Practice with big buttons at first.
So you want your toddler to learn how to button? This is a milestone children reach on average at age 3; however, before you teach your youngster this skill, think it over. If your kid is the get-naked-in-public type, you may want to hold for a bit until this phase passes -- once he learns how to button, after all, he's all that much closer to figuring out how to unbutton. That said, once your child can button his clothes, it will make clothes changing and potty training easier for you.
1Sit down with your little one and get comfortable. Gather your teaching supplies: a shirt or another piece of clothing that has a large button on it, as well as some toys or soft books with buttons that are made for teaching children how to do and undo. Check first that the buttons button easily; if they're a little tricky for you, they'll be nearly impossible for your toddler.
2Show your eager-to-learn youngster how to button, talking through the process. Then let her try, guiding her fingers with yours. If she pushes your hands away, go ahead and let her try to button on her own. When she begins to get frustrated, say, "Here. Let me help you. You can do it by yourself in no time. There we go. We hold the button with our hand and slip the button into the back of the hole. Then we use the other hand to help push it through. There! We did it. Good job."
3Move on to a smaller button once your little genius masters the larger ones. Teach her how to button the same way you did for the larger button. It may take a couple of tries, but she should be able to do it. Again, check the button first to be sure it is not too tricky.
4Dress your toddler in one of his button shirts. Choose the one with the largest buttons. Tell him it may feel weird to button this way, but he can do it. Guide him, if necessary, and be his biggest cheerleader as he masters another fine-motor skill. Next, try pants, which are a bit harder to button because he will have to straighten his back and maybe suck in his little gut a bit to get it. As with the shirt, though, with practice he will master it.