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What Do You Do When Your Toddler Refuses To Get Dressed?

toddler in bath

Just try to get this kid out without a fight...I dare you.

Tell me if you’ve been in this situation: You’ve been hanging around all morning with your two-year-old. You’ve played games, had breakfast, read some stories, had a second breakfast, listened to some music, more snacks, etc. Suddenly it’s 10am, you’ve been up since 6, and it’s a gorgeous day out. If you don’t go to the park soon, it’ll be time for lunch and then nap and suddenly, you’ve spent the entire day inside.

So you motivate to get ready to go. Maybe you prepare some snacks and a fresh sippy cup. Only your toddler…is still in his pajamas, with a sopping wet diaper, and you KNOW it’s gonna be a battle to change this state of affairs.

I recently read a community board post where a mom in a similar scenario asked for help on this issue. She’d tried the following with no success:

1. Giving him choices (Do you want to take off your diaper or do you want mommy to do it?)

2. Making the diaper talk like a puppet.

3.  Giving him time and then coming back to it a few minutes later.

4. Explaining to him why he needed to wear diapers and clothes to the park (or library, in her case).

5. Counting to three and then (reluctantly) forcing the issue.

I just have to say that I’ve been in this place a thousand times. Not only for getting dressed, but for getting into the car seat, out of the bath, and many other situations.  I’ve tried all of the methods she lists above, and guess what? For a while, I had to resort to #5. I didn’t like chasing my toddler and holding him down to put a fresh diaper and clothes on him, but sometimes that was the only way we’d actually get out the door.

Now, most of the time, I only have to use number one, or occasionally I count, but we don’t get to three before he does it himself or lets me do it if he can’t. It seems that it eventually sinks in that forcing the issue is not the most fun way to get dressed.

What have you done to get your toddler dressed (or in the carseat or whatever it is that he won’t do but absolutely MUST do)?

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