Shylah Silbery was found clutching her teddy bear by police, who were told by the toddler: "Mummy won't wake up".
Authorities had to coax Shylah to drag a coffee table next to the door so she could climb up and let them in.
Police visited the house in Wellington, New Zealand, after receiving a call from Shylah's uncle Pete, 24, who had become increasingly concerned. He usually spoke to his sister Lauren on the phone every night.
Tragically, the 28-year-old mother had died, leaving her daughter trapped in the house searching for food.
Shylah, who kept herself alive by drinking milk from the fridge, spent several days in hospital recovering from dehydration and nappy rash.
When she was released, the toddler had to attend her mother's funeral.
'When we lowered the coffin into the grave at the cemetery, she pointed at it and said, "Mummy's in there." It was pretty heartbreaking,' Shylah's uncle Pete aid.
'She's doing okay now though.'
The toddler's grandmother Heather said: 'The fact she was left alone is what really rips into me the most. My little granddaughter was so resourceful. She was brilliant.'
Authorities are still waiting for the autopsy results but are not treating Lauren's death as suspicious.
Poor, poor child.