Toddler development stages

Get ready for your toddler’s amazing development!

Watching your baby turn into a toddler is an amazing time – and one of the most rewarding things about being a parent.

Those first steps soon go from toddles to strides, and baby babble becomes entertaining chatter. Their body is changing and growing fast, too. Their brain is developing at an incredible rate – taking in all they see and improving their balance and movement skills every day. It’s a phase of amazing development, and it’s such a joy to see!

As a mum, your role is really important. Helping them learn to walk, talk and listeneat on their ownshareunderstand the word ‘no’, and be confident and happy while you’re not there – they’ll rely on you for help and love through every stage.
We’re here to help you along, with information, tips and advice from our experts. So look over our website to find what you need, and if you have any questions, just ask our team.

Amazing fact!

Your 1-year old is growing at double the rate of a 4-year old – so in 2 more years they’ll gain around 50% in weight! No wonder it’s getting harder to carry your toddler!

Stages of amazing development:

The information below shows what you can expect to see at each stage of your toddler’s development. But remember, all toddlers aren’t the same! They grow and learn at different rates so don’t expect your little one to follow the chart exactly – it’s just a rough guide.

At 1 year, your toddler can:

  • Stand supported by you or the furniture – then sit back onto the floor.
  • Chatter a few favourite sounds and words
  • Picks up toys, and watch what happens when they drop them.
  • Understand some requests, such as ‘lift arms’ when dressing.
  • Could be starting to eat with fingers.
  • Likes to empty containers and copy simple actions like waving.

At 18 months, your toddler can:

  • Walk on their own and likes to jump up and down.
  • Can go up and down stairs holding the rail.
  • Builds with play bricks, throw small balls and take toys apart.
  • Say lots of words and experiment with word order.
  • Can use both hands to feed themselves and drink from cups.
  • May like to look at picture books.

At 2 years, your toddler can:

  • Run.
  • Builds tower of 6 cubes.
  • Say simple sentences.
  • Understand the difference between female and male.
  • Talk about their self, name some body parts and sing tunes.
  • Start to get ready for toilet training.
  • Understand the idea of sooner and later.
  • Enjoy playing with other toddlers.
  • Ask ‘Why?’ a lot.

At 2 ½ years, your toddler can:

  • Walking very well, with good balance.
  • Brush their teeth (with help!) and wash and dry their own hands.
  • Put their own clothes on, such as jumpers and shoes.
  • Paint and draw pictures, and even manage straight lines and circles.
  • Speak quite clearly, and knows the names of friends and some colours.
  • Understand the difference between big and small, hot and cold, soft and hard.

At 3 years, your toddler can:

  • Use the toilet by themselves and get dressed.
  • Talk about how they feel.
  • Plays with a wide range of toys, and play well with other children.
  • Ask a lots of questions!
  • Undress with assistance.
  • Invent imaginary companions!
  • Describe how to do simple things.
  • Understand simple instructions.
  • Feel less separation anxiety.
  • Speak clearly and use four or more words in a sentence.
  • Ride a balance bike or tricycle.

Feed your toddler’s growing needs

While your toddler’s growing at an amazing rate, it’s important to give them a well balanced diet packed with energy, vitamins and minerals.

In fact, between the ages of 1 and 3, your toddler’s nutritional needs can be more than double your own for their size!*

To find out more, take a look at Cow & Gate's section on toddler nutrition.

Remember, all toddlers grow at different rates, so it’s quite normal to do things earlier or later than this guide may suggest. If you’re worried about anything, please speak to your healthcare professional. 

*Based on RNIs

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