Please take our quick survey!

Bookmark and Share  

Toddlers 1-3 Years | Toddler Milestones

Toddler Developmental Milestones

Most major milestones take place while your child is still just a baby – during his or her first twelve months. However, the time in between infancy and childhood is still a very important period. The toddler stage sees a child learn and grow in many different ways, and even though terms like terrible twos and potty training is enough to make you break out in a sweat, watching your baby grow into a little person is a truly wonderful experience. Let’s take a look at a few toddler developmental milestones between the ages of one and three – focusing on different fields such as movement, communication and social skills.


Walking, running and climbing
Most children start walking between the ages of nine and 16 months, the average age being about 14 months. If your child is not walking independently by 16 months of age, contact your pediatrician just to be on the safe side. About six months after your toddler masters walking, he or she will probably be running. And by 24 months most toddlers can run with good balance. When it comes to climbing, by 15 months your toddler can climb stairs on hands and knees and will soon be an expert at climbing on low-height furniture. By 18 months your toddler can walk up stairs with some assistance, and by 21 months walk down stairs if hand is held. By 24 months your toddler can go up and down alone, holding on to the railing or wall. And by 30 to 36 months, he or she can negotiate stairs perfectly by alternating feet.

Other movements
When your toddler is about 24 months he or she should be able to kick a ball and jump off the floor. Although kicking a ball seems simple to you, remember that it requires both physical coordination skills as well as thinking skills in order to understand cause and effect. Be aware – once toddlers discover that a ball bounces, they might try throwing other things as well to see if they bounce. In your child’s second year, he or she should also start scribbling and self-feeding with a spoon, as they learn to control the muscles in their hands better. Closer to the age of three, around 30-36 months, your toddler will be jumping off steps and is able to pedal a tricycle.

Language and communication
Learning how to talk is a huge toddler milestone, and you’ll be amazed by how quickly your child’s communication skills develop. By 15-18 months your toddler should start using a few real words, and between 18 and 24 months most children progress to simple two-word phrases. Soon after that short sentences will start forming, and by the age of three, 5-6 word sentences should be part of most toddlers’ communication skills. By now your child will also ask a lot of what-questions and know his or her own name, sex and age. A general guideline is a vocabulary of about 10 single words by 18 months, 20 single words by 21 months and 50-100 words by 24 months. If you have heard no words by 18 months, or if speech is unclear or there is no understanding or interest in language, contact your pediatrician just to be on the safe side. Also keep in mind that up until the age of three children understand a lot more than they can say, so remember to talk lots about everything that’s happening and know that your toddler will pick up most of it. Treating your child as a talker and listening carefully to everything he or she says is also important, as this encourages them to learn.

A child’s sleeping pattern changes as soon as a baby turns into a toddler. While your baby needed two naps a day or more, your toddler can do with just one afternoon nap. It’s very important to try and stick to a routine when it comes to napping, because if your toddler sleeps a lot during the day he or she won’t want to go to sleep in the evening, and will probably also wake up more often throughout the night. When your child is 24-36 months old you might find that he or she is not so interested in having an afternoon nap anymore. But quiet time is still needed, so sit and read together or wind down to get some rest from a busy day. A tired toddler is a cranky toddler, so make sure you try to keep the afternoon nap routine going for as long as you possibly can. It’s common that toddlers have dropped their morning nap by 18 months or earlier, and most will drop their afternoon nap around the age of three.

Potty training
This huge toddler milestone will take place any time from 18 to 36 months old. Every child is different, but you should be able to tell when your little one is ready. He or she will start showing interest in a potty and in normal underwear, while at the same time start feeling uncomfortable in dirty nappies – wanting them to be changed more often. Try to avoid intense potty training during a stressful time, such as moving house or having relatives staying for a long period of time, and don’t push your child or punish accidents and mistakes. Show praise and encouragement when he or she is doing well, and you’ll find that your toddler will be out of nappies in no time.

When your toddler is between 18 and 24 months you might see him or her feeding a doll, talking in to a pretend phone or tucking a teddy into bed. Major changes in toddlers’ brains now allow them to play make-believe! By two years your toddler should be able to build a tower out of four cubes, and by three years your toddler will probably throw a ball overhand. There are plenty of other small milestones within the field of play as well, but every toddler is different so try to relax and simply enjoy the fact that your child is progressing and learning new things every day.

Social and emotional skills
You could actually compare a toddler to a teenager if you look at all the powerful emotions they are going through while learning to use their own judgment and asserting themselves. As they get older, toddlers will slowly but surely start sharing toys and food – even though it’s only for a short period of time. Interaction and awareness of others, through playing with friends and siblings, will also become more and more apparent. Many toddlers will form a bond with objects, such as a soft toy or blanket, which in many ways means they are trying to replace their close baby-bond with mom. Toddlers will also soon enough start reading other’s emotional reactions and learning from them. Close to the age of three a toddler will show a strong sense of self as an individual, and start offering help when seeing distress in others’ feelings.

Interest and understanding
By 18 months your toddler should be able to point to body parts you name, or point to objects for you to name. Your toddler might also by now bring things to show you, or point to things he or she sees and wants to share with you. By about 24 months most toddlers can identify two items in a picture by pointing, and by 36 months identify four pictures by naming – as well as identify a friend by naming. By three years of age a toddler will also understand and master health practices such as washing and drying hands, using a tissue to wipe their nose, dressing and undressing themselves and paying attention to safety instructions.

These few toddler developmental milestones are just some of many changes your child will go through between the age of one and three years old. Just keep in mind that every child is different, so if your toddler is a couple of months early or a couple of months behind this general guideline, don’t panic. Just try to relax and enjoy all the special moments!

One Response to “Toddler Developmental Milestones”

  1. Hannelie says:

    Very nice milestones. Will definitly see if my 20months old boy is doing everything more or less expected.

Leave a Reply