Toddler Clothing Battles — The Bump
January 2016 Moms

Toddler Clothing Battles

Does anyone else feel like they've crawled through the trenches just to get their kid dressed each day?
I work, so we can't just leisurely wander around the house in our PJs until we don't feel like it. We have to get dressed--especially since it's been getting cold out. 
Birdie suddenly has an aversion to putting on a shirt--any shirt, at any time. I have similar struggles with socks, too. Some of it, I know, is her, "I can do it phase." Sometimes, she wants to do her socks herself, and that's fine, but the shirts are killing us both. No matter how many times I show her, and demonstrate for her, she insists on putting everything on like they're a pair of pants/shorts. That's all well and good, but there's no way to pull a shirt up over your body once you've jammed your feet into one of the arms.
The other night, we had the biggest meltdown tantrum ever over a shirt. (Hour and 20 minutes.) Again, it's cold here, and I am not cranking up the heat so far that I won't be able to swing the bill. This means we have to wear shirts to bed. She was mad that I put her in a Hello, Kitty pajama top. When I offered her another shirt, she screamed her refusal in rage. So then, I just offered to help her take it off. How dare I try to take her beloved Hello, Kitty shirt off???? Another rage-induced meltdown. It went on and on. She was so worked up that I wrapped her up in a blanket and sat outside on the porch, in the cold to calm her down. I'm about ready to just let her be naked all the time, but I can't drag her around all of November in Indiana with no clothes on!

Re: Toddler Clothing Battles

  • Oh my god YES. Rose refuses to wear 99% of her wardrobe. We just ended a weeks long phase of her only wearing this one particular dinosaur shirt (we own 6 of them now lol) but now all the wants to wear is one particular cat shirt (we only own one, since this was unexpected, and it's short sleeved so that's only gonna work for another couple days.). Getting dressed = tears or tantrums every day and we kind of have to let her win to an extent because she can't go to daycare shirtless, and she knows how to take off her shirts now. It's frustrating, but I'm hoping it's a short phase?
  • THIS. I’m so glad we are not alone. Evelyn has gone through various “I hate getting dressed” phases and diapers are another battle entirely (but now that we sit on the potty that is improving) however this one has been the absolute worst. And I’ve been working early so dads been in charge meaning half the time she’s in new pants but her pajama shirt. Someone told me to give her options (2-3 max) and let her “pick” and that should help but man I have seen no improvement. If someone has any tricks please share!! Hopefully this passes soon we live in Nebraska and layers are crucial!
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  • We also are battling over shirts.  Zack isn't insisting in putting them on himself yet (thank god), but taking off his pajama shirt causes a meltdown every time.  And then as soon as we get the new one on he's crying and yelling "shirt off".  Offering choices hasn't helped at all either.  Hope this phase ends soon.
  • Omg I 100% relate. This last week especially. Freya's preference is naked. Second choice is either blue or purple. If try to put on a different color, she just melts down. She also has to wear this skirt. She has gone to bed in her day clothes multiple times because she gets too attached to whatever shirt she has worn for that day. The only way I was able to get her to wear her lamb pajamas was by singing to her "Freya has a little lamb" after watching baby first's version of "Mary had a Little Lamb". 

    Sometimes I get her to put on pants by opening up her pants drawer and ask her to choose a pair, then quickly close the drawer before she second guesses it. Doesn't work for the top though, for whatever reason. Sometimes a choice of 2 tops works, but sometimes she doesn't approve of my choices haha. So many meltdowns because of getting dressed!!! 


  • Brynlee is going to be in overalls forever. She REFUSES to keep pants on and intentionally pees everywhere. She's starting to figure out how to escape these too... 
  • Oh no. We haven’t hit this stage yet, and now I’m frightened! I only have trouble actually putting a shirt over Ev’s head. She hates it and starts to cry. 
    Maybe she’ll be an engineer like me and never care about clothes!!? One can hope...
  • When she refuses clothes, i just pretend like I'm wearing it. Lol.. She grabs it from me and demands I put it on her. Working magic so far.
    krrpe99KFrob
  • @Mamapema that’s genius!! We haven’t had many battles yet.  I try to give a choice of two things Harper can pick from.  She does try to do it by herself sometimes.  If it’s a day where we have time I humor her, other wise I take over and deal with the tears. 
  • @Mamapema I wish that worked, but reverse psychology has already lost its luster for Birdie. This week, she would only wear shirts with cats on them.


  • @stephanienjer Our LO's sound so similar! It's either cats (or dinosaurs) for Rose too and she will accept no substitutes!  We've tried reverse psychology, sticker bribery, nothing works - it's madness!  Just keep telling myself she'll grow out of it soon, haha.
  • Sometimes I try to get her shirt on before she wakes up all the way. 

  • I've skipped daycare some times if I didn't have work because I didn't want to fight the clothing battle !  Overall she is ok with most clothes but she needs to have decided she is ready for clothes and sometimes that is not at the same time that I'm ready to change her...  
  • I've just started putting her coat over her pajamas and letting the sitter deal with it.

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