Incontinence is really common. In fact, more than 25 million Americans deal with incontinence. Thankfully, incontinence products, like adult pull-up diapers (aka protective underwear), can prevent leaks, keep your skin dry, and provide an extra layer of protection.

We recently discussed How to Put On & Take Off a Brief (adult diaper with tabs), but this article focuses on pull-ups. Below you’ll find step-by-step guides for:

  • Putting a pull-up on someone else

  • Putting a pull-up on yourself

By the time you’re finished reading, you’ll have a list of necessary supplies and know how to ensure a perfect fit.  

What You'll Need

1) Adult pull-up diapers (protective underwear)

There are two types of adult incontinence products –– adult diapers with tabs (briefs) and adult pull-up diapers. 

This guide focuses on adult pull-up diapers (protective underwear). Adult pull-ups look like regular underwear. They’re made of polyester or cotton blends and have absorbent padding that wicks moisture away from the skin.

Related reading: How to Put On & Take Off a Brief

2) A clean towel or sheet

If changing a loved one’s pull-up, lay a clean towel or sheet down first. Pull-ups rarely leak, but it’s a good idea to protect your bedding or furniture just in case. 

Caregiving tip: Disposable bed pads (or “chux”) can provide an extra line of defense during changes.

3) Gloves

Changing a pull-up isn’t as time-consuming or labor-intensive as changing a diaper with tabs, but accidents can happen. Disposable gloves make for a sterile changing environment.

4)  Wipes

Thoroughly clean the genitals, buttocks, and perineum before changing into a clean pull-up. Incontinence products can irritate the skin, so most wipes are infused with soothing ingredients like aloe and vitamin E. 

5) Trashbags 

Pull-ups are like adult diapers with tabs in that they’re disposable. After changing a used pull-up, simply throw it away.

How to Put an Adult Pull-Up on Yourself

Step 1: Remove the pull-up from its packaging and look at the waist to find the front and back

Adult pull-ups look like regular brief underwear. They come in various sizes and absorbency levels and have male, female, and unisex designs. 

When it’s time to change, take a clean pull-up out of the package and unfold it. 

Look at the waistband to determine the front and back. The back of the pull-up should have colored threads and a label that says “back.” That said, some brands have a label that indicates the front instead. In that case, the waistband says “front.” 

Step 2: Step into the pull-up, like underwear

After identifying the front and back of your pull-up underwear, step into the leg holes one at a time. If you need additional support, grab onto a wall or steady chair while you do this.

Step 3: Secure the pull-up around your waist

Carefully pull the brief into position around your waist and put your pants back on. 

Pro tip: Make sure your pull-ups fit. If they’re too tight, they may cut off circulation and irritate your skin. On the other hand, if they’re too loose, they may leak or cause chafing. 

How to Put an Adult Pull-Up on Someone Else

Step 1: Prepare the changing area

Before changing your loved one’s pull-up, lay a clean sheet or towel on the floor or bed. Then, place a disposable underpad (chux) on top for an extra layer of protection.

Step 2: Have your loved one lie down on their back and remove the used pull-up

Remove the pull-up your loved one is wearing. 

Most pull-ups have tear-away sides, so you don’t have to pull them down or put a towel between your loved one’s knees like you would changing a diaper with tabs. Instead, simply tear off the used pull-up and throw it in the trash.

Then, use skin-friendly wet wipes to clean up urine or feces, and apply a barrier cream to your loved one’s buttocks and groin to protect against diaper rash.

Step 3: Take a new pull-up from the package and put it on your loved one

Take a clean pull-up out of the package and unfold it. Then, guide your loved one’s feet into the leg holes and secure it around their waist.

Remember––for adult pull-ups to work, they need to be the right size. If a pull-up is too tight, it can irritate your loved one’s skin or cut off their circulation, and if too loose, it can leak or bunch up under their clothing. 

How do I choose the right size adult pull-up?

Finding the right pull-up size IS NOT like finding the right pant size.

All adult pull-ups rely on sizing guides featuring two numbers (e.g., Waist/Hip - 28-40”). 

To determine these numbers, you must measure your loved one’s waist and hip (in inches). You then use the larger of the two measurements when referencing a product’s sizing guide.

Related reading: How to Measure For *(and Choose) the Right Inco Size: A Step-By-Step Guide

Need more information on adult pull-ups?

Finding the right adult pull-up for yourself or a loved one can be challenging. With so many brands, materials, and designs, it can take time to know which product will best meet your needs.

Still have questions? Our friendly and supportive care specialists are here to help. Call (855) 855-1666 or send an email to at any time. We’ll be happy to listen to your situation and make personalized recommendations based on your needs. 

If you’d like to try a product out, we can even send you a complimentary sample!

Start browsing adult pull-ups:

Hear it from a caregiver: “Very pleased with the selection of products and service!” - Lillian B. 

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Chad Birt
Chad Birt

Chad Birt is a freelance medical writer who resides in Astoria, Oregon. When he isn't behind a keyboard, you can find him hiking, camping, or birdwatching with his wife Ella and their two dogs, Diane and Thoreau.