When To Start Pull Ups—5 Signs Child Is Ready To Say Bye To Diapers

when to start pull ups

Potty training is something that many parents start to think about as soon as their young toddlers begin to walk and can follow them into the bathroom. 

When to begin potty training and start using pull-up diapers is a decision that often goes hand in hand.

You don’t absolutely have to have pull-up diapers to start potty training your toddler, but most parents who have implemented the use of pull-ups for toilet training swear by them.

This article will discuss when to start pull ups when potty training your toddler, whether making the switch to pull ups is a good decision, and other potty training tips. 

The potty training process doesn’t have to be a nightmare as long as you’re willing to look for the signs of potty training readiness and be ready to try different things through trial and error.

When to start potty training

Diapers and training pants cost a lot of money, and parents dream of the day when they can buy a pack of big kid underwear and be done with the expense of diapers and nappy pants for good.

Having a potty-trained child is a major goal for parents of toddlers. It’s not just the cost of diapers and pull ups that have parents eager to potty train. 

There’s also the diaper-changing wrestling match with older babies who would rather play than lie as still as possible and get changed.

If you’ve ever wanted to know what it would be like to wrestle with an alligator, change a two-year-old’s diaper. It’s comparable to that.

Toilet training readiness

If only we can put a baby of any age on a toilet and get positive potty training results. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work that way. 

You can switch to pull ups, get a potty seat, and go through the motions of actively potty training your child, but if your child isn’t ready yet, you’ll get nowhere, unfortunately.

Bladder control isn’t something that most children have until they are about two years old. Introducing pull-ups or diaper pants before your child controls their bladder or bowels won’t help with potty training.

There are numerous other potty training readiness signs that you can start to look out for when your older toddlers begin to move around and follow you into the bathroom (and everywhere else!). 

You should wait until your child shows at least two signs before switching to pull-ups and committing to this potty training journey.

1. Pulling at diaper when wet or soiled

If your kiddo starts to pull or tug at their diaper to get it away from their skin because they feel uncomfortable sitting in the wetness, then there’s a chance they are ready for potty training.

2. Hiding or squatting to pee or poop

If you notice that your toddler runs off and hides in a corner, under the kitchen table, or some other more “private” location to soil or wet their diaper, it may be time to start thinking about potty training. If they know they need to “hide,” they will likely have enough bladder control to get started.

3. Can tell you they need to be changed

If your child has the vocabulary for it and can tell you that they need to be changed or have gone to the bathroom in their diaper, then it’s time to think about potty training.

4. Dry diaper at night or after naps

If you notice that your child wakes up from long naps or even after sleeping overnight with a dry diaper, then potty training may be just around the corner!

5. Interest in the toilet or toilet training

If your little one starts to show interest in using the restroom like a big kid, they may be trying to tell you that they are ready to toilet train.

When to start pull ups and get your baby potty trained

Pull ups vs. diapers

Pull ups are not necessary to potty train your child. Many parents go straight from disposable diapers to regular underwear, cutting pull-ups entirely out of the equation.

Going from diapers to pull-ups is a transition that is easy for a child to see, and it can help them to understand that they used to wear regular diapers, but now they’re in training underwear because they’re learning a new skill.

Why go from diapers to pull-ups?

The most significant difference between disposable diapers and pull-ups is that diapers have adhesive strips that you must manually tighten to put on your child. 

They are more time-consuming to change than pull-ups. They are also somewhat less absorbent than diapers, so your child is more aware of accidents.

The perks of the pull-up

Any parent who has had to perform a standing nappy change can tell you that for potty training purposes, pull-ups are best. 

They have an elastic waistband rather than adhesive strips, meaning that you can easily pull them up or down as your busy toddler learns the ropes of potty training.

Going from diapers to pull-ups also means that your child can start to use the pull-up alone, simulating the motions of wearing underwear.

With taped nappies, only you can get the diaper on the correct way. 

