Developmental Milestones of 2-3 Year Olds

Your two year old has entered an important age where he is learning to control himself, be independent and at the same time master his own body.  He may want to start potty training at this stage. Bladder and bowel control will require parents to be persistent with the child. Try to be encouraging and celebrate small achievements allowing him the confidence to take on the bigger challenges ahead.  This is also the age where he will try to assert himself and test your rules and authority by throwing tantrums, hence known to some as “terrible twos” but the rule of thumb is always to be consistent, explaining why they can or can’t have something.

  • Provide opportunities to stimulate their creativity and learning by giving them crayons and paper that will encourage him to draw. This can be an early introduction for colors, shapes, numbers and letters.

What 2-3 Year Olds Can Do

Toddlers at this stage can follow directions and as their communication skills are more mature, they can already tell you what they want and show you how they feel.  However, they still need your supervision especially when it comes to physical activities.

  • Walks without support.
  • Needs help navigating the stairs.
  • May want to be more independent such as in dressing, grooming and feeding
  • Can dance, pedal, run, kick, throw, catch.
  • Starts potty training.


Likes & Dislikes of 2-3 Year Olds

Toddlers at this stage enjoy copying adults.  They like their independence because their curiosity is increased.  As they are starting to be more aware of what they can do, they also like to be given responsibilities or small tasks to affirm their growing competence.

  • Likes water and sand play.
  • Likes art and animals, especially feeding pets.
  • Likes climbing over furniture.
  • Improves balance in walking, running.
  • Likes playing with bikes and swings.
  • Likes looking at family photographs

Speech & Language Development of 2-3 Year Olds

Enjoys listening and talking to adults. Their vocabulary has expanded to at least 200 words by this time and they enjoy recounting situations or events from a story during the day.  Try to encourage them to speak up especially during mealtimes or small family gatherings to develop their social skills as well.

  • Can talk in simple sentences of about five to seven words
  • Can understand simple stories.
  • Can sing songs and follow movements and rhymes.
  • Can express his needs in simple sentences.
  • Learning words and tenses of words.
  • Listens and interacts with adults.
  • Can speak in longer sentences.


Cognitive Development of 2-3 Year Olds

Your toddler enjoys trailing adults around the house. You will notice that they also like to engage in imaginative play with their action figures or toys, because this is their way of learning and testing out ideas.  Try to engage your child by asking them to explain their actions during play, (for example “how do you make a tower?”) which will be a way for him to learn how to plan ahead and predict outcomes.

  • Likes water and sand play which is an opportunity for learning about weight, volume and quantity.
  • Can remember when he saw an item last and can articulate certain events from memory.
  • Can engage in imaginative play.
  • Increased attention and problem solving abilities.

Physical Development of 2-3 Year Olds

Physical development at this age will be coupled with the need to be independent.  Allow him to experiment and learn what he can do without being a danger to himself. You will also notice he likes to dance upright at this age and without any specific style.  This is an important skill in development because it will allow him to expend his energy, as well as develop agility, balance and rhythm.

  • Can walk without assistance but needs help navigating the stairs.
  • Can walk a few steps backwards.
  • Can draw or write deliberately.
  • Can start to deliberately manipulate clay, pour sand or water.
  • Can roll, throw, pick, and catch balls sitting down.

Social & Emotional Development of 2-3 Year Olds

At this stage your toddler can start forming friendships which is an excellent way for him to learn empathy and consider how his actions affect others. It will also help him learn how to be responsible and to take turns, showing consideration.

  • May throw temper tantrums especially when he does not get his own way.
  • May show signs of jealously when you pay attention to other children.
  • May start to observe and interact with other children.
  • Is attached to primary caregiver such as the mother or nanny.
  • Wants to do things by himself such as feeding, grooming, dressing, etc.
  • May become challenging but will not hold grudges.