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The Average Cost of Diapers

Diaper costs have a huge impact on the cost of having a baby. The cost of diapers depend on whether you choose cloth diapers or disposable diapers to diaper your baby. The average cost of disposable diapers for one baby from birth to potty training is about $2400. For a family of 2 children the cost of disposable diapers will be about $4889.40. The average cost of cloth diapers is about $347.00 and can be used on multiple babies. The cost of laundering cloth diapers for 3 years is about $219.00.

How Often Does A Baby Need To Be Changed?

Before you can figure out how much diapers will cost you need to know how many diapers your baby will need each day. When a baby wets or soils a diaper he should be changed immediately. If a baby is left in a wet or soiled diaper he will get diaper rashes and have other problems. Even though disposable diapers contain Super Absorbent Polymer (SAP) (the gel-like substance), babies aren’t meant to wear septic tanks on their fragile, sensitive bottoms.

How often a baby wets or soils her diaper depends on her age and diet. Younger babies need to be changed more often. Newborns will need their diaper changed as many as 12 times per day while an older toddler may need their diaper changed 6-8 times per day.

The Average Age For Completion of Potty Training

To figure out the cost of diapers you also need to know how long your baby will be wearing diapers. Contrary to popular/”old school” beliefs, reputable sources such as WebMD,, American Academy of Pediatrics, Medical College of Wisconsin, Dr. Schum (pediatrician at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin), Mayo Clinic and National Network for Child Care say that the average age for completion of “potty training” for a girl is about 34-36 months and for a boy it’s about 37.5-38 months. These sources say it takes an average of 6-8 months to “potty train” a child. Children diapered in cloth diapers do tend to potty train as much as 6 months earlier than children using disposable diapers.

Read: Potty Training vs Potty Learning

The Cost of Disposable Diapers

0-2 months of age:  12 diapers per day X 60 days = 720 diapers
2-6 months of age:  10 diapers per day X 122 days = 1220 diapers
6-12 months of age:  8 diapers per day X 183 days = 1464 diapers
12-24 months of age:  7 diapers per day X 365 days = 2555 diapers
24-30 months of age:  6 diapers per day X 183 days = 1098 diapers
30-36 months of age:  6 diapers per day X 182 days = 1092 diapers

The average child uses about 8149 diapers from birth to potty training.

The average cost of a popular/name brand diaper from a larger package is 30 cents each.

The average cost of disposable diapers for ONE CHILD from birth to potty training is $2444.70.

The Cost of Cloth Diapers

People that haven’t seen today’s modern cloth diapers may still think of the old-fashioned, traditional, “toilet-dunking”, plain-white flat or prefold diaper of the past. The diapers of the past required safety pins and “rubber pants”. They were time-consuming, weren’t very absorbent (leaked), weren’t easy to care for and weren’t “fashionable” and cute. Prefold diapers are still available and are now available in different prints.

Baby wearing an old-fashioned cloth diaper.

An old-fashioned, traditional cloth diaper.

The cloth diaper has EVOLVED! Today’s cloth diapers are easy to use and wash, have built-in or separate BREATHABLE waterproof covers, snap or Velcro shut, are fitted and fit like a disposable, are very absorbent and are very fashionable. Today’s modern cloth diapers are available in many colors, prints and fabrics including organic cotton and bamboo.

Today's modern cloth diapers.

One example of today's modern cloth diapers.

When choosing cloth diapers, since there are so many different options, the prices can vary from $150. and up. The average modern/fashionable adjustable (one size fits all) cloth diaper system with enough diapers, covers and liners for full-time diapering will cost about $347.00. Cloth diapers can be used for multiple children.

Washing cloth diapers will cost about $219.00 over a 3-year period based on a stash of 24 diapers. Having more than 24 diapers will mean washing larger loads, less often and result in less money and time spent on laundering. This cost has been calculated assuming that your baby has 24 diapers available and it costs 50 cents to wash each load. The number of loads (146/yr.) has been determined by how many diapers the baby will use at each age and therefore how often a load needs to be washed (every 2-3 days). Read about how to wash cloth diapers.

The average cost of cloth diapers for ONE FAMILY from birth to potty training is $566.00 and includes laundering.

How Much Do Cloth Diapers Save?

For a family of 2 children the cost of disposable diapers will be about $4889.40.

For a family of 2 children the cost of cloth diapers (including laundering for both children) will be about $785.00.

Using cloth diapers will save about $4104.40 for a family of 2 children. The savings will be more if the cloth diapers are used on more than 2 children and/or sold after use. Using cloth wipes will save an additional $300-$500 PER CHILD!
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If you spend 15 minutes of “active” time laundering a load of cloth diapers and launder a load 146 times per year for 6 years (2 children) you will earn $18.83 per hour to launder your child’s diapers (based on the savings of $4889.40).

The cost of having a baby doesn’t need to be so high. Cloth diapering your baby offers a substantial savings and is one way to save on the rising costs of having a baby.

Interesting Diaper Facts

  • According to the Real Diaper Association, manufacturing and using disposable diapers uses 2.3 times more water than manufacturing and laundering cloth diapers.
  • According to the Real Diaper Association, disposable diapers contain traces of Dioxin which is listed by the EPA as the most toxic of all carcinogenic chemicals. It is an extremely toxic by-product of the diaper bleaching process and is banned in most countries. It is NOT BANNED IN THE USA! Disposable diapers also contain a toxin known to cause hormonal problems, a substance known to cause toxic shock syndrome, and studies have shown that the chemical emissions from disposables can cause respiratory problems in children.
  • The Real Diaper Association estimates that 27.4 billion disposable diapers are used each year in the US and 92% of these end up in a landfill. These diapers are full of bacteria, viruses and vaccines and pose a threat to wildlife and the ecosystem as a whole.
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that it takes up to 500 years for a standard gel-filled disposable diaper to decompose.

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Related posts:

  1. Disposable Diapers and The Environment
  2. How to Increase Breast Milk Supply
  3. How Many Cloth Diapers Do I Need?
  4. Disposable Diapers and Your Baby’s Health

5 Responses to “Cloth vs Disposable Diapers – Cost”

  1. [...] The average cost of disposable diapers for one baby from birth to potty training is about $2400. Cloth vs Disposable Diapers – Cost | Awesome Beginnings 4 Children Amazon advertises a portable washer for that received good reviews for [...]

  2. [...] Cost – Getting a full supply of cloth diapers will cost about $600 while disposable will run around $2,000+ per child (there’s no credible research on this but the consensus is cloth is cheaper) [...]

  3. [...] Stats from Awesome Beginnings 4 Children [...]

  4. I am horrified to read about the dangers of using disposable diapers. In the name of saving time and effort children are being placed at risk. I am 70 and needless to say was raised on cloth diapers so were my children (50 years ago). We are bombarded with chemicals from every sector of life. Is it any wonder that this lifestyle is slowing poisoning us and causing cancers and other illnesses as never before. When will we wake up and start puttng measures in place that will allieviate these risks? It’s a huge cry but who is hearing us? Who is responsible? Is it the scientists, manufacturers, the Government? Who is accountable to who? Lots of questions here, but really it’s up to individuals to make good choices for our well being. So lets not fall for snazzy ideas and risk our lives and the lives of our children who rely on us.

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