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Finding Your Perfect Adult Diaper Size

The need for an adult diaper is a sensitive issue. Unless you know someone who is quite open about their body, you’ve probably not gotten much advice from friends on how to choose.

And yet, over half of older Americans struggle with incontinence. It’s not a rare thing to struggle with. And it’s nothing to be embarrassed about.

When you do go to the store to buy your first set, the selection is overwhelming. So many colors, prices, materials, and marketing tactics to wade through. How are you ever going to know what to buy?

Fortunately, you’re here reading this article. And we have all the information you’ll need to make your decision and buy the perfect adult diaper set.

1. Cloth Or Disposable Adult Diapers?

The first thing you need to consider is the type of material you want.

It wasn’t until the 1950’s that we even had disposable diapers. Before this, we pinned cloth together to make diapers.

And cloth diaper companies exist even today. They will take soiled diapers, give you clean diaper cloth and launder the soiled diapers.

But the invention of the disposable diaper was a boon to lower-income households that could not afford a diaper cleaning service.

No longer would they have to do loads and loads of smelly laundry each day. Instead, they removed the stinky diaper, folded it up, and tossed in the trash.

But the same advantages still exist with a disposable adult diaper.

It might seem more environmentally friendly to use cloth diapers. But the impact on the environment compared to the energy used to clean cloth diapers is negligible.

The choice between cloth or disposable comes down to comfort. Which is more comfortable for you?

Cloth diapers can worsen skin deterioration. They are typically thicker and higher profile than disposable diapers.

Disposable adult diapers are lighter and designed to mitigate diaper rash.

2. Adult Briefs Or Pull-Up Shorts?

There are two styles of adult protection you can choose from: The adult briefs or the pull-up shorts.

The adult briefs are most likely what you think when we say “adult diaper.” These are usually worn by those who are bedridden.

Adult briefs seal better against the skin and stop leakage while an individual is laying down.

If you’re not bedridden, you might want to consider a pair of pull-up shorts.

These adult diapers are more like underwear than diapers. They are just as absorbent as briefs, but they fit more comfortable than briefs.

Adult briefs are a less convenient form of an adult diaper. If you’ve ever changed an infant’s diaper, you’ll know that it would be next to impossible to change their diaper if they were standing up.

Adult briefs are quite similar. You will have a more difficult time applying a pair of adult briefs if you are standing up. You need a decent surface to lay down on to change into the briefs.

Pull-up shorts, on the other hand, pull on like a pair of underwear. This makes them more convenient for travel especially if you take care of your own toileting needs.

3. Price And Quality And Absorbancy

You’re coming into the adult diaper market at a time when choices are broad.

It might take a little bit of research to find out what to expect when it comes to quality. But two things mean quality when it comes adult diapers: Absorbency and lack of leakage.

You’ve probably seen the diaper commercials where they spill blue liquid into different diaper brands. This is because you want a diaper that holds liquid long enough to get you to a bathroom or a change of drawers.

If the diaper doesn’t do this, it fails the Absorbency test.

It also should seal against your skin without causing any skin breakdown. If you notice redness or soreness where the diaper contacts your skin, change brands immediately. Consult your doctor if the redness continues.

4. Cloth Vs. Plastic Backing In Disposable Diapers

One of the major concerns with adult diapers is breathability.

Your skin needs air to keep moisture from building up. Your clothes are porous and the airflow between layers keeps your skin from becoming too moist.

But if you wore plastic underwear there would be no breathability and your skin would not stay at the correct moisture level.

And while plastic backing on disposable diapers is more breathable than it once was, it’s still not as breathable as cloth backing.

This choice depends on how much you struggle with incontinence. If you are bedridden and have little control over you functions, you might want to consider plastic backing.

Liquids will be less likely to leak through a plastic backing than a cloth backing in an adult diaper.

Most people who are more mobile prefer the cloth backing. It’s more comfortable and closer to regular underwear than plastic backing.

5. How To Fit An Adult Diaper

This is one of the most important aspects of adult diaper selection.

If your briefs or pull-ups don’t fit correctly, they will leak. So don’t compromise on this choice.

If you want an exact measurement, take measure.

Have someone measure your waist to get an exact measurement. Have them place the measuring tape snugly but not too tightly.

You want a comfortable fit while still getting a sealed fit.

If you are fitting someone else, use the “Would You Wear It?” Test. If the answer is “no” to any of these questions, then you should probably re-measure.

Ask yourself, does the diaper fit in the legs? Does it overlap too much on each side? Is it too loose and will it ride down? Is this so tight it’s uncomfortable and looks small on the person? Does it shift or bunch up in places?

Remember: Bigger is not better. You want it to fit just right. Think Goldilocks.


As with many things in life, the choice is not always clear. But we hope we’ve cleared things up a little bit when it comes to choosing the right adult diaper.

If you’re looking for a place to start, check out our selection of briefs.

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