How Often Do You Change a Cloth Diaper?

How Often Do You Change a Cloth Diaper?

There's no hard and fast rule for how often to change baby's cloth diapers, but a good rule of thumb is to change them every 2-3 hours. Of course, this will vary depending on how often your baby urinates and has bowel movements. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the frequency with which you change a cloth diaper will depend on a number of factors, including the type of cloth diaper you use, your baby's age and activities, and how often you wash your diapers.

How Do I Know?

If you notice that the diaper is wet or soiled, be sure to change it right away. It's usually pretty easy to tell when a baby's disposable diaper needs to be changed--those absorbent gel beads inside the diaper soak up the liquid and make the diaper noticeably heavier. With cloth diapers its not quite as easy, so let's go over some things to watch for to indicate a diaper change needs to happen!

Hanging Low?

Sometimes you can tell just by looking at the diaper. It doesn't swell like the disposable, but is it hanging down and droopy? It's probably time for a change.


Obviously, if you're holding the baby and start to feel a dampness or it seems like their clothes are becoming damp, the diaper needs to go. If you're using a waterproof cover over the diaper, the dampness won't be apparent, but you can carefully reach a finger in under the waterproof part and give it a quick feel.

How Does It Feel?

Depending on what material the diaper is made out of, you might be able to check if it's ready to be changed by giving it a squeeze--if there is a stiff or firm feeling, that can be an indicator, or if it has a heavy feeling it might be time.

Your Nose Knows

It's usually somewhat harder with cloth diapers to tell from the smell that it's time for a change, but if you do smell something "suspicious" you will know!

In General...

In general, you should change your baby's cloth diaper every two to three hours during the day. At night, you can go longer between changes, although it is still a good idea to check your baby's diaper every few hours to make sure it is not wet or soiled. This definitely varies by age, as newborns urinate more frequently than toddlers.

Expect to change your baby 8-10 times per day, so keep at least 24 diapers on hand! You may also need to adjust your diapering system if you find that you are constantly changing diapers. Certain materials and diaper brands hold more urine than than others, so if you are becoming frustrated with too many changes, you may want to invest in a higher quality cloth diaper or look into disposable or washable diaper liners.

Washable Diaper Liners

Washable cloth diaper liners are an economical and eco-friendly way to line cloth diapers. They can be used multiple times before being washed, which cuts down on the number of diapers you need to use overall. You can also choose from a variety of materials, such as cotton, bamboo, or microfiber. 

Another benefit of washable cloth diaper liners is that they can help to keep your baby’s skin dry and free of rashes. They wick moisture away from the skin, which can help to prevent irritation.

Finally, washable cloth diaper liners are easy to use. Simply place the liner in the diaper before putting it on your baby. When it’s time to change the diaper, remove the liner and place it in your dirty diaper pail(or reuse it, if it’s not soiled). Then, put a new liner in the diaper and continue as usual. 

Disposable Diaper Liners

Disposable cloth diaper liners are a type of absorbent paper that is placed inside a cloth diaper to help with clean-up. They are often made of viscose or bamboo, and can be purchased in a roll like paper towels.

Cloth diaper liners can also be flushed down the toilet, making them a more environmentally-friendly option than disposable diapers. Although they are not required, disposable liners can make cloth diapering easier and less messy. They are available at most major retailers that sell cloth diapers or online.

Quick Guide To Changing a Cloth Diaper

  1. Remove any solid waste from the diaper. The best way to do this is with a bidet sprayer that connects directly to your toilet. These attachments have strong water pressure and you can spray it right into the toilet and flush it away.
  2. Put the rinsed-off diaper in your soiled diaper bag or pail until you’re ready to wash them. It's important that your pail have good air circulation to reduce diaper odor.
  3. Have a good laundry routine that you keep up with--every 2-3 days is best. This will help to prevent diaper rash and keep your baby's cloth diapers in good condition.
  4. If possible, hang the diapers out to dry in the sun. If you use a dryer, keep it on a medium or low setting.


Remember, there is no hard and fast rule for how often to change a cloth diaper. Every baby is different, and you will quickly learn what works best for your child. With a little practice, you will be a pro in no time and ensure that your baby stays comfortable and happy in their cloth diapers.


Q1. Do you change cloth diaper after every pee?

But you do need to change a baby in a cloth diaper after every pee. You'll need a place to keep the soiled liners (just like you would have a diaper pail for dirty disposable diapers). For cleanup, you'll just put the poop in the toilet and keep the dirty liners in the hamper.

Q2. How often should I change cloth diaper at night?

During the daytime, you likely change your baby's diaper every 2 to 3 hours. At night, your baby's diaper needs to hold up through night feedings and up to 12 hours!

Q3. How many cloth diapers do I need per day?

For full time cloth diapering, we recommend 24 cloth diapers, regardless of the style you choose. Why 24? Breastfed newborns often go through 8-10 cloth diapers a day. To avoid stink, mold, mildew and other issues, we recommending washing your cloth diapers every other day.

Q4. Do you have to wash cloth diapers after every use?

No matter what type of cloth diaper you use, they'll need washing so you can use them over and over again. (In fact, new cloth diapers should be washed at least once before using, to increase their absorbency.)

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