Is Diaper Free Time Necessary? (And How To Do It Mess-Free)

I have a confession to make – I have never done diaper free time on my baby. 

Nobody told me about it and I only heard it from friends 2 YEARS after I gave birth. And it was mentioned in passing!

My kid also never had a diaper rash, not even once or even slightly (because of these diaper prevention tips!) so I never really bothered with diaper-free time.

So if I’ve never done it and my baby was okay, is it okay not to do it then, you might ask?

But first, what exactly do I mean by diaper-free time?

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What Is Diaper Free Time?

Just as the name suggests, it’s the practice of letting your baby go naked, without wearing any diapers, for a set amount of time or prolonged periods.

For some parents, they make their kids go entirely naked – no shirt whatsoever.

For some, they let their babies wear a light shirt or tank top, basically doing diaper free time half-naked.

So Is Diaper Free Time Necessary?

It depends.

I’ve read a situation in a popular parenting forum where their baby cries uncontrollably every time they do diaper free time. So they’ve stopped doing diaper free time.

If you have single-handedly takes care of multiple kids, pets and your baby doesn’t have a diaper rash, I don’t think you need to bother with diaper free time.

BUT there is a lot of merit in doing it.

It lets your baby’s diaper area breathe, it’s particularly helpful and necessary for babies prone to diaper rashes and those practicing Elimination Communication.

There are also a whole lot more reasons to do diaper free time, which you’ll find below.

Benefits of Nappy Free time

  • Fewer diapers to spend on

Imagine the savings you can get if your baby can use fewer diapers and finally get rid of them!

One of the best remedies for diaper rash

Doing nappy-free time is also a top diaper rash prevention tip.

  • Less skin irritation to deal with

Some babies just find it annoying to wear diapers.

Possible early potty training advantage

This is mostly for those practicing elimination communication at an early age.

But going diaper-free time can also help to look for potty cues and early potty training.

  • More freedom of movement for your baby

Less restriction in your little one’s movements.

  • Helps the environment 

Bamboo diapers can apparently decompose in 75 days, making them super earth-friendly. But for others, it can be longer than that.

How To Do Diaper Free Time: Step-By-Step Guide

Here’s a step-by-step guide and tips on how to practice some diaper free time for your baby

Buy waterproof pee pads

Some parents mentioned using puppy pee pads but whatever works, just make sure to get a lot of it.

Reusable pee pads can be easily washed in the machine washing, so you don’t need to keep buying them.

But you can also opt for disposable pee pads.

Grab 2 blankets 

These will act as a cushion for your baby to lie on and as extra protection, to catch your baby’s pee/ poop.

Use those that you don’t really use or like but are still comfy for your baby to hang out on.

So through old blankets, unused swaddle blankets/ muslin cloth/ burp blankets, and basically anything that you don’t really mind getting dirty.

Get some baby wipes and container

Expect the unexpected. 

Your baby might pee or poop in the middle of their nappy free time so always be prepared to clean up.

Remember to also bring some small grocery bags or puppy bags to throw in the wipes.

Take some toys

Make diaper free time fun and engaging for your baby.

So it can further distract them if they hate doing diaper free time.

Toys can also help in making your baby stay in one place, instead of crawling all over, making it easy to deal with messes.

So prepare some “easy-to-clean” toys too.

Find a spot

Choose a spot where you can lay down your little one comfortably for some naked baby time.

It can be in the nursery room, the living room, on the diaper changing table, the bathroom, or even the kitchen, while you do your chores!

Just make sure to always supervise them.

Prep the area

Clean the area first then put down the waterproof pee pad.

Then stack the 2 blankets on top.

Add in the toys and let your baby go diaper free!

Have a laundry process

Have a separate basket for your baby’s dirty diaper free time towels.

This will make it easier for you to identify which is which and to fold and keep them away from your everyday towels.

Tips To Make Nappy Free time More Manageable

Here are some ways to make diaper free time less of a cleaning stress for you:

  • Get a washable rug

If ever your baby gets some diaper blowouts on it, at least it will be easy to clean. 

Related Article: The Best Diapers to Prevent Blowouts [Budget and Premium]

Just toss it in the washing machine and you can use it again!

This is also best to use if you want to protect your carpet during nappy free time.

  • Use pee pad alternatives

Aside from using reusable or disposable waterproof pee pads to catch those “accidents”, some parents also mentioned using a shower curtain liner, a trash bag, or a puppy pee pad.

