We had high hopes of liberating our oldest son from diapers at an early age, and while we never intended to push potty learning on him, we did try to encourage him to become aware of his elimination from the time he was tiny. We were thrilled when he began enthusiastically using the potty before he turned two- even more thrilled since we had baby #2 on the way! The arrival of his baby brother wasn’t quite as easy as we had anticipated, however, and try as we might, our strong-willed toddler began resisting the potty and asking for diapers again.
Now, at nearly 3 years of age, he is back in diapers full-time. Not wanting to fight or push him to do something he clearly wasn’t ready for, we have begrudgingly given him back his diapers, which seems to be a safe place for him, and we’ve decided to let him show us when he is ready for the potty again.
And so we find ourselves diapering two children, one of whom has grown quite large. Many of our “one-size” diapers no longer fit him, despite the manufacturers’ best efforts to create something that would fit all babies from birth through potty training. Since potty training takes place at a different age for each child, one never knows how long diapers will be needed. In our case, we needed to find diapers and covers that fit a child well over 35 lbs.
Wanting very much to continue our love affair with wool & diapers made from natural fibers, we naturally wanted to use organic cloth diapers with wool covers for our toddler as well as our baby.
So what are the best cloth options for a large toddler? We tried a wide variety of cloth diapers on our toddler, and here we share a few of our favorites- we have chosen these because they fit him well and they perform well. All of the diapers shown in these photos are pictured on our 3-year-old.
Organic Cloth Diapers for a Toddler
This timeless nappy was brilliantly designed, and so far, it is the only diaper we have found that is an authentic “one-size” diaper- from birth through toddlerhood. You can fold this diaper down and tie it snugly enough to fit a newborn, and unfolded and tied with still more room to stretch, this diaper will easily fit a much older child as well.
When to use it: Day or night. For nights when you need lots of absorbency, fold an extra double or even a prefold inside, and your toddler should be set for the night. This diaper works best with a wool soaker since the rise is higher, but it can be worn with a wrap cover as well, as long as the rise on the cover is high.
Engel Organic Cotton Fitted Diaper, Size 98/104 (2-3T)
It can be somewhat challenging to find a fitted diaper that actually fits a larger child, even in sized options. Engel’s fitted diaper in the largest size is quite generously sized, and its softness and absorbency makes us love it even more. With nearly a 10 inch rise and an aplix closure that allows for more freedom to adjust the waist on a larger child, this diaper fits most toddlers comfortably.
When to use it: The Engel fitted diaper is by no means the most trim of fitted diapers, but its high quality and thick, absorbent organic cotton make it a favorite in our home. In spite of its bulk, we use it day and night. The rise is high, so like the tie nappy, it fits best with a wool soaker, but it can be worn with a high-rise wrap cover as well.
The Tiny Tush One-Size fitted diaper is one of our favorite fitted diapers because it really fits babies from a very young age through toddlerhood. A tiny newborn can wear the snap-in doubler as a contour diaper on its own, and most infants can begin to wear the fitted diaper on its smallest setting when they are one to two months old. Likewise, this diaper still fits many toddlers at or over 35 lbs. Our toddler can still comfortably wear his Tiny Tush one-size diaper, snapped on its largest setting, and the diaper leaves no red marks on his skin.
When to use it: This fitted diaper is great for day or night. It comes in organic cotton or an organic cotton/hemp blend, so you can choose hemp when you’re looking for even more absorbency. This fitted diaper has a moderate to low rise, to it’s an excellent choice for both wraps and pull-on covers.
OsoCozy Organic Cotton Fitted Diaper, Toddler Size
The OsoCozy fitted diaper is a basic, no frills diaper made from organic, birdseye weave cotton. The toddler size fits our 3-year-old perfectly and leaves no red marks; the fit is gentle around the legs and there is no hidden elastic at the waist, so he can move comfortably. This diaper is packed with absorbency as well- the thick layer in the center makes this one a true workhorse. A great choice for a toddler, it’s trim fit make is excellent for daytime.
When to use it: Anytime! This is a great daytime diaper because it’s fairly trim, and it could also be used at night with an extra doubler. The rise is moderate to low, so like the Tiny Tush, you can use it with either a wrap or a pull-on cover.
