How to Convince A Daycare to Use Cloth Diapers

This is a wonderfully, equipping guest post written by Linda Auge.   After reading it, I felt completely confident in my ability to “win the sale”!

Being a Military Mom has many challenges, one of which is moving every couple years.  This means finding a new day care provider for my Little Ones as we move around.  Thus I’ve gotten to have a little bit of experience with talking to and convincing potential new providers to use cloth diapers.

Many times, a day care provider is thinking those old fashion pins and plastic pants when cloth diapers are first mentioned.  I have vetted many a day care or in home provider and this is what I have found.

1)      When you go to ask all your other questions of the potential day care provider, take several of your diapers that you would want them to use on your baby, as well as your wet bag.  Show them the diapers.  Many times, they will stand in horror at the idea of a yucky, smelly, difficult diaper until you pull out that very cute, easy to use cloth diaper.

Planet Wise Wet Bag, a Tiny Hiney Wet Bag, a Thirties Duo Diaper Black Bird, an EcoBloomers ACU, a Kawaii Heavy Wetter Blue Dotty, a Best Bottom Blue Giraffe, a FuzziBunz Light it up Blue size medium, and an array of cloth wet wipes. 

This is just a sample which I personally use for my LO at his daycare.

2)      Explain to them why you use cloth, whether it is for environmental, health or financial reasons.  Then, explain to the provider why it is good for them – less trash, fewer medications she might have to use on the baby, and earlier potential potty training.  Most providers are very understanding, especially  if baby has sensitive skin, and you come prepared with a Doctor’s note stating so.

3)      Explain to them how you diaper your baby, and show them each step.  End with putting the soiled diaper in the wet bag you provide.  Especially for large centers, a cloth diaper is actually easier for the provider if they are just putting it into your wet bag.

4)      Be flexible.  I have found that most care providers want an AIO style diaper.  This means an actual AIO, a pocket that is ready for use, or even an AI2 that is ready to use.  However, realize that the provider will change the cover with every change.  I have also found that most providers are willing to use cloth if they don’t have to do the ‘work’ of emptying the diaper.  I have always found that the provider is willing to fold it over and snap or Velcro it shut. Then, they can easily put it in the wet bag for me to ‘deal’ with when I get home.  Even families who are tight on funds can usually find good quality pockets, AIOs or AI2s from the second hand market without breaking the bank.  I personally have 8 pockets for the day care (my LO goes full day) and then I use AI2s or whatever I desire at home.

5)      Ask for a trial run.  Ask them to try it for 2 weeks.  Most times by the end of the first week, the care provider is now used to working with the cloth diapers, and it isn’t the scary thought that it was at first.  Make sure you have taken the time so show her how to use the diapers and provide tips and pointers, such as fit and tucking anything in to disallow wicking.  This way there are as few hiccups as possible.  Providing a good wet bag is often key.  Smell  may be the final excuse a provider tries for and if the wet bag is good, and is able to hold in all of the smell, there is less of an argument.

6)      Come prepared with your state’s laws.  Even the military is governed by regulations.  For the army specifically, it is AR 608 4-14f that states you can use cloth diapers with a doctor’s permission.  Most Doctors will be quick to write you a note requesting authorization to use cloth diapers, since they know that cloth diapers are a healthier choice – yup, even military Doctors.

7)       Finally remember to bring a smile and that a “would you please” goes very far when you talk to your new or current day care provider. Be prepared to stand your ground; if the provider tells you it is against the law or against regulations, very politely ask them for a copy of that rule.  There are only a few states that can produce that because there are only a few states where they actually have a rule against the old fashioned pins and plastic pants.  Since it is usually left up to the provider, ask again for a trial run.

There are many roads in our life that we will get to walk down and the choice of using cloth diapers for our babies is one of them.  Know that you have options and that your care provider should have a similar philosophy as you to ensure that your LO is getting quality care.

Happy Diapering.

For more information on using cloth diapers in a daycare visit the RDIA. There you will find a pdf tip sheet for using cloth diapers in daycares and a listing of cloth diaper friendly daycare facilities throughout the country.

To further discuss the successes and struggles with using cloth diapers in a daycare setting visit the cloth diaper forum here at All About Cloth Diapers.

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About militarymama

Linda has been a military wife since 2002, a military mom starting four years ago in 2007, is a disabled veteran herself and is now a cloth diaper educator for the small military post of Fort Polk, LA and its surrounding areas. As a WAHM mother of two boys, she combined her love of finances and cloth diapering and set up a not-for-profit that teaches about the world of cloth diapering and shows all families, regardless of rank or income status, how to be able to cloth diaper their children without finances being a barrier. She can be reached through FaceBook, or email: ribbonnstitches AT gmail . com.

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17 Responses to “How to Convince A Daycare to Use Cloth Diapers”

  1. Kendra Says:

    Every state has a specific book of rules That preschools/ Daycares need to follow. For Washington its the WAC. Even if the provider says no, ask to see that Book. Read it through.. 99% of the time a provider will say its against protocol when in reality they just don’t want to “deal with the mess” You should be able to find a copy online as well.


  2. Kim Says:

    I’m in TN and everywhere we go says “NO” because of the laws. I contacted the state and they said “rules for CDs are the same for those of disposable” and left it at that. No one seems to be able to help. Anyone out there have advice on how to bring the state and my daycare onto the same page?


