Baxter is now trialling with Oldham after seeing a move to Crystal Palace fall through.
"I just wanted to get out and play," he explained to BBC Sport. "I'm a man now, not a little boy, and for me it is about playing every week.
"It was a massive decision because I had been at Everton since the age of six and the club have been absolutely brilliant to me.
"But I spoke to my dad and thought about what would benefit me. Reserve-team football is not what it was - the first teamers don't really play it anymore - and you don't actually play that often if you are on the bench for the first team.
"In the past I have only played 20 matches in a year. I know some of it is down to me, when I haven't been performing or as fit as I should be, but I have not been getting enough football.
"People might see [the Tranmere spell] as a step down but for me it was a step up. That was proper football - we were playing for points at a good standard and in front of a big crowd, I was playing regularly and felt myself improving and getting fitter. I decided I wanted more of the same."