The 11 Best Diapers, Put to the Ultimate Test: Real Babies

Keeping bums dry is a diaper’s job; telling you which diapers really deliver is ours. Here, check out our top, parent-approved picks.
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By Lynsey Eidell, Contributing Writer
Updated January 15, 2024
mom and dad changing baby's diaper at home
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In a nutshell:

Based on advice from a pediatrician, a survey of more than 200 members of The Bump community and feedback from our team of independent product testers, we chose Coterie Diapers as the overall best diapers. In particular, this brand stood out for its impressive protection, super-soft materials and high absorbency.

The average baby will go through thousands—yes, thousands—of diapers in their lifetime. With that many diaper changes on the horizon, picking a quality baby diaper is critical. The best diapers keep your little one dry and comfortable, while preventing leaks and dreaded blowouts for parents to clean up. But with dozens of diaper types, features and brands for parents to sift through, finding the best baby diapers isn’t always easy or straightforward. “Many families make their choice based on the brand, design, cost and designations such as eco-friendly or organic,” agrees Caroline Brown, MD, a pediatrician based in North Carolina and mother of three young children. As a mom of three myself, I’ve changed my fair share of diapers over the years and have learned what to seek out (and avoid!) to help keep messes to a minimum.

We’ve done the dirty work (literally) for you, researching the leading diapers on the market and putting them to the test with real parents and real babies. The result is a comprehensive guide to baby diapers, including the best diapers for every budget, lifestyle and need. Keep reading to discover the top-performing options, including this year’s Best of The Bump winner.

How We Chose and Tested the Best Baby Diapers

For more than 10 years, The Bump has acknowledged the best baby and pregnancy products on the market through our award series. To help you find the best diapers on the market today, The Bump editors did extensive research to identify the most popular, effective and environmentally friendly products out there. Then, with the help of real parents, we put them to the test. Here’s how we did it:

  • We chatted with a pediatrician to understand essential features you should look for as you shop and use diapers.
  • We followed guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and read relevant medical resources.
  • We enlisted the help of 17 independent product testers to try out different diapers on their little ones. These parents used these diapers with their own babies during both day and night, at home, at the playground and even at the beach. They then carefully evaluated each for ease of use, effectiveness, features and design, materials and ingredients, comfort for their baby and value for the money.
  • We surveyed over 300 parents in The Bump community for additional insight on the pros and cons of specific diapers.
  • We leveraged our familiarity with leading baby brands and trusted online retailers and combed through dozens of options.
  • We considered several factors when sourcing diapers, including materials, size range and additional features, like wetness indicators, to name a few.
  • We read user reviews to see how these diapers have worked for real families, and didn’t consider anything with less than an average four-star rating.

Editorial integrity is at the heart of everything we publish. Read about how The Bump develops and reviews all articles, including product reviews.

Image: Anna D., Sierra M., Julie W.

The Best Diapers to Buy

Overall best baby diapers

What We Love
  • Stays dry for up to 12 hours
  • Free of more than 200 chemicals
  • Simple to manage subscriptions
Things To Consider
  • High price point

When it comes to baby diapers, Coterie reigns supreme—and for good reason. These diapers boast top-of-the-line materials, absorbency and leak protection, keeping babies up to three times drier than leading diaper brands, thanks to 70 percent more liquid capacity and four times faster absorbency. With this type of peak performance, it’s easy to see why Coterie earned this year’s Best of The Bump award—and why 11 percent of our survey respondents had high praises for the brand. (Head here to see all of this year’s Best of The Bump winners.)

Our product tester, who gave Coterie 5 out of 5 scores in a wide range of categories, including ease of use, effectiveness, features and design and comfort, was amazed by the diaper’s overall performance. “The diapers were extremely absorbent—better than any diaper I’ve used,” she said. “They didn’t leak once. No blowouts escaped them. I used them during the night where [my baby] would go a 12-hour stretch without being changed and still never had any leaking through.”

Not only do these baby diapers work exceptionally well, but they’re also soft to the touch and made with apparel-grade fabric and hypoallergenic, dermatologist-tested materials. In fact, Coterie diapers are free of more than 200 potential irritants, including fragrance, alcohol, chlorine and latex. “The diapers felt very soft and stretchy,” our product tester reported. “It felt like really soft, thick toilet paper … [my baby] never seemed uncomfy in them, and they never left any red marks or irritation from the diaper leg cuffs like I’ve noticed other diapers have.”

