I see that many people and businesses claim that one-size diapers will last from birth to potty training. Is that really true? I'm not so sure. I think it is remotely possible, but only in some circumstances. (So be wary of wear-issues if you purchase second hand diapering items.) I think no matter what you purchase, full-time cloth diaper users might need to replace their diapers at some point, possibly around the 1 year mark. Sometimes after only 6-8 months of hard use if you are really hard on them by using strong chemical soaks often or doing other extreme things ot them. I think that the typical longevity of cloth diapering items seems to be somewhere between 10 months and 20 months of full time use with variation. It's a good long time but it's not forever. Once in a while someone tells me that their prefolds on on their 3rd kid (or even 5th kid!), but while it can happen, I don't think that is very common and I make no such promises. I do know that longevity varies a lot. They go through hundreds of wash cycles and they will eventually break down and wear out, at some point. Diamonds are forever, but diapering items are not.
I think that most people using cloth diapers full time with 24 or so diapers will wear out their diapers before baby trains. If you own 48 diapers in rotation, they will last twice as long as only 24 diapers in rotation because they are used half as much. This makes sense because you have twice as many diapers. So numbers (stash size) matter! How long diapers last depends on so many different variables that it is difficult to really even say that (even though I did anyhow. I know I'm out on a limb here, and many will disagree with this, but this has been my experience in diapering my 3 babies and feedback from customers since I began this business in 1998.) Also how to define when a diaper is worn out varies also. Some people will say a diaper is worn out when it begins to show wear, others will use it until it is threadbare and say it's fine. Everything varies!
So if diapers might wear out in less than 2.5 years, does having a one-size diaper (or cover) make any sense? Yes, it still can make good sense. Especially when you have 2 in diapers. The older baby and the new baby can both fit the same diapers! That's convenient! Also, babies grow so fast that having one-size diapers is great because they fit for a long time without getting outgrown.
Multiple sized diapers (called true-size) vs. one-size diapers:
Multiple sized diapers usually fit better, but that depends on baby's shape also, so that varies. One size diapers can be too big on a young baby and too small on a toddler in some cases. But that varies, too!
One thing is for sure -- it is very hard to pick out what to buy! But using the diapers is easy, so once you buy whatever diapers you end up choosing, they work great and you won't think about it so much. It will become second nature to change the diapers just like when you put on your own socks. They are socks, you put them on, they work and that's it. Likewise, diapers are diapers, you put them on baby, they work, and that's it. Well, not quite. The diapers are really cute, and soft and adorable, too!
Like your socks eventually get holes in them, so will any kind of diaper over a long time. But don't worry, you will get good, long use out of any diaper you choose. Babies grow fast! Small sizes sometimes last through many children, especially if the diaper doesn't have elastic, such as a prefold, because elastics age with time and heat. Exposure to UV rays can also break down elastics and fibers (sunbleaching is great, just don't overdo it.) Babies outgrow little sizes quickly. That is probably the biggest advantage of a one-size. You know from the time baby is big enough to fit it nicely (12ish pounds), you can be confident that it will keep fitting as baby grows really fast during the first year and beyond. Whereas with sized fitteds, baby can literally grow overnight and suddenly nothing fits. One-sized fitteds and covers keep on fitting.
Have realistic expectations of your diapers and covers. They last well, but not forever. Don't be "wow-ed" by unrealistic claims.
Complete washing instructions/suggestions are included in the 16 page How-To Booklet that is available with your order. It is free but in order to receive it you will need to add it to the cart. It will help you maximize the life of your diapering products while still getting them clean so baby stays rash-free.