Physical Development in Infants & Toddlers

By Heather Rutherford
try to crawl image by NiDerLander from

Tracking physical development is a major way in which physicians and parents can gauge the overall health of a child. Physical development in infants and toddlers is especially interesting because children change and grow more within the first 24 months of life then they ever will again. While each child develops at his own pace, extreme delays in physical development can indicate a greater problem. Minor delays of physical development in infants and toddlers are typically no cause for concern.

0 to 3 Months

In the first three months of life, infants are fairly immobile. Infants in this age range will be able to reach for things in front of them and, by 3 months old, will grab items and bring them to their mouth. Infants younger than 3 months will show some strength as they begin to support their weight on their arms and lift their head to look around when placed on their stomach.

4 to 7 Months

Infants between the ages of 4 months and 7 months will learn how to roll over and often attempt to crawl. While few infants succeed in crawling at this age, they will learn to stand on all fours and sometimes scoot across the floor in a variety of ways. Infants of this age are also capable of sitting with support and will attempt to self-feed.

8 to 12 Months

Eight- to 12-month-old infants have conquered the pincher grip. This means they are able to feed themselves using their fingers. Infants in this age group will also crawl easily and even attempt walking. Some infants will take a couple of unassisted steps. Most 8- to 12-month-olds, however, are only able to pull themselves up to standing and balance for several seconds without support.

13 to 18 Months

Between their first and second birthdays, children are referred to as toddlers. Toddlers between the ages of 13 and 18 months will master walking. While 50 percent of children walk by 13 months, the other 50 percent will take several months to catch up. Other physical development milestones reached between 13 and 18 months include pointing to body parts and drawing their first picture.

19 to 24 Months

Between 19 and 24 months, a toddler's fine motor skills will be fairly well-developed. Children in this age group will be able to dress and, more often, undress themselves. Occasionally, a toddler will begin potty training at this age. However, it is not realistic to expect a child to potty train completely until after the age of 3. Children will also learn to jump before their second birthday.

About the Author

Heather Rutherford has enjoyed writing professionally since 2004. Her articles have appeared in,,, and On-the-News. She also works intimately with several small businesses to prepare business plans and other marketing materials. Rutherford is seeking an Associate of Arts in business from North Idaho College.