Overnight Cloth Diapers That Stop Leaks in Their Tracks

Are you finding your little one soaked through their diaper most mornings? Tired of the constant changing and washing of crib sheets? I get it – and cracking overnight cloth diapers can help.

For the longest time, I was afraid of trying overnight cloth diapering and strictly stuck to disposables for nighttime use. It was when my daughter started constantly waking up wet in her disposables anyway that I decided it was finally time to move to cloth diapers full-time. 

See, overnight cloth diapers are by far the scariest and hardest part about cloth diapering. Daytime cloth diapering is so simple to start since they require only lasting 2-3 hours between changes. But with overnight cloth diapers, it can take time to find the right combination of absorbency and cover that will last 10-12 hours, especially if you have a heavy wetter. 

It took me some trial and error, and a lot of exchanges with other cloth diaper moms, but in the end, I tested and found the best overnight cloth diaper combinations that will stop nighttime leaks once and for all. Plus, I learned some handy tips along the way!

With this complete yet simple guide, you’ll be successfully cloth diapering your little one through the night in no time – and with minimal trial and error. Now let’s stop those nighttime leaks in their tracks for your heavy wetter and/or tummy sleeper!

The best overnight cloth diaper solutions

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Short on time? 

Ultimately, we recommend these overnight cloth diapers:

The challenge of overnight cloth diapers

The moment you figure out what works, your child continues to grow and so do their bladders! This means that as your baby grows so will your cloth diaper choices. Often, it is not necessary to buy more, but rather to become more creative or adjust your layering.

Things get even more tricky when you have a heavy wetter on your hands.

The basics to overnight cloth diapering are to add the necessary absorbency while controlling bulk and maintaining a snug correct fit. It takes trial and error to find the right amount of absorbency and the correct positioning of them. 

RELATED: Not sure of the difference between inserts, preflats, fitteds, or boosters? Check out my cloth diapering for beginners guide to get all the foundational knowledge you need!

Do you have a heavy wetter?

This is important to know because it will help you decide if you need to add more serious absorbency, or if you just need to invest in better inserts and properly layer them. I can’t tell you how many parents think they have a heavy wetter only to later realize it was their low-quality inserts all along. Sometimes a simple swap of the order of inserts can make all the difference!

So, what are the signs of a heavy wetter?

  • You have a heavy wetter if your child maxes out two microfibre inserts before an hour and a half. 
  • You have a heavy wetter if your child maxes out a natural fiber all-in-one cloth diaper before 2 hours. 
  • You have a heavy wetter if you have to use a booster with your cloth diapers to have them last 2 hours.
  • You have a heavy wetter if your child often leaks through appropriately-sized overnight disposable diapers through the night.

I have called out notes as I go along for those working with true heavy-wetters, but generally, you want the absorbency of your cloth diapers to be able to handle 20oz or slightly over.

Now let’s dive into overnight cloth diapering and put an end to the wet pajamas, wet crib sheets, and chemical-ridden disposables once and for all!

RELATED: Find out if you’re using the right inserts for your needs and how to properly layer them so they work their best.

sleeping infant on bed with overnight cloth diaper

Try adding a hemp booster first

Have you tried upgrading your existing diaper yet with one or even two hemp boosters? Before you go buying new diapers, simply try adding a trim hemp insert or two to your existing diaper.

If you’re still using microfiber, replace them with better inserts altogether and you will likely see leak issues at night disappear.

All-natural and surprisingly trim, hemp can hold the most amount of liquid in cloth diapers. It’s also the slowest absorb, so technically, layering them under faster-absorbing fabrics like cotton is best. However, if you’re using a cotton AIO or fitted diaper, you can still use a hemp insert/booster as a first layer and see great results! 

The hemp boosters I use and absolutely love are the AMP 3 Layer Hemp Booster (so trim and absorbs 4.6 oz) and the Thirsties Hemp Inserts (a bit thicker but absorbs 6.5 oz). I prefer the cotton/hemp blends because they’re softer and speed up absorption.

Hemp is best for how much liquid it holds, but a good bamboo booster can provide similar effects.