This is another excellent choice for a toddler. It’s a bit thicker and therefore more bulky than some of our other fitted diapers, but the hemp/cotton blend make it super absorbent and gives it a fluffy, fleecy soft texture. A snap-in liner is also included when extra absorbency is needed. This diaper fits a toddler fairly well when snapped at its largest setting, but it is slightly more snug around the thighs than the Tiny Tush or OsoCozy, so it may not fit as well on a chunky-legged toddler.
When to use it: Anytime- especially great for night time. There’s a little bit of bulk, but it’s certainly trim enough for daytime, and the rise is not too high, so wraps or pull-on covers both work well. The hemp fleece gives this diaper a “stay-dry” effect.
Disana Organic Cotton Fitted Diaper, Size 86/92 (12-24 mo)
This diaper pleasantly surprised us by fitting our toddler at 35+ lbs, even though its size indicates a 12-24 month age range. This is a generously sized fitted diaper, and the fit is comfortable on our toddler and leaves no red marks. The diaper is made from Disana’s super-soft organic brushed cotton flannel, which seems to get even softer with each wash, so it feels lovely next to baby or toddler skin.
When to use it: The shape is rather unusual- there seems to be a bit of extra fabric in the back of the diaper, making it pooch out a little in the back (and also accommodating those extra large toddler poops!). This is only noticeable when the diaper is worn without a cover- once you put a cover on, its soft material easily fits into any cover, the diaper is trim and works well with either wraps or pull-on covers.
Last but not least, the organic cotton flat. This is an excellent, affordable choice in diapering that fits newborns and toddlers with ease. Our organic cotton muslin flats have a permanent spot in our cloth diaper stash, and the same flat is worn by our 8-month-old one day and our 3-year-old the next. Organic cotton flats are available in lightweight muslin from Engel and Disana, or from a thicker birdseye weave from OsoCozy. There are unlimited possibilities of methods for folding a flat, and we have tried many, but the fold we always fall back on for our babies is the “Jo” fold. This fold seems to be the most versatile when it comes to fitting both small and large babies and is shown on our 3-year-old below:
Wool Covers for a Toddler
Disana Wool Soaker, Size 110/116 (4-5T)
The Disana cover in size 110/116 (4-5T) is very generously sized, so if you have a toddler who needs a diaper cover, this is one of the best options. Since wool soakers have no closures, you can really stretch them and make them fit your child for even longer than the age range indicated. These are excellent for older children who still wet the bed at night as well, fitting most children well into the ages of 4 or 5, and sometimes older. Pull-on covers are comfortable for children of any age, and they slide easily on and off like a pair of shorts.
When to use it: While most parents will choose a wool soaker as a night time solution for toddlers or older children who are still not night trained, a toddler can wear a soaker during daytime as well.
Engel Organic Wool Soaker, Size 98/104 (2-3T)
Engel makes a lovely wool soaker from soft knitted organic merino wool, and its largest size, 98/104 (2-3T), is so generously sized that it’s nearly identical in size to Disana’s size 110/116 (4-5T). This size fits our toddler just right and still allows for plenty of room for growth. Wool soaker are fabulous for toddlers who are still in diapers full-time or for kids who aren’t quite night time potty trained and need some protection for nights.
Disana Boiled Wool Cover , Size 98/104 (2-3T)
Disana’s boiled wool wrap runs very large, so size 2-3T should fit most children up to at least 3 or 4 years of age. With a rise measuring a whopping 11 inches and a waistline that stretches to around 23 inches, this cover was clearly designed with the un-potty-trained 3 or 4 year old in mind. This is another nice option for a child who needs a little more night time protection in case of accidents.
When to use it: We prefer this for night time or naps. The rise is high, and the cover is unusually shaped, so during daytime it can be obtrusive for a baby who is just learning to sit or walk. For a toddler who is very competent at walking and running, obtrusion of mobility isn’t an issue with this cover. However, this is not a trim cover, so some parents prefer this for nights.
Wool longies are a great investment for an older baby or child, and you can get even more use out of them if you are cloth diapering. Use the wool pants as a cloth diaper cover while your toddler is still in diapers, and once potty trained, you can of course continue using them just as pants during the winter months. Disana wool pants are a favorite for this purpose, and they come in large sizes.
Flushable liners deserve to be mentioned when discussing cloth diapering a toddler. These liners make messy diapers a little easier to clean. OsoCozy and Disana both make nice disposable liner option.
Which cloth diapers have you found that still fit during toddlerhood?