Toddler Development Stages – 18 Month to 3 Year Old Developmental Milestones

Wondering if your toddler’s development is on track? Toddler development can be grouped into four areas: language & communication, physical, cognitive, and social & emotional development.

Toddlers will develop individually but should generally master milestones by certain ages. The charts below give developmental milestones of 18 month olds, 2 year olds, and 3 year olds.

It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the milestones that coincide with your little one’s age. This will help you see if your child is developing at a normal rate and also give you insight into your toddler’s current behavior.

When you look at toddler development by age, you see that what parents may classify as troublesome toddler behavior may actually be developmental milestones.

Read : Tips for dealing with Toddler Crying

Take tantrums for example, which are actually a social & emotional milestone of 18 month olds. Or notice that the defiant behavior seen in the “terrible twos” is another social & emotional milestone for age two.

children's developmental milestones by ages

18 Month Milestones

Language & CommunicationPhysicalSocial & EmotionalCognitive
Can say several single wordsEats with spoonMay have temper tantrumsCan point to 1 body part
Can say “no” and shake head noWalksWill Show affection to familiar peopleCan follow a 1-step command Ex: Stand up
Points at objects to show what he/she wantsCan pull toys while walkingCan play simple pretend:like caring for dollKnows what ordinary things are like shoes, plate, shirt
Can drink from cupExplores alone, but with a parent nearCan scribble without help

2 Year Old Milestones

Language & CommunicationPhysicalSocial & EmotionalCognitive
Can point to objects when they are namedCan climb on/off furniture without helpCopies others (like adults & older children)Starts to sort colors & shapes
Knows names of familiar people and body partsBegins to runShows defiant behaviorBuilds towers of 4 or more blocks
Can say sentences with 2-4 wordsCan throw ball overhandedPlays by other children, and includes them in some games like “chase”Plays simple make-believe games
Can follow simple instructionsStands on tiptoesShows increasing amount of independenceCan follow 2 step instructions Ex:Pick up ball and put it in bucket
Can copy or make straight lines and circles

3 Year Old Milestones

Language & CommunicationPhysicalSocial & EmotionalCognitive
Can name most familiar thingsCan pedal a tricycleShows concern for crying friendPlays pretend with dolls, animals, people
Talks well enough for strangers to understand most of what’s been saidCan run wellMay get upset with major routine changeTurns book one page at a time
Can name a friendClimbs wellSeparates easy from Mom & DadBuilds tower of 7+ blocks
Can use words like “I”, “you”, “me”, “we” and some pluralsWalks up and down stairs one foot on each stepShows friends affection without promptingTurns door knobs or screws & unscrews jar lids
Says first name, age, genderShows a wide range of emotionsCopies a circle with pencil or crayon
Does 3-4 piece puzzles
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