Your Guide to Cloth Nappy Jargon

Tickle Tots AIO reusable nappy. Image credit Kim Pascoe

Starting out with reusable nappies

So you’ve decided to start using cloth nappies and you have a look on the internet to see what’s available.  But there are just so many to choose from, and what is this new language of nappy that you have to learn! With so much cloth nappy jargon and abbreviations, it’s no surprise that reusable nappy newbies can feel intimidated. What’s an AIO nappy? What is a nappy booster? Which reusable nappy is best for my baby and my family?

Well we are here to help guide you, and it really is simple once you get the hang of it.  To help you out, we’ve put together a list of various cloth nappy jargon and abbreviations commonly used to describe different types and bits of washable nappies.  All in plain and simple English, so that any cloth novice can get the hang of it.  If you think we’ve missed anything out, please add them to the comments at the bottom and we’ll edit the post to include them.

Don’t forget we’re always at the other end of the phone if you need any extra help and advice.

Cloth nappy jargon

Babipur Clyd Pop-in reusable nappy. Image credit Capture the Rainbow Photography

Cloth nappy, Reusable nappy, Real nappy, Washable nappy, Cloth: 

A nappy made of fabric that you wash and then re-use instead of being a single use disposable nappy.

AIO, All-in-one nappy: 

This nappy is all in one piece. Both the waterproof outer, and absorbent inner are sewn together as one unit.  Examples of the all-in-one would be the TotsBots Easyfit Star, GroVia all-in-one, and Tickle Tots AIO.

Tots Bots Easyfit All-In-One reusable nappy

Pocket nappy: 

A pocket nappy consists of a waterproof shell with a fabric layer. In between the two layers is a pocket into which you ‘stuff’ ‘an absorbent insert of your choosing. A popular example of this would be Baba and Boo.

Baba & Boo Pocket nappy

AI2, All-in-two Nappy, Hybrid Nappy: 

All in two nappies are made of two parts. An absorbent inner and waterproof outer, that can be fastened together usually with poppers.  Once these two parts are stuck together the nappy then resembles and all-in-one but the ability to pull the two pieces apart can speed up drying times.  An example of a all-in-two nappy would be Totsbots Peenut,  Pop-in nappy by Close Parent and GroVia Hybid Nappy, and Petit Lulu SIO.

Close Pop-in reusable nappy – Hybrid nappy
GroVia reusable nappy – Hybrid nappy

Two part nappy: 

Simply a nappy made of 2 separate parts. An absorbent nappy and a waterproof cover.  The two parts don’t fix together like an all-in-two.  Examples are Tots Bots Peenut,  Tots Bots Bamboozles and Petit Lulu Fitted nappy and cover.

Close Pop-in wrap over a Tots Bots Bamboozle – a popular two part nappy combination for night time use.

Pre-fold nappies, Flat nappies: 

These are a rectangular piece of fabric which is folded into the shape of either a pad or nappy, and then needs a waterproof cover on top. These are the kind of nappies that have been around for a long time and you would picture a baby wearing with a safety pin, although we don’t use pins anymore. Example are Grovia Prefolds and Petit Lulu prefolds.

Fitted Nappy: 

This describes an absorbent cloth nappy that “fits” around your baby with a fastening at the front (such as velcro) and will then need a waterproof cover on top. Tots Bots Bamboozle is a perfect example, and Petit Lulu fitted nappies.

Insert or Soaker: 

This is the absorbent fabric you place inside a nappy to absorb the wee.  Depending on the brand these vary in size, fabric type and shape. You may see different fabrics such as hemp, bamboo, charcoal or cotton.

Wrap, Cover: 

A nappy requires a waterproof outer of some kind otherwise the wee would eventually escape onto your little ones clothes. So you need a waterproof ‘cover’ or ‘wrap’.  This will cover the absorbent part of the nappy and contains the poop and wee. Examples of these are the Close Parent Wrap, Totsbots Peenut, and Petit Lulu covers.

Clost Pop-in waterproof outer wrap with its bombproof double gusset


As babies get bigger and do bigger wee then you might need to ‘boost’ your nappies.  A booster is an extra layer of absorbent fabric you put in the nappy to absorb extra liquid. Some babies needs boosting early on and some only need a booster at night time.


A nappy liner is a thin piece of paper that you place on top of the nappy before you put it on your baby.  This then catches the baby poo, and they are designed so you can easily flush the contents of the nappy down the toilet and put the liner in the bin.  At Babi Pur, we would strongly discourage anyone from flushing liners down the toilet as recent experiments have shown that they take longer than expected to biodegrade. Paper liners can make life a bit easier, and are usually made of  natural materials.  Examples Close nappy liners, ImseVimse nappy liners and Totsbots nappy liners.

