Reaching Milestones: 18 to 21 Months

All toddlers have their own timetable, but you can watch for certain developments around this time. Celebrate with your child as he reaches or nears these milestones.


  • Knows how household items are used (a spoon to eat, a telephone to talk)
  • Imitates adult actions (throwing away trash, using a phone)
  • Uses toys when pretending to do everyday tasks (feeding a stuffed animal)
  • Has increasing understanding that everything has a name
  • Points to at least one body part when asked (“Where’s your chin?”)
  • Can follow one-step commands without gestures (“Sit down”)
  • May remember favorite items that are out of sight (crackers in cupboard, a toy in toy box)


  • May run
  • May dance or move to music
  • Navigates stairs; may need support coming down
  • Walks and pulls a pull-toy
  • May ride a tricycle (but pushes with his feet instead of using pedals)
  • Takes off at least some clothes without help
  • Uses a spoon and possibly a fork
  • May build a tower of six blocks
  • Folds paper


  • May say up to 50 words, 24 months
  • Begins to add new words more rapidly than before
  • Tries longer, multi-syllable words
  • Shakes head and says “no”
  • Uses gestures to make wishes known
  • May use simple phrases, 18 to 24 months
  • May say first sentence, 18 to 24 months
  • May use pronouns
  • May sing


  • May have tantrums when upset
  • May still be afraid of strangers
  • May still cling to parents or caregivers in unfamiliar situations
  • May have quick emotional shifts