How to Fold a Standard Flat Rectangular Adult Diaper to be a "Super-Soaker" Overnight Diaper for an AB

The best techniques for folding flat diapers for small babies are an arcane and cultural survival art usually taught by a mother to her daughter(s). With square piece of diaper fabric, there are a number of ways to fold diapers to provide a better fit than the simple "up between the legs and pin the sides" of a rectangular diaper. If the baby’s bottom looses a massive cannonade of poop, the simple rectangular fold type is likely to allow a huge mess to leak from the leg openings. The manufacturers of disposables know this and have implemented elastic inner barriers or walls to keep the mess contained within the back of the diaper.

For traveling, nothing beats a good, highly absorbent disposable diaper, either on little babies or big babies. But disposables have their drawbacks as well. Most really absorbent disposables for adults like Molycare Ultras do not come up high enough on the back and waist to provide complete protection for bedding and clothing if the baby is lying down. Attends come up higher on the bottom and waist, but they are not absorbent enough for overnight use on an adult baby who is a heavy wetter. (Remember, it is not all that unusual for a large adult baby boy to void 1500 ml [ 1 & 1/2 quarts] of pee-pee during the night!) Moreover, disposable diapers tend to be noisy as well as expensive. They promote heavy perspiration and can cause rashes even when the diaper has merely been worn and not filled with pee or poop. For twenty-four hour a day, seven-day a week protection, cloth diapers are the best solution. They are:

If you don't have the time, energy, and a washer and dryer (or clothesline), then consider using a diaper service. A number of studies have proven using diaper services are save money over using disposables if the time (as labor) to wash them is not factored into the overall cost.

Cloth diapers come in a number of types and varieties; contour diapers are available in shapes like hourglasses to fully fitted briefs with waterproof plastic covers with nursery prints and velcro fasteners. Prefolds are also available in either the hourglass shape or in the standard rectangle. Commercial "heavy" cloth diapers of any sort usually have either a sponge or a terrycloth "soaker" to improve their absorbency. Unfortunately, soakers like these make diapers very difficult to clean and sterilize properly to prevent bacterial or yeast infections. Moreover, they raise the cost of the diaper exponentially.

Laundering techniques must match the type of soaker, or merely washing and drying them will damage them to the point of uselessness. Most cannot be bleached with any variety of bleach including borax and if vinyl covered, they cannot be dried on a clothesline as the ultraviolet radiation from the Sun evaporates the plastisizer in the vinyl causing them to harden and crack.

A contour diaper sufficient to handle a few dribbles from an AB while he’s at work cannot be adjusted to handle the volume of pee that may be loosed by an adult bladder overnight. Simply doubling (or tripling) a rectangular diaper usually causes standard diaper pins to spring open during the night if the baby wriggles or turns over in his sleep. Also, the doubled or tripled fabric still allows leakage from the bottom through the leg openings and has a tendency to "bunch" up between his legs and may painfully "strangle" your baby boy’s testes. At best, the bunched fabric will make him walk like a toddler (which he may enjoy) who has not mastered walking, but the potential for creating "dirty messes" around the house is rather too high to allow your big baby to toddle around without full protection.

This is a (fully tested) flat rectangular diapering technique from my files that insures a tight and comfortable fit and puts the padding where it needs to be as well as forming a "cup" fore and aft, i.e., to "catch" any "accidents" your baby boy has. Further, this technique uses two (or three) standard, inexpensive, flat rectangular adult diapers without sponge or terrycloth "soakers" that make other diapers so difficult to launder and disinfect.

Folding Flat Diapers for Heavy Adult Wetters

Note: Credit goes to the "Tri-State Incontinence Support Group" for the original idea and drawings.

Lay out a rectangular flat adult diaper on the changing area (see figure 1).

Next, using a tri-fold method, fold a second flat diaper into a narrow rectangular piece to be placed in the center of the first diaper lengthways and used as "soaker" (see figure 2).

Lift the "baby’s" legs and push them back until his knees almost touch his chest. Slip the pair of diapers under his bottom bringing the soaker straight up through the crotch and twist the front edge of the bottom diaper 180 degrees (a full half-turn) between his legs before bringing it forward to pin. (see figures 3 and 4)


The twist produces a narrowing at the bottom of the outside diaper between the legs that minimizes "bunching" and causes the fabric of the front and back halves of the diaper to "cup" themselves against the baby’s pubes and bottom (see figure 5).


If the baby is an extremely heavy nightime wetter, or your baby has diarrhea, the outside diaper can be doubled for additional absorbency. During the day, if your baby is a light "dribbler", the "soaker" may be omitted to make the diaper lighter and cooler to prevent heat rash and allergy rashes to his own perspiration. During the night, the "soaker" also protects against inner leg chafing by the center twist as your baby lays on his side.

Cover the diaper with a good pair of "wet-proof" plastic pants like Comco® (their waterproof vinyl pants have a 1" elastic waistband and 1/2" elastic leg bands to prevent leaking) or a well-fitting diaper cover and your big baby is ready for a good night’s sleep!

Note: Don’t be angry with your baby if a little pee-pee seeps out beneath his plastic pants during the night. It’s normal for the back and leg openings of the best diapers and waterproof covers to leak a little bit. With heavy wetters, all a mother can rationally expect is to contain the most of the flood. If the diaper and plastic pants contain all of baby’s poopies and 90% of a heavy wetter’s pee-pee, they’ve done their job! Cotton onesies (also known as French Rompers) can help absorb (very) minor leaks as well as allowing your baby to feel cozy without using a comforter (which will have to be washed if it gets wet).

Be a smart mommy and protect your valuable bed mattress with a waterproof mattress cover! Use cotton, not flannel sheets on baby’s bed and forget about baby’s fantasies of having his crib sheet underlined with imported Australian woolly sheepskins to keep him warm in the winter and cool in the summer! Waterproof sheets can be used, but frankly, they are more trouble than they’re worth. Waterproof sheets require special laundering techniques. Just use an effective waterproof mattress cover and wash the cotton sheets when (not if) they get wet. Put a onsie on the baby and forget the comforter unless it is a very cold night. A wet sheet, onsie and diaper are less trouble to launder than a combination of wet sheets, mattress, clothes, diapers and a comforter.