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Pull-Ups VS Diapers: Are They the Same?

Us parents and carers can agree on one thing. Buying diapers it’s a bit more confusing than it seems. All the different brands, all the different sizes, all the different styles, etc.

Whether you’re at the local shop aisle, looking through amazon or reading a baby blog you’re soon or later going to hear the word pull-ups. Normally you hear about them while navigating diapers and then ask yourself what they are. 

The first thing to have in mind is that although similar looking and they both help contain baby’s pee and poo diaper and pull-ups are not the same, for instance, pull-ups tend to be used by older babies/toddlers. 

Let’s learn what’s the difference between these two and why one of them tends to be used for infants in toddlerhood. 

Are Diapers and Pull-Ups the Same?

No. When looking for diapers you will probably find pull-ups next to them, after all, pull-ups do help contain anything that might come from our babies’ bodies.

But despite this similarity, they’re not exactly the same as diapers. Pull-ups are training pants, training pants are basically baby’s underwear designed for potty training. That’s why pull-ups tend to be worn by toddlers rather than smaller babies. 

At first sight, diapers and pull-ups might look similar in appearance. But there’s another big difference.

Diapers with a pull-up style are more like common underwear and they’re designed in such a way for little ones to be able to pull them on and off.

Hence, where their name comes from. One of the advantages of pull-ups is that children can take them off easier which helps their potty-training improvement and leads to fewer accidents.

There are pull-ups that have the same adhesive strip that diapers have, Others can simply be pulled up and down and there are others that resemble swim diapers the most and have tear-away sides. 

Just like diapers, pull-ups can be disposable while there are some others available in cloth.

We have put together a comparison table for you to see their similarities and differences and help you make the decision of what to buy.

  Pull-ups Diapers
Designed for babies  
Designed for toddlers
Available in cloth 
Can be found in disposable
Easy for infants to take on and off  
Recommended for potty training  

Note: There’s something else that you must have in mind. The name pull-ups is branded by Huggies for this specific type of potty training underwear.

However, many people tend to generally use the name pull-ups for potty training diapers. Aside from knowing them as potty training diapers, you’re also going to find them under other names.

Huggies competitor Pampers calls this type of baby underwear easy ups, you might also see other people calling them “training pants” or “training diapers.” Because it can be confusing we recommend that you whether it is online or in person to carefully read the instructions to make sure you’re buying the product you need. 

Popular and Known Efficient Brands That You Can Try

Link to Amazon Below:

Pull-Ups Learning Designs for Girls Potty Training Pants

Available in sizes 12-24 M, 2T-3T, 3T-4T, and 4T-5T. (Packaging May Vary depending on the size you buy)

Pull-Ups Learning Designs Potty Training Pants for Boys

Available in sizes 12-24M, 2T-3T, 3T-4T and 4T-5T. (Packaging May Vary depending on the size you buy)

Pampers Easy Ups Pull On Disposable Potty Training Underwear for Girls

Available in sizes 4, 5 and 6. 

Pampers Easy Ups Pull On Disposable Potty Training Underwear for Boys

Available in sizes  2T-3T, 3T-4T and 4T-5T. 

Honest Training Pants, Animal Abcs

Available in size 2T-3T, 3T-4T and 4T- 5T.

Are Pull-Ups as Absorbent as Diapers?

It’s natural to be asking yourself this question as it is one of the most common questions when getting familiar with pull-ups. 

Pull-ups not only are functionally similar to diapers; they’re also made by the same absorbing materials that help prevent leaking. So the answer is yes, pull-ups are as absorbent as diapers. 

There are some people that even claim that pull-ups are more absorbent than diapers because they’re designed for toddlers instead of little babies.

Other people claim that diapers are better and more secure in their design in order to prevent leaking.

These, however, are personal opinions which of course everybody has so one person might say one thing while another person thinks the opposite.

It’s important to have in mind that products can be different depending on which brand you’re using.

So when you decide to use a specific product, check the different brands and see which one would suit you the most. It’s also okay, to use a product by different brands. Try whatever you think it’s best for you and your baby.

Most parents are already familiar with diapers and different diaper brands but have no idea of brands that have potty training underwear. 

Check: Do Diapers Expire?


When Should I Use Pull-Ups Instead of Diapers?

You don’t really have to replace diapers for pull-ups if you don’t want to. However, if you do intend for your child to wear pull-ups you can start doing so once you intend to train your child to go to the potty.

The smallest size available in pull-ups is usually size 12M-24M although there are some brands that normally start offering pull-ups from 24M on/size 2T on.

The reason why it’s because most children start or are definitely trying potty training at this age.

Some people prefer for their children to use pull-ups at 2-3 years old because they consider them to be now toddlers and they understand things better. 

There are parents who decide to go for pull-ups while their child is being supervised in case there are any accidents.