With their extraordinary leak and blowout protection, cleaner ingredients and super-soft materials, Coterie diapers are easily the top pick of parents and babies, and the winner of a well-deserved Best of The Bump badge.

Size range: Newborn (under 10 lbs.) to 6 (35+ lbs.) | Materials: Polypropylene, polyester and polyethylene (backsheet); propylene (topsheet); SAP and wood pulp (core) | Wetness indicator: Yes

Our product tester says:

“I’d recommend these for two reasons: Because they never once leaked, and because my baby’s skin was not irritated once.”

Our community says:

"I absolutely love the quality and design of these diapers. They truly are superior and I love that they don’t have tacky designs and my baby can wear them with his thin, bamboo outfits without a pattern showing through. My baby loves these!" – Ellen, The Bump survey respondent

"The best things are how soft and absorbent they are, the quality and that it's a 'clean' diaper." – Susan, The Bump survey respondent

"I like the absorbency, style and quality. They're worth the price." – Maggie*, The Bump survey respondent

Buy Now

Best cloth diapers

bumGenius Freetime 2.0 All-in-One Cloth Diaper
Image: bumGenius
Buying Options
What We Love
  • Easy for novices to use
  • Comes in 24 different designs and colors
  • Six cotton layers for maximum protection and comfort
Things To Consider
  • Can be bulky

Love the concept of cloth diapers, but intimidated by the process? The Bumgenius All-in-One Cloth Diaper makes it easy on parents—both those familiar with cloth diapers and those who are brand new to the practice. While cloth diapers traditionally require an additional waterproof cover, the Bumgenius has combined the absorbent cloth inserts and waterproof outer shell into a one-piece design that keeps things simple. The snap closures allow for quick and easy changes, as well as the ability to customize the size to fit baby. “The Bumgenius made changing diapers simple and quick,” said our product tester, who rated this diaper a 5 out of 5 for ease of use. She added, “I loved the fitting of the diaper. I was able to adjust the snaps for the perfect fit.”

Not only is the bumGenius simple for parents to use, but it’s also effective at keeping babies dry and comfortable. So if you’re worried that a cloth diaper won’t deliver on absorbency, let our product tester set your mind at ease: “The effectiveness of the bumGenius All-in-One cloth diaper was outstanding. We didn’t experience any leakage from anywhere while wearing the diaper,” she gushed, rating the bumGenius 5 out 5 not only for effectiveness but also for comfort and materials and ingredients. “I usually dread trying out new diapers, because we haven’t had much luck with other diaper brands,” she told us. “My daughter has sensitive skin so we always have to be careful with what brands and material we use. We haven’t had any issues since using bumGenius.” Performance and simplicity from a cloth diaper? Sign us up!

Size range: One size (fits 8 to 35 lbs.) | Materials: 100% laminated polyester (outer shell); 100% polyester (inner); 100% cotton (absorbent layers); 74% polyester/15% nylon/11% spandex (tabs) | Wetness indicator: No

Our product tester says:

“BumGenius is a great cloth diaper brand, and I would definitely recommend it to other parents—the number one reason being that they’re perfect for babies and toddlers. I love that you’re able to reuse them as your baby grows.”

Buy Now

Best newborn diapers

What We Love
  • Umbilical cord cutout to protect baby’s healing belly button
  • Wetness indicator
  • Soft elastic waistband to contain blowouts
Things To Consider
  • Legs are narrow

Newborns can use up to 10 diapers a day—but Huggies Little Snugglers helps make those diaper changes a breeze. These newborn diapers earned top scores—a full 5 out of 5—for ease of use from our product tester, who said that they were “very easy to put on and take off” her 2-month-old. And while parents and caregivers appreciate their user-friendly design, newborns will love the softness of Huggies Little Snugglers Diapers against their fresh baby skin. “The inner lining was textured and very soft,” our product tester reported. “I could appreciate that my baby was comfortable.”

Moreover, 30 percent of parents surveyed from The Bump community told us they were big fans of Huggies diapers. The fit and comfort were singled out for praise by our survey respondents, one of whom told us, “The fit is really nice and not irritating for baby.” Little Snugglers feature a curved shape that helps to conform to a newborn’s tiny body, as well as an umbilical cord cutout to protect their healing belly buttons. “The adhesive tabs are stretchy,” our product tester told us. “They worked to secure the diaper, which stayed in place throughout day and night.”

