The "OR Flat" Experiment: Toddler

I am participating in the Second Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry.  For 7 days I will be using only flat cloth diapers and handwashing them in an effort to prove that cloth diapering can be affordable and accessible to all.  In support of the challenge I am testing the feasibility of reusing the throw-away hospital towels in a diapering application.   There are families that can not afford disposable diapers, maybe using everyday items that can be found in a closet or acquired for free, a family can can cloth diaper at least part time to ease the financial burden of disposables. I already posted results from my infant trial here.

For this experiment I used a kite fold on a receiving blanket with a pad folded towel inside, the intent is that a blue towel is less bulky then folding a full size flat and still significantly more absorbent than just the blanket and because free stuff is awesome.

Jacob is 31 months and 25lbs, he wears 24mo size clothes and he had plenty of room in this setup.  It would easily fit on a larger toddler.  Out of my three boys Jacob is my 'supersoaker' the only combination that works on this kid at night is a hemp fitted, with a gCloth as a soaker and some of our cushiest wool pants.  I figured he would make a good test subject.  If only he would just pee in it already.

Jacob was a very good sport about sitting still through all the folding and pinning. He even smiled for a picture before announcing that he had to go potty. 

Jacob spent the entire morning getting pinned and unpinned to go potty.  I can't argue with progress, so I put him in underwear for the rest of the day.  Jacob got lots of praise and plenty of stickers, but I had no results.

I tried again the next day to good results for the blue towel, less exemplary results on the potty.

The towel absorbed well, it bunched up a bit after being wet while he was running around, but no worse than any other pad folded flat would.  The combination of the receiving blanket and the blue towels, took everything Jacob could throw at it, with good reliable results, I covered his bum with one of the homemade fleece soakers I made and the total cost per diaper change was next to nothing.  Once all the layers are separated it was a breeze to wash in the sink and since everything is single layer it dries rather quickly on the line. We used this same combination at night, but with a thick homemade wool soaker.  In the morning he was a little damp on the outside, but the bed was dry.

The only downside is changing time, when he had to use the bathroom is was difficult getting him out of everything in time.  I did put him in underwear quite a few times, but honestly, when thinking of affordable diaper options, no diapers is probably the most awesome.  I could streamline diaper changes using a square flat as the outer, with a snappi and an aplix pul cover, but I was testing the more affordable options.  As an alternative to buying disposables, this is a easy, cheap option.  Even if you can't make your own fleece soakers, there are plenty available used on diaper swappers for $5 shipped, and can be found for as little as $8 new. 

At the end of the challenge I will be donating all the fleece soakers I made for the challenge to Giving Diapers, Giving Hope.

Visit some other crazy handwashing Mamas...


  1. love how cooperative he is being.. too cute :) chicks dig me lol you go mama!! following you from http://sew-fatty.blogspot.com/2012/05/flats-and-handwashing-challenge-day-1.html

  2. Thank you! I'm thrilled to see your fleece covers going to GDGH because these have been on their wish list for a long time. Good luck!


  3. This is awesome! I'm going to look into fleece soakers...I've never used them, and seriously, $5? I'm on it!

  4. That is awesome that you will be donating!!

  5. The link to your initial results didn't work:-( What are the throw away towels you speak of? I am curious now!

    1. I use the blue hospital towels that are unused but not considered sterile, so they need to be discarded.

      more on the towel source in this post.


  6. nice post. love seeing more bloggers doing this!