36 month old development

At 36 months old, most toddlers are able to:

  • Identify more than a dozen pictures of familiar objects by naming them
  • Express their feelings and ideas confidently, and be understood most of the time
  • Use sentences of at least three to four words with surprisingly good grammar
  • Use prepositions appropriately (up, down, over, under, in, on)
  • Name at least six body parts (for example, hair, hands, eyes, ears, feet, mouth)
  • Wash and dry their hands, under your supervision
  • Brush their teeth, with your help
  • Jump from a small height, such as a step, without losing their balance
  • Throw a ball in the desired general direction
  • Identify a friend by name

Social Skills and Behaviour

As your toddler approaches 36 months old, you will notice they have begun to form their own character, with a great deal of their personality mirroring your own:

  • They frequently imitate you. You will hear them talking to their toys just as you talk to them
  • Laugh at simple verbal jokes
  • Interact more with other children by talking and sharing toys
  • Ask questions about the meaning of unfamiliar words they hear you use
  • Tell small fibs, typically to avoid getting into trouble
  • Understand more adult speech than you expect, so watch your ps and qs!

Learning Development

There is still a sizeable gap between what a toddler wants to do and what a toddler can do – ambition outstrips ability at this age – but providing lots of opportunities for practice can help close the gap.

To help this process, we have created the Potty List, a guide to thirty-six activities toddlers should have crayoned off by the time they are toilet trained. By no means exhaustive, it does however suggest some wonderful experiences for toddlers, from the fun to the fundamental.