Accessible Cloth Diapering with Thirsties

Posted on May 31 2013 - 9:47pm by cris

I have wanted to try cloth diapering since our 1st child was born, but I always feared investing in a product that might turn out not accessible for my limited mobility.

As a southpaw, with no functional use of my right hand or arm, I’ll admit I use my teeth for a lot of things. However, I was NOT willing to use this improvisation with diapering. 😉

Rather, we tried to use organic and compostable diapers when available and decided that cloth diapering may just not be an option for me.

When my daughter reached the potty training stage, we tried  Flip Training Pants with cotton inserts, but found that even with snaps, changing the dirty pad, which is velcroed into place at either end, was not easily accessible with one hand.

By the time our son came along, I’d given up on cloth diapering altogether.

However, when my son was about 6 months old, his blowout diapers started to decrease and I began revisiting my cloth options. A fellow crunchy mama advised me on a few options and brands that she’d used and that thought might offer the greatest accessibility. And so the research began…

My initial criteria for selection were Aplix closures, affordability, and availability of “How To” YouTube videos to check out accessibility.

I also didn’t want to have to keep buying diapers as my son grew…like a weed. So sizing options were also important.

I chose to start with a Thirsties Duo Diaper (a pocket diaper). This diaper was toted as a great starter fluffy for anyone new to cloth diapering because it works much like a disposable.

Thirsties sizing was also appealing.


Size Weight Range Age Range
one 6-18 lbs (3-8 kg) 0-9 months
two 18-40 lbs (8-18 kg) 9-36 months


Thirsties Duo Diaper with Aplix (pocket)



  • They are super easy to put on – much like a disposable. Just use and toss in the pail.
  • Thirsties offers Aplix or snaps on all of their diapers.
  • All Thirsties have a gusset system to help with leak prevention (with the exception of the Duo AIO which I did not try).
  • You can stuff extra inserts for added absorbency or easily bulk up near the front for boys or center for girls. As an added accessibility plus, Duo Diapers have a pocket opening in front and back to make stuffing MUCH easier.
  • Duo Diapers wash and dry fairly easily overall since all the pieces come apart. No added step of taking the icky dirty inserts out. These diapers are designed to agitate the insert out during the wash cycle.
  • Versatile: Most inserts are interchangeable between brands.
  • Duo Diapers are easy to hang dry. They air-dry just about as quickly as the dryer cycle itself (especially if you can find a little sun), prolonging their life.


  • Added step of stuffing the diapers
  • One use = One wash.

So, how many will you need?

Thirsties recommends the following:

Newborn: 20-24 diapers
6-12 months: 14-18 diapers
12-24 months: 12-16 diapers
Potty Learning: 4-8 diapers

After surviving a few days with the Duo diapers, I thought, “Hey, I can do this! It’s easy!”. So I decided to branch out and experiment with a few other Thirsties combinations.

Next, I tried a Thirsties Duo Wrap with a Stay Dry Duo Insert and/or a Duo Hemp Prefold.

Thirsties Duo Wrap with insert


  • You don’t have to touch the ick with these either. Just remove the diaper and dump the pad in the pail.
  • The covers are reusable 3-5x. Once you flip out the dirty insert, just allow the cover to dry out until the next change, then pair it with a fresh pad. This is the least expensive option since you need fewer diapers and can wash them less often, prolonging the life of their lifespan.
  • The wraps air-dry in no time at all (especially if you can find a little sun), prolonging their life. The pads and prefolds can be tossed in the dryer or hung in the sun.
  • No pairing or stuffing.


  • Because there’s nothing holding the two pieces together, unfortunate shifts may happen while wrangling it onto a wiggly baby.
  • It’s important to check around the legs and at the back to make sure all the absorbent parts are tucked in or you will have major leakage.
  • I also had trouble getting the Duo Hemp Prefold “just right” for my OCD self. The Stay Dry Duo Insert was the easiest option for me in this combination. Save the prefolds to use as extra stuffing when needed.

So, how many will you need?

Thirsties recommends the following:

A single Thirsties Duo Wrap or Thirsties Diaper Cover can be wiped clean and reused several times before requiring a full washing.
Newborn-9 months: 1 wrap for every 3 diapers
9 months-18 months: 1 wrap for every 4 diapers
18 months to potty: 1 wrap for 5 every diapers


Thirsties Duo Fab Fitted (snap) paired with a Duo Wrap

*Note, I tried this one in a snap because I liked the idea of being to pull it on him rather then putting it on him the old fashioned way.


  • Very easy to put on properly.
  • Soft and stretchy; seems very comfortable. I was actually able to put this on my wiggly son like a pull-up
  • Extremely absorbent – will probably be my nighttime fluff if I ever get that brave.
  • Cover can be reused, prolonging its life as in the category above.
  • Easy to add extra layers for absorbency.
  • Can use covers interchangeably between brands.
  • Covers dry quickly as mentioned above.


  • Two pieces to put on.
  • Must be careful to tuck all absorbent parts into the cover or wicking/leaks can be a problem. I found this step very accessible and not an issue.
  • Ick factor. There is no way to avoid touching the wet diaper, as the entire thing (snaps/aplix included) gets soaked. So be prepared to add the extra step of hand washing every time with this one…sanitizer ain’t gonna cut it
  • These generally take a long time to dry…the tradeoff for their supper absorbency.

So, how many will you need?

Thirsties recommends the following:

Newborn: 20-24 diapers
6-12 months: 14-18 diapers
12-24 months: 12-16 diapers
Potty Learning: 4-8 diapers                                                                                                                                                        For the first few months, 1 cover for every 3 diapers changes is the minimum recommendation. Once your baby is 18 months old, you will likely get away with only 1 cover for every 6 diapers in rotation.


Use a flushable liner to dispose of solid waste for even less ick factor. My favorite brand so far is Eco-Bottom Liners.

Another option is to purchase a diaper sprayer that attaches to the back of the toilet to rinse off solid waste. However, this was not an accessible option for me so I did not try it.

Just like disposable diapers every baby butt is different and what works on my baby may not fit your baby.

My Picks

My #1 pick would have to be pocket diapers for ease of use, accessibility, low ick factor, and very few leaks (may be in part to Thirsties awesome gusset system). Be sure to choose one that offers an opening in front and back for easier stuffing. Also, look for a feature allowing insert to agitate out in the wash so YOU won’t have to touch the ick.

The fitted diaper is a close second for me for cozy factor, less laundry, and increased absorbency all for about the same investment as using pocket diapers. Increased ick factor and dry time make this option my #2 pick…pun only slightly intended. 😉

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised how easy it all was, but it does take commitment.

The cute factor of a fluffy bum almost cancel out the ick factor…almost.

I will continue to use my Thirsties and experiment with new combinations…with all parts being interchangeable, this should keep me entertained until my son potty trains. 🙂

Do you cloth diaper? What are your top picks?


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2 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Shannon Reed June 7, 2013 at 1:16 am - Reply

    Yes, using your teeth might not work so well, lol! I would love to try thirsties CD’s- I have heard great things about them. There are so many diapers out there now, it’s hard to know which to choose. Thanks for the info=)

    • cris June 7, 2013 at 1:56 am - Reply

      I’m slowly trying other brands, but love Thirsties gusset system so it’s hard to find anything else that compares. I’ve decided that buying cloth diapers is as addictive as shoe shopping!

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