Many parents say potty training takes longer, as the parent is still doing most of the work. So if gaining independence is your goal, then the switch makes sense.

Pull-ups: An overview

The most apparent difference between pull-ups and diapers is how they go on a child. Aside from that, they are a lot like regular disposable diapers. 

The following are a few facts about pull-ups that may help you decide if the switch is worth it for you and your toddler.

What are pull-ups made of?

The same material used to make a diaper is used to make a pull-up. 

Messy accidents are prevented because of a multi-layer absorbent material and a waterproof outer layer. As you can see, a pull-up is not much different from standard diapers.

Rather than strips that are taped to adhere the diaper to itself, pull-ups have elastic waistbands that make the changing process easier. It also makes getting the pull-up up and down to use the restroom a bit faster.


Using pull-ups means that you will have to wait until your child is in a size 3 diaper, as you can’t typically find them in sizes smaller than this. Many companies start their sizes at a 4.

If you have a younger child showing signs of readiness, such as feeling upset when they have an accident or running away when they need a diaper to change, you’ll have to potty train. 

You can choose between diapers with taped strips or go straight to underpants.

Your child’s size may prevent you from switching to pull-ups even at an older age. Small toddlers sometimes never make it into the largest diapers on the market, and potty train in size two or three diapers because of sizing issues with pull-ups.

Pay attention to the weight range listed on the individual packages of pull-ups at the store, as they may differ from the weight ranges of the diapers you are used to buying.

Price difference

Another key difference between pull-ups and diapers is the price difference.

Pull-ups are a little more expensive for an individual pack, but if you pay attention to the number of pull-ups in each pack, you’ll get a better idea of how much more money you’ll be spending as your baby learns to use the potty by themselves.

There are usually several fewer pull-ups per pack than in most standard packs of diapers, and the price is higher. So what looks like a slight price increase can make a big difference in your wallet over time.

When to start pull ups

If your child shows signs of readiness, it may be a good time to buy pull-ups. 

Introducing pull-ups at the same time you intend to start training your child will help your child associate this new type of diaper wear with going potty like a big kid.

It’s not recommended that you try to put your child in a pull-up that is not sized appropriately or before age two. 

Rushing things can put pressure on both you and your child, which can end up setting you both back on this journey.

Start potty training

Potty training tips

Having a few tricks and tips up your sleeve can make potty training go more smoothly when you begin your potty training journey. 

The following are some tips for potty training that are not just exclusive to parents using pull ups.

Nighttime training

Toddlers typically pee more at night than during the day. 

Using pull-ups overnight, at least at the beginning of toilet training, will result in lots of sheet changes and a lot of wetness.

For night training, consider keeping your little one in a regular diaper for the nighttime or using an overnight pull-up designed for bedtime. These pull-ups are more absorbent and will hold more liquid.

No single method works for every child

Just because you were able to potty train your oldest child in three days by doing nothing more than showing them where the potty seat was does not mean you will get the same results with other children.

No two kids train the same way or at the same pace. 

Many brands claim to get your child ready for independent bathroom use faster than the others, but it will take as long as it takes for each child. 

Regardless of what any company claims, training will not happen overnight.

Reward system

Rewarding your child for using the bathroom is a great way to get them interested and cooperative. 

Stickers, candy, or other tangible incentive is usually helpful to motivate a little one. So put some in your diaper bag so that when you are out and about, your little one has something to look forward to.

Are you ready to begin potty training?

Looking for signs that your child is ready will be the biggest help to you when it comes to knowing when to buy a pack of pull-ups. 

Rushing it can lead to upset and resentment or even fear of the toilet, and waiting too long can lead to refusal to be independent.

Once your child shows at least two signs of readiness and seems to have basic control over the bowels and bladder, you can try pull-ups. 

You’ll need lots of patience and determination, but you’ll get there. 

This is a major milestone that is reached differently by every child. Learning your child’s appropriate path is all it will take to find success.

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