While it’s probably too early to think about the gifted program at your local elementary school, you’ll be amazed at the cognitive progress your baby may make between 16 and 19 months old. This is when toddlers pick up new words and learn to respond to simple commands. However, if your child doesn’t attain all these milestones, don’t panic. Some children develop faster than others, and there’s only a loose connection between cognitive milestones in toddlerhood and a child’s level of intelligence years down the road.

By 16-19 months, most toddlers can:

  • Say at least a few separate, distinct words and have between 20-50 words overall
  • Recite the names of familiar household objects (TV, chair, table, etc.)
  • Follow simple commands like “come here,” “sit in your chair” or “don’t do that”
  • Imitate you when you laugh, sneeze, or make a gesture
  • Recognize themselves in mirrors, videos, and snapshots

By 16-19 months, some toddlers try to:

  • Show an early interest in reading books on their own
  • Sing the words, or at least the tunes, of familiar songs
  • Search for lost objects
  • Identify a few pictured items by pointing and naming
  • Solve problems via trial and error (“This switch doesn’t turn the radio on, so which one does?”)

By 16-19 months, some toddlers can:

  • Scribble with pencils or crayons
  • String together simple, declarative sentences (“I want banana,” “I go to park,” etc.)
  • Put on certain clothes, like shoes or pants, by themselves
  • Ask “why” questions

More in milestones:


  • Most toddlers 16-19 months old can say a few simple words.
  • At this age, toddlers can usually recognize (and sometimes name) multiple household objects.
  • Your toddler may surprise you with “grown-up” flashes of insight and problem-solving skills.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Important Milestones: Your Child at Eighteen Months.
  2. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. Developmental Milestones: Toddler.
  3. National Network for Child Care. Developmental Milestones: A Guide for Parents, the Second Year.


  1. very good info. Thanks.

    1. Thanks so much!

  2. This blog is amazing i love all the posts and articles such great information and help

    1. Thanks Amy! We really appreciate our readers!

  3. love that age

  4. I love these developmental milestones. These are the best years!

    1. Believe it or not but it gets even better! Let us know if you have any specific questions that we can answer for you – we love hearing from you!

  5. I love this age. They are so full of amazement of what they learn also, Great article.

  6. Agreed!

  7. Even though I don’t have a 16-19 month old, it’s good to know that the connection between cognitive development in toddlerhood and a child’s intelligence is loose.


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