The absorbent liner keeps moisture away from your newborn’s sensitive skin, and the core protects against leaks for up to 12 hours. This was also a standout feature for our survey respondents, who praised the diaper’s absorbency for both day and night use. Easy-to-use, soft and gentle with excellent absorption—what more could you want from a newborn diaper?

Size range: Preemie (under 6 lbs.) to 6 (35+ lbs.) | Materials: Wood pulp, polypropylene, polyethylene, sodium polyacrylate and polyester | Wetness indicator: Yes

Our product tester says:

“They have good absorbency and work good for day and night. The fit is really nice and not irritating to baby.”

Our community says:

"They have good absorbency and work well for day and night. They come in cute designs too." – Annemarie, The Bump survey respondent

"The fit is really nice and non-irritating to baby." – Laura, The Bump survey respondent

Buy Now

Best preemie diapers

What We Love
  • Accommodates babies as small as 1 lb. 8 oz.
  • Double leg cuffs for a snug fit
  • Hypoallergenic and free of parabens and latex
Things To Consider
  • Tester reported some daytime leaks during active hours

When baby is born prematurely, it’s hard to imagine a diaper made small enough to fit their tiny bodies. That’s where Pampers Swaddlers come in: Pampers worked with NICU nurses to develop a line of preemie diapers designed to fit even the smallest of babies. The diapers are available in three different preemie sizes, ranging from P1 (for babies under six pounds) to P2 (for babies four pounds and under) all the way to P3 (which fits babies smaller than one pound, eight ounces). The P3 size was the first of its kind from a major brand—which is why it’s no surprise that 24 percent of our survey respondents told us they use Pampers diapers. Thanks to their variety of tough-to-find sizes, this option ensures that there’s a diaper to fit every baby, no matter how early they arrive.

In addition to their inclusive size range, Pampers Swaddlers also offer supreme leak protection for hours. Each of these preemie diapers is complete with dual leakguard barriers along the legs and a blowout barrier along the waistband. Our product tester found the absorbency in these diapers to be impressive, particularly when baby was sleeping. “They work very well overnight,” she reported. “We haven’t experienced a leak at night, and [it] was easy to change them in the morning without any surprises.”

“These diapers seemed comfortable for my baby,” our tester added. “They are pretty soft but also durable.” Welcoming a baby before their due date is stressful enough, but, thankfully, finding a diaper that fits them well (and works well too) doesn’t have to be.

Size range: P3 (under 1 lb., 8 oz.) to 8 (46+ lbs.) | Materials: Polypropylene and spandex (leg cuffs); wood pulp (absorbent fluff); polypropylene and stretch film (fastening system) | Wetness indicator: Yes

Our product tester says:

“My baby seemed very comfortable having his diaper changed with the Pampers Swaddlers.”

Our community says:

"These diapers have been comfortable and reliable since the beginning. They never cause diaper rash and have never leaked out at night." – Leah, The Bump survey respondent

"Very soft and absorbent, seem comfortable and available nearly everywhere (even internationally). Our baby is 10 months old and has only had 3 blowouts ever (knock on wood)." – Laura, The Bump survey respondent

Buy Now

Best overnight diapers

What We Love
  • Double-grip fasteners to prevent shifting during sleep
  • Stay-dry liner keeps moisture away from skin
  • Adorable prints
Things To Consider
  • Limited size range

It’s a major parenting win when baby starts sleeping through the night, and one that shouldn’t be interrupted by a leaky diaper. A quality overnight diaper needs to be absorbent, secure and comfortable—and Huggies Overnites Nighttime Baby Diapers excels in each of these areas. Our product tester gave Overnites perfect 5 out of 5 scores in effectiveness, features and design, and comfort, telling us, “My baby girl had no irritation or redness after wearing them at night. She seemed very comfortable wearing them!”

Our product tester was especially wowed by the absorbency of Huggies Overnites, a key factor in keeping babies dry all night long. They feature double grip strips to keep the diaper in place (even as your little one tosses and turns) and a contoured fit to prevent any gaps where leakage can escape. “I didn’t experience any leakage with my one-year-old,” our product tester shared. “They worked a bit better than our regular daytime diapers because of the extra stretch and absorbency!”

