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Training Pants vs. Diapers

Training Pants vs. Diapers: What's the Difference

There are two main types of diaper design: the pants style and the open diaper style. Learning more about these two different designs can help you decide which may work best for your parenting style and the stage of development your kiddo is in. There is no right or wrong type of diaper to use but understanding the benefits and characteristics of each different type could just make your diapering experience a bit easier! 

Let’s talk diaper design 101 and break down the two types of diaper designs.

The Open Diaper

The open diaper design is probably what comes to mind when someone says “diaper.” It is the most common type of diaper around the world with a rough estimate of about 85% of all diapers used across countries outside of Asia-Pacific. In America, it is undisputed as the diaper. You’re probably familiar with the diaper design of open diapers - you open them apart to have front and back on separate ends. They are placed under the baby’s buttocks when you change them and are taped around their waist when the velcro tab meets the front tape. These are the classic baby diapers. Your grandma was probably running around in this type of diaper design, except they were probably held fast by safety pins and the diaper mustn't have been able to absorb much.

The Training Pants or Diaper Pants

The second type of diaper design is the diaper pant, or, as we know them in America, the training pants. These diapers are designed to be pulled up like an underwear garment; they can slide up and down and have stretchy elastics that conform to your baby’s waist. The diaper pant is quickly growing in popularity in countries like Japan and China where investments into new diaper machines have made it possible to update diaper designs based on consumer trends. Diaper pants have been a trending topic across Asia and are now making their appearance in Europe and North America. In the U.S. the diaper pant design has been mainly marketed exclusively as potty training pants, but it’s preference among focus groups show that the benefits of this design can go beyond just a potty training aid. 

What are the Pros and Cons of Diapers vs. Diaper Pants?

Both diaper types are designed to meet the comfort and absorbency required by your little one. Parasol pants and diapers are both designed for overnight use and are engineered to provide the necessary protection to wick moisture away and lock it layers down to keep your kiddo comfy and dry. 

While some training pants may be designed to be less absorbent than open diapers, differences in absorbent capacity between diapers or pants will be brand dependent and it should not be a differentiating characteristic between either design. At Parasol both diaper pants and diapers feature super soft, breathable nonwoven fabrics, and feature a super-absorbent design.

Regular diapers

Pros: Easy to change when the baby stays still. A more customized adjustable fit thanks to the range of front tape where tabs clasp. 

Cons: Harder to change if the baby wriggles or squirms around a lot. Less range of motion on the diaper. The baby cannot change the diaper him or herself. May become loose as an active baby plays. 

Diaper pants

Pros: Easy to change when the baby is shifting and on the move a lot. Baby can change it him or herself. Less restriction around the legs than a regular diaper due to stretchy elastics. Elastic waistband means the diaper will stay put even if the baby is active. 

Cons: Size and fit is fixed and cannot be adjusted, though elastic waist and legs should give way to a comfy fit. Waist cannot be tightened with tabs placed closer. 

What do the different designs mean for diapering habits?

Diaper changing routine

The main difference between conventional diapers and training pants or diaper pants for babies basically will come down to the diaper changing routine. If your baby is constantly on the move you don’t have to interrupt playtime when changing diaper pants. You can basically rip the pant open along the sides and slide on a fresh one even if the baby is standing or crawling about. With the conventional diaper design, the baby always has to be picked up and laid down on a changing station (or a make-shift one - we’re not judgin’!) to get the open diaper around him or her. Changing a diaper pant may feel daunting at first if you are only used to changing conventional diapers. You’ve got to hold each leg and make sure it goes through each hole, unlike open diapers that just close around the legs. We can assure you that after a couple of diaper pant changes you’ll become an on-the-move expert - you can change ‘em while they’re crawling or standing, while he or she leans against a surface or hugs you. Diaper pants can be changed while baby is lying down, too - you just get the first leg in past the knee and grab the second leg to pass it through the leg hole, slide the waist to their belly and make sure to run your fingers around the leg cuffs to make sure they are turned outwards. Changing diaper pants on babies that are wrigglin’, rollin’ or crawlin’ will be easier while keeping your kiddo on the move. 

Using diaper pants for the potty training process

Training pants or diaper pants have the added benefit that as your child is showing signs that they are ready to journey into toilet training, you can slide them on and off easily. While you go about understanding your babe’s communication style, you can always make a dash to the toilet or potty seat and try to save the diaper from poop and pee by sliding it down just in time. As you get better at these toilet dashes and your kiddo picks up on the whole continence idea, sliding pants that resemble underwear will help you do the trick. Your little rascal will soon be sliding their own pants down and making their own toilet dashes (probably less enthusiastically than you did though!). Diaper pants can be paired with elimination communication techniques and other potty training tips.

Which type of diaper design is best?

Both diapers and diaper pants (or training pants) will allow your little one to stay dry and snug. The best diaper type will be the one that works best for you. Many parents find that babies that are on the move are easier to change when they have diaper pants, which is why most diaper pants are sold in bigger sizes for babes who are crawling and walking. The best diaper will be the one that is changed often keeping your baby’s skin healthy. Whichever type facilitates your way of diaper changing and maybe even saves you some time or allows you to enjoy your baby best will be our recommendation to you! 

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