For heavy wetters:

This solution isn’t usually enough for true heavy wetters, but it’s a great solution to try first if you’re only using 1-2 inserts, are using less absorbent inserts, or already have a hemp insert and won’t run into bulk issues.

family playing on bed with toddler

RELATED: Do you have the right amount of cloth diapers? Calculate it quickly with our help!

The best overnight cloth diaper solutions

Whether on a 9-month-old or a two-year-old, these tried-and-true options work wonders! You can make use of what you have and get creative to create the perfect overnight cloth diapers.

Fitted diapers

Fitted diapers are known in the cloth diapering community as superior overnight cloth diapers but are a more expensive option. They’re extremely absorbent while providing full-coverage protection from leaks. Designed to easily get on and off, they pair exceptionally well with a moisture-wicking diaper cover made of wool or fleece. If budget isn’t a concern, investing in fitted diapers will be your easiest option to stop leaks at night.

My favorite fitted diaper is the Nicki’s Diapers Bamboo Fitted Diaper – it holds an outstanding 18 oz alone without any boosters! Pairing a fitted with a wool diaper cover (and a trim booster if needed) makes this the most absorbent leak-fighting combo.

If you have a heavy wetter, simply add a good-quality booster to your fitted. However, adding a wool or fleece diaper cover also makes a dramatic difference.

RELATED: Interested in a good wool diaper cover to help wick moisture away? I wrote a whole article about the top 5 wool diapers on the market & everything you need to know about them!

Double flats 

There’s a reason why flats are still so popular in cloth diapering – they are absorbent and affordable, and their versatility can’t be beaten. Layer a flat overtop of another before folding to add a serious boost to overnight absorbency and provide full-coverage protection like a fitted diaper. Origami or newspaper are my two favorite folds for nighttime use. Add a trim hemp or bamboo insert for added protection if needed, especially for older infants.

I use the Osocozy unbleached organic cotton flats, which can absorb 8oz each, but you can easily make your own by repurposing a cotton t-shirt or using a receiving blanket.

If you have an especially heavy wetter and these don’t cut it even with a booster (though they will for most!), you can add an additional insert or a tri-folded prefold. Using hemp or bamboo viscose flats instead of cotton will add even more absorbency – these Bamboo Flats by Nicki’s Diapers hold 10oz each!

Double up a prefold

Another excellent overnight cloth diaper is using two prefolds. One smaller prefold is pad-folded and laid into an outer, larger prefold that is wrapped around your child’s bottom and fastened. You can alternatively use a hemp or bamboo insert or booster in place of the interior prefold.

I love my prefolds. My go-to prefolds are the Osocozy Organic Cotton Prefolds. The better fit large size can hold 18oz each!

For especially heavy wetters, add a trim hemp booster for more absorption if needed by placing it under the interior prefold!

Overnight AIOs

Though a standard all-in-one diaper usually won’t last the night (even with a booster), some have been designed to withstand the long hours of the night. This is my least preferred method since AIOs tend to take forever to dry once washed, they’re generally a bit harder to thoroughly wash, and you can’t re-use the cover like you can with other methods but there are still a few notable contenders!

Though I do not use AIOs, my first choice would be the Thirsties Natural One Size All in One, which can hold 14oz and is made of 55% hemp & 45% organic cotton. Secondly, I’d recommend the Best Bottom’s Heavy Wetter AIO. Unfortunately the Best Bottom’s Heavy Wetter AIO is sold out everywhere at the time of this article’s publishing.

For heavy wetters, add two trim boosters or one thicker insert. Heads up, these nighttime AIOs are not great options for daytime as they are bulky!

Best overnight diaper covers

Diaper covers aren’t responsible for absorbing liquids, but some covers can support better absorption.

Wool diaper covers

Growing in popularity (and for good reason!) are wool soakers or wool diaper covers. Without a doubt, wool covers are the best diaper covers. They’re so good I wrote a whole article about their benefits and my top 5 wool diaper cover picks!

​​Unlike synthetic fabrics like PUL/fleece/TPU, wool actually pulls moisture away from the diaper and your baby’s skin, allowing moisture to evaporate and keep your baby drier.

