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.

CognitiveChild’s 18 to 21 months milestone

  • 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 
  • Jumps in place or from a bottom step to the floor
  • Navigates stairs; may need support coming down
  • Walks and pulls a pull-toy
  • May pedal on a tricycle
  • Takes off at least some clothes without help
  • Uses a spoon
  • May build a tower of six blocks
  • Folds paper


  • May say up to 30 words, 18 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 30 months
  • May use first and last names
  • May hum and sing


  • May have tantrums when upset (tantrums peak between 18 and 24 months)
  • May still be afraid of strangers
  • May still cling to parents or caregivers in unfamiliar situations
  • May have quick emotional shifts