With Huggies Overnites, babies are not only kept dry, but also comfortable all night long. The dry touch liner prevents little ones from feeling wet overnight, and the diaper is designed to be extra soft against their skin—a feature that stood out to our product tester. “The Huggies nighttime diapers felt very soft and gentle on my baby's skin,” she shared. With their ability to keep babies dry and comfy overnight, Huggies Overnites are the clear top choice for an overnight diaper.

Size range: 3 (16-28 lbs.) to 7 (41+ lbs.) | Materials: Wood pulp, polypropylene, polyethylene, sodium polyacrylate and polyester | Wetness indicator: Yes

Our product tester says:

“I would highly recommend the Huggies nighttime diapers to other parents! They are extra soft, stretchy and absorbent, so they’re great for a good night’s sleep!”

Buy Now

Best cheap diapers

What We Love
  • 100% hypoallergenic and free of parabens and latex
  • Infused with aloe extract
  • Affordable price point
Things To Consider
  • Thinner than some other options

Looking for a diaper with an affordable price tag that doesn’t sacrifice performance? Look no further than Luvs disposable baby diapers, which are a great option for parents looking for a wallet-friendly choice. Luvs average around 17 cents per diaper, nearly 10 cents cheaper than other name-brand competitors—and with the number of diapers you’ll buy throughout your child’s lifetime, those pennies add up fast.

But Luvs aren’t cheap when it comes to quality; they hold their own on the performance front as well. Luvs Ultra Leakguards earned 5 out of 5 scores for ease of use, features and design, effectiveness and (of course) value for money—but one area that particularly stood out to our product tester was their absorbency, despite feeling thinner than diapers she had used in the past. “They have worked perfectly throughout the day and night,” she gushed. “It was also very absorbent!”

Luvs’ triple leakguards offer three absorption areas to help keep baby feeling dry, and are infused with aloe to help soothe your little one’s skin. “My baby had no irritation or reaction to them and seemed very comfortable and happy wearing them,” our product tester reported. Top performance at a low price? That’s a win-win for parents and babies.

Size range: Newborn (under 10 lbs.) to 7 (41+ lbs.) | Materials: N/A | Wetness indicator: Yes

Our product tester says:

“I never used Luvs diapers before, and I was pleasantly surprised. They’re very user-friendly, even with a wiggling baby!”

Buy Now

Best diapers for sensitive skin

What We Love
  • Made with 85% plant-based materials
  • Free from chlorine, fragrance, latex, parabens, phthalates and bleach
  • Recyclable packaging
Things To Consider
  • High price point

When baby has sensitive skin, you need a diaper that won’t add to their irritation or discomfort. Enter Terra diapers, which are designed with high-quality, plant-based materials—and without any harsh chemicals or fragrances—to keep even the most sensitive of baby skin feeling happy. Our product tester was wowed by the materials and ingredients used in Terra diapers, rating them a 5 out of 5 in the category. “My baby has very sensitive skin, so I was really pleased with that aspect of the diaper and the ingredients used to make it,” she explained. “It was really soft, fragrance-free and felt great—which can be unique among eco-friendly diapers.”

Another key factor for babies with sensitive skin is keeping their skin dry to prevent rashes. The absorbent core used in Terra diapers features high-quality Japanese SAPs that help to wick away moisture faster and keep baby feeling drier for longer. Our product tester reported that her “baby felt dry to the touch when changing” and experienced no redness or irritation from the diapers, giving them 5 out of 5 for comfort.

Terra doesn’t stop there, however; they’re also an eco-friendly choice. Terra diapers are made out of 85 percent plant-based materials, and even the packaging is plastic-free (it’s made of biodegradable craft paper and rice). Whether your child has sensitive skin or not, Terra Premium Diapers are an impressive choice all around.

Size range: 1 (under 11 lbs.) to 6 (35+ lbs.) | Materials: 100% bamboo fiber (backsheet and leg cuffs); polypropylene (top sheet and tape fasteners); SAP, wood pulp, tissue paper (core) | Wetness indicator: Yes

Our product tester says:

“These diapers are incredibly soft, and my sensitive baby seemed quite happy in them.”

