Reader Q: Help! My Toddler Won’t Keep Her Clothes On!

Lady GodivaThank you for your useful books. (I read Baby 411 and am now on Toddler 411.) I couldn’t find anything in your books about the situation I’m going through with my 3 year old. About a month ago she started to undress completely and run around naked, refusing to put on clothes. She becomes hysterical when I make any attempt.

What should I do?

Ah yes, Lady Godiva. Actually, we do give a nod to this behavior in Toddler 411—so know that it is common and you are not alone. The solution…allow her to have naked time for a certain period of time and in a certain location. This validates her need to be in charge and in control.

Obviously, the location needs to be in your own home. Maybe her room becomes her “naked room” so she is not invited to prance around the kitchen or family room and when her naked time is done, she can come back and rejoin the family.

The message this sends is that if she needs alone time, she can be in her room. When she puts her clothes back on, she gets to have company. It makes this a natural consequence for the behavior. She learns it is acceptable to be naked but that it is not acceptable to be naked in front of the family eating dinner and it is not acceptable to be naked going to preschool or the mall!

Good luck.

Ari Brown, MD

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