If you or a loved one are experiencing incontinence, adult briefs (aka tab-style diapers) can minimize accidents, keeping furniture, bedding, and clothes dry.

If you’ve never used adult incontinence products before, you probably have questions. To make things easier, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide for:

  • Putting a brief on someone else

  • Putting a brief on yourself

With the right supplies and a little bit of practice, you’ll master the art in no time.

What you’ll need

1) A clean brief (diaper with tabs)

There are two main types of adult incontinence products –– tab-style diapers (or briefs) and underwear-style diapers (or pull-ups).

This guide focuses on tab-style diapers (adult briefs). Adult briefs have adjustable tabs on the sides. The tabs can be tightened or loosened, ensuring a perfect fit.

2) A clean towel or sheet

Changing adult briefs can be messy. So before unfastening the tabs and removing your loved one’s brief, spread out a clean towel or sheet, and cover it with an underpad. The extra line of defense prevents urine and feces from coming in contact with your clothing or bedding. 

3) Gloves

You don’t have to wear gloves when changing incontinence products, but they can make cleanup easier. That said, make sure the gloves are latex-free if you or your loved one have sensitive skin or allergies.

4) Wet wipes

It’s important to take the time to clean the skin in between changes thoroughly. Wet wipes help keep harmful bacteria at bay while moisturizing and supporting the skin.

5) A trashbag

Adult briefs are disposable. Simply remove it and throw it in the trash. It’s that easy!

How to Put an Adult Brief On Someone Else

Step #1: Position your loved one on their side

It’s easiest to change an adult brief on someone else when lying down and positioned on their side. If your loved one has trouble staying in place, place a pillow behind them for support.

Step #2: Slide the incontinence brief up your loved one’s legs

Take a new incontinence brief out of the package and carefully guide your loved one’s feet through the leg openings. 

Caregiver tip: Placing a towel between your loved one’s knees makes it easier to guide the brief into the proper position.

Step #3: Cover your loved one’s buttocks with the back of the brief

After pulling the brief into position, spread the backing material over your loved one’s buttocks. 

Step #4: Position your loved one on their back

Once the brief covers your loved one’s buttocks, remove the pillow behind them, and carefully roll them onto their back. Once positioned, you should see adjustable tabs on both sides of the diaper near their hips.

Step #5: Lift the front panel of the brief over the belly

Lift the front panel of your loved one’s brief over their belly. Then, adjust the material on both sides, so the tabs align.

Step #6: Fasten the tabs one at a time

To ensure a perfect fit, go slowly, and close each tab one at a time. 

Peel off the fastening tabs on one side of the brief. Then, gently stretch the tabs across your loved one’s hip and attach them horizontally to the front panel. Repeat the same steps on the other side, adjusting the tabs until the brief is snug (but not too tight).

Step #7: Center the brief and make adjustments 

Putting a brief on someone else takes practice. So if your loved one’s brief looks bunched up, loose, or like it won’t provide adequate protection, take the time to make the necessary adjustments. Our Care Specialists can even walk you through the process!

Pro tip: If your loved one has red or swollen skin, the brief is too tight. Incontinence products should never cut off blood flow.

How to Put an Adult Brief on Yourself

Step #1: Pre-fasten the diaper’s tabs, forming the shape of regular underwear

Take a new incontinence brief out of the package and loosely attach the tabs on either side. After placing the tabs, step into the leg openings (like you would with normal underwear) and pull the brief up to your waist.

Step #2: Readjust the tabs on either side of the brief for a snug fit

Gently stretch the tab on the left side of the brief over your left hip and attach it to the front panel. Then, repeat the same steps with the tab on the right side of the brief.

Step #3: Take a few steps and make the necessary adjustments

After fastening the tabs on your incontinence brief, stand up and take a few steps. Center the diaper, smooth out any wrinkles, and refasten the tabs, so they’re snug (but not too tight).

Need more information on adult briefs?

Incontinence products, like diapers with tabs (aka adult briefs), are affordable and easy to use. But if you haven’t used them before, you probably have questions.

Our friendly care specialists can answer your inquiries and make recommendations that align with your needs. Reach out anytime by calling (800) 696-CARE or sending an email to support@carewell.com.

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Nate Birt
Nate Birt

Nate Birt is a healthcare writer with a journalism degree from University of Missouri. He lives with his wife and their four children on a small farm in Missouri.