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Natalie Clauss

Cloth diaper systems [brief overview]

Anyone who has ever dealt a little with cloth diapers will encounter quite a few abbreviations. Especially with the different systems, mainly such abbreviations are used. I would like to give you a short overview of the different systems. Detailed articles on the differences within a system, I have partly already written. But more will follow. So here is the short version.


AIO stands for All-In-One, which means that the diaper consists of a single part. This makes it very similar to a disposable diaper, except that it is not thrown away, but washed. All the functional parts of a cloth di aper are already integrated here, the wetness-protecting outer layer and the absorbent inner part are sewn together.

The AI2 or the SIO

AI2 stands for All-In-2, so the diaper consists of two parts. As a rule, the absorbent liner is attached to the wetness-protective outer layer by means of press studs. If this is the case, it is also an SIO. SIO is the abbreviation for Snap-In-One. The difference to the AIO is that the sockliner is not sewn but buttoned in and therefore removable.

The AI3

AI3 then stands for All-In-3. These cloth diapers consist of three different parts, the outer cover, which has no wetness-protecting or absorbent function, the inner tub as wetness protection and the absorbent pads, which are placed in the inner tub.

The pocket (diaper)

Pocket means "pocket" in English and describes the system very well. The absorbent pads, without which this system is not complete, are placed in a pocket. Therefore, the inner fabric is not completely sewn, but has an opening for the inserts.

The overpants

Overpants serve as a pure wetness protection and have no absorbent function. Therefore, the overpants is only complete as a cloth diaper, if an absorbent part such as inserts or gauze diapers are added. These are available with a closure, usually at the front, or as a slip-on version for "slipping in".

The Höwi

Höwi is the short form of panty diaper. These are also part of a two-piece system, but are the absorbent part and require an overpant for wetness protection. The diaper initially looks similar to an AIO or an SIO, although in this case the entire diaper can be soaked.

The contour diaper

Contour diapers are a very old cloth diaper system and are a further development of the diaper cloth. They are similar to pant diapers, but without an attached closure at the front. So-called snappi's are usually used for closure. Just like the Höwis, with contour diapers you need an overpant for wetness protection.

The knitted diaper

Knit di apers have also been around for quite a long time. These are made of cotton, which is knitted very elastic. A ribbon is sewn in the middle, which closes the diaper. In the knitted diaper inserts are placed as an absorbent layer. Here, too, an overpant is needed as wetness protection.

The gauze diaper

Gauze diapers are probably the oldest and best known cloth diaper system. Nowadays, however, they are known more as spit-up cloths than as diapers. They can be folded in a variety of ways that are either wrapped around the child, much like a contour diaper, or used as an absorbent liner.

The Prefold

Prefolds are also simply the absorbent core of a diaper and therefore require additional wetness protection in the form of an overpant. Here, the Prefolds are divided into three chambers, with several layers of absorbent material sewn together. This allows the Prefold to be quickly folded into an absorbent insert, and there are various folding options here as well.

Say goodbye to diapers online course

Learn how to make the transition from diaper to potty in my Farewell to Diapers online course.

That was quite a lot of theory in one go. I hope I was able to clear up some of the confusion about the different cloth diaper systems, though of course it's very brief here.

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