Babysitters and Cloth Diapers on Your Night Off

By April Duffy •  Updated: 06/02/24 •  6 min read

I recently wrote at length about getting your daycare on board with cloth diapers, but what about those one-offs when you actually get a night out or have a friend take your little for a few hours while you get a root canal?

If you’re lucky, every once in a while a babysitter, family member, or friend will be entrusted with your little one for a short time; so how do you get them on board with your cloth diapers?

There are a few key things you can do to make it a bit easier for your babysitter to use cloth diapers with your baby. I’ll run through all six of them below.

1. Choose Your Diapers Wisely

First off, if the person watching your child(ren) is an older person, Velcro closures are a better option if you have them.  Snaps are not only tougher for a cloth diaper beginner to figure out, but they can also be hard to do up when suffering from arthritis or other conditions that are more common as we age.

If you have them, leave your babysitter with already-stuffed pocket diapers, all-in-ones, or pre-snapped all-in-twos.  Using those types of diapers are just like using disposables, so there’s no reason for them to say it’s hard!  

If you use cloth wipes have them pre-wetted in your solution or have your homemade solution in a spray bottle ready to go.

3. Make it Simple

Next, make it as SIMPLE as possible.

Most people are used to wrapping up a poopy disposable and tossing it in the garbage (you’re supposed to flush the poop in the toilet; it says this on the packages, but no one pays any mind).  

Why give them a reason to complain about the extra steps? Don’t expect them to remove the waste or unsnap inserts or anything like that. Allow them the luxury of treating your cloth diapers like disposables by just throwing them into a wet bag when they are dirty. Just remove the poop when you get home, it’s not going to hurt the diapers to wait a little bit. 

When, and only when, they express a deeper interest in your cloth diapering, you can show them how to do the next steps (in hopes they might take it upon themselves to do those steps the next time they are watching baby).

The less you ask them to do, the more likely they are to do it, and do it correctly.

2. Show Them What to Do

Don’t expect your babysitter to know what to do if they haven’t used cloth diapers before. They haven’t researched cloth diapers and had experience with them as you have. While it may seem like a no-brainer to you now, it’s not for them. You need to make sure your sitter understands how to do it and has a chance to ask questions.

Show them how to use them, and make sure to point out a few tips to make it easy.  Don’t forget to tell them to make sure the diaper is in the natural panty line.  Show them the different diapers you have left for them, and if they are using an overnight diaper, make sure and be clear about what is for the night and what’s not.

The more you show them, the better.

3. Write it Down

If you have some time to prepare, creating a little cheat sheet for your babysitter and putting it somewhere they will be able to see it could be immensely helpful.

Everything from little no-brainer reminders like “Diapers go in the wet bag not the trash.” or “Velcro tabs go at the back, just like disposables.” to more complicated things like snap charts like this one can be helpful:

Snap Placement Chart : colour in the snaps your child is currently using to avoid confusion.
Snap Placement Chart: Color in the snaps your child is currently using to avoid confusion.

Tailor your directions to your diapers and how much help you think your babysitter may need in the midst of a diaper change.

4. Leave Plenty of Supplies

Leave plenty of diapers, wipes, any spray solution, diaper creams, and a few wet bags with your

Sometimes when someone is new to cloth they can panic and change baby a lot, and sometimes baby can go through a lot of diapers for no reason at all. Leave them plenty of supplies so they have no reason to think they need to turn to disposables.

5. Make it Fun

If at all possible, put in some prints or colors you know your sitter will enjoy.

If your sister is a girly girl, give her the floral diapers you have in your stash. If grandma loves to garden, make sure to put that random cactus print you own in the diaper bag.

Anything you can do to make it more fun will make it less likely for you to find a disposable on them when you get back.

6. Be Forgiving

Come home to find your little in a backward diaper? Find out you now have Desitin all over your synthetic pocket diaper? Pick up baby only to immediately smell the rancid stink of a disposable diaper?

Brush it off if you can.

Cloth diapers just aren’t for everyone. While having to scrub a diaper clean, cleaning up a diaper leak, or seeing (and smelling) your baby in a disposable can be frustrating, don’t get mad with your babysitter, grandparent, friend, or family member.

If your baby isn’t hurt by it (if you’re cloth diapering for allergy reasons, that’s a different thing) don’t risk losing a safe and reliable babysitter. A war is won by picking your battles carefully.

Win the war over disposables by being gracious and kind, and continue to enjoy those nights out!


Going out and leaving your baby (even for a little while) can be nerve-wracking, but with just a bit of planning and a whole lot of understanding, you can get your babysitter and yourself through it.

And if you’re having trouble with naysayers, remind them of all the reasons cloth diapers are better than disposables!

April Duffy

April is the founder of Cloth Diapers for Beginners and author of The Cloth Diaper Wash & Care Handbook. Since 2015, April has helped well over 75,000 parents and caregivers cloth diaper their children through this website, her book, her YouTube Channel, and the Cloth Diapers for Beginners Facebook Group.