All About the Pre-Toddler Age Range

The period of 12-18 months old is not quite “toddler” but beyond “baby”. This period is called the “pretoddler” age range. Learn all about it here!

Pretoddler being silly and looking upside down

Now that we are moving into a new phase in McKenna’s life, I thought I would take some time to discuss the pre-toddler months.

While I was pregnant with McKenna, Ezzo and Bucknam came out with a new book titled On Becoming Pretoddlerwise. This book covers the pre-toddler months, which are ages 12-18 months.

Now, all of us “wise” parents with children older than two years old made it through life without this book just fine. We moved from Babywise II right on into Toddlerwise.

I think because of that, I often see sincere questions asking if the book is worth getting or not.

My answer to that, not surprisingly, is yes.

This book helps you transition from “baby” to “toddler.”

I love On Becoming Toddler Wise; however, the first time I read it when Brayden turned 12 months old, I was very overwhelmed.

There was a whole new world of things to worry about–most of which he really wasn’t old enough for me to be worrying about yet. Simply turning “12 months old” doesn’t suddenly make the “baby” a “toddler.” It is more of a transitional phase between babyhood and toddlerhood.

12-18 Months Old is a Transitional Time

As Pre-toddlerwise points out, the 12 month old is no longer a baby, but also not a toddler and “that is key to understanding this phase of growth” (page 17).

I was recently talking with a friend about her 15 month old–her first child. She was talking of things Kaitlyn did around 18 months old, and she couldn’t imagine her daughter doing that in three months.

Now, one of these things was the whole potty training thing, which Kaitlyn was earlier than a lot and completely initiated it on her own. That is common for younger children, but not oldest children.

As I reflected on that over the next few days, it struck me at how much the children change even between 15 and 18 months.

This shouldn’t be surprising. Think of your child’s life thus far. What is the difference between a newborn and a 3 month old? Now 6 month old? Now 9 month old? Now 12 month old?

The rapid physical growth doesn’t continue past age one, but the rapid learning seems to get even faster.

Many people do professional photos at the 0, 3, 6, 9, and 12 month ages, then wait until 18 or even 24 months for the next. I have mentioned that I am nostalgic…that is true. I get photos at age 15 months, also.

When I look at Brayden and Kaitlyn at 12, 15, and 18 months, I see big changes. Pre-toddlerwise says

“Take a couple of photos because the child leaving infancy will not resemble the child entering toddlerhood six months down the road” (page 17).

On Becmong Pre-Toddlerwise

>>>Read: Everything You Need to Know for Your PreToddler

Qualities and Characteristics of Pre-Toddlers

What are some qualities and characteristics of children in the 12-18 month age range (aka Pre-toddlers)?

Pre-toddlers are ever-learning. Their curiosity is very high.

They also have a never-ending supply of energy. Pre-toddlerwise also calls this period a “period of great exchange” (page 17). What does that mean?

These are some examples of the exchanges made during this time period:

  • Baby food exchanged for table food
  • Highchair exchanged for the booster seat
  • Finger feeding exchanged for spoon-feeding
  • Babbling exchanged for words
  • Wobbly steps exchanged for steps of confidence


We are embarking on an exciting adventure. Your little one will resemble a little adult more and more each day. I have said it many times, but I just love toddlers–and pre-toddlers are included. Ready, set, grow!


4 thoughts on “All About the Pre-Toddler Age Range”

  1. I have a general question about toddlers so this might not be the best place. I know children will always have more energy and curiosity than adults, but I am wondering when then super active curiosity of pretoddlers/toddlers begins to slow. Like when do they stop wanting to find out and touch what is in every box, drawer, cupboard. Obviously we train her not to touch some things, but I am wondering in general when they just loose interest. My daughter is almost 20 months and is definitely still in this age. I have a friend whose son is 26 months and he will definitely grab books and look at them for 20 mins. His toys also hold his interest for a long time too. While his mom and I are talking, he will just initiate getting some cars and plays with them for a long time by himself. I see he and my daughter in different stages in that regard. But that is just one example. I am not sure what the "norm" is.

  2. I wish I had known about the pretoddler book! My DD is now almost 15 months old, and I have read Toddlerwise. I feel overwhelmed like you said, and I also feel that a lot of Toddlerwise applies to 2-3 years of age, not so much my baby/toddler! So, do you think I still need to get that book or wing it until 18 months? Also, you mentioned transitioning to the booster chair. My DD is pretty small and definitely short. I was planning on her being in a highchair until at least 2 years of age. Is that a problem? Am I supposed to be putting her in a booster?

  3. Justin and Julie,Some children have more of an inclination toward that. My inlaws always talk about how my husband was that way. He was kind of older when he learned to stay out of other people's stuff better–like around 7 or 8. But he is still snoopy 🙂 He just has more self control. My son is very interested in getting into drawers and exploring. My girls aren't really that way. So, personality has an affect on when it is natural to stop doing it.But that doesn't mean you have to allow it to happen. Does she have good independent playtime at home? That teaches self-focusing. Try training in times of non-conflict and the "ask and tell" technique I wrote about 2-3 weeks ago.

  4. Amy,I would get the book. You are having more children, right? If so, then it will definitely be of use for them and it will likely have helpful info right now, too. I didn't put Brayden into a booster until he was 20ish months old. Do it when you think she is ready 🙂


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