37 answers

My Daughter Wont Stop Undressing!

I'm having MAJOR problems getting my 20 month old to stay dressed! It isn't so much a problem durring the day (she listens to me when I tell her to stop) but its a huge problem at nap and bedtime. She's able to break her way out of pretty much everything I have put on her - footy pajamas, overalls, onesies with snaps, rompers ... EVERYTHING. Worst of all, she's also crafty enough to wiggle out of her diaper and usually makes a complete mess of her crib by the time she wakes up. I've looked high and low for information about this topic, but haven't stumbled across anything particularly helpful. Does anyone have any suggestions?! My washing machine and I are at wits end!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you for all the advice you've given so far - I will certainly try a number of your suggestions. To answer a few questions: She seems to undress whenever she has the most idle time in the crib. Sometimes I'll go in to check on her before she's fallen asleep and she'll be completely naked, but more often than not its after she's woken up. She's not a very loud child, so often I don't even know she's woken up and undressed until its far too late! I like to have her fall asleep on her own (as opposed to in my arms and then transferring her to the crib) so she is more independent and doesn't rely on me for soothing ... but this seems to be problematic since before she's drifted off to sleep seems to be an awesome time for her to strip.

also, I'm not entirely certain that putting footy pajamas on her backwards would do the trick ... it isn't that she unzips them so much as she wiggles herself through the neck hole! Its the same with diapers, she doesn't undo the tabs, she just pulls them down in back and wiggles out.
I'm definitely going to try sticking a one piece swimming suit on her ... so thank you much for that suggestion! it sounds a little silly, but something tells me she'll have a hard time wiggling out of spandex, lol. At this point I'm willing to try ANYTHING to keep her clothed and dry!

If only she weren't so crafty ;)
Thanks again for all your suggestions ... if you think of anything else I'd love to hear about it!

Featured Answers

My kids also didn't want to wear clothes. I let them run around naked in the house, and sometimes in the yard, so that they could have this experience. As soon as company came over or we went somewhere, the clothes went back on. They didn't protest putting on clothes because I let them pick out what they would wear and explained why.

Kids do love to be naked. Let go and let her have her nakedness when it doesn't matter so much. Offer her the OPTION to wear clothes when it doesn't matter: "No one is coming over this morning... do you want to wear clothes or be naked?" What a 20 month old wants more than being naked is the choice to be naked now and then, or maybe every day.

By the way, contrary to popular belief, not wearing clothes and diapers helps with potty training. Just move the potty chair into the room she playing in and watch as she takes to it beautifully.

1 mom found this helpful

Can't give you much advice, i just realized my daughter is really warm blooded and was just overheated and that is why she hated clothing.

Try putting the diaper on backwards, even use tape on it if you have to. As for the rest of the undressing, I think it's perfectly normal (my daughter is 27 months and prefers to be naked or at least partially undressed most of the time). It bugs my husband's family, but since they tend to just show up without being invited, I really don't care.

More Answers

E., I had to laugh when I read your post as it brought back such good memories of when my daughter did this same thing. We called her our little Lady Godiva because she not only would strip the minute she came home, she would run outside and swing on the swingset in the back yard! More than once I ended up chasing her around the house, her in her birthday suit, out the back door and in the front! :) After awhile I would just shut the back door and hold open the front door as she came around. I'm sure the neighbors thought we were odd, but she was happier once I relaxed about the whole thing and now I remember it with a fond shake of my head.

First off, I kept a big towel handy to wrap her in when she would run outside. Second, I let her do as she felt when we didn't have company. I totally understand your frustration! My daughter finally outgrew this around age 7 though her outside journies ended at around age 5. Still, she would change her clothes frequently until she was about age 10. What is behind all of this? DSI, Dysfuncation of Sensory Integration. There is tons of stuff on it on the internet. Basically, her nervous system is maturing at a slower rate. There are things you can do to help her nervous system mature such as brushing her body with a special brush, once she is diagnosed with DSI (sometimes called SID), a PT can show you how to do this and more. Talk to your pediatrician about it and if they don't believe in it, try another pediatrician until you find one that will test her for it. (some doctors still do not believe in it but I have seen amazing results happen with treatment)

I did all these things with my daughter and it did help, but really, time is what it took for her to outgrow it. My daughter is now 13 and I'm happy to say, does not change her clothes more than once a day (when she gets home from school she changes to something more comfy for her) and the Lady Godiva bit has totally gone away much to my relief! She can now communicate to me when certain materials bother her and her wardrobe is more suited to her sensitivity needs and she can do her own laundry. When we started treatment for her, her need to strip diminished to a controllable level and I would spend extra time with her treatments before/during company so that she would remain dressed while they were visiting. (we often had people stay for the weekend). At the same time, I let go of worrying about it and when it was just the family at home, I would allow her to do as she needed with her clothes, only asking that she wear a towel or wrap in a blanket if she was outside of her room.

