Convincing Your Childcare Provider to Use Cloth Diapers

Today’s post comes from Anne.  She had an easy time with convincing her daycare to use cloth diapers but knows it isn’t always as easy for others.  With her experience she has offered tips on how to convince your childcare provider to use cloth diapers.  This is her story:

I walked into the our center, explained to our director we started cloth diapering my son and asked if we could cloth diaper him at school too.  She needed to check with the state regulations and the school’s health consultant but the next day I received an email saying, “Good news, it shouldn’t be a problem at all.”  I brought in the cloth diapers, a cheap covered trash bin my wet bag would fit in, and a wet bag the next day and taught the teachers how they worked and he was cloth diapered moving forward.  Clearly, I didn’t have to do a lot of convincing!

The reality is, however, it is not always so easy.  Maybe your center isn’t as flexible or approachable.  Maybe the center hasn’t interpreted the law correctly and they think they can’t cloth diaper or they don’t want to for any number of reasons, and just say no.  Even though my situation wasn’t exactly challenging, I have a few tips to hopefully make your conversation with your childcare provider go as smoothly as possible.

Know the law

[quote style=”boxed” float=”left”]…you need to go armed with information about your state’s law around cloth diapering.[/quote]

First and foremost, you need to go armed with information about your state’s law around cloth diapering. While no state bans cloth diapering at a child care facility, some states are much more stringent than others. Just as you would do research to determine if your child care center is certified and does not have any registered complaints, you can research your state’s laws around cloth diapers.  These sites can be confusing so when in doubt, call in to the state’s licensing department.  One of the most comprehensive lists I have seen on the internet so far can be found on the My Blossom Bottoms site. 

Find the right center

If you are planning on cloth diapering before you have found a daycare, start by looking for providers allowing cloth diapers. Obviously, this only works when you know in advance of picking a daycare provider that you will be cloth diapering, but when you are interviewing centers be sure “Do you allow cloth diapers?” is on your list of questions to ask.

Just ask…

Sometimes the most obvious tips are often the most easily forgotten. If you are already at a center when you decide to cloth diaper, just ask.  They may say yes!  If they don’t say yes, don’t forget to ask why not.

Running into Roadblocks

If you are comfortable with the daycare but they don’t allow it, find out why. They may not understand the law or feel comfortable with the thought of cloth diapers and just need some education.  They may have a legitimate reason which could be overcome with a bit of compromise. If not, it will be up to you to decide whether cloth diapering part-time is something you are comfortable with or if you should look elsewhere.


Fear of the unknown can be overcome. The thoughts of flats, rubber pants and pins can terrify centers (as well as fathers, grandparents, etc).  Show them modern cloth is very different than old school cloth diapering.  Once they see how easy it is, they may quickly come around!


Our center was very accommodating, but did let us know they couldn’t dump any BM’s in the toilet before putting the diaper in the wet bag. They don’t have a bathroom in the infant nursery, so anytime a diaper needed to be dumped, they would have to leave the room short-staffed to head to the nearest bathroom. We agreed they should wrap the BM diapers in a bag and put it in the wet bag.  When I got home, I would only have to separate out the bags, dump and wash all diapers quickly. It was a small compromise that made cloth diapering possible for all of us.

Maybe you are a flats and snappi house or you have fitted diapers that need covers, but the child care center isn’t comfortable with a multi-step diaper. You could compromise on user-friendly options such as AIOs or pockets which would make it easier for your provider to do a quick change.

If the center is still unsure about cloth diapers, compromise with a trial period. If they try it for 2-3 weeks they may realize how easy it is.  Be aware though, they may find reasons why it won’t work, and you could be back to square one.

A good daycare wants to work with parents to make both school and home consistent and comfortable for your child. Strong lines of communication and a bit of education will go a long way to ensure this consistency is reached. Who knows, you may be a pioneer in your area and teach other parents and teachers who are scared to try cloth on their own kids!

Anne Marie has been called a “hillbilly hippy” by her co-workers because of her natural cleaning and parenting choices.  She is a full-time working mom living in a small town in MA with 3 chickens, 2 bee hives and a cat in addition to her fabulous husband, 3 year old son and step-daughter.  They are all expecting a new baby end of this year and she is thrilled to be stocking up on newborn fluff! 

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