Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.
It’s never too late to start cloth diapering. Perhaps you didn’t know about cloth diapers when your baby was a newborn. Or, perhaps, the reoccurring monthly costs of disposable diapers is beginning to make a toll on the family budget; or, you’ve decided you need to make a healthier choice for your little.
Whatever the reason for switching to cloth diapers, here’s how I cloth diaper a toddler for $100 CANADIAN. (It might be even cheaper in the USA as prices and availability of products is different).
Cloth Diaper a Toddler for $100: Expectations
To cloth diaper a toddler for $100 in Canada is going to require some creativity and buying from the used market. Just going to lay that out for you. I’m not talking about buying new, because that’s out of the price point.
You could purchase cheap non-compliant cloth diapers and cloth diaper your toddler that way for $100, but sometimes cheap isn’t better. I can’t and won’t support non-compliant cloth diaper manufacturers. For more information, check out this blog post from Diaper Shops, and/or this commentary from Cloth Diaper Addicts.
Or you could use flat diapers and covers. Yes, this means cloth diapering like your grandmother did. But don’t worry; it comes with a modern twist. We don’t use rubber pants anymore, and you don’t have to use a diaper pin.
Flats & Covers
One of the most economical and compliant options for cloth diapering is to use Flat Diapers and Covers. Not only are flats and covers economical, but they are sure to be adaptable to your toddlers needs – meeting both size and absorbency requirements.
Flat diapers are simply large pieces of cotton. These large pieces of cotton can be whatever you want – old sheets, receiving blankets, t-shirts, flour sack towels (FST) or a specific Flat diaper product. Flats are folded, and used with a waterproof cover. Many parents, like myself, choose to use a pad fold with a cover, while others will fold, pin on and use a cover.
If you want to leave the house, or keep your toddler’s pants dry, you’ll want some covers. Some families use natural fibers, such as wool, to keep things dry; but, for the majority of the every-day cloth diapering family, a PUL/TPU based cloth diaper cover is the way to go.
A cover is simply a piece of PUL/TPU with elastics and snaps to give it a contoured easy-to-use design. Sometimes, there will be flaps to hold the pad folded absorbency in place; sometimes, there will not. You can also use a pocket diaper as a cover (pocket diapers feature a fleece liner with an opening to insert absorbency. To use as a cover lay the absorbency on top of the fleece. Pockets are air dried between uses, and washed when soiled.)
My $100 Toddler Cloth Diaper Stash
This is a small stash to cloth diaper a toddler with but it is intended for the Flats and Hand Washing Challenge, as I was washing every 24-36 hours. A larger stash might be needed if you need to wash more often or frequently.
- 8 Receiving Blankets = $10 CDN
- 5 T-Shirts = FREE
- 5 Covers = $75
- 2 Pins = $1
- Wipes = $5
- Bucket for Dirties = $5ish
I opt to use receiving blankets and t-shirts over the more common Flour Sack Towel for TWO REASONS when I cloth diaper a toddler.
- Absorbency: The absorbency of a medium large receiving blanket is often 1.5-2 times the absorbency of a FST (about 7 oz). This ensures my toddler doesn’t leak. A L-XL-XXL t-shirt is also massively absorbent and a great night time/nap time diaper for the heavy wetter in your life. Realistically, I’ll cut a couple of my t-shirts in half for daytime, as we don’t need that much bulk for 2 hours.
- Cost & Availability: I believe purchasing second hand receiving blankets and t-shirts is a much lower cost than FST, and that these two items can more easily be scavenged from friends, family and your community.
Here’s how I did it – Buying Used
It’s the only way to really stay on a budget. In Canada, most cloth diaper covers are in the $15-20 range (Double-check yourself – CozyBums Diapers or LagoonBaby. I want at least 5 because my toddler likes to poop 3-4 times a day. At new prices, that’ll easy cost $100 or more!
But, buying used can help you save 25-50% of the cost. If not more, if you find the right deal
Where do you find used cloth diapers? Facebook is home to buy and sell groups at both the local, regional and national level. These groups give you access to the destash sales of moms, and can help you scope out the best deal. Not on Facebook? Check out Craigslist or Kijiji. Maybe even local consignment stores or yard sales.
What to look for? I look for good to excellent used condition diaper covers in the $10-15 range. I look for brands I like and that fit my growing toddler. Some of my favorites: Nicki’s, Nuggles, Blueberry, Flip, GroVia, Best Bottom. 5 used covers at the higher end $15 comes in at $75, keeping you within the cloth diaper a toddler for $100 range.
When buying used you want to consider the wear on the elastics and the condition of the PUL. Elastics are easy to replace in many brands, but if the PUL is cracked, or bubbling, there’s no saving it.
What about absorbency materials? I never used receiving blankets with my first baby; therefore, I didn’t have any and bought them out used for the 2016 Flats and Hand washing Challenge. On average, receiving blankets go for about $1-2 CDN each. Find them on a trading site, or scope out your local thrift shop.
As for the T-Shirts, I raided my closet. I have a stack of cotton t-shirts I was holding on for no other reason for painting. But I don’t really need 8 painting shirts. 3 will suffice, and sacrificed the rest for cloth diapering. Don’t have any random cotton t-shirts? Ask around, or hit up your local thrift shop (you might even be able to ask to rummage the unsellable clothing – because its just for poop and you just need 100% cotton).
I know I said we wouldn’t be using diaper pins like our grandparents, but I like a diaper pin every now and then, even when I cloth diaper a toddler. I’ve had a hard time sourcing them locally, but Amazon or LagoonBaby stocks them. Sometimes there is a time and a place for a diaper pin.
Don’t Forget: because I almost did, about cloth wipes and a wet/dirty container. For $5, I easily found some flannel at my local fabric store. Cut into squares and you have wipes for bums (get a little fancy and you can sew the edges, I personally prefer a double sided wipe).
And for a wet/dirty container, I’ve been using my gallon washing bucket. The bucket is awesome because its open letting my diapers breathe (and no smell!) and I already needed it to hand wash my diapers. If you’re not hand washing, any vesicle will do. Or splurge on a wet bag or pail liner to store until wash dry.
Do you think you could cloth diaper a toddler for $100?
Sounds easy. It totally is. And there are tons of other configurations and strategies you could use to cloth diaper your toddler for $100 OR LESS! This is what works for us, and this is my strategy.
Some of my $100 cloth diaper stash gets packed into our go-back for an emergency situation (and taken camping with us), and after the Flats and Hand washing challenge I’ll return to my hobby stash of cloth diapers.