Like I said, getting her treatment for DSI helped immensly and we were able, with treatment, to bring her need to run naked to a managable level and gave her the tools she needed to communicate to us her sensory needs. Good luck! And remember, this too shall fade into a pleasant memory :)

1 mom found this helpful

My kids also didn't want to wear clothes. I let them run around naked in the house, and sometimes in the yard, so that they could have this experience. As soon as company came over or we went somewhere, the clothes went back on. They didn't protest putting on clothes because I let them pick out what they would wear and explained why.

Kids do love to be naked. Let go and let her have her nakedness when it doesn't matter so much. Offer her the OPTION to wear clothes when it doesn't matter: "No one is coming over this morning... do you want to wear clothes or be naked?" What a 20 month old wants more than being naked is the choice to be naked now and then, or maybe every day.

By the way, contrary to popular belief, not wearing clothes and diapers helps with potty training. Just move the potty chair into the room she playing in and watch as she takes to it beautifully.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi E.,

Sounds like a crafty little thing. I would recommend putting her to bed with just a diaper on. Buy some rubber sheets or get some Chux (the kind they put under you in the hospital). She is apparently too warm and wriggles out of everything.

That way when she messes in the bed, you won't have more than a couple things to wash. Make sure her room is a bit on the chilly side and eventually she will want to be warmer. You might start with nightgowns first and don't wrap her up too snuggly.

Hope this helps.

L. :)

E.,

Put on the footie pajamas backward and safety pin the zipper from behind. You can slip a roomy pair over her regular clothes at naptime.

Good luck,
S.

I have heard of people putting the zip up jammies on BACKWARD so that they can't get at the zipper to get it off.

Good luck!

Hi E.
The ONLY thing that worked for my daughter was to put a one piece swimsuit on under the rest of her clothes. When she striped she could not get to her diaper. Good Luck this is a tough stage:) T.

Try putting the diaper on backwards, even use tape on it if you have to. As for the rest of the undressing, I think it's perfectly normal (my daughter is 27 months and prefers to be naked or at least partially undressed most of the time). It bugs my husband's family, but since they tend to just show up without being invited, I really don't care.

Hi E.!

I am so sorry but I couldn't stop smiling when I read your request. My little girl who is 18 now, used to do the same thing when she was 2! LOL!! It's got to be an age thing. Because one of my friends daughter's did it too.

My little Loren would be outside playing with the neighbor boys (same ages 2 & 4) and I would go in the house for two seconds and her clothes would be off! Diaper too!! It wasn't funny at the time, but the good news is, SHE GOT OVER IT!! She still hates wearing shoes though. But she has probably 50 pairs!!!

She just hated wearing clothes. I called my mom back then and asked her what I should do. She said that my twin sister used to do the same thing. She out grew it too.

There was a lot of aggravation going on back then. But we made it through. I'm sure you will too. I don't remember what changed the situation. But it only happened during her terrible twos. Once she was potty trained, it got easier! I think we tried pretty undies. We had them hanging on a hanger in her room.

Good luck!

J.

In addition to the backwards jammies, you can put overalls on backwards during the day (naps).

I agree, when is she doing this? Before falling asleep, after? One suggestion would maybe be to remove her from the crib before she is able to get undressed. I know I will often leave my son to play in his crib in the mornings prior to getting him up for the day, so that I can shower, but if he was undressing, I would probably work out some other plan.

I think this is a phase that many kids go through. I have had more than one child in my daycare go through this, and they all outgrew it.

it got to the point when my son did everything in his power to get out of what he was wearing. we put him in blanket sleepers backwards. when that stopped working we pinned the zipper shut. as for the diaper...believe it or not..good old fashioned duct tape across the tabs. under the pinned shut blanket sleepers, he finally knew he was beat,....long story short, he stayed dressed

Same a previous poster. Put her Pajama's on backwards. I've had to cut the bottom of her pajamas. My daughter (will be 2 in a couple weeks) does the same thing. Diaper and all. Luckly, there haven't been any messes

Here is one sleeper that I foud that zips up the back - it even says "houdini-proof" in the description!
http://www.onestepahead.com/catalog/product.jsp?productId...

Ok this happened with my daughter too and I was about at my wits end with Skye when she was going through this time. She would take her diaper off in the morning and sometimes it was not just pee. So lets just say we have had the crib mess a few times now.

then someone told me the best thing!!! She said to cut the footy's off pj and turn the pjs around so the zipper is in the back. It so worked! She never got out of her pj's again.

My neice did the same thing. My SIL put her pajamas on backwards and she couldn't wiggle her way out of them. She eventually outgrew this thankfully.

