How to Teach a Toddler to Pedal a Tricycle

When your little one is itching for a set of wheels, you'll probably start with a tricycle and work your way up from there. Even a toddler can learn the basics of pedaling with a miniature tricycle, sized to fit short little legs. Keep the emphasis on safety and fun as you introduce your child to the joys of bicycling. With a little effort, your youngster should be ready to advance to bigger and better bikes as he gets older and more adept at pedaling.

Provide your toddler with a small tricycle that enables him to sit comfortably on the seat with both hands on the handlebars and both feet squarely on the pedals. For best pedal power, your child’s knees should still be slightly bent at the full extension point of the pedals.

Place a properly fitting helmet on your little one’s head and strap it on securely. Make it a policy that your child never rides a tricycle or bicycle without wearing a helmet 1.

Position the tricycle in a safe place where you can work on pedaling without worrying about obstacles or falls. A grassy location with a very slight downward slope over about 30 yards is ideal, according to

Help your toddler sit on the tricycle properly, with backside firmly planted on the tricycle seat, hands on the handlebars and feet on the pedals 1. Because balancing the trike isn’t an issue, you can move right into pedaling lessons 3.

Explain to your little one that the trick to moving the tricycle is pushing the pedals around and around with his feet while steering the tricycle with the handlebars.

Push your child slowly on the tricycle, while encouraging him to keep his hands on the handlebars and his feet on the pedals. If he takes his feet off the pedals, stop pushing and help him reposition them. Continue pushing your child slowly down the grassy slope while he pedals to help him gain familiarity with the process of pedaling.

Continue to work with your child to help him gain strength and pedaling skills. This may take days, weeks or even months, depending on your child’s athletic abilities and motivation.


Eventually, your toddler should be able to use the increased motion of the slope to master independent pedaling. You may need to help him pedal back up the incline until he gains enough strength.

A tricycle with a removable parental push handle on the back is ideal. You can keep the push handle on the tricycle while your child is mastering pedaling and steering. You can then remove the push handle after your child learns to pedal the tricycle independently.