Pocket Cloth Diapers: Everything You Need to Know

by Bailey Bouwman

Are you considering cloth diapering and want an easy-to-use and versatile option? Look no further than pocket cloth diapers. This post will provide a comprehensive guide to everything you need to know about this popular style, which is just one of many types of cloth diapers available.


Interested in learning more about cloth diapering? Check out our comprehensive guide on Cloth Diapering 101, where we break down the different types of cloth diapers and provide tips and tricks for success.

What is a Pocket Cloth Diaper?

Pocket cloth diapers consist of a waterproof outer layer with a pocket that holds an absorbent insert. The outer layer is made of polyurethane laminate (PUL), while the inner layer is made of soft, moisture-wicking fabric like microfleece or suedecloth.

The opening of the pocket is usually at the back of the diaper, though sometimes it will be at the front, in the middle, or at both ends. This opening gives you access to the pocket, where absorbent inserts can be added to amok the diaper ready for use. 

Remember - all cloth diapers require two parts: an absorbent inner and a water resistant exterior (unless you don't care about clothing). 

They also feature strong elastic at the legs and waist to provide a secure fit and prevent leaks. Pocket diapers are typically one size fits most and snaps to adjust the fit along the waist, and sometimes optional rise settings to adjust the length of the diaper.  

Why Choose Pocket Cloth Diapers?

There are numerous reasons why pocket cloth diapers are a great choice for parents:

  • Childcare Friendly: Once assembled, pocket cloth diapers are easy for other caregivers to use. They typically do not require complicated folding or adjusting, making them a grab-and-go diaper that's perfect for daycare or other childcare providers.

  • Customizable Absorbency: Pocket cloth diapers can be customized to suit your baby's specific needs. While many pocket diapers are sold with inserts; you do not need to use the inserts with the pocket diaper. You can swap out your preferred absorbency including prefold diapers, flat diapers, or another insert combo to meet your absorbency, budget and preferences.
  • Long-Lasting: More and more pocket cloth diapers on the market today are designed to fit babies from 6-70lbs.  This one-size-fits-most approach can save you money in the long run, as you won't need to purchase multiple sets of diapers as your baby grows.

Pocket cloth diapers are a versatile and customizable option that can make cloth diapering a convenient and cost-effective choice for parents. Pocket cloth diapers are easily one of the most common diapers on the market and easily found. 

How to Choose a Pocket Cloth Diapers

When choosing pocket cloth diapers, there are a few key factors to consider:

  • Size: Make sure to choose a diaper that fits your baby's weight and size range. One-size diapers are a popular choice, as they can be adjusted to fit babies from birth to potty training - they might not be the best choice for small babies but many brands have great hacks to make it work. 

  • Absorbency: Does the product come with or without inserts? If it dos come with an insert is it of a material you want to use? OR would you prefer to buy without inserts and use a different product.

  • Features: common features that many parents want in their pocket diaper include internal snaps to snap inserts into place. This can help keep the insert in place, or create a more all in one experience. There are many other features you may consider like the size of the waist snaps, any gusset designs, location of the opening, and hip snaps. 

  • Brand: as a consumer, you have the choice on where you spend your money and with who. Choose brands that resonate with you, offer the support you need and create products you yearn to have. Maybe you want made in the USA; maybe you want unique artwork; maybe you want strong social values.

Why Use Different Inserts with a Pocket Cloth Diaper?

There are several types of inserts available for use with pocket cloth diapers, each with its own unique benefits. Here's a breakdown of some of the most common types:

  • Flat Diapers: Flat diapers are made of a single layer of fabric and are typically rectangular in shape. Flat diapers are easy to wash, as they have no extra layers, and they can dry quickly. They are preferred when families want an easy care solution for their pocket diapers.

  • Prefolds: Prefolds are rectangular-shaped diapers that have been folded and sewn together to create multiple layers of absorbent fabric in the middle. Prefolds are generally cheaper than inserts (when you start comparing cost per ounce) - they can offer a great absorbency experience. I've always been a fan of prefold diapers. 

  • Inserts: Inserts are absorbent pads that can be placed inside the pocket of a cloth diaper. Smaller inserts are sometimes referred to as boosters. They come in various fabrics, such as microfiber, bamboo, cotton, or hemp, and offer different levels of absorbency depending on the textile mix, quality, and weight. 

You may already have these items or look to change things up when using pocket cloth diapers. It's easy to just start with the pocket diaper as it's sold with insert. If you can, avoid microfiber.

How to Use a Pocket Diaper

Using a pocket diaper is straightforward and easy once you get the hang of it. Here are the basic steps:

  1. Choose an absorbent material: You need an absorbent inner in your pocket diaper, so be sure to gather the insert, insert combo, prefold or flat diaper you plan to use. 

  2. Adjust the fit: Most pocket diapers have adjustable rise snaps, so you can customize the fit for your baby's size and shape. You'll want to adjust the rise snaps prior to placing the diaper on baby - but adjustments can be made afterwards too. 