Fleece liners:

Made from microfleece material, fleece liners are placed on the nappy before you place it on your baby.  This material wicks moisture from baby’s skin keeping them feeling dry.  Fleece liners are re-usable and will need to be rinsed and washed after each use. Example is Petit Lulu fleece liners.

Fleece liners keep little bottoms dry

Aplix, Velcro, Hook & Loop: 

Commonly known as Velcro, but as Velcro is a branded version it’s not always the term used.  This is the fastening used to close the front of the nappy. An example is Tots Bots Easyfit StarGrovia Hybrid Nappies

Tots Bots reusable nappy with aplix closure

Snaps, Poppers: 

Snaps are like little plastic buttons which are used to close the nappy, adjust the size of a nappy and sometimes stick different parts together.

Petit Lulu reusable nappy with popper closure.
Snaps are often used to hold boosters in place inside an outer wrap.

B2P, Birth to Potty:

Nappies that adjust in size from birth to potty training. Examples are Totsbots Easyfit StarBamboozle, Close Pop-in nappyPetit Lulu and Baba and Boo.

Newborn Nappies

Some people say that they’re going to use disposables for the first few weeks and then switch to resuables, but we say “cloth from day 1″! Where as one size nappies are great for use from birth to potty, they can sometimes be a little big for newborn babies. Newborn Cloth nappies are great size for babies from 5lb to 12lbs (or 18lbs for Baba and Boo).

Examples of these nappies are Baba and Boo Newborn, Close Pop-in newbornGroVia Newborn, Totsbots Teenyfit and Petit Lulu.

Close Pop-in newborn nappies – so tiny! Image credit Emma Jones

If there is another cloth nappy jargon term or abbreviation you hear and are not sure, just ask! Our friendly Customer Service team are on hand to help with any questions you may have about all things reusable nappy related.

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7 Responses

  1. November 6, 2016

    […] Not all nappies require wraps, some nappies have a waterproof layer built into the nappy. Do make sure that you read the instructions on the nappies before using to make sure you have all the required parts as wraps are typically sold separately. For further info please read our beginner’s guide and jargon buster […]

  2. April 23, 2018

    […] Some nappies are ‘all in one’ which means that the inner absorbent layer is attached to the waterproof outer. Others are purely absorbent material such as a Tots Bots Bamboozle and will therefore need a protective waterproof layer to prevent wee from leaking out. For lots of  info please read our Guide to Cloth Nappy Jargon. […]

  3. April 23, 2018

    […] We recommend trying a few different cloth nappies, each have their own benefits which suit your little one and family.  How you are able to wash and dry your nappies may also play a part in your choice as drying time does vary. If you are unsure about different nappy styles, you can read about them in our Guide to Cloth Nappy Jargon. […]

  4. April 23, 2018

    […] First of all if you are new to cloth nappies you will need to prep them well before using for the first time.  All this means is washing your nappies a few times before putting them on your baby.  Manufacturing residues will prevent the nappies from absorbing effectively, and fabrics which contain Bamboo or Hemp may need around 6 washes or more before they become fully absorbent. Also, if you’re a newbie cloth user, it’s worth noting that all nappies will leak when they are full. It is important that you change a nappy regularly or add extra boosters / inserts for extra absorbency.  On average, a Polyester, Microfibre or Minkee cloth nappy should last around 2-3 hours before it needs changing.  An Organic Cotton or Bamboo nappy should last around 3.5 hours.  Using boosters (especially those made from Bamboo) will give you more time between nappy changes and bamboo nappies with bamboo boosters will make a super thirsty night time nappy. If you are new to cloth and some of these terms are a little confusing, you may want to check out our Guide to Cloth Nappy Jargon. […]

  5. February 19, 2019

    […] community and products very intimidating. There are literally hundreds of options, there’s lots of jargon and abbreviations (AIO, AI2, pockets, two parts) and then’s the price. I signed up for a website that promised […]

  6. March 27, 2019

    […] cloth nappies.  Reusable nappies are brought to the mainstream, with support for those just starting out, advice, and the much anticipated Real Nappy Week offers and […]

  7. September 23, 2019

    […] of nappies (from two parters to all-in-ones and all-in-twos, find out more about cloth nappy jargon HERE). This will give you a good idea of what is involved with using cloth nappies and if there is a […]

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