How Do I Know My Toddler's Clothing Size?

Toddler playing in clothing racks

Alina Demidenko / Getty Images

You swear you just bought those pants a week ago, but they're definitely too short for your toddler now. Toddlers don't grow as fast as they did when they were babies, but it can still seem like you're always needing to buy new clothes. If you're shopping online or trying to grab a few outfits while your little one is at daycare, you might find yourself wondering what size to buy.

Toddler sizes aren't just ranked by age like baby sizes because they all grow at such different rates. There are two different clothing size systems that overlap; one goes by months, while the other goes by years.

Let's clear up some of the confusion about how toddler sizes work.

Toddlers Grow at Their Own Pace

No two toddlers are alike, and they all grow at their own rates. The average 1 year old boy weighs 21 pounds and stands 30 inches tall. The average girl is 19 pounds and 29 inches tall at this age.

By age 2, these measurements jump to 28 pounds and 2 feet, 11 inches for boys and to 26 pounds and 2 feet, 10 inches for girls.

These are just averages, however. Your toddler might be smaller or larger at these ages. What matters is that they grow along their own curve. "There is a lot of individual variation in toddler size, and some girls may be taller or heavier than boys of the same age," says Leah Alexander, MD, FAAP, a board-certified pediatrician in New Jersey and the senior editor of Amy Baby Review.

Remember there is not a ton of physical growth during the toddler stage like there was during the first year of life. Be sure to reach out to your child's pediatrician or healthcare provider with any concerns about your toddler's size or growth.

Toddler Clothing Sizes Explained

Toddler sizes range from 2T to 5T. The numbers stand for the child's approximate age in years, and the T stands for "toddler."

Here is a size chart for reference:

Toddler Size Chart
 Size  Height Weight
 2T  33.5 to 35 inches  30 to 32 pounds
 3T  35 to 38 inches  32 to 35 pounds
4T 38 to 41 inches 35 to 39 pounds
5T 41 to 44 inches 39 to 45 pounds

What's The Difference Between 24 Months and 2T?

The main difference between infant size 24 months and toddler size 2T is whether the clothing is designed for a child in diapers or a potty-trained toddler. For example, onesies that snap open for easy diaper change will be sized as 24 months, while a T-shirt or pair of pants are more likely to be sized as 2T.

Pants that are sized as 24 months will have more room to accommodate a diaper under the clothes, while pants sized 2T will be slimmer, since they only need to fit over underwear.

Size 2T may also be leaner than 24 months because of the way your child's body changes when they become a toddler. "Toddler sizes are typically distinguished from babies by the fact that they are walking," notes Jeff Fischer, a garment industry veteran and co-founder of DTC childrenswear brand, Young Days. "Their bodies are shaped differently as they are generally more active and have begun to lose their baby fat."

What's The Difference Between 3T and Kids' Size 3?

Toddler sizes usually go up to size 5T, but you might also see kids' sizes 3, 4, or 5 in some brands. These are no different than the toddler sizes. If your child wears a 4T, you can bet on a kids' size 4 being the right fit.

How Do I Measure My Squirmy Toddler?

As you might imagine, it's not always easy to get a toddler to hold still so that you can measure them. One way to make things easier is to trace their body and then measure the tracing instead of the child.

Head outside with some chalk, or spread a large piece of butcher paper on your floor. Have your little one lay down and trace all the way around their body. Making it into a game might help your kid hold still. You can even let them color and decorate the tracing afterwards.

You can also have your child stand against a door frame so you can mark their height with a pencil and then measure from the floor. If their hair adds height, try to keep the pencil pushed down so that it rests on the crown of their head.

How Do European Sizes Differ for Toddlers?

Now that many online stores ship globally, you might discover that some of your favorite toddler brands are sized using European charts. American, British, and Australian sizes are based on the child's age, whereas European sizing is based on the child’s height, in centimeters. "If you’re looking to purchase garments that utilize that measurement, I would err on the larger size to give most kids a little longer to wear anything before growing out of it," says Fischer.

A Word From Verywell

Buying clothes for your toddler might be fun, but it can be hard to know exactly what size to get. Start by measuring your little one's height and buy clothes based on this number, rather than their age. Many kids won't wear the exact size that matches their age.

Of course, trying on clothes is the only way to know for sure, but it's not always easy to take a toddler shopping. Plus, you might want to save time and shop online. When torn between two sizes, order the larger one.

All kids grow at different rates. However, if you find yourself concerned about your toddler's growth, be sure to reach out to their pediatrician or healthcare provider.

2 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Center on Disease Control and Prevention. WHO Growth Standards are Recommended for Use in the U.S. for Infants and Children 0-2 Years of Age.

  2. Gymboree. Kids, Toddler, & Baby Size Chart.

By Elisa Cinelli
Elisa is a well-known parenting writer who is passionate about providing research-based content to help parents make the best decisions for their families. She has written for well-known sites including POPSUGAR and Scary Mommy, among others.