There are many benefits when your toddler begins to dress himself. Self-dressing is a key step in the potty training process. Also, this type of achievement can have a huge impact on your child’s self-esteem and feelings of self-confidence. Undressing skills typically emerge between the ages of 13-24 months of age. Once a child learns how to undress, it is not unusual to find your child completely naked when you walk in to greet him/her in the crib each morning. These are skills that the child will want to duplicate again and again for the sake of mastery! She may be able to put on loose-fitting clothing as early as 24 months, but it may be a few additional months before she can put on something as snug fit as a t-shirt. It is essential at this stage of development to dress your child in clothing that is easy for him/her to manage independently. Two-piece outfits with elastic waistbands are the best outfits with which to learn to dress and undress. One piece outfits, overalls, and belts can make it very challenging for a child to master these new skills. Beginning at the age of three or older, a child may be able to dress and undress independently.
What is Involved in Dressing?
Gross Motor Skills (Large Muscle Movements): Moving both arms and legs with coordination, Balancing on one foot while stepping in and out of clothing
Fine Motor Skills (Small Muscle Movements & Hand-Eye Coordination): Finger coordination for zippers, buttons, etc.
Progression of Clothing Difficulty
Cognitive Skills: Understanding sequencing (what comes first, second, etc.), What clothing is weather appropriate, and what colors match
When You First Begin
Dr. Sarah Vanover has been working in the field of early childhood education for over 22 years and has had the opportunity to be a teacher, a director, and a trainer for other early childhood educators. She has a passion for making sure that children with special needs receive high-quality early care and education.