Need an Occupational Therapist?  We have Mobile Occupational Therapy Availablity

From Diapers to Big Kid Underwear: Potty Training with Pull-Ups

A cheerful toddler sits on a potty chair holding a diaper.
Table of Contents

Are you feeling overwhelmed by the idea of transitioning your little one from diapers to big kid underwear? We’ve got you covered! In this blog post, we’ll explore the world of potty training with pull-ups and provide helpful tips to make the process a breeze. Get ready to say goodbye to diapers and hello to success on the potty!

Key Takeaways

  • Pull-ups are different from diapers as they resemble big kid underwear and allow children to pull them up and down on their own.
  • While pull-ups can be absorbent like diapers, some parents believe that they can hinder potty training by making it harder for children to feel when they are wet or dirty.
  • However, pull-ups have benefits such as promoting independence and control over toileting, especially when learning to pull them on and off independently, and being useful for nighttime toileting during the potty training process.

Difference between diapers and pull-ups

A cheerful toddler sits on a potty chair holding a diaper.

Diapers and pull-ups are both used for kids. But they are not the same thing. Diapers wrap around a baby’s bottom and fasten at the sides. They absorb pee and poop, keeping babies dry. Parents put them on their babies.

Pull-ups are different from diapers. Kids wear them like underwear. An elastic band lets kids pull them up or down all by themselves. This is great when they start potty training! These pull-ups have a lot in common with big kid underwear.

But don’t forget – pull-ups can soak up pee just like diapers do! This could make some children confused while potty training as they don’t feel when they are wet. Plus, pull-ups cost more than diapers most times.

Discussion regarding use of pull-ups for potty training

As pull-ups can be pulled up and down like underwear, they can help with the transition towards potty training. Being able to pull up and down their own pants canhelp them feel more grown-up and independent during potty training.

Pull-ups also hold in messes which is better than using just underwear. This means less cleaning when your child is just learning to control their bladder and bowels.

However, not all parents and professionals agree that pull-ups are helpful for potty training due to their absorbent nature.

Cons of using pull-ups for potty training

Using pull-ups for potty training can have drawbacks. They are absorbent like a nappy, making it harder for children to feel when they are wet or dirty. But there’s more to explore on this topic! Read on to understand the benefits of pull-ups and how to potty train without them.

Absorbent like a nappy

Pull-ups have the same power as a diaper to soak up pee. They act fast and take in all the wetness. This means your child might not even notice that they’re wet! Many parents see this as a minus point for potty training as the child is not aware when they have done a wee.

The goal is for kids to feel what happens when they pee or poop. Pull-ups can hide this feeling, making training harder. Yet, some kids do well with them, mainly at night time or while out of home.

Benefits of pull-ups for potty training

A cheerful toddler sits on a potty chair holding a diaper.

Pull-ups are beneficial for potty training because they allow the child to learn how to pull them on and off independently, promoting a sense of ownership and control over their own toileting.

Child learns to pull on and off

Pull-ups can be a big step for your child. They are more like real underwear. Your kid will enjoy pulling them on and off by themselves! Just think about it – they get to act like big kids now.

This may even make them feel excited about potty training. Pull-ups also help with accidents when they happen, just like diapers do. But unlike diapers, pull-ups mean your child can remove their wet pull-ups by themselves.

Great for nighttime toileting

Pull-ups can be great for nighttime toileting during the potty training process. When it comes to bladder and bowel control, children often take more time for nighttime toilet training compared to daytime training.

That’s where pull-ups come in handy. They are designed to be absorbent like a diaper, which means they can help keep your child dry throughout the night while they continue to learn how to stay dry on their own.

This can give both you and your child peace of mind as you work towards fully transitioning from diapers to big kid underwear.

How to potty train without pull ups

If after reading everything above, you’ve decided to potty train without pull ups, below are some tips on how to do that.

To potty train without pull-ups, start by recognizing signs of readiness and introducing underwear. Create an environment with a child-sized potty and encourage them to use it consistently.