Buy Now

Best eco-friendly diapers

What We Love
  • Naturally hypoallergenic and antibacterial
  • Free of chlorine, alcohol, preservatives, phthalates, latex, PVC and TBT
  • 5% discount with subscription
Things To Consider
  • Our product tester reported they were loose around the legs
  • May smell once baby pees

Love the convenience of disposable diapers but not their impact on the environment? Eco-friendly diapers are an excellent alternative for parents who aren’t ready to make the jump into cloth diapers—and our favorites are Andy Pandy Bamboo Disposable Diapers.

Andy Pandy diapers are made from bamboo viscose that’s good for both the environment and baby’s skin. The bamboo is grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers and is up to 87 percent biodegradable—while also being super absorbent and gentle for your little one. These eco-friendly diapers also feature pure aloe essence, which helps to keep baby’s skin soothed and protected against diaper rash. “I really love that they put pure aloe, because it seems to help keep baby skin soft and smooth,” our product tester said, giving Andy Pandy a 5 out of 5 score for comfort.

Of course, eco-conscious design is all well and good, but the diaper still has to work right. Thankfully, our product tester loved how absorbent and comfortable they were for her baby, telling us, “He felt comfortable with his diapers and slept well with them too.” Even better, our tester reported that while her baby has sensitive skin, “he never got a diaper rash when using these diapers.” She also praised the fit: “These diapers have been very easy to take off and put on my baby,” she told us “I really loved how stretchy they are and how easy it is to adjust the tabs. It was never too tight or too loose.” Good for the earth, good for baby and good for eco-conscious parents? That’s a diapering trifecta right there.

Size range: Newborn (7-10 lbs.) to XL (26+ lbs.) | Materials: Bamboo viscose, chlorine-free fluff pulp, SAP | Wetness indicator: Yes

Our product tester says:

“These were so soft on baby’s bottom and I loved that about them. It seems that my baby has sensitive skin, so these really helped with diaper rashes.”

Buy Now

Best diapers for blowouts

Rascal + Friends Premium Diapers
Image: Walmart
What We Love
  • Free from lotion, latex and fragrance
  • Affordable price point
Things To Consider
  • Not sold in most stores

Let’s face it: Diaper blowouts are fun for no one. But certain diapers are better at handling those messes than others, and our favorites are Rascal + Friends Premium Diapers. Designed by a mom of four from New Zealand, these diapers feature a stretchy waistband (designed to sit higher on baby’s back to prevent those up-the-back accidents) and an extra-deep pocket (to catch even the biggest of blowouts). Also keeping those messes secure is an ultra-absorbent core that can hold up to 15 times its weight in liquid. And these features don’t just sound impressive, they deliver the goods: Our product tester reported no leaks or blowouts—even when worn overnight.

Rascal + Friends Premium Diapers are also gentle on baby’s skin, as the diapers are made without any harsh chemicals, latex, lotions or fragrances (all potential irritants). “I was comfortable putting my sensitive baby in them,” our tester said, “and she did not have any irritation.” And while all of those are important considerations when selecting a diaper for baby, the most standout feature of Rascal + Friends is their ability to contain even the yuckiest of accidents. Your child—and your laundry pile—will thak you.

Size range: 1 (6-11 lbs.) to 7 (37+ lbs.) | Materials: Fluff pulp, SAP, polypropylene and polyethylene | Wetness indicator: Yes (in sizes 1 to 2)

Our product tester says:

“These diapers were very effective—I had no leaks or beyond-the-diaper blowouts even when worn overnight.”

Buy Now

Best training pants

Millie Moon Luxury Training Pants
Image: Target
Buying Options
Target|$19.99 for 52
What We Love
  • Snug yet comfy waistband
  • Free from lotion, latex and fragrance
  • Resealable tab for easy disposal
Things To Consider
  • Sides can be difficult to rip during changes

Have a little one who’s not quite ready for underwear but eager for something less baby-ish than diapers? Training pants are a perfect middle ground, allowing your toddler to feel like they’re wearing undies while still protecting against accidents. We’re big fans of Millie Moon Luxury Training Pants—which earned a whopping 5 out of 5 score from our product tester across all categories.

