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In this paper, a theoretical model, taking into account the phonon-assisted excited-state absorption process (3H5 →3H4), has been constructed to explain the self-pulsing (SP) phenomenon in the Tm3+-doped fiber lasers. Both numerical simulation and experimental investigation on the SP characteristics of ~2-μ.m Tm3+-doped fiber lasers have been carried out. The numerical simulation shows agreement with the experimental results. Furthermore, the impacts of output coupling, pump intensity, and Tm3+-ion doping concentration on the SP characteristics of the Tm3+-doped fiber lasers have been studied explicitly, and optimization of the SP features has been discussed. In addition, the potential applications of SP in fiber lasers or solid-state lasers have also been proposed.