Are Pull-Ups as Absorbent as Diapers?

are pull-ups as absorbent as diapers?

There has been a lot of confusion and debate about whether pull-ups are as absorbent as diapers. Pull-ups are made from the same absorbing materials like diapers, and they have a similarity in function.

So, there is no reason pull-ups would be less absorbent diapers. There are even claims by some pull-ups brands they are more absorbent than diapers since they are designed for bigger kids and nighttime use.

Reading through many forums, some parents who have tried both say pull-ups are more prone to leaking and are less absorbent than diapers. In reality, the absorbency level of pull-ups depends on the brand you choose. It is a good idea to experiment with various brands if you want to use pull ups to potty train your child to find the one that works best for your child.

We ♥ honesty! Diaper News earns a commission through the following hand-picked links at no extra cost to you.

Differences Between Pull-ups and Diapers

Pull-Ups Boys' Potty Training Pants, 4T-5T (38-50 lbs), 74 Count

Mostly, diapers and pull-ups are the same things except that pull-ups have an elastic waistband that makes them easy to pull up and down, making them perfect for potty training.

  • Primarily pull-ups are designed as a potty-training tool for toddlers. This is because pull-ups give them greater control as they can quickly get them on or off when they need to go to the bathroom.
  • Usually, pull-ups have a rip away or velcro connections just like your regular diapers. From a design perspective, pull-ups are like diapers in that they have multiple layers for liquid absorption, waterproof outer layer, and a contoured fit that helps to prevent leaks.

Overall, there are not a lot of differences between diapers and diapers apart from the elastic waistband.

Are Pull-ups Really Better for Potty Training than Diapers?

HUGGIES Little Movers Slip On Diaper Pants, Size 5 (Pack of 128)

This depends mainly on the child as some kids respond better to the independence pull-ups offer them as they can take them on and off on their own. For other kids, the fail-safe aspect they enjoy with pull-ups encourages them to treat it like regular diapers, and they just poop or pee without going to the potty first.

When a child poop or pee in regular underwear, it makes them feel uncomfortable really fast and theoretically the discomfort encourages them to go to the bathroom the next time they need to poop or pee.

This is the reason you will find a lot of mixed opinions around if pull-ups are really very effective for potty training.

Pros of Pull Ups

Easy to Put on and off

The ease of putting pull-ups on and off gives your child independence and confidence. It provides the toddler with the needed push for them to master potty use.

Comfortable and Roomy

Pull-ups allow for easy movement without gaps for leaks. It is important the pull-ups move with your child and do not have any gap for leaks. Most pull-ups brands are great at preventing leaks if you wear it correctly.

Functional and Fun Designs

Some pull up brands have a design at the front of them that fades when they are wet. These indicators can be a lifesaver for work from home moms or those with a busy schedule. Some pull up brands also come in fun designs such as Sponge Bob, Marvel Characters, Paw Patrol, Disney, and many more. This can be a great source of motivation for stubborn toddlers to potty train.

Cons of Pull Ups

Slightly More Expensive

The notion of pull-ups being very expensive is usually exaggerated, but they are a little bit more expensive than regular diapers.

They are More Prone Leaks

Theoretically, pull-ups should be as absorbent and provide the same protection as diapers, but a common complaint amongst parents is that they are more likely to leak especially overnight. When buying pull-ups for your child, it is a good idea to try different brands while also reading other parent’s review so you can choose the best one for you and your child.

Pros of Diapers


Diapers offer quick changing abilities making them convenient for both the child and parents. Diapers are great for babies and young toddlers who are still unable to take off their diapers on their own. It is usually easy to lay a baby down and quickly change their diapers.

Great for Catching Leaks and Holding Messes

Various diapers brand are renowned for being very absorbent. Diapers usually contain more leaks and messes when put on correctly.

Cons of Diapers

Diapers can Make Toilet Training Harder

It is not always a good idea to go back to diapers once pull-ups have been introduced to a child. Diapers make the child not to feel a need to go to the bathroom. You should only use diapers at night once you have transitioned to pull ups so as not to confuse your child and thereby to hamper the toilet training process.

They can be More Expensive in the Long Run

As a child grows into a toddler, they tend to make more messes in their diapers which means you have to change them more often. These can be costlier because you would need to buy larger quantities.

From your experience, are pull-ups as absorbent as diapers? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Spread the love


  1. […] because they are wearing something that will absorb it. It is also believed that pull-ups are more prone to nighttime leakage than diapers. However, this is mostly dependent on the kind of brand you get, so check reviews […]