2-3 Years

Before reading through these milestones, you should read this.

This age is a very exciting one for speech and language development because children’s language usually EXPLODES! They learn more and more words every day and understand more and more of what we say. They can also develop fun and interesting ways to play, as demonstrated by B1 below!

By 3 years your child should:

Listening and Understanding

  • Follow instructions containing at least 2 steps as long as he is familiar with the words – eg. “Come here and put your shoes away” = 2 steps
  • Answer “who”, “what” and “where” questions – but may still have trouble answering “why” and “how” qUestions
  • Understand and predict routines – eg. putting on shoes indicates going out soon
  • Understand contrasting concepts – eg. hot-cold, yummy-yucky
  • Understand some spacial concepts – eg. in, on, under

Speech Sounds and Talking

  • Use sentences with three or more words – for example, ‘Me go too’, ‘Put sock on foot’
  • Start to use grammar – plurals (eg. car may become “cars”), past tense (eg. go may become “goed” – this may be incorrect but shows he’s learning the rules) and other endings (eg. go may become “going”)
  • Use a variety of words – nouns (things), verbs (action words), adjectives (describing words)
  • Name most familiar things
  • Ask “who”, “what” and “where” questions
  • Begin to use pronouns such as “me”, “mine” and “you”, “mine”
  • Have most sounds. Some difficult sounds like ‘z’, ‘s’, ‘sh’, ‘ch’, ‘f’, ‘v’, ‘r’, ‘l’ and ‘th’ might still be hard to pronounce.
  • Parents will be able to understand 75-100% of what he’s saying.
  • Begin to play with sounds – eg. rhyme

Social Skills

  • Ask for help
  • Take turns in conversation
  • Tell short stories – though will leave out lots of details
  • May copy what you say, using similar voice and intonation


  • Play in groups
  • Share and taking turns
  • Play make-believe with toys, dolls and people

For more information

This information is not intended to replace the recommendations of a Speech Pathologist for an individual with a communication impairment. If you have concerns about your child’s speech and language development, please contact a Speech Pathologist.