How Should an Adult Diaper Fit? [A Visual Guide]

A Visual Adult Diaper Sizing Guide

Adult diapers are made in different shapes and sizes to accommodate a variety of wearers. When it comes to comfort and protection, finding the proper fit for your diaper is critical, but most people don’t realize just how important it really is. Not all diapers are created equal, so we’re going to take a deep dive into how different types of adult diapers should fit (and how they shouldn’t).

Why Does Adult Diaper Size Matter?

If an adult diaper doesn’t fit properly, it can cause skin irritation and leakage. Additionally, an improperly fitting diaper may not provide enough protection against urinary incontinence or fecal accidents. The right fit is essential for the comfort and prevention of skin problems that range from minor irritation to serious rashes.

Understanding Why Diaper Size Matters

A well-fitting adult diaper should be snug but not too tight around the waist and legs and should have enough absorbency for your needs. But what are the consequences of a diaper that doesn’t fit properly?

What Happens When Your Adult Diaper is Too Small

If an adult diaper is too small, there won’t be enough absorbency and it will be much more likely to leak. Additionally, because the absorbent areas are so tight around the waist and leg openings, the excess moisture on the skin will cause irritation.

What Happens When Your Adult Diaper is Too Big

On the flip side, if your diaper is too large, it will sag around the hip bone and make it more likely to leak at the leg openings. The extra bulk will also make your diaper uncomfortable and less discreet.

What Does the Right Fit Look Like in Different Styles?

Product sizing can vary depending on the brand and style of underwear. View the diagrams below to take a closer look at how pull-up diapers, incontinence briefs, and bariatric diapers should fit.

Adult Pull-Up Diapers

Pull-up diapers are a great option for those who have limited mobility or dexterity. Pull-ups look and feel like regular underwear, but feature the protection of an adult diaper. When selecting pull-up diapers, be sure to find one that fits snugly around the waist and legs with stretchy sides for comfort and movement.

Diagram showing how a well-fitting adult pull-up diaper looks compared to adult pull-up diapers that are too small or too large.

As you can see in the image above, a perfectly sized pull-up diaper should have a snug (not tight) fit around the waist and legs, and it should come up just below the belly button.

If the diaper is too large, you will notice gaps around your legs, especially when the diaper is full. Those gaps will lead to leakage. If the diaper comes up above your belly button, that’s another sign to size down.

If the diaper is too small, not only will you see it pulling at the sides around your waist, but your leg openings will also be tight. This can lead to decreased mobility, an increased risk of skin issues, and potential leakage.

Recommended Adult Pull-Up Diapers

Here are three of our highest-rated pull-up diapers, their actual customer ratings, and a look at their size charts:

Dry Direct Ultimate Protective Underwear (Rating: 4.8/5)

As Parentgiving's top-rated, most absorbent underwear style, Dry Direct Ultimate Protective Underwear is suitable for overnight usage and up to 10 hours of continuous wear. This premium incontinence product, which is also our flagship underwear, is leakproof, incredibly soft, and comfy.

Available Diaper Sizes

Waist Size









Tranquility Premium OverNight Absorbent Underwear (Rating: 4.5/5)

For those who seek an uninterrupted night's sleep, Tranquility Premium OverNight Absorbent Underwear is a perfect option. Thanks to their super-absorbent construction, these pull-up diapers are made for all-night comfort and protection. With a breathable fabric, a full-rise waist panel, and a latex-, lycra-, and spandex-free design, Tranquility is all about comfort. 

Available Diaper Sizes

Waist Size













Adult Incontinence Briefs

Adult briefs are designed for a more traditional fit and provide greater adjustability than pull-up diapers. When selecting adult briefs, look for one that fits snugly around the waist and legs with adjustable tabs for maximum comfort and protection.

The allure of tape-on briefs is the customization in fit that a caregiver can provide the user. Big belly and skinny legs require fastening with tape or velcro tabs at the top and bottom of the wings to ensure the best fit. It can be difficult to accommodate that shape combination with pull-up underwear. The other allure of tape-on is ease of use for caregivers and care providers - especially for those users who are immobile or bedridden.

Diagram showing how a well-fitting adult incontinence brief looks compared to briefs that are too small or too large.

As shown in the image above, the waistband of a perfectly sized incontinence brief should have a snug fit around the waist, allowing the adjustable tabs to tighten as needed.

If the brief is too large, gaps may form around your legs, leading to leakage

If the brief is too small, you may see the adjustable tabs overlapping when tightened, or the leg openings may be too tight. Briefs that are too small often lead to increased leakage and minor skin problems. 

Recommended Incontinence Briefs

Here are three of our top briefs, their actual customer ratings, and a look at their size charts:

Dry Direct Super Brief (Rating: 4.5/5)

The most popular choice for briefs that can be worn both during the day and at night is the Dry Direct Super Brief. For daytime and nighttime use, our Super Briefs can hold over four cups of liquid and are protected from sensitive skin. Our Super Briefs are recognizably gentler and more agreeable than others in the commercial center with a rich top sheet and sideboards generally 100% made in Italy.

