Tlittle Girl Sizes - What's the Difference in 4 and 4T?

Updated on April 16, 2012
A.V. asks from Silver Spring, MD
13 answers

I'm looking ahead for fall for jeans, pants, etc. My daughter is in 3T right now, and I'm noticing that some stores offer both 4T and 4. What's the difference? My DD has a small waist and no behind and often needs pants with elastic in the waist (the adjustable kind) to keep them up. Are 4T wider, kind of like 24 mo. vs 2T?

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

So is 4 after 5T? I do realize by now that all sizes are different (took SD to try on prom dresses and she was a completely different size than she expected) depending on the brand, but it sounds like maybe they start over like in shoes where you get back to 1s, but they are bigger than the 8s for toddlers.

I "get" that T might be for diapers in the lower ranges, but 4T and 5T? Really? And 2T is more trim than 24 months, which I believe is the whole diaper thing. It's all very silly.

Featured Answers



answers from Oklahoma City on

Often the toddler sizes have extra room for heavier toddlers. A little girl who is normal size should be able to wear either sizes but with a thin one I would skip the toddler sizes now and go straight to the girls wear department. My girl went from 3T to 4 slims in the girls department for jeans but they were a bit longer. So we rolled them up the first 6 months. Then the sizes fit her all the time. Jeans we go to the girls department.

The only thing I would say is that the baby/toddler department clothes are usually cheaper so when it comes to summer shorts and tees, some cute little dresses or outfits, we always stay in the toddler department as long as possible. I can easily see my self spending $3.95 on a pair of Garanimals but not $12.95 for a pair of girls "cute" shorts.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers


answers from Los Angeles on

From back in the day, (I'm a grandmother doing this a second time around) the "T" would indicate more room in the bottom and hips (or wider as you said) to allow for diapers, and there wasn't a size 5T.

But in the last couple of years I have seen there is no difference, it just seems to be how they label the sizing on clothing. I have held 4's and 4T's next to each other and there is absolutely no difference. I like Carter's, Gymboree and Crazy8 for my guy, most of the shorts and pants have adjustable waists, and they do the same for girls.

And, no, 4 comes BEFORE 5T. The basic measurement you need to concentrate on for your daughter is height...Hanna Andersson only uses height to determine sizing and it works. That's why you go with elastic/pull-on waists and adjustable waists for thinner children or the brands that are made leaner.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

4T is usually a bit wider, but probably shorter. 4 is when they are out of diapers and/or they have lost the "baby chub".

5T is just an extension of the wider waisted pants.

Shirts in T are wider and shorter than shirts w/o the T. Same for dresses, I've noticed. My 4/5 wearer cannot wear a 5T dress anymore- the dress is too short.

I think I'm a good judge of this... I have four girls and also worked at a kid's clothing boutique:)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

The "T" means Toddler.
a size 4 will be longer/bigger than a 4T.
Not necessarily in the circumference of the waist.
Some brands, are more generous in the sizing. ie: Gymboree. Their sizes tend to be longer and wider.

If your child is more petite, then just get her a size that will fit. Not just per her age.
Maybe she still needs a size 3T?

I like Old Navy and Gap.
Their clothing has elastic waists and/or adjustable waist pants.
Also the store "The Children's Place."

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Lynchburg on

Hi AV-

My understanding is that the 't' sizes allow for more baby 'chubiness' and room for a diaper...the 'regular' sizes allow for more length in torso and legs...and not much roominess for a diaper.

Having said that...there is a lot of range from size to size in different 'lines' of clothes (maybe because many designers are young with no kiddos??? Or because the industry itself seems to have fuzzy 'standards'?)

If your kiddo is diaper free...maybe take her with and compare?

Sorry cannot be of more help!

Best Luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on

take a pair of pants that fit her now and take it with you when you shop. that way you can see the difference in pants. My son needs elastic in the waist to. We love the pants at kohls (the jumping beans brand) and the childrens place, which is more pricey but they fit great.



answers from New York on

The only thing I can see is that once you lose the T, the clothing is more expensive. I would go to 5T if you can after 4T.

5T comes after 4T. I think it has more to do with the cut and the brand than the size. My son wears a slim cut 4T and trust me, there is no room for a diaper. To say that all T is extra roomy to accomodate a diaper makes no sense. Unless the kid is huge or special needs, they would not be wearing diapers at 4 or 5 T. There are just as many 4T and 5T clothes as 2T and 3T (which is when the child would be wearing diapers probably). If it was for kids in big butt or diapers, there would be a limited 4T and 5T market, don't you think?



answers from Dallas on

The T's are basicly made for kids in pull ups so they are a little bigger.



answers from Bloomington on

From what I understand (going through this right now) is this:

18 mos.; 24 months; 2T; 3T; 4T; 5T (if the brand carries it) then:

4; 5; 6; etc. (some brands carry no 5's at all and will carry a 4-6)

Yes, very complicated to learn as you go.

I also learned that in Carter's clothing (and I'm assuming the others) with each size up, it is an inch longer and wider.

My daughter is on the shorter side with a little chunk. She has moved up each year on the dot. If a little longer, we roll them up.

I always buy ahead of season on deep discount/used. Even if she doesn't wear it, it wasn't a waste. I can either resell it or not worry about the cost because we save soooo much in clothing this way. I also have a 2 year old girl, so she will get the hand-me-downs.


answers from Jacksonville on

I always understood that 4 was a "regular" size and 4T was the size after 3T. All lines of clothes do not have a 5T (or at least they didn't use to) and 4 would be the next size after 4T. But some lines have 5T and that would come next. Then maybe a "regular" 4 or "regular" 5. When you get to those sizes you really have to try them on your child, because like adult clothing, different brands fit differently.

From what I could tell, if the clothing came in a 5T, and was a bit too snug, then I would go with the 5 regular. But if it was a lot too snug, then I might need a 6.

It also does depend on your child's body. My kids were very solid and not "skinny" at all. They weren't chubby or fat, but the clothing cut too narrow just didn't fit right.
Good luck.



answers from Kansas City on

A lady at Gymboree told me that sizes with a "T" are for kids in diapers. They are built roomier for diaper space.


answers from Dover on

There isn't much differene within the same brand and style. But if you are talking different brand or style, there can be a big difference between 4 and 4.

You may want to consider slims.


answers from Asheville on

My girls (twins) are now out of 3Ts They have been potty trained from 18mo for one of them and 24-25mo for the other. One of them is shorter and can still wear 3T waist but needs 4T length, regular 4 is to long. The other needs 4 slim waist but needs 5T lenth or even 5 if it were cool weather. Thank goodness it is warm and shorts and capris lengths are variable!
Anyway, with the variety my girls need I find that the 4, 5, 6,etc are longer, but not always slimmer and the 4T, 5T are shorter. Nothing I find has a small enough waist with long length and adjustable waists have to be tightened so small that the fabric is all bunched up and looks strange. Leggings are a Godsend! Snug fit, elastic waist, comes in variety of lengths up to 'bike shorts' and if you need to take in the waist some it doesn't look all baggy and weird.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions