It's amazing watching your toddler grow into a little person, but remember to keep those milestone charts as a guide rather then something to torture yourself with – there's so much individual variation.

So here's our "rough guide" to what you might expect to see in the coming year


  • Self-care achievements such as self-feeding, undressing followed by dressing, teeth cleaning and toileting are all key to a sense of independence. While interest in toilet training may emerge around 24 months, some won't be ready until they're three or older. Watch for imitation of others in the bathroom and an awareness of body signals – staying dry for two hours or more in the day is a "give it a go" signal. By now they'll be cleaning their own teeth but need help squeezing the tube and finish the job correctly. Struggling? Try these simple Smile Savers.

  • Ball games will be enjoyed more in this year as coordination improves. They'll give kicking, throwing and catching a go, use pedals to ride a trike around three, and love drawing (scribbling), with increasing interest in colour and representation.

Respect your child's need to express a preference by letting them make choices. (Image: Getty)

Social and emotional

  • Self-awareness increases with recognition of their own photo and referring to themselves by name. Body awareness kicks in too, knowing whether they are tall or short, and by three will state their age, name and gender. Interest in peers is increasing, so playgroups and playdates are great. By three, the concept of having a "friend" will have emerged.

  • Behaviours around independence, defiance and separation anxiety may all feature this year. Read our toddler trouble round-up, with coping tips.

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  • They will understand more complex two or three-part request like, "Bring me your red shoes from the front verandah." Their constant questions are a way of holding your attention while feeding their hungry toddler brain. They will use imaginative play to learn and mimic the world they keenly observe.

  • Language-wise, they'll start to use negatives like "won't" and "can't" rather than just the old favourite "No, no, no!", and have a vocab of 300+ words by three. They may be counting to three by age two and to 10 by age three.