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Your Child's Development: 1.5 Years (18 Months)

Doctors use certain milestones to tell if a toddler is developing as expected. There's a wide range of what's considered normal, so some children may gain skills earlier or later than others.

Toddlers who were born prematurely may reach milestones later. Always talk with your doctor about your child's progress.

Here are things toddlers usually do by this age:

Communication and Language Skills

  • try to say 3 or more words (besides “mama” and “dada”)
  • follow one-step directions said with words and not gestures ("Pick up the toy.")

Movement and Physical Development

  • walk without holding on to anyone or anything
  • climb on and off a chair or couch without help
  • drink from a cup without a lid and may spill sometimes
  • use their fingers and maybe a spoon to eat
  • scribble

Social and Emotional Development

  • point to show you something interesting
  • move away from you, but look to make sure you are close by
  • puts hands out to get them washed
  • help with getting dressed by pushing their arm through a sleeve or lifting up a foot
  • look at a few pages in a book with caregivers

Cognitive Skills (Thinking and Learning)

  • copy you doing chores, like sweeping
  • play with toys in a simple way, like pushing a toy car

When Should I Call the Doctor?

You know your toddler best. Share your concerns — even little ones — with your child's doctor.

If your toddler is not meeting one or more milestones or you notice that your child had skills but has lost them, tell the doctor.

To learn more about early signs of developmental problems, go to the CDC’s Learn the Signs. Act Early program.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: May 2022