When To Switch To Pull Ups?

When to switch to pull ups is a common question among parents.

And it’s a good one to ask!

Afterall there is a big difference between diapers vs pull ups, especially when it comes to cost.

That’s why we put together this guide on when to switch from diapers to pull ups, so you can learn when the best time is to start using pull ups for you and your baby.

We’ll discuss reasons you may want to switch to pull ups, when to start pull ups, and how to transition to pull ups from diapers.

And if you love this guide on when to switch to pull up diapers, make sure you check out our guides on genius hacks for potty training at nighttime and are pull ups as absorbent as diapers?

This post contains affiliate links. See our full disclosure here

Our Top Pick
Pampers Easy Ups
$45.94 ($0.44 / Count)

With their 360-degree all-around stretchy waistband and Dual Leak Guard barriers, Pampers Easy Ups are a great cost effective pull up!

Although they don't have a wetness indicator, they do come in cute gender specific designs to ensure your child's pull up has additional absorbency where it is needed most!

They are not very bulky which makes them feel a lot more like underwear helping to give your little one the idea that they are transitioning away from diapers into using the potty independently.


We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
12/05/2022 06:51 am GMT

When to Switch to Pull Ups

There are quite a few factors when deciding if switching from diapers to pull ups is the right choice for you.

These are comfort and mobility, ease of use, when your can fit them, and whether you are ready to start potty training.

So, let’s look at these in more detail:

1. Comfort and Mobility

Once your baby starts crawling you may want to start using pull ups.

Whilst diapers are still effective, they are more rigid and only held together by two small tabs.

When your baby starts to move, you may find that these tabs no longer hold as well leading to the diaper becoming loose and unwanted messes.

The rigid design of diapers may also become an issue, especially on the waistband. As your baby moves, you may find the rigid waistband on your diapers digs into your baby leaving red marks. Or it may even lead to more diaper blowouts!

This is when switching to pull ups may be a better choice as they are made to conform to your child’s waist and therefore move with them.

They are arguably more comfortable for your child and allow them greater flexibility and movement when they’re crawling, or walking compared to using a diaper.

2. Ease Of Use

If you’ve ever tried to change a diaper on a moving baby or toddler, you’ll understand why switching to pull ups could be a game changer.

Many parents find that pull ups are much easier to use when their child no longer wants to lay still to have their diaper changed.

As well, if your child is the independent type and wants to do their own diaper change, they will have much more success putting on a pull up as that is exactly what they were designed for.

3. When Your Child Can Fit Into Them

Pull-ups differ in size compared to regular diapers. They are typically sized like clothing and start at 12 months and go up to 5T, whereas diapers are sized by a weight range.

Because pull-ups are designed to be used as a potty training tool and most children are ready around the toddler age, pull-ups aren’t available in small sizes for infants or really young toddlers.

So, if you have a smaller toddler, they may need to grow a little bit before using pull-ups even if they’re ready to start potty training.

when to start using pull ups

4. Potty Training

Predominantly, most parents switch from diapers to pull ups when they are looking to start potty training.

Exactly when to start using pull ups for potty training purposes? Well, lets have a look at a few key signs:

Your Child Shows Signs Of Being Ready To Potty Train

This is the first and most important point. There’s no point in using pull-ups if your child isn’t showing signs of being ready to potty train.

Some common signs your child is ready for pull-ups and potty training:

  • Their diapers stay dry for a couple or more hours during wake times
  • Their diapers stay dry during naps and/or overnight
  • They show interest in the toilet, whether sitting on it or flushing
  • They hide when they poop or pee in their diaper
  • They ask to be changed (or try to do it themselves)
  • They want to participate in the diapering process, whether wiping or taping the diaper
  • They tell you they want to be changed, whether verbally or by bringing you a clean diaper

When You Are Ready To Commit To The Process

If you’re not ready to commit to the potty training process or don’t feel like you know enough, it’s best to wait until you are, so that nobody ends up frustrated or confused!

This is different than testing pull-ups and finding out it isn’t the right time.

When you and your child go into this process prepared, it’s much easier to really see if it’s the right time or not, as opposed to not being prepared or ready and not giving potty training an honest chance.

When They Understand And Grasp The Idea Of Potty Training

A really big reason for using pull-ups is to foster independence in the potty process, so it’s a given that your child should at least grasp the idea of using a pull-up, and eventually the toilet training process as a whole.

When Your Child Is Capable And Willing To Participate In The Process

Pulling their pants up themselves, handing you a diaper, wiping their bottoms – these are all clues that your child is ready and capable of participating in the potty process!

It’s not just about using the toilet.

All of these skills are important for successfully transitioning your toddler to using pull-ups, and eventually being fully toilet trained.

