Pooping Pull Ups – Can I use pull-ups instead of diapers?

By Maria Wilcox •  Updated: 07/12/22 •  10 min read
Hey Mamas and Papas! This site is reader-supported and we earn commissions if you purchase products from retailers after clicking on a link from our site.

If you have a baby or toddler, you may have realized that pooping pull ups aren’t as easy to change as diapers. Because of the way that they are designed, it is true that changing a pull up, or any training pants for that matter, may be a bit more difficult to change. But the task is by no means impossible.

In this post, we’ll walk you through exactly how to change a poopy pull up. We’ll also answer whether or not you have to put a pull up on your baby or toddler for potty training in the first place. 

So, if either of those topics sounds interesting to you, be sure to stick around…we’re getting started right now! 

Is It OK to Poop in Pull-Ups?

Yes, it is okay for your baby or toddler to poop in pull ups.

To understand why, it may first be helpful to understand what pull ups are and how they function.

Pull Ups”, specifically, are a branded name of training pants invented by Huggies. This diaper/underwear combination was created for older children wearing diapers for an extended amount of time. 

Back in the ‘90s, it was a lot more popular to keep your toddler in diapers and to delay potty training a bit. In modern times, however, people are looking into potty training their kiddos much earlier,. Some even start doing it even as early as infancy.

Infant Potty Training: A Gentle and Primeval Method Adapted to Modern Living

Because of the amount of parents wishing to keep their children in diapers for longer, Huggies and other diapering companies responded by creating training pants. Training pants are basically diapers that don’t have taped sides. Instead, they have elastic sides, can be pulled up and down, and can actually be ripped when needed. 

These training pants were created so that toddler children could easily slide their pants down like underwear to use the bathroom when potty training. It could still be utilized for poop or pee, just like a diaper.

And that, friends, is the answer to the previously posed question.

Because training pants function much like diapers, it is entirely possible for your baby or toddler to poop in them. The training pants will contain the poop and pee the same way that a diaper does, albeit, the diaper may aid in better protection against leaks and blowouts than would a pull up.

Pull Ups Training Pants Poop – How Do You Get Rid of a Poopy Pull Up?

How Do You Change a Poop Diaper With a Pull Up?

Changing a poop diaper with training pants isn’t as hard as you think. 

To do so, simply lay your baby or toddler down. Rip the training pants at the elastic sides, and continue changing your baby or toddler’s pull up the same way you would a diaper.

As easy as that sounds, there are a couple of caveats to this approach.

First, you’ll see that once you’ve ripped the baby or toddler’s pull up, there is no tape to secure the rest of the diaper when throwing it away. 

Pull-Ups Boys' Potty Training Pants Training Underwear Size 6, 4T-5T, 99 Ct, One Month Supply

Many of us are accustomed to using the tape on diaper tabs to consequently ”wrap” a dirty diaper to secure the contents within it before throwing it away.

With training pants such as Huggies Slip On vs Pull Ups (no, they aren’t the same), you won’t be able to do that. There is no securing tape by which you can wrap up the diaper. Therefore, you may find it frustrating that the pull up that contains poop and pee won’t be able to be wrapped up before you throw it away. Unless of course, you use your own tape at home to do your bidding. Which is totally an option!

Another caveat when changing a poop diaper with a pull up is that while you may rip your child’s diaper at the sides to change it, you still have to remove your child’s entire bottom half of clothing (including shoes) to put a new training pants on. 

This may be different than what you are used to. With diapers, you can generally replace your baby’s nappy without fully having to take off his or her lower garments and shoes. Though I still always did (call me paranoid, I guess).

Still, aside from these couple of downsides to changing poopy training pants, changing poopy pulls ups (or Easy Ups) – thanks Pampers!) is relatively easy, provided that you don’t attempt to slide a pull up with poop in it down your toddler’s legs… what an AWFUL mess that would be!

Potty Training Without Pull Ups

Now it’s time to let you in on a little secret.


You don’t actually have to use pull ups when potty training.


Are you shocked? It’s true! 

In fact, using training pants may further hinder your child’s potty training process rather than aid it. Here’s why.

When potty training your child, you want them to actually feel the difference between having on underwear versus having on a diaper. 

