cloth nappy glossary, tots bots real nappies

Nappy Glossary

Here is a glossary of terms to get you through the confusing world of real nappies.  Have a read and if there are any more terms you are unsure about, let me know! 


AIO / All in One


An all in one nappy is everything you need, all in one! So this nappy wont need any extra bits to make it work, everything is generally sewn together, so you can’t separate parts for drying or between nappy changes for example.


AI2 / All in Two / Two Parters


Two part nappies are nappies that divide into separate parts. This means that you can often change the absorbent part of the nappy and keep using the wrap for more nappy changes.  It can be useful for drying too.




Bamboo fibres are used in lots of nappies and boosters.  It is very absorbent but quite slow to dry.




A booster is a pad that can be placed inside a nappy to increase the absorbency.


BTP / Birth to Potty


This means that a nappy is designed to be worn from around six to eight weeks, all the way up to potty training.  Generally speaking these would fit from around 10lb – 35lb


Dry Pailing


Dry pailing is a way of storing your nappies between washes, without any soaking solution.  Most people dry pail their nappies between washes, as soaking is not often recommended.




Hemp is a natural fibre, it is very absorbent, durable and sustainable to grow.


Fitted Nappy


Fitted nappies are shaped to fit the body and often have Velcro or poppers to fasten with.  They require no folding but will need a waterproof cover over the top.


Flat Nappy


Flat nappies are flat pieces of fabric that require folding to make into a nappy shape. They need something to fasten with like a Nappi Nippa (see below).




Inserts are pieces of fabric of varying thickness and materials that are stuffed inside a nappy to create the absorbency.  They can be made of cotton, hemp, bamboo, microfiber, charcoal bamboo or any other absorbent material you can think of.




Liners are not to be confused with boosters or inserts. These act as an optional extra layer in the nappy to help wick moisture away from the skin, make dealing with poo easier, and protect the nappy from stains.  They can be made from paper (disposable), fleece or silk. Fleece is great because it helps wick moisture better than paper and it can be reused.  It will also protect your nappy from stains. Many paper liners will say they are flushable but it is not always a good idea to flush them.  If your baby is allergic to fleece then silk is a great natural alternative.




Microfibre is a synthetic material used in boosters and fitted nappies.  It is absorbent and fast to dry but is more likely to suffer with compression leaks than some other materials.  You shouldn’t place microfiber directly against the skin as it can cause irritation.  It is best to air dry microfiber nappies if you can.


Nappi Nippa


A Nappi Nippa (or Snappi), is a plastic fastening that can be used to secure nappies.  It has little teeth that grip onto the fabric and hold everything in place.


OS / OSFM / One Size Nappies / One Size Fits Most


One size nappies are just another name for birth to potty nappies that are designed to fit from the early weeks right up to potty training.


Pocket Nappies


Pocket nappies are like an all in one in that the whole nappy has to be changed every time.  They have a pocket which you stuff inserts inside to provide absorbency. They come apart fully to make drying easier which also means you can swap and change what you stuff them with. They are generally very easy to use and popular option.




Prefolds are flat nappies that have varying layers of absorbency sewn in.  They can be folded multiple ways to create a nappy and fastened with a Nappi Nippa.  They can be sized or one size. 




PUL stands for Polyurethane Laminate, a water resistant layer that is applied to the outer nappy fabric to keep the moisture in.  PUL can be damaged through direct heat or too much tumble-drying.




A soaker is generally a pull up pant that acts as a wrap.  Some manufacturers also use the term to refer to inserts and the absorbent parts of a nappy (just to be confusing!)


Wet Bag


A wet bag is a storage bag used for holding wet and dirty nappies until wash day. They come in a variety of sizes for use at home or on the go and are generally made with water resistant PUL.




The wrap is a water resistant cover that can go over an absorbent nappy to make it water resistant.  It can be made with PUL, wool, or fleece, and can be a pull up style or have Velcro or poppers as fastenings.



Can you think of anything else that should be in the glossary that would be helpful?  Let me know below!!



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