A baby may be referred to as an infant at the earliest stage in its development, in particular before the walking phase is reached. In essence, it applies to an infant who is less than one year old.

An infant that is less than one month old is referred to as a newborn baby or a neonate. Once an infant has begun to walk, or around the age of one year, it is then referred to as a toddler.


The term toddler is commonly applied to a young child who is in the process of learning to walk, or toddle. This phase is generally regarded as representing the second stage in the child’s development, that of infancy being the first. This stage is normally reached between the ages of 12 months and 36 months.

During this second stage, the child rapidly develops the social skills required as well as the ability to move itself about. Prior to toddling, an unsteady form of walking, the child may go through the instinctive motions of trying to walk whilst holding onto nearby objects for support. The development of this second phase can vary from one child to another.

Accordingly, it is not uncommon for a toddler to become accomplished in certain skills, such as walking, well before other skills, such as talking, are mastered. Furthermore, children of similar age within the same family may develop particular skills at markedly different periods of time.

Around the age of two years, many infants portray behavioural characteristics which encompass outbursts of temper. In fact, depending upon the child and its surroundings, this phase can be reached as early as nine months old.

At this time in its development, the child has realised that it can venture beyond the realms of its mother and into a new and undiscovered environment which it instinctively must investigate.

From the age of two years to around five years of age, the infant is seeking to assert its new-found independence, a search that will ultimately continue well into its teens. During this period, it is therefore important that the boundaries for this investigation are clearly defined, as well as instilling into the child those behavioural aspects that are acceptable and those which cannot be allowed to go unchecked.

Whist they are toddlers, there should be a strong emphasis on toilet training, which refers to the process whereby a young child is encouraged to rely less and less on nappies and, instead, to use the toilet for the purpose of urination and defecation. Depending on the individual child, this stage can start as early as 17 months.

Conversely, some infants are not in a position to begin toilet training until they are three years of age.

At the age of about 18 months, the vocabulary of a toddler will increase markedly with some learning as many as 8 new words a day.

Even when a toddler is able to walk, they are still accompanied by a buggy, or pushchair, for those occasions when they may feel tired, or simply to move them along faster to their destination.

Babies and Toddlers – How To Succeed

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