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Pull Ups vs Diapers: Whats The Difference?

Pull-ups vs diapers is a tricky one. Many parents prefer pull-ups for their convenience and they often think that they are the next logical step in their little one’s potty training journey. But this is not necessarily the reality.

The term Pull-ups is branded by Huggies and is not a technical term for this style of diaper even though most people use it as a blanket term.

Pampers use the term ‘easy up pants’ and The Honest Company calls them ‘training pants’ but whatever term you use they are all very similar in design and function.

We are going to have a look at the differences between pull-ups and diapers along with checking out a few of the top ones in each category as well as their pros and cons.

To Save Time – Here Are The Products We Reviewed

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Main Differences Between Pull-Ups vs Diapers

Diapers vs pull-ups you would think that there are very few if any differences between these two. But actually, there are some differences that may seem small but that will make a huge difference to your expectation and experience.


Pull-ups tend to have less padding and fit more closely to the body just like underwear does. 


This is the biggest difference between the two, while diapers have the traditional adhesive strips enabling them to be adjusted to fit snugly and making them easy to remove.

While pull-ups do not have these strips as they are meant to be taken up and down like regular underwear. It provides the practice that toddlers need for potty training.


Although there is no reason that pull-ups are not as absorbent as diapers there is a consensus amongst parents that they are just not as absorbent as diapers.

Which Is Better In Certain Situations?

Pull-ups were always marketed towards the needs of children who were at the age when they were ready to be potty trained but in recent times they have become available in much smaller sizes.

This means that they are available for babies of a much younger age. Pampers nappy pants for example start at a size 3, which equates to babies who weigh between 15 – 28 pounds and are on average around 7-12 months old.

This is not the age when you will be looking to potty train.

Nearly Dry All Night

If your little one is toilet trained during the day and is almost there most nights, this is a great opportunity to use pull-ups, and if they are removed carefully the next day and are there is a good chance that you can reuse them for the next night.

This will save you a little money and still allow your potty training toddler to feel like a big kid.

Pros And Cons of Cloth Diapers Vs Disposable Baby Diapers

Under One Year Old

Personally, I don’t think that pull-ups are ideal at this age, they are a pain to change and are far too easy for an over-excited toddler to pull down.

That is the last thing you want if there is more than a little pee in there. For this circumstance, a diaper is going to be far more appropriate.

Showing Signs of Potty Training

Once your little one is showing any signs of wanting to potty train but maybe you are not prepared to be dealing with a lot of accidents. Then pull-ups give you the best of both worlds.

They allow your little one to feel like a grown-up and begin to understand the process of using the potty while limiting accidents and also messes.

Pull-up Reviews

Pampers Easy Ups Training Pants

Pampers Easy Ups Training Pants Boys and Girls, Size 6 (4T-5T), 104 Count


  • Fit – These pants come with a 360-degree stretchy waistband for a better fit that is easy to pull up and down
  • Absorbancy – They come with extra absorbency channels to protect against leaks. They also come with dual leak guard barriers to stop leaking where it happens most – around the legs.
  • Fastening – Pampers easy up pants have easy tear sides which are designed to make it super easy for your little one to pull them up and down.
  • Material – They are made from a super soft material so feel like cotton underwear against your little one’s skin.


  • They come with some great designs that children love.
  • Easy to remove with the tear-away panels
  • They are soft and pliable so provide plenty of freedom of movement.
  • Stood up to the 12-hour absorbency test with no leaks.


  • No biodegradable properties
  • On the expensive side
  • potential for messy accidents as can easily be pulled down by a toddler after having a poo.
Buy on Amazon


Bambo Nature Eco-Friendly Training Pants

Bambo Nature Eco Friendly Baby Training Pants Classic for Sensitive Skin, Size 6 (40+ lbs), 18 Count


  • Fit – They have a body fit that mimics normal underwear and so gives children plenty of freedom of movement.
  • Absorbency – Designed with a super-absorbent core and they also have the channels that lead moisture away from the baby’s skin.
  • Fastening – Bambo Nature comes with easy rip sides so they are easy to remove when needed.
  • Material – These training pants are hypoallergenic, eco-friendly, and certified free from harmful chemicals. 


  • More environmentally friendly than other leading brands
  • Slim fit so feels more like underwear.
  • Absorbent with no leaks
  • Many reviews stating have been used throughout the night with no leaks.


