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Toddler behaviors: the toddler who prefers to be naked

by |  May 10th, 2014
Yes, toddler behaviors can be interesting and challenging—like those who prefer to be naked—at home and in public. Recently, a reader of the 411 book series I co-author emailed a question about her daughter undressing and refusing to put clothes on. I thought I’d share the question and response here in hopes that that the advice might help you, too!

Thank 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?

Lady GodivaAh yes, Lady Godiva. There are some toddlers who like to be naked. 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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Dr. Ari Brown founded 411 Pediatrics and After Hours Care in Austin after two decades of education and experience in child development, behavioral pediatrics and pediatric healthcare. Our pediatric associates, consisting of pediatricians, pediatric nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and lactation consultants, share a common goal. We partner with parents to help children grow up healthy, happy, and resilient!

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