapers can help to stem the tide. We  recommend checking out bumGenius Elemental cloth diapers, all-in-ones made with 100% organic cotton. Our most experienced families are often using Elementals and love them!

Did someone tell you that your diapers are repelling? We have good news for you. For the most part, cloth diapers do not repel moisture. It is, in theory, possible to cause a cloth diaper to repel… but it takes very high temperatures  or excessive use of rash creams made from non-solvable ingredients.

Anticipate your baby. As toddlers get older, they need more frequent diaper changes. If your diapers don’t have any issues and the fit is good, you may simply need to rethink your diaper changing routine. Learn when your child is most likely to be wet and change more often to help prevent leaks.

Diapering Solutions for Not-So-Little Ones

Some babies simply outgrow one-size cloth diapers faster than others. With an average maximum weight of around 30-35 lbs, you may find that a particularly chunky little one can’t make it all the way to potty training in their regular diapers. Thankfully, there are solutions on the market that will allow you to make it those last few months or even years before your little one is ready to potty train.

bumGenius BIG is specifically intended for bigger babies. It has a weight range of 30-70 lbs, making it the perfect solution for a preschooler who is late to potty training, struggling with overnight wetting or a longer-term solution for little ones with special needs.

Flip Trainers are designed to fit between 20 and 50 lbs. The Flip Trainer Pads are ultra-absorbent and will allow your little one to feel the wetness, encouraging them along their potty training journey. The Flip Trainer Shell offers a one-size security fit that ensures that your little one will stay dry until the insert is saturated.

These trainers are a great choice for little ones who are having a hard time getting the hang of going to the potty or who are close to potty training, but not quite to that milestone yet. As an added bonus, they’re one of the few trainer options on the market that both slides up and down for easy potty access and offers an unsnapping option to make it easy to change messes.

Cloth diapers really are a birth-to-potty training solution for many parents. As your baby grows and changes, so will your routine. Toddlers need more absorbency, faster-absorbing inserts, and in some cases, bigger diapers, but with a little troubleshooting, you can continue to enjoy that fluffy bum you know and love.

About the Author

Emily L. Goodman is a cloth diapering, baby wearing mother of four from Tennessee. When she’s not chasing her little ones around the house, she can be found working on her blog at, but don’t be surprised if it goes for a while between updates (the kids keep her plenty busy!), working on her latest novel, or freelance blogging for other companies. Her fictional works can be found on Amazon.


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