  3. Insert the absorbent material: it's now time to place the insert inside the pocket of the diaper. Make sure the insert is flat and not bunched up - when we put the diaper on baby, having the absorbent material where the baby pees is important.

  4. Put the diaper on your baby: With the insert inside the pocket, it's time to put the diaper on your baby. To do this, lift your baby's legs and slide the diaper under their bottom, pull through the legs, ensuring the elastics fall close to the leg crease and fasten the diaper at the waist.  

  5. Check for leaks: Once the diaper is on your baby, check for any leaks or gaps around the legs or waist. Adjust the fit as needed to ensure a snug and secure fit. Sometimes a bunny ear move, pulling the wings to secure the leg elastic can help with skinny legged babies. 

How Much Will It Cost to Use Pocket Diapers?

When it comes to pocket cloth diapers, the cost can vary depending on the brand and features. I've included two fantastic pocket diapers - we currently carry Kinder Cloth Diapers, but Thirsties is another easily accessible brand that offers a fantastic product. 

Diaper Brand Diaper Cost Inserts Included Number Needed Total Cost
Kinder Cloth Diaper Co Pocket Diaper $21.75 CAD 1 22 $481.50 CAD
Thirsties One-Size Pocket Diaper $31.95 CAD 2 22

$703.90 CAD

I think it's important to consider how many inserts you are getting with a pocket diaper as many brands do this differently and you may need additional inserts to meet your absorbency needs for your child. 

This cost analysis for pocket cloth diapers is built on 22 diapers; stash sizes do vary depending on your needs. Some families have larger stashes for childcare arrangements, while others do small loads of laundry regularly. You can always start with just one diaper. 

Answering Common Questions about Pocket Diapers

How often do I need to change the pocket diaper? Pocket diapers should be changed every 2 hours or whenever they are soiled or wet. This will vary depending on your child's age. 
Can I use pocket diapers for overnight use? Yes, pocket diapers can be used for overnight use with the right absorbency level and insert combination. You may need to add an additional insert, use a larger prefold, or a combo. 
How do I clean pocket cloth diapers? Pocket cloth diapers can be washed in the washing machine with detergent and dried in the dryer or hung to dry. Synthetic linings may require a synthetic detergent to clean. 
Do I need to remove the insert prior to washing? In most cases, yes. Most of the cloth diapers on the market today benefit from having their inserts removed prior to going into the washing machine. this will ensure that the insert doesn't get into a crumbled ball in the bottom of the pocket diaper. 
Can pocket diapers be used with diaper covers? No, pocket diapers do not require diaper covers as they have a waterproof outer layer. 
How many pocket cloth diapers do I need for my baby? This can vary depending on how often you plan on washing them, but a good starting point is around 6-8 per day. You might start with 10, see if you like it and add more as you find your groove. 
Can I reuse the outer layer of the pocket diaper? Generally, pocket diapers a use once and wash kind of diaper, but if you want you can use it like a cover and place the insert on the exterior. If you place the insert inside the pocket it's a one-time use product. 
How do I know if the pocket diaper fits my baby correctly? A properly fitting pocket diaper should fit snugly around the waist and legs without leaving gaps or causing red marks. It it will fit snug to baby's body, you really want to use those rise snaps so the diaper is close to the body. 
Can I use cloth wipes with pocket cloth diapers? Yes, cloth wipes can be used with pocket cloth diapers and any diapering system. 
How do I deal with poop when using pocket cloth diapers? Solid waste should be removed from the diaper and flushed down the toilet before washing. Pockets can be great for dealing with poop because the inners will often encourage poop to slide off with ease. But you can also use disposable liners or reusable liners to assist you. 
Can I use fabric softener with pocket cloth diapers?

No, fabric softener should not be used with pocket cloth diapers as it can affect absorbency and cause buildup. Just once won't be a big deal, but repeated use of softeners will cause a long term issue. 


The biggest drawback to pocket cloth diapers is that they rely on synthetic materials and you don't really have an option for natural fibre against the skin unless you skip the whole pocket part. It also really sucks to remove the inserts prior to washing. 

Pocket cloth diapers are considered a must-have staple in the cloth diaper community and many families have come to know wan love them. You'll see them almost everywhere because they are this beautiful middle ground between the cloth diaper cover and the all in one cloth diaper. 

Make the Switch to Pocket Cloth Diapers Today!

At Nest & Sprout, we are committed to providing parents with the best cloth diapering options. Pocket cloth diapers are a versatile and customizable option that can make cloth diapering a convenient and cost-effective choice for parents.

We currently only offer pocket cloth diapers from Kinder Cloth Diaper Co, but there are many fantastic cloth diaper retailers across Canada that offer a selection of products for parents. 

To learn more about cloth diapering and pocket cloth diapers, visit our blog and sign up for our email list to get access to our cloth diapering guide and other helpful resources. Join the cloth diapering community today and make the switch to pocket cloth diapers!

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