A standout feature of the Millie Moon training pants is the DreamFit waistband, which is made of 15 individual pieces of elastic to move closely and comfortably with your ever-busy toddler. “These training pants had a lot of great features, such as the extra stretch in the waistband,” our product tester shared. “They fit great around her waist thanks to the stretchy material.” Another smart design in the Millie Moon training pants is the resealable tab, which allows parents to roll the training pants and seal them closed for disposal (keeping any messes contained). Our product tester called it her favorite feature, noting how it “makes disposing [of] them so much easier.”

Millie Moon Luxury training pants are also fragrance-free, lotion-free, latex-free and dermatologically tested, to keep your toddler’s skin protected from any potential irritants. “These training pants felt like clouds, they’re that soft,” our product tester gushed. “She was able to wear them and run around all day without showing any signs of irritation.” Our tester even said they helped with potty training, by getting her daughter used to taking off and pulling on an underwear-like product. So although we love Millie Moons, here’s hoping she won’t need them much longer!

Size range: 2T/3T (22-33 lbs.) to 4T/5T (35+ lbs.) | Materials: N/A | Wetness indicator: Yes

Our product tester says:

“I would definitely recommend these training pants. The comfort and features like the resealable tab, the extra stretchy waistband and the double cuff make these training pants worth the price.”

Buy Now

Best swim diapers

What We Love
  • Stretchy waistband and legs for added protection
  • Easy-tear sides make for quick changes
  • Not bulky
Things To Consider
  • Limited size range

A day of fun in the sun can quickly be ruined by a diaper malfunction—but those can be easily prevented by a quality swim diaper. The best in the category? Pampers Splashers, which excel at keeping messes contained and baby comfortable while taking a dip. “These diapers worked perfectly for the pool and the beach,” our product tester told us, giving Pampers Splashers 5 out of 5 scores for effectiveness. “We had no leakage issues, and I felt confident that we wouldn’t. They worked perfectly in the water and while my baby crawled around on the sand.”

Two other areas where Pampers Splashers rated perfect 5 out of 5 scores from our product tester were features and design, and ease of use. She raved about the diapers’ stretchy waistband and elastic cuffs, which provide a secure fit and protection against blowouts. “They fit like a glove,” she shared. “The diaper had elastic in the legs and the waistband and I loved it. These were the most secure swim diapers I have ever tried, and I really felt confident that my baby was comfortable but also that we were safe from leakage.”

Our product tester went as far as to claim Pampers Splashers were her “favorite of any swim diaper we have tried,” adding, “they gave us the protection we needed to have a good pool or beach day.”

Size range: Small (13-24 lbs.) to large (31-40 lbs.) | Materials: Wood fluff pulp, polypropylene and spandex | Wetness indicator: No

Our product tester says:

“I honestly preferred these swim diapers to others we have tried in the past. These diapers were amazing.”

Buy Now

*Note: Some names have been changed due to privacy requests.

Types of Baby Diapers

There are a few different types of baby diapers, each with their own merits. Deciding what works best for your family will depend on your preferences, lifestyle, budget and more. Here’s a brief overview to help you make the decision.

  • Disposables. As their name implies, disposable diapers are designed to be thrown away after they’re soiled. They make up the majority of the diaper market, with some studies reporting as many as 95 percent of US parents using them for their children—and it’s easy to see why. Disposable diapers are ultra-absorbent, which helps prevent diaper rashes and irritation, and convenient, as they don’t require any laundering or special care. However, the price of disposable diapers can add up, and many are non-biodegradable, with some 20 billion diapers entering landfills each year, according to the AAP.

  • Cloth. Reusable cloth diapers are typically made of cotton, fleece or other fabric. They also require a waterproof outer cover. They’re generally less absorbent, resulting in more frequent diaper changes, and require laundering—but they can be more cost-effective in the long run and environmentally friendly. (Though disposable diaper fans cite the energy and water required to launder cloth diapers, as well as the water required to produce cotton—both have negative impacts on the environment.)

  • Swim diapers. This option is a special type of diaper designed to catch any mess if baby goes no. 2 while in the water. Swim diapers don’t absorb liquid (otherwise they’d balloon from soaking up the water baby is swimming in), which means they won’t hold urine—they’re solely meant to contain poop. They come in both disposable and reusable forms.

  • Training pants. Also known as pull-ups, training pants are often used during potty training to help make the transition from diapers to underwear. They can be made of cloth or a disposable absorbent material, and typically feature stretchy sides—as opposed to the elastic fasteners found on diapers—that allow them to be pulled up and down like underwear.