Roomy PUL/TPU covers with double-leg gussets

A double-gusset diaper cover has an extra set of elastics sewn into the leg area to help better contain leaks and push liquid back into the insert. These are primarily found in PUL/TPU covers and pocket diapers but I’ve seen them featured in a couple of fitteds as well!

When I first started cloth diapering I started with a set of AlvaBaby covers. They worked really well for a while but as my daughter grew they struggled to keep up with the extra absorbency she needed through the night. Some diapers, particularly pocket diapers or AIOs, aren’t great for overnight use unless labeled for overnight use.

baby under blanket on bed

Targeting front or back leaks

If you find that parts of the diaper are dry, but you’re still experiencing leaks, you may just need to readjust your layers. Add or fold inserts for extra absorbency where your child pees the most. For boys or tummy sleepers, It’s most often the front. For girls who aren’t tummy sleepers, it’s often right in the center.

A tip for pad folding prefolds for girls: If you fold your prefold horizontally against the sewn-in folds, you will get a huge amount of added absorbency targeted right toward the very center. This works best for girls who are not tummy sleepers.

Managing bulk and getting the right fit

You can use as many inserts or boosters as needed for your child’s overnight cloth diapers so long as you manage the bulk. You will struggle with leaks if you do not have the right, snug fit, no matter what you do. 

To check for a snug fit, ensure that you can fit no more than one finger between the diaper and the thigh, and no more than two fingers can be measured between the top of the diaper and the baby’s belly. Always double-check that there are no gaps between the cover’s elastics and your child’s legs after adding bulky inserts.

infant wrapped in blanket on bed

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What’s the best overnight diaper for 2-3-year-olds?

The older they get, the larger their bladders and the longer they can sleep! I recommend using a fitted diaper or the prefold method since they’re the most absorbent options, and add a hemp booster for heavy wetters if needed.

Alternatively, you can move into bedwetting pants early. 

Best overnight diapers for 5 year old and up?

By this age, I recommend moving into bedwetting pants. There are many options to pick from, but my current recommendation is the bedwetting pant by Mother Ease.

How can I keep moisture off my child’s skin overnight?

What’s great about disposables is that they offer that “stay dry” feeling all night. Luckily, we can achieve the same “stay dry” effect in cloth diapers with fleece or wool liners. If you have any scrap microfleece or wool fabric laying around, you can simply cut them and use them as “stay dry” liners for your child’s cloth diapers. Here’s a great tutorial by So Easy Being Green.

Many pocket diapers come with a “stay dry” lining made of micro-fleece or micro-suede, so you wouldn’t need additional liners for them if you’re stuffing inserts inside of their pockets.

What is the best overnight diaper for belly sleepers?

Any of the above options will work fairly well for belly sleepers, but you can add a folded insert toward the front of the diaper for added absorbency. If you’re using either the prefold or flat method, you can use the diva or newspaper fold to help boost absorbency towards the front.

What do you think about flour sack towels for overnight diapering?

Flour sack towels are recommended mostly because they’re a very low-cost and accessible option. However, they aren’t as absorbent as other cloth diaper absorbency options so a lot of bulk would be required to achieve enough overnight leak protection. If you’re in a pinch and need something easily found around the home, receiving blankets or a cotton t-shirt will work better for overnight use.

Still struggling with leaks?

Still struggling with leaks, even after trying the solutions above and double-checking your cloth diaper fit? This might not be an overnight issue at all! Residue build-up on your diapers will cause them to repel and inevitably leak. Run an absorbency test by laying your clean diapers flat and pouring a small amount of water on them. Apply a bit of pressure to see if the inserts absorb the water. If the water ‘wicks’ away and does not absorb into the insert, you likely have a residue build-up problem. You can fix build-up and repelling issues through a process of deep cleaning and/or stripping your diapers

Leaks with new inserts can happen if you haven’t properly prepared them. Some natural fiber inserts require multiple washes before they’re fully absorbent. Be sure you’ve fully prepared new inserts before using them.


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