Some parents decide to use the pull-ups during the day but opt for a diaper at night, particularly when the child is younger than 3 years old. Parents of older toddlers or toddlers who seem to be doing well with their potty training opt for pull-ups during night time. 

Can You Use Pull-Ups as Diapers?

It is possible to use pull-ups instead of diapers if you decide it’s what you want to do. However, using pull-ups as diapers for little babies or infants under 12 months old is very rare and it’s not really recommendable. 

The reason why you don’t see young babies using pull-ups as diapers it’s because brands don’t tend to offer pull-ups until the baby is at least a year old, some brands don’t even offer pull-ups for infants below size 2T.

The reason why it’s because pull-ups are meant to help with the process of going to the bathroom which normally doesn’t start until babies are older than 12 months of age.

Normally parents who decide to buy pull-ups or any type of potty training underwear for the children tend to do so around 24 months of age (2 years old). 

Pull-ups tend to be more popular among older toddlers because they’re a diaper alternative that parents believe it’s more appropriate as kids grow and become more independent or spend more time away from home. 

Pull-ups are used as a transition between diapers and underwear.

Some parents feel confident in sending their children to kindergarten or school with pull-ups because the children would need less help going to the toilet but would still have that extra protection regular underwear doesn’t have when a child has an accident and there’s some leaking. 

Babies under the age of 12 months of age don’t really need pull-ups, they are perfectly fine with diapers, and in fact, diapers are the best option for them because it holds tight to their bodies and babies that age aren’t ready to take themselves to the toilet.

Babies will start taking their first steps at around 8-12 months of age and will perfect their walking at around 14-16 months, if you decide to get pull-ups for your baby it’s better to do so once they are more confident with their walking and with their grabbing. 

If your baby is too wriggly or tends to poop or pee a lot during the night you might want to use a diaper because diapers have that extra security around the waist. 

We recommend you to use diapers through the night until your baby is at least familiar with potty training and it’s more confident and used to pull-ups. Try to introduce pull-ups during day time and once there’s a positive response you can use them at night as well. 

Are Pull-Ups Good For Nighttime?

Pull-ups are good and they certainly help with their function.

They can be used at night. Although it is important to know something. Diapers through the night might be the most sensible choice for babies and young toddlers because this will provide total security.

Babies and younger toddlers are still a bit young to be able to wake themselves up and go to the potty on their own, even though pull-ups can be easy to manipulate little ones can get confused by all the things they need to do.

However, for children that are more used to pull-ups or seem to be getting the grip of them wearing pull-ups to the night is totally fine and ideal. As previously mentioned pull-ups are as absorbent as diapers since they’re made from the same materials. 

Pull-ups at night can also be a good idea for children who have just recently started wearing regular underwear through the day but parents want extra security at night. 

Also, pull-ups can be a very good idea for children who are already using two set pajamas to bed. As both the pants and the pull-ups are easy for them to manipulate.

Are Pull-Ups More Expensive Than Diapers?

You might think that pull-ups/potty training underwear will be way more expensive than regular diapers but the truth is that their price difference is not that big.

The difference between regular diapers and potty training pants tends to be a few cents in some cases the difference is not even a dollar extra.

So trying to choose which one to buy between diapers and pull-ups because of their price is not that significant.

Try to think about which one of the two your kid would feel comfortable using and which one would help them more with their process or any other things you want to consider. 

Now, you might see a bit of a difference in price between some pull-ups.

This difference might be due to the brands, as you know there are some brands more expensive than others, for example, eco-friendly brands tend to be a bit more high-cost.


When is it a good time to start potty training a child?

Normally parents begin potty training their children at around 12 months old-24 months old. It’s recommendable to start sooner to get the child used to potty training.

However, most children don’t master potty training until 3-4.5 years of age, in case it might take longer for some children to completely adapt, that’s why potty training underwear/pull-ups are handy in order to prevent accidents.

Should I worry if it takes my child some time to be potty trained?

Children’s milestones can be very weird because they can be totally different from one child to another. Potty training isn’t perfect.

Sometimes you’re going to have a few accidents here and there and sometimes your child will experience regression. Do not panic if this happens! Keep working on it. It’s all about continuity.

However, it’s important to have in mind that potty training is a natural development that will eventually happen when their bodies are ready. 

When to stop using pull-ups?

Children normally stop using pull-ups at some point between 3-5 years. Some parents decide to go off the pull-ups once their kid has mastered potty training, others once their kid is comfortable with regular underwear.

While some parents decide to train their kids to use underwear before they completely master potty training. It’s a personal decision. 

Monica Lawrence

I’m Monica, a single mother who’s raising two beautiful angels. Here, I share helpful and creative articles and how-to’s for all the busy, multitasking moms.