What to Consider When Shopping for Diapers

The diaper that will work best for you and your family will depend on a variety of factors. Here are certain things to consider before selecting a diaper for your child:

  • Fit. A diaper’s overall fit is one of its most important features, Brown tells us. Often, this takes some trial and error to discover which brand of diapers fits your little one best—but it’s worth the extra effort. “Some brands seem to fit some babies’ better than others, and the better the fit, the fewer the leaks or blowouts you’ll endure,” Brown says.

  • Materials. The materials used in a diaper are also an important consideration for parents, especially if baby has sensitive skin. If that’s the case, Brown suggests avoiding super absorbent polymers (SAP) and diapers that use chlorine or chlorine dioxide, as both could be potentially irritating to babies with sensitive skin. They might also do better with an eco-friendly or organic diaper, Brown says, as those are typically made with “materials like organic cotton or bamboo and are typically free of chemicals, such as chlorine, phthalates and synthetic fragrances,” she explains.

  • Cost. Brown points out that just because a diaper is more expensive, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s superior to its more affordable counterparts. “Some less expensive brands may be a better fit for your child,” she says. “I encourage my patients’ parents to buy a package of a few different types to try before stocking up in bulk on a particular brand.”

  • Ease of use. Diapers need to be both baby- and parent-friendly, since the adults are the ones doing all of the diaper changes. Stretchy, tear-resistant tabs are one helpful feature for quick changes, and Brown particularly loves a wetness indicator on diapers (a line that changes color when the diaper is wet). “As a parent, I am a huge fan,” she says. “It can actually be difficult to tell if one of the super absorbent diapers is actually wet.”

Do Diapers Expire?

No, diapers don’t technically expire, but you may want to use them up sooner rather than later. “Diapers do not have a specific expiration date per se,” Brown explains, “but they may become less effective over time.” The absorption material can break down over time, causing the diaper to soak up less liquid—potentially resulting in leaks or diaper rashes.Plus, the adhesive found on the diaper tabs can weaken over the years, which could cause the diaper to not be as secure on your little one. Most disposable diaper manufacturers recommend using baby diapers within the first two years of purchase. But don’t stress if you open a pack that’s not super fresh: While using an old diaper might not be as effective, it’s not harmful to your child.

When Do Babies Stop Wearing Diapers?

Already looking forward to the day your little one is out of diapers? According to the AAP, most children in the US begin potty training sometime between 2 and 3 years old—and most are “bowel and bladder trained by 4 years of age.”

But just because you’ve conquered potty training doesn’t mean it’s time to ditch all diapers just yet. Dryness at nap times and nighttime often happens later than daytime toilet training. “Some children need diapers or pull-ups for nighttime bed-wetting for several years,” Brown says. She points out that some children will be unable to stay dry through the night until they’re around 6 or 7 years of age (and even older, in some cases).

However, there are no hard and fast rules as to when babies officially stop wearing diapers. Potty training is dependent on a variety of factors—but if you ever have concerns about your child and their toileting habits, be sure to talk to your child’s pediatrician.

About the writer:

Lynsey Eidell has researched and written dozens of product reviews for The Bump, from the best pregnancy belly bands to the best baby bassinets and beyond. She’s also written about entertainment, pop culture, weddings and motherhood for digital publications including PEOPLE, Glamour, Vanity Fair, Teen Vogue, Allure and more. She is a graduate of Villanova University and a native of Fairfield County, Connecticut, where she currently lives with her family. When she’s not busy writing, she is kept equally busy by her three young boys, who are 7, 4 and 3.

Interested in becoming a product tester for The Bump? Head here to apply.


Caroline Brown, MD, FAAP, IBCLC, is a pediatrician and mother of three young children. She has practiced pediatrics in North Carolina for the past 15 years and opened a new independent pediatric clinic, The Children’s Clinic of Winston-Salem, in the fall of 2023. She can be found on Facebook and Instagram.

Current Opinion in Pediatrics, Diaper dermatitis and advances in diaper technology, August 2000

Healthy Children (AAP), Diapers: Disposable or Cloth?, May 2021

Healthy Children (AAP), The Right Age to Potty Train, May 2022

The Bump May 2023 Survey. Editors conducted a survey of 300 parents from among The Bump community, and asked what brand of diapers they used with their little ones.

Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial process.

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