Struggling to understand all the different toddler clothing sizes? It can be a real challenge to find clothes which fit your toddler properly. And on the occasions when you do get it right, they often don’t wear the clothes for very long as they grow out of them so quickly!
Here is a complete guide on toddler sizes, the differences between them and what to look out for when you’re buying clothes for your child. You’ll also learn how retailers have subtle differences between each other for their toddler sizes, which makes things a bit harder for parents.
- 1 What are toddler clothing sizes?
- 2 Toddler size 2T
- 3 Toddler size 3T
- 4 4T toddler size
- 5 5T toddler size
- 6 How do US toddler sizes compare to European sizes?
- 7 What should you look for when buying clothes for your toddler?
What are toddler clothing sizes?
Toddler clothing sizes include 2T, 3T, 4T and 5T. The number corresponds to the age of your child, and the ‘T’ stands for toddler. At a basic level, it’s fairly easy to understand. However, what makes things trickier is when you compare these sizes across different retailers. They often have their own range of clothing with subtle differences for weight and height for all toddler sizes, which makes things more difficult for parents to find items which fit their child properly.
Here’s a quick summary of the size measurements (on average) for all the sizes.
- 2T = 24-28lbs, 33-35”
- 3T = 28.5-32.5lbs, 36-38.5”
- 4T = 33-36lbs, 39-41”
- 5T = 38-42lbs, 42-44”
When should you transition to toddler sizes?
Baby clothes are from newborn sizes up to 24 months. However, once your baby is between 18-24 months, you may find 2T size clothing more suitable, particularly if your baby is bigger than average. It’s important to note than 24 months means ‘up to 24 months’, so on average children switch to 2T clothing after this point. But all babies are different. 2T size clothing might be fine for 18 month old babies, but you may still be using 24 months clothing when your baby is 2 and a half.
In some retailers, you can actually find 1T size clothing, which is for babies aged between 1 and 2. This size isn’t very common, and you should only consider it if your baby is a very confident walker. The clothes are a little thinner with longer sleeves, and when compared to baby sizes, they are a little bigger than 12 months and slightly smaller than 24 months.
Toddler size 2T
2T marks the first stage of toddler size clothing. It’s for children who are aged between 2 and 3, and you’ll find these clothes in the children section of a store (not the baby section anymore). Also, you will start to see some differences when you compare it to baby clothes. Gone are the baby poppers you find on some pants and tops, which allow more space to keep a diaper in place, and the clothing will generally be longer and thinner.
As you might expect, the clothes really start to look less baby-like and more appropriate for toddlers and small children. On average across various retailers, 2T size clothing is for toddlers who are 24-28lbs in weight and 33-35” in height.
Chart – 2T toddler sizes retailer comparison
Here is how 2T sizes compare throughout four different US retailers. You can see there isn’t a uniform size for weight and height, which makes things a lot harder for parents to find the right clothing. You may be better off sticking with a particular store once you find something suitable for your child.
From this it looks like Carters cater for slightly bigger toddlers aged between 2 and 3, and Walmart might be better for shorter kids.
Toddler size 3T
3T is for children aged between 3 and 4 years old and it’s the next size up once your child has outgrown 2T clothing. On average it is for children who are 28.5-32lbs in weight and 36-38.5” in height, although there can be some differences between retailers (see below). It’s important to check the size measurements carefully because if your child is smaller than average, 2T may still be suitable even if they are between 3 and 4 years old, where as 4T could be appropriate for larger kids in the same age bracket.
Chart – Comparison of 3T toddler sizes across different retailers
There’s not a massive difference in weight here, but in terms of height, Walmart looks a good bet if your child is a littler smaller than average.
4T toddler size
Once your child is between 4 and 5 years old, you will likely want to look at 4T size clothing. You may want to stick with 3T for a while if your son or daughter is shorter than average, but for most kids 4T should be appropriate. Just like the other toddler sizes, you will still find some slight differences in the size of the clothes in different retailers, but on average 4T is for children who are 33-36lbs in weight and 39-41” tall. Make sure you don’t confuse 4T with size 4 (which is on a different clothing scale for kids aged from 4-14).
Chart – 4T toddler sizes comparison
Fairly standard sizes across all three of these retailers, which makes things a little easier when you’re clothes shopping for your child.
5T toddler size
This is the largest size in the toddler range. Although this is for 5-6 year olds, if your child is larger than average, you will want to look at size 5 even size 6 clothing on the kids clothing scale. Just like 4T and size 4, don’t confuse 5T and size 5 as they have different measurements. Across all the main retailers, on average 5T clothes are for children who are 38-42lbs in weight and 42-44” tall.
Chart – 5T toddler sizes retailer comparison
There’s not a a lot of difference here between Walmart, Carters and Nordstrom, but Carters seems a better bet for slightly shorter kids.
How do US toddler sizes compare to European sizes?
Here is chart showing how US toddler sizes compare to European and UK sizes.
What should you look for when buying clothes for your toddler?
Here are some useful tips when you’re buying clothes for your child.
Although toddlers grow at a slower rate than babies, it’s still pretty quick. In most cases you’ll probably only get one season out of a pair of pants, a top or a sweater. Therefore, there’s no point spending a lot on one item of clothing for your toddler. Instead, look for bargains and sales in various stores. You may even have a friend with an older child who would be more than happy for you to take some clothes off their hands. Ask any experienced parent and almost all will say they spent too much on clothing when they could have saved some money looking at cheaper options.
The hardest aspect of buying clothing is getting something to fit properly. My wife tends to buy some clothes online for our children and it’s amazing how many times things are too big or too small. While time is a premium when you have a young family, make sure you visit some stores when you can and try out some clothes on your toddler.
Furthermore, you may wish to stick to one retailer more than another once you find some things which fit well as they all have slight differences in their sizes. Save online shopping for smaller items like underwear and socks.
Finally, make sure you choose clothes that are easy to put on and take off. Clothing made from more stretchy material will definitely make things easier!
While it’s important not to go overboard and spend lots of money on clothes, you still have to think about wear and tear. Toddlers will fall over, jump in muddy puddles so the clothing will need to withstand a lot of washing and drying. For items like pants and coats, you may wish to spend a little bit extra if you think they are better quality and won’t fall apart after just one use!
Finally, your toddler should feel comfortable in their clothing. Their skin is still quite sensitive, so look for breathable fabrics like cotton which are soft and easier for your toddler to move around in.