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How Old Is a Toddler?
Updated on
April 24, 2023

How Old Is a Toddler?

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How Old Is a Toddler?.
How Old Is a Toddler?

Within their first five years, children have already gone through a handful of transition periods into new developmental stages. While each stage comes with exciting milestones and a world of possibilities, the exact point when your little one transitions from one stage to the next can be tough to pin down.

At some point around their first birthday, your baby might start being referred to as a toddler, even though they may not look very different from when they were technically still a baby just a week or so ago. So what happened to make them a toddler? Do all babies magically transform the moment they reach 12 months old?

While many child development resources might refer to kids 12 months and up as toddlers, it’s more about the average timing of when developmental milestones are typically reached than some magical number. The toddler age range is generally considered to begin around the age of one and lasts through about three years old, or when they enter preschool (and become a “preschooler”!).

The transition to toddlerhood happens in conjunction with certain developmental milestones being reached. You’ll know your little one has officially become a toddler by their:

Physical development

  • Walking independently
  • Increased motor skills, including stacking, throwing, self-feeding and coloring (scribbling)
  • Slowed physical growth; going from one pound per month as an infant to four to six pounds per year as a toddler

Cognitive development

  • Developing language skills, including saying a few simple words
  • Recognizing themselves in the mirror
  • Discovering hidden objects (understanding object permanence)

Don’t worry if your little one has passed their first birthday and hasn’t hit these developmental milestones yet. Every child develops at their own pace, and while many kids reach some (not necessarily all) of these milestones around 12 months of age, there’s no set timeline for the toddler stage. Some children may show toddler-like behavior earlier or later than others, and that’s okay. Even if they’re not officially “toddling,” it’s totally fine to call your kiddo a toddler once they reach one year old. 


Amylia Ryan

Associate Editor

Amylia Ryan is the Associate Editor at Babylist, specializing in the topics of health, wellness and lifestyle products. Combining nearly a decade of experience in writing and editing with a deep passion for helping people, her number one goal in her work is to ensure new parents feel supported and understood. She herself is a parent to two young children, who are more than willing to help product test endless toys, books, clothes, toiletries and more.

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