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!