Why Switch to Pull-Ups For Potty Training

Pull ups can be a really effective potty-training tool and that’s why many parents the decision on when to use pull ups is reached for them when their child is ready to start potty training.

You may decide to switch to pull ups for potty training because they:

They Help To Foster Independence

They’re designed with an elastic waistband to easily pull up and down, which helps your child develop the skills to eventually pull their underwear up and down on their own.

They Help To Encourage Awareness Of Body And Bathroom Habits

Pull ups are designed to feel uncomfortable when they are wet or soiled. The reason for this is to increase your child’s awareness of when they have peed or pooped, when they need to potty, and when they need to be changed.

Essentially, pull-ups encourage them to prefer using the toilet over a diaper.

They Give Children More Control Of The Potty Training Process

When children are ready to potty train, they’re also generally ready (and willing) to be in control of their own pottying process.

At the very least, they’re curious!

From the actual act of going potty to wiping or putting their own diaper on, they’ll be curious of what they can do and will eventually want to be bathroom independent.

They Help To Increase Confidence And Ability

When your child figures out how to use their own pull-up, they’ll gain confidence and only get better at it.

This will give them the skills for progressing in the toilet training process, which is essential.

They Help You Gauge Whether Your Child Is Ready To Potty Train

Sometimes you don’t really know if your child is ready to potty train or not until you just give it a try.

So, if you think your child may be ready to potty train, try using pull-ups.

They may help you gauge whether it’s time to toilet train or not.

They Are Convenient

When potty training, your child is learning about their body’s cues on when they need to use the potty.

However, it is a process, and they’re bound to have some mishaps along the way.

Pull-ups make it easy to take care of the messes while still fostering bathroom independence.

They Can Be An Effective Step Between Diapers And Underwear

If your child has an increased sense of bodily functions but isn’t quite ready to use the toilet, pull ups may be the perfect step between diapers and underwear.

They Can Help Ease The Transition

Pull ups are especially helpful for kids with special needs or for those who strongly resist change.

They make the transition much smoother and take a lot of the anxiety and questions away, which can be the difference between a child who wants to use the toilet and one who refuses to.

when to start pull ups

How to Transition to Pull-Ups from Diapers

Now that you know the why and when of switching to pull ups, it’s time for the how!

We’ve put together a few tips to ensure you transition from diapers to pull ups goes as smoothly as possible.

Work Out The Right Sizing

Although there is some formality to pull up sizing, each diaper brand will still have their own guides and sizing.

That means a 5T in one brand may not be the same dimensions in another.

So, when looking at pull up, ensure you know the weight of your child and waist measurement.

Consider Your Budget

Pull ups are more expensive than diapers, so you will need to factor this into your budget. You may choose to look at more budget friendly options like using coupons and diaper discounts, buying in bulk, and buying when your diapers are on sale. Or even skipping pull ups and heading straight to underwear.

Buy A Few Different Pull Up Brand To Try Out

Diapers and pullups do not have the same contoured fit, so just because you love your current diaper brand that does not mean that the same branded pull ups are going to be a great fit. So, we recommend buying a smaller trial packet of pull ups to test and see which one fit best.

Once you find a brand you love, you may even want to set up a diaper subscription so you don’t run out!

Get Your Child Involved In The Process

Starting pull ups can be very exciting for your little one, but if they are hesitant to change start by showing them how they work.

You can give them a pull up to play with or put on over their clothes.

Or let them choose the pull up design while shopping.

Or even let them play with one while you change their diaper.

The more involved they are in the process the more likely they will be onboard with it.

Be Patient

Transitioning to pull ups can be hard on both parents and your child, especially if your little one does not like change.

So be patient. Just remember, the transition doesn’t need to take place in one swift move, you can slowly transition your child as they start to feel more comfortable.

Final Thoughts On When To Switch To Pull Up Diapers

As we’ve discussed there is no set age to switch to pull ups.

You can make the switch as soon as your baby can fit into them, or you may even decide to skip them altogether!

It’s all about choosing what is the best fit for you and your child.

So, if you do decide to make the switch, just remember it is a process and it doesn’t all have to happen at once.

And if you’re looking for more great diapering guides, then check out these guides on Pampers Easy Ups vs Huggies Pull Ups, best overnight diapers, best diapers to prevent blowouts, and what to do with extra diapers.

Our Top Pick
Pampers Easy Ups
$45.94 ($0.44 / Count)

With their 360-degree all-around stretchy waistband and Dual Leak Guard barriers, Pampers Easy Ups are a great cost effective pull up!

Although they don't have a wetness indicator, they do come in cute gender specific designs to ensure your child's pull up has additional absorbency where it is needed most!

They are not very bulky which makes them feel a lot more like underwear helping to give your little one the idea that they are transitioning away from diapers into using the potty independently.


We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
12/05/2022 06:51 am GMT
when to switch from diapers to pull ups