When my 5 year old went through this at 2, I cut out the feet from the footy jammies and put them on her backwards. I had to buy the next size up, but it worked! Good luck!

E., I have this problem too. I leave her alone during the day as long as we are at home and she is warm and safe. At night, I put her long footy jammies on backwards. She can't reach the zipper. Sometimes she pulls her arms out and still undoes diaper, but not near as much as before.

Welcome to my world.. only my kids are 6 1/2 and 4 (on Wednesday) They are ALWAYS in their underpants. We come home from somewhere and the clothes come off.

At Christmas we were all at my MIL's and my fantastic daughter came running out in just her panties and tights. ROTF. Nice show she put on doing somersaults and dancing in just her panties and tights. LOL

They do eventually start developing modesty and want to cover up. My 6 1/2 year old puts clothes on if anyone shows up at our house.

I figure as long as they keep them on in public, its not worth the fight. IMO.

Hi, we had the same problem! What we did was buy onesies and put them on backwards so the snap was in the back, it took her another 6 months to figure out to climb out the top of the onesie, buying sleepers with no feet and enlarging the neck in the back and then putting them on backwards works too, the fleece ones are the only ones you can do this to that dont need resewn after though, make sure you dont go over a seam just cut a shallow half moon shape. You can also start potty training, Kate was about the same age when she potty trained herself, she is now 31.5 months old and fully pottytrained, we went out the other night and she held it for 4-5 hours so as to not go in the diaper. All I mean by that is maybe it is their way of saying they are ready? Not sure since my sisters when they were little were naked constantly and were almost in kindergarten before they were potty trained. Good luck

E.,
It is simply a phase that some children go through. I would try to figure out when see is doing it. Before she falls asleep, during her sleep, when she awakes. Is she bord in her crib, does she need some music, or a stuffed animal. I had a friend that gave her duagther a doll that she could undress, instead of herslef. It worked for her. The other thing is is she hot, or is she simply showing her independence. If that is the case, there is not a whole lot you can do, but let her hel you dress and undress herself when it is time to change her clothes. Best Wishes,
J..

My Claire went through the same phase recently. She unzips her pjs and takes off her diaper only to sit on the potty and play. I bought her the pjs that have the feet on them and they have a tab that goes over the zipper. I also invested in some rubber pants to go over her diaper that is working for me so far. There are also the diaper pull ups you can use during the nite and nap time. They are hard for them to get off.

Can't give you much advice, i just realized my daughter is really warm blooded and was just overheated and that is why she hated clothing.

Try putting her footy pajamas on backwards and putting duct tape on the diaper. K., mother to 4 boys

Is she ready to potty train? Girls tend to want to potty train alot younger then boys. Also, if she is at home undressing, let her. She may sleep better when she is not dressed. Sounds like she is just going threw a phase, but it will last longer if you try and fight it. Somethings you just have to let go, and it will end on its own, and in a lot shorter of time.

E., this suggestion is going to sound crazy, but hear me out. I have a girlfriend of mine whose youngest son did this. Thank goodness he's outgrown this but it was horrible. He would literally fingerpaint his crib with his poop if you didn't catch him in time. She did everything she could think of to stop him, including various disciplines. Then one day I came over to watch the kids while she had to run errands and he happened to be napping when I came over. I heard him wake up and dreaded going upstairs (I've had to clean up his mess a few times myself), because of what I might walk into....

I was shocked...he was still in in pjs (he usally wore sleep and play pjs during the day unless they went somewhere). Then I noticed something funny....his pjs were on backwards. Not only were they on backwards, but the zipper was duct taped lol. Not the whole thing, but a strip about 3 or 4 inches long. Needless to say, he was a smart child but couldn't get his clothes off. The "excitement" of what he was doing wore off after a time and he grew out of it. She even tried duct taping his diaper on, but he would rip that off too.

Crazy advice, but it worked for my friend.

B.

My daughter is 23 months old and has been doing the same thing for a couple of months. At first I didn't make a big deal about it because it is a part of development- learning to dress and undress and become independent. Most days she would walk around the house with just a diaper on and I am sure that she had to get cold because it is winter. But I just let her do it. We did have many instances at nap and bedtime that she would be completely naked and she messed the bed. My thoughts to you and I know it is easier said than done but stay calm around her about it and try not to make it a big issue in front of her because you don't want to give her the attention for it. I know with my daughter, I would also make her aware of the mess she made in her crib and let her know that it is yucky to sleep in that and that we go potty in the diaper or in the toilet. She eventually realized that it is something she doesn't want to do anymore. Most things go in phases and I think this is another one of those things. Hopefully she will stop soon but if she doesn't you could always consult her pediatrician.

Laugh if you must, but I had to Duct Tape my DD's diapers on during nap times. I know your pain!!