If you’ll recall the information I shared earlier in this post, you’ll remember that training pants were designed for extended diaper-wearing for older ages. This is why pull ups and other training pant types readily absorb pee and contain poop, similar to (though not exactly like) diapers from the same brands.

Therefore, when you place a pull up, which is essentially a diaper, on your potty-training toddler, you are giving them the same feel as a diaper which instinctively signals to your child that it is okay to poop and pee in the garment they have on…even though you are trying to get them to poop or pee in the potty instead. 

Your child isn’t doing this to be defiant, but because it is what they instinctively feel comfortable doing. Training pants often have the same look and feel as diapers, so in their tiny minds, there isn’t much difference (or much reason) for them NOT to utilize their training pants the same way they would a normal diaper! 

Pampers Easy Ups Training Pants Girls and Boys, 2T-3T (Size 4), 132 Count, Enormous Pack, Packaging & Prints May Vary

How to Potty Train Without Pull Ups

So, what can be done about the confusion surrounding diapers and training pants for children learning to potty train? The fix is relatively simple, though not easy. 

Consider the following strategy for potty training without a pull up:

  • First and foremost, say goodbye to those diaper-like training pants! As tempting as it may be, using training pants during the potty training process will only hinder your child’s progress. Yes, we know that you’re likely afraid of the mess. But unless your child is sleeping or napping, you’ll want him or her out of a diaper or diaper-like training pants for the entire day in order to get him or her potty trained effectively.
  • Now that you’ve set those potty pants aside, it’s time to get your hands on what you SHOULD use instead. You’ve got a few options. You can choose to buy cheap regular toddler underwear to use for potty training. Or you can use training underwear that are specifically designed to be a bit more snug around the legs. They tend to absorb a little more urine than usual. Lastly, you could choose to have our child go bear bottomed throughout this process.

Note: The process in step 2 is absolutely crucial. Unless your baby is napping, sleeping, or out and about (which we don’t recommend while potty training- keep them home during the process for at least 3 days to a week if you can), you must keep your toddler out of diapers or training pants. 

The goal is for your baby to feel the wetness of his or her undies which should make them uncomfortable. If you choose to let your baby go bare-bottomed throughout the process, he or she will likely be appalled, surprised, or uncomfortable with the fact that they essentially will have to pee on the floor unless they go to the potty. To help with this, do your best to rush your toddler to the potty before the accident is made. If your toddler poops or pees on the floor, show it to them. Allow them to help you clean it up (within reason, safety first). Then discuss what happened afterwards(gently and patiently) along with what should be done next time.

Disney Boys Mickey Mouse Potty Training Pants Multipack 7pk, 3T
  • Next, allow your child to go about with no diaper on or with underwear for an entire day. Get ready for accidents and frequent cleaning and be sure to bring all the patience you can muster! You’ll need it, and so will your kiddo, but the end results are with it!
  • Lastly, I strongly recommend you use a sticker and rewards chart. Make the rewards something they’ll really look forward to. I potty trained my 22-month old entirely using this method along with rewards I grabbed from the dollar store. For every poop, my daughter received two stickers and for every pee, she received one. She got a prize for every poop and a prize for every time she landed on a star or happy face on her chart. I didn’t use candy or sugar at any point during the entire process. She was ecstatic and was potty trained within 3 days. 

Note: My daughter still needs a little encouragement from time to time. So sometimes I bust out the sticker chart all over again. This way, we aren’t regressing for the sake of comfort (ie. pooping in the diaper at night because it’s easier than pooping in the potty). 

pooping pull ups

Pooping in Pull Ups? Not So Scary After All!

Now you know how to change a poopy pull up. You also know how to avoid using pull ups in the first place.

We hope you’ll consider nixing those training pants and try giving real underwear a go.

Until next time! 


What’s the difference between nappy pants and pull-ups?

Generally speaking, nappy pants have a higher absorbency ability and can be used for overnight wear, while pull ups and other training pant types may not be as absorbent. 

Do I need pullups for potty training?

You don’t actually have to use pull ups when potty training.

Maria Wilcox

Former instructor with an M.A. in Education turned grateful stay-at-home mama to one, I look to share helpful insights related to babies, toddlers, kids, and families for the benefit of real people just like you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *