DD is almost 13 months. I'm trying to buy things on sale for next winter and I was wondering when she's going to start having opinions on what she wears and when she's going to want to try to dress herself. My thought was that if she wants to try putting some of her clothes on by herself soon, I may need to get outfits that will be easier for her to work with.
When do Toddlers Want to Dress Themselves/Choose Clothes?
I don't think my ds started dressing himself until he was well into his second year. He then got very opinionated when he turned 3 about what he would and would not wear. So much for cute outfits at that point and anything with collars. Kids are so funny.
Although I will say that I was happy to have stopped using shirts that snap in the crotch after the first year. My ds started to be interested in the potty at 18 months (didn't potty learn completely until 2 yrs). But it certainly helped to have easy clothes to pull down for the potty.
My son started getting particular around 14 months. He is now 2.5 but picks out his own clothes every day. I'd say he was almost 2 when he really wanted to pick out his own clothes, but before that he definitely had preferences. He used to pick out which cloth diapers and covers he wanted too, which was really cute.
I think it varies from child to child. I know some people are often surprised when I tell them that DS will vehemently refuse to wear something he doesn't like. He still needs help actually getting dressed, but he is the one that chooses the clothes otherwise they will simply come off as soon as I get them on him. (He doesn't need nearly as much help getting naked. )
My dd was just over a year old when she started having preferences. Sometimes she refuses to wear what I pick out for her and picks her own outfit (or part of it, like the pants and I get a shirt). At 18 months, she tries to dress herself but can't really do it so after a while I help. I just make sure to start really early, but if we're late I just get her dressed amidst protest and then she's fine 5 seconds later. She really like to wear my clothes too, so once she wore a regular outfit with my tshirt on top (which of course was ginormous on her), to the store. I really don't care, as long as it's weather appropriate!
DD has had preferences for about as long as I can remember. Sometimes I really have to negotiate with her to get clothes on her. Seriously, never underestimate shirts with their favorite animals/characters/shapes/colors on them. Even if DD is in full-nudist-mode I can still get her Cat in the Hat or Kai Lan shirt on her. ;) Oh, and she also has a shirt with a bunch of little hearts that is always a hit. If I were you I'd also go for pants that go up and down fairly easily, especially if you plan on introducing the potty anytime soon.
DD started to want to choose particular clothes at about 20 months. Thankfully it only extends to shoes, pajamas, and a few favorite items, like a floppy yellow sun hat, that she wants to wear all the time whether or not it is appropriate.
She also seems to instinctively know when something is too big or too small, and will not let me try it on her. Often I wrangle her into something only to find that she is totally right and it does not fit.
DD 18mo has been having an interest in dressing herself. She will run away if I try to dress her, so now I just assist and it's no problem. I hold out the pants and she steps into them, etc. She also recently decided that the one disney princess pajama outfit (ugh) given to us by relatives is her favorite. She doesn't even know what disney or princesses are, but it is her favorite outfit. We're pretty sure it's because of all the faces. She squeals with delight when she sees it, and basically wears it every single day. We think it's great she has a preference, and though I really wish it was something else, what can you do? I'd feel like a jerk "disappearing" it.
Anyhow at this point we do easy on and off and soft clothes so she can have more autonomy in dressing herself. No more crotch snaps!
DD also likes outfits with pictures of animals on it, and on one sewing blog, a mom recommended sewing "characters" (she used red riding hood and wolf to good effect) on the inside of an outfit to coax toddlers to wear mom-made clothes. Or allowing kids to choose the fabric. I am so doing that this summer.
It seems to me that both of the older kids started to do this around 2. They are 3 and 5 now and have been dressing themselves/picking out clothes for a while. DD who is 5 now spent whole days doing nothing but trying on different outfits for a long time when she was about 2.5. It was a huge phase for her. DS just kind of fell into dressing himself, hes never been all that into it. I have nephews who are five and six and don't do either though, so I guess it depends on the kid and a little bit on the parent.