Before disposable diapers, babies and the incontinent made do with cloth diapers and plastic or rubber pants. Plastic and rubber pants are available in an array of styles to meet the needs of babies, the elderly and everyone in between.
Rubber and plastic pants both exist to serve the same function: protect the wearer from diaper leaks resulting in odor and wet clothing. Both come in similar styles for the same purpose.
Rubber pants are made of natural rubber, allowing for airflow. Plastic pants are made from polyurethane or polyvinyl chloride, both man-made materials.
Plastic pants tend to crack when dried in the dryer. Rubber pants are softer to the skin. Both pants come in various styles, closing with plastic or metal snaps, or Velcro.
Rubber and plastic pants sizes vary by manufacturer. Some are designed to be worn over a specific brand of cloth diapers. Both provide waterproofing.
Wearing rubber and plastic pants over cloth diapers or disposable liners are more economical than disposable diapers. Disposable diapers, though convenient, are expensive and consume more natural resources and landfill space. Rubber and plastic pants can be used repeatedly.