Recognise signs of potty training readiness

Is your child ready for potty training? Look out for signs like being drier for longer periods, following simple directions, and wanting to do things independently. If your child has a consistent bowel movement schedule or shows interest in using the potty or wearing underwear, it could be a sign that they’re ready.

Most children reach this stage around two years old, so don’t start too early. By recognizing these signs, you can help make potty training a positive and successful experience for your little one. Check out our other blog: Toilet Training Milestones.Use Underwear

Using underwear is an important step in the potty training process. It helps your child understand the sensation of wetness and encourages them to stay dry. When using underwear, make sure to choose ones that are comfortable and easy for your child to pull up and down on their own.

This promotes independence and teaches them how to manage their bathroom needs independently. Remember, accidents may happen during this stage, so it’s essential to be patient and supportive.

With time and practice, your child will become more confident using the toilet without any assistance.

Set Up The Environment

To set up the environment for potty training, make sure you have a child-sized potty or a special toilet seat insert that fits on your regular toilet.

If you are using a potty, put it in a convenient and accessible place so your child can easily reach it when they need to go.

If you are using a toilet insert, use a step stool if necessary, so they can get on and off the toilet independently.

It’s also important to create a comfortable and encouraging atmosphere. Make sure the bathroom is well-lit and inviting. You can use fun decals or stickers to decorate the walls, or even hang some artwork that your child likes.

Having their favorite books or toys nearby can help them feel relaxed and more willing to sit on the potty.

Remember, accidents might happen during this process, so be prepared with extra clothes and cleaning supplies. Keep wipes, tissues, and an odor-neutralizing spray within easy reach.

And don’t forget to praise your child for trying their best! Positive reinforcement goes a long way in motivating them to continue their potty training journey.


In conclusion, using pull-ups for potty training can be a helpful transition from diapers to big kid underwear. While they have some drawbacks, such as feeling like a nappy and potentially prolonging the training process, they offer benefits like teaching children to pull them on and off and being great for nighttime use.

Ultimately, the decision of whether to use pull-ups or not depends on individual circumstances and what works best for each child and family.


1. When should I begin potty training my toddler?

You can start toilet training when your child is developmentally ready and shows interest in it. This often happens between the ages of two to three. For further information about toileting milestones, check out our blog Toilet Training Milestones.

2. What are Pull-Ups used for in potty training?

Pull-ups are disposable training pants that help with daytime potty training. Toddlers sometimes switch from baby diapers to pull-ups and then to big kid underwear when they are fully trained. Some families choose to skip pull-ups all together and go from diapers straight to underwear.

3. Are accidents normal during potty training?

Yes, accidents happen while a toddler learns about bodily functions and how to use the toilet seat properly. It’s most important not to make it a big deal so your child doesn’t feel bad. Patience and consistent encouragement can help them feel more confident with potty training.

4. Can we use Pull-Ups overnight during the stage of starting potty-training?

Pull Ups can be used both day and night time during potty training sessions until your child has fewer accidents especially if you equip their bed with waterproof mattress covers for extra safety! Pull ups during nightime are a great idea so your child can still go to the toilet if they need and catch any accidents overnight.

5: How do parents decide when toddlers go cold turkey on wearing pull ups or diapers?

Parents can decide when they think their child is ready. Parents choose based on how their kid responds- like whether they stay dry regularly through the day or express wanting to be like ‘big boys’ or girls using regular underwear more than a diaper or pull-up.

Use "90OFF" At Checkout To Get 90% Off
Ready Kids: Occupational Therapy Resources App

The ReadyKids App is an innovative platform that makes Occupational Therapy affordable, accessible, and fun.

With daily resource recommendations, this intuitive app combines efficacy and fun in children's therapy.

  • Developed By Registered Occupational Therapists
  • New Resources Released Weekly
Released Skill Areas: Fine Motor Skills, Gross Motor, Handwriting

Share This Post

Sign up to our

2 Week Parent Support Program

Calling all overwhelmed parents of children with additional needs! Our two-week Parent Support Program is here to provide you with the tools and support you need. Don’t wait, give your child the exceptional care they deserve. Enrol in our program now!

Total Value of $413

Today's Price: FREE

Still Need Help?

The Readykids App helps kids develop skills at home