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18 month development milestones

  • 1-5 Years
  • Child development and growing up
Toddler sitting on the floor in a playroom playing with wooden toys

There are some key physical and communication milestones you will expect your 18 month old to reach. These milestones should be treated as a rough guide, as each child is unique and will develop at their own pace. It is often unhelpful to compare a child to other children or their siblings.

At around 18 months old you can expect your child to be able to:


  • prefer to walk and walk confidently without falling over
  • walk up and down stairs holding an adults hand, hand rail or wall
  • pick up items from the floor by bending over or squatting without support
  • stack blocks on top of each other
  • drop objects one at a time into a container like a bowl or box
  • make marks on paper using a crayon using the tip of the pencil
  • scribble using a crayon or pencil without being shown. Read our information on getting ready to write
  • start showing signs they are ready to use a toilet or potty (often occurs between 18 months and 3 years). Read our information on peeing, pooing and toileting

Read more about early physical skills development


  • say several single words
  • recognise and point to parts of the body
  • offer toys to their reflection in the mirror
  • pull on your clothes or hand to get your attention
  • copy the activities you do like wiping up a spill or combing your hair
  • enjoy nursery rhymes and will try to join in
  • follow simple commands, such as ‘bring me your shoes’

By 18 months it is likely your child will begin to say their first words. If your child is not talking, read our information on speech, language and communication.

Encouraging development

Activities and games to explore with your toddler include:

  • paints, paint brushes, finger paints and crayons
  • sand and water play
  • simple jigsaw puzzles
  • matching and sorting games
  • puppet play
  • pop-up toys and stacking toys
  • balls to roll and kick
  • pretend play
  • picture books
  • bath toys
Toddler sitting on the floor in a sitting room, playing with toys on the carpet.

Toddlers do not need lots of toys or devices to have fun or to encourage development.

They learn a lot of early skills by playing and spending time with you.

Possible development concerns

Sometimes development can be slower than you expect, or you may notice something different about your child or young person. It's normal to feel worried but there is lots of support out there. 

Contact your health visitor if you notice your baby is:

  • not standing independently
  • not attempting to walk without support


Need more specific support for your child?

If your child needs more help or has additional needs, you can visit our specific section for extra support.

Child development and growing up for additional needs


Who can help

If you have any questions or concerns about your toddler's development, a health professional in our team will be able to offer advice and support.

You can Call Us on 0300 029 50 50 or Text Us on 07520 649887 to start a conversation.

Open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm (excluding bank holidays).

Information for children aged 18 months old

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