On Diapers & Daycare

Cloth diapers are not just for home! Registered daycares will use cloth diapers, too! Even for working moms and dads, cloth diapering can be a way to reduce your trash and lighten your budget. There's a misconception, even among daycare owners that cloth diapers are not legally allowed to be used in regulated facilities. Cloth diapers and even cloth wipes are allowed! While the daycare teacher will have to alter their routine a little bit, cloth can be just as easy to use as disposables.

I've copied the applicable regulations below. In summary:
  • You'll need to bring a day's worth of diapers every day to the center, and take home the dirty diapers every day. 
  • If you use a two-piece diaper system, with a cover and insert, the cover may not be reused at daycare, so you'll need enough covers to provide one for every diaper change while your child is at the center.
  • Your daycare will provide a diaper pail, but you'll want to bring them wet bags for transporting the diapers.
  • Some sort of "deodorizing solution" needs to be used in the diaper pail. I recommend providing this to the daycare facility, so you know they won't use something that's not safe to wash with your diapers. Try our Rockin' Green Shake It Up! Pail Freshener for an easy solution.
Here's the specific regulations in Indiana:
470 IAC 3-4.7-96 Cloth diapers
Authority: IC 12-13-5-3
Affected: IC 12-17.2-4
Sec. 96.
(a) Staff shall use a deodorizing solution or granules in diaper containers.
(b) Staff shall clean and disinfect diaper containers when emptied.
(c) Caregivers shall handle cloth diapers furnished by the center as follows:

(1) Waterproof diaper covers must be provided.
(2) Caregivers shall use a fresh, clean diaper cover with each diaper change.
(3) Caregivers shall keep the diapers and diaper covers in tightly covered containers between pick-ups.
(4) A commercial laundry service shall launder the diapers and the diaper covers.
(d) Caregivers shall handle cloth diapers furnished by the parents as follows:
(1) The diapers shall be kept separate from diapers used for other children.
(2) Waterproof diaper covers must be provided.
(3) Caregivers shall use a fresh, clean diaper cover with each diaper change.
(4) Caregivers shall place the soiled diapers in a plastic bag, store them through the day in a tightly covered container, and return the diapers to the parent daily.
(5) Caregivers shall keep the diaper covers in tightly covered containers or plastic bags and return them to the parent daily.
(e) The center shall provide washable, plastic lined, tightly covered containers for soiled cloth diapers and linens.
(f) Containers shall be conveniently located for caregivers, but inaccessible to children.
(Division of Family and Children; 470 IAC 3-4.7-96; filed Aug 11, 2003, 3:00 p.m.: 27 IR 146)
Most of our families who use daycare will use a pocket diaper or all-in-one diaper for the simplicity of the daytime caregivers. At home, they may use prefolds and covers, to have a more economical choice. Here's a list of tips from Fuzzibunz on talking to your daycare about cloth.

We're trying to compile a list of local daycares that are cloth-diaper friendly- let us know about yours!


  1. Ya in my opinion cloth diapers are very good for the environment and for the parents also because they are cheap and your posts are very interesting so please continue to post.

  2. OK I need help with this. We just had a state visit and I had them go over cloth regs for cloth training pants. I have waterproof trainers and they said I need a cover for all trainers. Is there somewhere I can contact to verify this? I work at the daycare my DD goes to, and they are really fighting me.

    I don't think my daycare or state lady realize my trainers have the waterproof cover built in.

    1. That's frustrating Melissa! From my reading of the regulations (sections 470 IAC 3-4.7-94 through 3-4.7-97), diapers and pull-ups are treated the same- so a center that accepts kids in pocket diapers or all-in-ones should also be able to handle cloth training pants with a waterproof layer. The most common kind of cloth trainer does NOT have any kind of waterproofing (think the Gerber training pants, which are basically thick underwear). Your DD's teachers and the state worker may be thinking of a more typical trainer.

      I just tried emailing to ask about the specific rule, so I'll know for future reference- I'll let you know if I get an answer back!

  3. I got an answer from the state: "Cloth training pants are treated just like underwear. We would not regulate that." So, the daycare can not, from a legal perspective, tell you which cloth trainers to use any more than they can tell kids which underwear to wear. I suppose specific locations may have stricter rules- but they can't blame those rules on state regulations.

  4. Interesting that they require the diapers to be commercially washed! Do you know if the Changing Times Diaper Service will wash diapers not purchased through them? Just wondering how all that would work.

  5. Emily- If a day care center is PROVIDING the cloth diapers, the regulation requires that they be commercially washed, probably because different babies would be sharing the same diapers and they need to be sanitized. If diapers are "furnished by parents", they don't need to be commercially washed.

    Changing Times only washes the prefolds they deliver to their customers; they won't wash others' diapers.

    1. Oh, I see. This makes much more sense! Thanks for clearing that up!