Navigating Early Speech & Language Milestones: What to Expect Between Ages 2 and 3

Parents often wonder if their child’s skills are developing typically.  Between gross motor skills, fine motor skills, speech-language skills, social-emotional functioning, and overall growth, there is a lot of information to track!  In fact, it might feel overwhelming.  It is important for parents to remember that every child develops at his or her own rate, with some skills emerging faster and other skills taking more time.  When considering your child’s development, referring to developmental milestones can be an excellent guide.

In Part 1 of this blog, we reviewed speech and language milestones to expect during the first year of your baby’s life.  In Part 2, we reviewed communication milestones you might expect to see between ages 1 and 2.  Part 3 of this series will discuss what to expect from your child’s communication between ages 2 and 3.  If you feel concerned about your child’s development in this area, seek help from a licensed speech therapist right away.  A trained therapist will give you accurate information, ease your worries, and give your child any help they might need. 

The Following Speech & Language Skills Typically Emerge Between 2 and 3 Years:

  • You can understand about 70 – 80% of what your child says (at least 80% by age 3).toddler speech and language development
  • Your child can pay attention to lengthier stories (for about 10-20 minutes at a time).
  • Your child can understand around 900 words, including action words (eat, jump), locations (in/on/under), gender (boy /girl), and size (big/little).
  • Your child can answer simple who, what and where questions (“Where is Elmo?” or “What is mommy doing?”).
  • Your child will begin combining words into 2-3 word phrases.
  • Your child can ask simple questions ( “Where’s Elmo?”).
  • Your child may begin using –ing verbs (running, swimming), possessive –s (Daddy’s shoe), articles (a, the), plural –s (dogs, blocks), and regular past-tense verbs (baked, jumped).
  • Your child might use pronouns “I”, “me” or “my” to refer to themselves.
  • Your child may begin to engage in short dialogue with others.


For more information about speech and language development in childhood, visit the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association at   If you have a concern about your child’s speech development, contact us today to schedule an appointment with a pediatric speech therapist.


Click here to see our Speech and Language Milestone Infographic