  • Bambo is expensive compared to other leading brands
  • Designs are very low key – no characters as other leading brands use.
  • The sides do rip quire easily which can mean having to throw away an unused pant.
Buy on Amazon


Diaper Reviews

Pampers Baby Dry Diapers

Diapers Size 3, 210 Count - Pampers Baby Dry Disposable Baby Diapers, ONE MONTH SUPPLY

Features Of Pampers Baby Dry

  • Fit – These come with an elasticated waistband and around the legs so they provide a really snug fit.
  • Absorbency – Pampers is able to provide 12 hours of overnight dryness without leaks. They come with a wetness indicator that shows when the diaper is wet, although this is only available on sizes 1 and 2. They also come with air dry channels designed to keep your baby’s skin dry and comfortable. 
  • Fastening – They come with the sticky tab fastenings but there have been issues with these popping open when a diaper is particularly wet.
  • Material – Made from hypoallergenic materials and are latex-free. They are made from a super soft material that is gentle against your little one’s skin.


  • Much slimmer than other leading brands with less restrictive bulk around the leg area.
  • Really good elasticity on waistband ensuring a snug fit.
  • Really good absorbency throughout the day left skin dry.
  • Contained poo really well without leaks 
  • Can easily survive a night without any leaks


  • When full the diaper does sack and this causes gaps around the legs
  • They are fairly expensive
  • The fastening taps seemed unable to cope with the weight of a wet diaper and often pop open.
Buy on Amazon


Bambo Nature EcoFriendly Diapers

Bambo Nature Eco Friendly Baby Diapers Classic for Sensitive Skin, Size 2 (7-13 lbs), 30 Count

Features of Bambo Nature Diapers

  • Fit – Bambo come with a flexible waistband and leg cuffs that are latex-free, ensuring a snug fit without any concerns about skin sensitivities.
  • Absorbency – Designed with ultra-absorbent material and channels that keep the moisture away from baby’s skin even from multiple wettings and overnight use.
  • Fastening – They come with fastening tabs that ensure a snug fit around the waist.
  • Material – These training pants are hypoallergenic, eco-friendly, and certified free from harmful chemicals. 


  • Wetness indicator
  • Dermatologically tested and certified according to Nordic Swan Ecolabel.
  • Flexible waistband that comes with latex-free leg cuffs for a snug fit.
  • Absorbent even after multiple wettings
  • Made from sustainable materials
  • Minimalistic design perfect for under clothing.


  • Some parents report leaks both during the day and night
  • Almost double the cost per diaper as other brands.
  • Issues with fit at the rear of the diaper.
  • The outer packaging is not recyclable
Buy on Amazon


Pull-ups vs Diapers – The Winner is…

There is no clear winner here as both pull-ups and diapers have their pros and cons. The winner is going to very much depend on what your needs and wants are.

If you are looking for a product that is super absorbent, easily adjusted for a super snug fit, can easily be changed, and can deal with 99% of your little one’s toilet needs then the diaper is going to be the winner for you.

But if you are looking for a product that will help your little one feel like a big kid, that has a closer fit to the body and mimics proper underwear then the winner for you will be the pull-ups

Foods That Cause Diaper Rash in Toddlers


When should I use pull-ups instead of diapers?

If you don’t think your child is quite ready to wear underwear all the time, they may not be quite ready for potty training.

In this case, pull-ups can be a good starting point. Pull-ups can also be helpful for children who attend daycare where they have the option to use the bathroom on their own.

Are pull-ups worth it?

Pull-ups and similar brands can cost more than diapers so they can be expensive compared to a few pairs of underwear. But if your child is not comfortable or you are not able to manage the accidents that may occur then the money saved may not be worth it.

Do pull-ups hold poop?

In theory, pull-ups should be just as absorbent and provide the same protection as a regular diaper. But for some reason, the general consensus amongst parents is that pull-ups do not hold up well against really big accidents and overnight sessions.

Can pull-ups be worn overnight?

Pull-ups can be used at night and during naps while your child is sleeping. But they are not always as absorbent as a diaper and can sometimes leak.

Why are pull-ups bad for potty training?

Pull-ups can cause children some confusion as they feel and look like a diaper so they will believe that they are wearing a diaper and therefore not make the effort to use the potty.

Are they bad for potty training, not really but I think they are an unnecessary expense for parents that are not required to potty train your child.

The Final Thought

Both diapers and pull-ups are good products in their own way and the real winner is going to be whichever product meets the needs of your baby/toddler best.

There are pros and cons of both products and of course, these vary from one brand to the next. Do not be led to believe that the more you pay for diapers or pull-ups necessarily means that they will meet the needs of your little one better.