I ran a strip of tape starting at the back, around the front and finishing in the back where it's hard for her to reach, covering the velcro tabs.

Good luck!!

Put her pajamas on backwards with the zipper in the back so she can't reach it and wrap duct tape around her diaper so she can't get it off! : ) My daughter had the same problem and this worked for me. : )

My mom had 3 girls. At that age, we all ran around naked or in our panties most of the time. It's normal, she'll outgrow it.

Another thought is that she may be too hot. My little sister, still at 14, can hardly stand to wear socks or shoes and always has a tanktop on under a jacket so she can take it off if she begins to over heat... her body temperature just seems to run much hotter than the rest of us.

You don't mention whether or not she's potty trained. At 20 months she should be easily potty trained. Offer her pretty panties or pullups instead of diapers... try offering her cooler cotton clothing to wear, little cotton dresses or the like might be a good option. See if that helps.

Best wishes to you both!

I was going to laugh at the duct tape the diaper on trick, but I can't. Cuz I did something very much like that. I used packaging tape to get my daughter's diaper to stay on. But I didn't care if she got naked other than that. Heck, I usually just put my kids to bed in diapers now anyway. Laugh it up. :)

My friend's son was the same way with the diaper and they used masking tape to tape his diaper on. They would wrap it around his tummy. It stopped the behavior because he couldn't figure it out. The clothes they stumps me, you could try putting her footy PJ's on backwards so she can't reach the zipper.

Good luck and I hope this helps.

S.

My little guy does the same thing. I finally went and got him a few pairs of overalls with really hard to undo buckles and he can't get them off :o) Score one for Mom, lol.
You can also get pants with loops and put belts on her that she can't get off.
Have you tried cutting the feet off of the footie pj's and putting them on backwards? That works for my 4 year old special needs daughter.
Good luck,
J.
Mom to 4 and soon one more through another adoption.

Ok, don't laugh. I have a friend whose daughter does this too, and what he ended up doing was using duct tape on the diaper to keep it on.

I wouldn't worry about the clothes coming off as long as you keep your house warm enough that she isn't freezing.

My friend's kid can climb her way over two stacked baby gates in the doorway but can't get out of the duct-taped diaper.

:)

Oh, my friend, I remember this phase so well. :) My twins did the same thing, and unfortunately, there's not much you can do about the clothes at nap time, she just impressed with herself for learning how to take her clothes off all by herself. As for the diaper, we ended up using duct tape. I know it sounds odd and maybe a little mean, but it was the only thing that worked. We would put their diapers on as tight as we could (without hurting them, obviously) and then wrap duct tape around the top of the diaper over the tabs, and we would have to wrap it all the way around and make sure that the end of the tape was in the back so they couldn't peel it off. It took a couple of weeks, but eventually they forgot about it.

ok now that I have stopped laughing. I love this age of children, they are so proud of what new things they learn. I was around that age, maybe a little older and my mom said I would always strip down. Couldn't keep my pants on, until my grandfather threatened to paint my bare butt black! Of course you can't do that. Then I think of my daughter who would take off her diaper during nap time. She also crawled out of her crib alot. One time I went in to find she had made a big mess... then served it on her play dishes at her little table! Yuck! Anyway, my advice is keep a journal, write all these little things that are so aggervating now but will be funny later, down and when she is older, read it with her. You both will love it! Enjoy each stage because they are passed so fast and you will miss it when it is gone. Get her to potty before the nap, let her undress herself and enjoy that she is healthy and happy.

Sounds like my daughter- she is now 5 and does a great job keeping her clothes on, although now we go thru 10 outfits a day- have no fear, it will end!!! As far as the diaper, put it on backwards, that did the trick for us. Don't tell her it is on backwards because she will figure it out then! Good luck and happy laundering:)

Hi there! Our son, Colin, used to take his clothes and diapers off every chance he got too! I know that there isn't much you can do when you're not in the room, but maybe you could try to make a game out of it. Show her that its fun to be dressed! You can try dressing up silly together! Colin started helping pick out his clothes and now helps get dressed. He has now stopped undressing. Maybe another idea is have her help you pick your clothes out. She probably thinks it is funny to get undressed, but also show her the other side where it is fun to GET dressed and STAY dressed! I hope this helps- and good luck!!! :-) I just told my fiance what question I was answering, and he says to "duct-tape" the diaper on!! You never know what will do the trick!! ;-) haha

My daycare lady told me that her son and a child at daycare both did that a lot, but they were both diagnosed with autism. My daughter is 17 months and has done it twice. I always worry that's it's something more, but I'm sure it's not. Maybe it's just a thing she can control and so she does it:) I'm not sure how you can correct it without putting suspenders on or tape.

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.