    • Autumn Beck Says:

      I would contact the RDiA and get their advice. Daycares are certified by the state so I would assume they have to follow laws…but then again they are an individually run business so maybe they think they can pick and choose children and methods?? I don’t know.


    • Jenny Says:

      Kim, by “laws” they might be referring to something my old daycare provider said. She ran an in-home daycare, state licensed, in Kansas. She said that she wasn’t allowed to do anything that she wouldn’t do with a disposable, ie: dump anything out, rinsing, “handling” the diaper. So maybe if you have an AIO and explain that they can just throw it all in a wet bag, that might help. Hope so! Good luck!


  3. cara Says:

    I’m in Illinois and my daycare had no problem using them. It is a home daycare though but she is licensed. None of the daycares I interviewed used laws as a reason not to use them even if they said no. Good luck. I bet you can find laws pertaining to licences daycares online.


  4. Tina Says:

    When my LO was under a year she was in daycare full time and not only were they all for the cloth diaper idea but I bought some cheap flats to go inside gdiapers and they had their own set that they washed and dried there so I NEVER had to transport dirties back and forth :)


  5. lmellmann Says:

    I didn’t think there was any chance the day care provider we plan to use would do cloth diapers but I emailed them a few weeks ago while I was on bed rest just to see as it would affect how many diapers we purchased. I sent along a you tube video of the diaper we will use. They said they’d never had a request for it before but checked with the school nurse and state licensing regulations and said it’d be fine!! We won’t be trying it out until late Aug so I don’t know how it will go, but I’m glad they are willing to try.


  6. Sara Says:

    Great post. We tried to convince our daycare, but they said state laws wouldn’t allow them. I tried to find the laws online but couldn’t. Does anyone know where to find them? I’m in Illinois. I know some daycares around here allow them. Our daycare is also a preschool with kindergarten — is that why?


    • sally Says:

      If your provider claims that state laws won’t allow them to use cloth, I would request that the daycare cite the exact statutes/codes.


  7. tarin Says:

    Our daycare also had no problem with using cloth. In fact, they even rinse my sons diapers before putting them in the wetbag so I save water and electricity by not having to do a pre-rinse in my machine. For ease we always send our diapers prepped eg, stuffed pocket prelined with a disposable liner. That way they don’t have to deal with much mess. In fact one child at my son’s daycare is actually on old fashioned flats, pins and plastic pants and the daycare uses those with her without any fuss. Her mother simply folds and prelines the diapers with a disposable liner as well and provides a plastic shopping bag (which she washes and reuses) for the dirty diapers.


  8. Cyndel Says:

    I don’t use day care but will soon be putting my cd’d baby in sunday school and was wondering how to broach the topic of cloth, I will not use disposables because of health reasons Though I’m hoping that since I’m in a huge church (3000 people)that someone else cloth diapers and has already paved the way, even though I don’t know anyone who goes to my church who does.
    But if not I definitely plan on taking cloth and showing them that it isn’t a bunch of folding pinning and annoying plastic pants.
    Thanks for this post!


    • Autumn Beck Says:

      Cyndel, I hadn’t thought of church nursery! Duh! We attend a small church so I just give them what I have and they use it. We will soon be moving and attending a large church, there I will have the opportunity to educate :)


  9. Joey Says:

    My day care had no problem… I just leave one day worth of sposies as a back up in case a sub is there, or diaper rash cream is needed, (when we do get rashes it’s usually that burning teething rash so we need to use A&D)


  10. Victoria Says:

    I didn’t have a hard time convincing my daycare to use cloth diapers on my daughter (I wish I would have asked when my son started there 2 years ago!). However some problems we had initially almost caused them to stop using them. The storing the poopy diapers in just a wetbag was a problem (they now put them in a plastic sealed bag inside the wetbag. A bonus of this is that it makes it easy for me to identify the diaper that needs to be sprayed once we get home). We also had major leaking issues…they were doing an outfit change at least once or twice a day. We finally got things figured out so the diaper could be changed every 2.5 hours without having a leak. I am stuffing AppleCheeks diapers with an AppleCheeks 3 ply insert and a Kissaluvs Booster. I love that I don’t have to unstuff the pockets before washing and I don’t have the excessive drying time like I would with an AIO!


  11. Allison Says:

    I thankfully did not have any issues convincing our daycare provider to use our cloth diapers. She will dump but can’t rinse the diapers. I send along Bummis flushable liners and usually the diapers that get sent home are ready to be washed and I don’t need to rinse anything “extra” out of them.
    If my daughter has an extra nasty diaper, our daycare provider just sends it home in a plastic shopping bag inside our wet bag for me to take care of.


  12. cara Says:

    I’m lucky. My daycare provider had no problem with cloth diapers, even when she initially thought they would be with pins. I send all velcro AIO or AI2 (ready to go). It hasn’t been a problem so far. She just puts them in the wet bag and I clean them when I get home. My baby is almost 6 months so that wet bag will not be very pleasant once she is on solids! We are currently sending Grovia, Best Bottoms, Blissful Booty and Bummis Tots Bots to daycare and they do well with all of them.


  13. heather Says:

    great post! we are so happy that our daycare has embraced our cloth diapers. I find that they have the most success with pocket or All in Ones with hook and loop closures, so i stocked up on that style specifically for their use. Our main caregiver has even commented that our baby has less leaks and blowouts than the other babies-so another point in our favor!


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