  • Use a flattened cloth diaper

This is brilliant if you don’t want to use any blankets for your baby to lay on and you want a quicker, easier way to clean up any mess!

  • Do diaper-free naps

Some parents have done this and it apparently works for them.

They just prep the crib with extra sheets and extra mattress protectors and let their babies take a nap, naked.

Then they make sure to keep an eye on them using a baby monitor.

So if ever their babies pee or poop while napping, they can quickly act on it!

How To Diaper Free Time With a Mobile Baby

If you have a baby who’s constantly on the move and you’re stressed about the mess they’ll cause during their nappy free time, here’s what you can do:

  • Contain them

You can let them do diaper free time in the bathtub (with a non-slip mat), pack n-play or crib, or put up a baby gate!

Just set a lot of pee pads to catch any accidents. Tape those pee pads on the floor to secure them.

Remember to throw in some “easy-to-clean” toys, to further distract them. 

Especially if they’re getting interested in chewing the pee pads or rearranging them.

  • Use a lightweight swaddle

If you don’t want them to go completely naked but you still want to air out their diaper area, then tie them up and make them wear an oversized lightweight swaddle like a diaper.

Any mess they’ll do will at least be contained in it, plus it’s loose enough to make things breathable.

Just try to do this after your baby has pooped.

  • Use a hand fan

If you’re in a hurry and you want to quickly dry off your baby’s butt before applying some diaper rash or ointment, use a hand fan!

Your babies will find that fun and will probably help you out air them in the process.

When Is The Best Time to Go Diaper Free?

Here’s the best tip I’ve ever read on a parenting group on when to do diaper free time – do it before bath time!

This makes sense as diaper free babies are notorious for soiling themselves frequently. You’ll be doing diaper free time and you’ll find yourself wiping and cleaning after your baby every 5 minutes or so.

Worse is when they are more mobile! Crawling, cruising – how to contain all that mess!

Well, you can if you do it in the bathroom.

You can plonk your baby on the floor, with a rug or old towel, and do some good ole’ tummy time.

Or let your active toddler play in the tub with a non-slip mat. And bring some “easy-to-clean toys.” Emphasize on the “easy-to-clean.”

If ever they make a mess, you can just easily bathe them after!

If you don’t want to wait and do diaper free time in the bathroom, you can also just do it every diaper change.

But this is more doable for younger babies, not really the ones that will crawl and explore and probably pee or poop all the place.

What Is The Best Age For Diaper Free Time? 

There’s no “best age” for doing nappy free time.

You can do it with any baby – newborns, crawling babies, and toddlers.

Just do it when you’re ready and you’ve got all your diaper free time paraphernalia in hand.

FAQ: Nappy Free Time

When do babies stop wearing diapers?

Babies can stop wearing diapers when (1) they decide to and or when (2) their parents decide to make them.

Your baby can remove the diapers on their own, forcing you to come up with ways on how to toilet train them at an early age.

Some families practice elimination communication for newborns, so as early as that age, their little ones won’t need to wear diapers for the most part.

Others opt to wait until their kids are of the usual toilet-trained age.

How long should I leave my baby diaper free?

You can leave your baby diaper free for 5 to 10 minutes or more, once per day.

Some parents do it for 30 minutes to an hour a day.

Some do it during naptime, which can last for more than an hour!

While some do it every diaper change, for a few minutes.

How often should you do nappy free time?

You can do nappy free time as often or as little as you want.

There are no hard-and-fast rules about it, so do what best suits your situation.

How many hours should a child wear a diaper?

There are no set hours or amount of time required for a child to wear a diaper.

It’s a case-to-case basis as some might need to go diaper free for prolonged periods because of a diaper rash, while some

Is it OK to keep a baby in a diaper all the time?

Yes, it’s perfectly OK to keep a baby in a diaper all the time.

Case in point, I’ve never heard of diaper free time when I was a new mom so I’ve never done it. And my baby never got a diaper rash, ever, even a mild one!

Final Thoughts: Is Diaper Free Time Necessary?

If diaper free time is helping your baby with their diaper rash but it’s stressing you out AF because of the mess, try managing your expectations.

Just expect it.

Expect them to make a mess, for your baby boy to pee on the wall, for your baby girl to dip their fingers in their poop.

Just brace yourself and expect it.

It will make things mentally and emotionally easier to handle if you have already expected the monumental mess your little ones will make while doing their diaper free time.