Available Diaper Sizes

Waist Size







FitRight OptIFIT Super Disposable Adult Briefs (Rating: 4.7/5)

These adult briefs are distinctive because, during the production process, Medline's Remedy Skin Repair Cream was placed throughout the full length of the inside liner. This premium, all-natural cream aids in preventing skin deterioration. The 100% breathable side panels on the front and back of the OptiFIT brief keep the wearer comfortable and lessen the chance of skin irritation. This is the best in terms of overall skin care because of its remedy-treated liner and breathable panels. These adult briefs control significant quantities of stool, overflow, and temporary incontinence.

Available Diaper Sizes

Waist Size

Medium (White)


Large (Purple)


X-Large (Blue)


XX-Large (Yellow)


TENA Stretch Super Briefs (Rating: 4.5/5)

For evening or longer usage, TENA Stretch Super Absorbency offers the best bladder and/or bowel protection. Stretch Sides and full-length hook fasteners work together in a unique way to create a fit that is secure and stays in place. The product won't gape or sag as much thanks to this simply adjustable fit, providing comfort, security, and efficient leakage management. Full breathability is provided with a soft nonwoven material, which also enhances comfort and skin health.

Available Adult Brief Sizes

Waist Size







Bariatric Adult Diapers

Bariatric adult diapers offer larger sizes as they are designed for individuals with a larger waist circumference. The different sizes typically range from extra large to 5XL. These products are impossible to find at brick n mortar stores and are almost exclusively found online. The prices for bariatric products can be exorbitant - the raw material costs are high because the products are large, and the machinery to construct these products is not common.

Diagram showing how a well-fitting bariatric adult diaper looks compared to diapers that are too small or too large.

The image above illustrates how the waistband and leg openings should fit snugly without restricting movement.

If the bariatric diaper is too big, too much movement or absorbed liquid can cause large gaps between the diaper and the skin, leading to leakages.

If the diaper is too small, you’ll likely see and experience pulling at the waistband, restricted movement, and general discomfort. You may also notice the leg cuffs are stretched instead of lying flat on the skin the way they should.

Recommended Bariatric Adult Diapers

Here are three of our top bariatric options, their actual customer ratings, and a look at the diaper size charts:

Attends Pull-On Bariatric Adult Absorbent Underwear (Rating 4.4/5)

The improved, soft, stretchy side panels of Attends Pull-On Bariatric Adult Absorbent Underwear allow for optimal breathability. A securing layer and very retentive polymer move and lock liquids in the center and assist with forestalling undesirable smells. A better fit is achieved when a design that is stretchable moves with the wearer.

Available Adult Brief Sizes

Waist Size





Tranquility Air Plus Bariatric Disposable Stretch Briefs Heavy Absorbency (Rating 4.7/5)

Tranquility XXXL Bariatric Disposable Stretch Briefs are latex-free briefs that have breathable and stretchy sideboards to serenely fit bigger abdomen sizes (over 64 inches). The Peach Mat spongy center safeguards touchy skin and controls smell. The brief likewise contains double wetness markers, kufguards, and re-fastenable tape tabs to improve confidence and accommodate more noteworthy portability.

Available Adult Brief Sizes

Waist Size

4-5 XL


FitRight Baribrief Bariatric Adult Brief (Rating: 4.5/5)

The side wings of these adult bariatric diapers are stretchable, facilitating a snug and comfortable fit. The ultra-absorbent core and blue dryness layer assist in preventing moisture from touching the skin. Multiple refastenings are made possible by dual-tape closures, and a soft polyethylene back cover prevents clothing from leaking.

Available Adult Brief Sizes

Waist Size





5 Tips to Finding the Right Fit for Your Incontinence Underwear

Finding the correct size for your incontinence products can be tricky. Here are five tips to help you get the best fit:

  1. Measure Your Waist and Hip Size: Use a measuring tape and start by measuring the circumference of your hip and waist size. This will give you an idea of what size diaper to look for.
  2. Consider the Material: Different types of diapers are made from different materials, such as cloth or plastic. Make sure you select a type that is comfortable for your skin and body type.
  3. Choose the Absorbency Level: Finding the right level of absorbency is another key aspect of the perfect fit for your adult diaper. Absorbency will depend on your individual needs and level of movement.
  4. Try Before You Buy: Try Before You Buy samples are a great way to test out different types and brands of diapers to make sure they fit before making a commitment.
  5. Check the Final Fit: Once you have received your adult diaper, it's important to check how it fits when you put it on. Do the leg cuffs lie flat against your skin? Does it rest just below the belly button? These factors will help you determine if it’s too small or big.

Find the Perfect Fit for Incontinence Products with Parentgiving

At Parentgiving, we understand the importance of finding the right fit for your incontinence products. No matter which style of underwear you choose, we provide a wide selection of sizes and absorbency levels to ensure you have the perfect fit for your unique needs. 

Our team of experts can also answer any questions you may have about size, material, or type. Shop our selection of top-rated brands and styles to find the perfect fit for your needs.