17-Month-Old Milestones

17-Month-Old Milestones

15 May 2022 • Words by Stefano Ceppi 2 mins

Congratulations on your 17-month-old! You’ve officially made it five months into the toddler phase. There have been new highs and new lows, plenty of tears and tons of photos. It’s now time to regroup, reassess and look forward to what progress the coming months will bring you. Here are a few milestones to expect with your 17-month-old.

17-Month-Old Milestones


Around this time, your child is likely starting to understand an increasing amount of what you say. It’s also likely they’ll be expanding their vocabulary beyond the dreaded “NO”. You can expect non-verbal communication will also develop further, too. All this excellent news means that guesswork as a parent starts to fade away. You’ll be able to discover their favorite food, toys and more. Remember to cherish every moment!

You’re also approaching the time in which your toddler can point to around six body parts.


If it hasn’t already, crawling will soon progress into standing and walking. Toddlers will stumble and fall, but they always get up! You may want to watch out for stairs, steps, table corners, etc. If your house isn’t already child-proofed, now is the time. The feeling you get when your baby walks toward you never really gets old.

Fine motor skills are sharpening up, too. Scribbles will start to appear (water-based paint is your friend), stacking cubes and inserting shapes will become favorite pastime activities, food and other things will make it to the mouth via the medium of pinched fingers. Your 17-month-old will start to imitate some movements, as well. Broom sweeping, hammering, and wiping have been among my kids’ favorites. Hands will clap, heads will shake and hugs will be given – enjoy!


17-month-olds can sleep an impressive 12 to 14 hours per day. The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) recommends a daily sleep duration of 11–14 hours/day for infants aged 1–2 years. A study by Elaine KH Tham et al.; (2017) looks at the correlation between sleep and the development of cognition and growth. As their ability to understand improves, an opportunity to establish story-time presents itself. I suggest you take it!

Napping will decrease to one per day, but it still provides precious time to get some house chores done and prepare snacks…because they will be consumed in abundance! Now would be an excellent time to form the habit of brushing those teeth. Their hands will soon possess enough dexterity to handle this critical task on their own. So start forming the habit with them now.

These are exciting times that will fly by in a moment. I said it before, and I will repeat it, cherish every moment possible!

Should you be concerned with your 17-month-old not showing signs of the above milestones, remember that we are all different and unique. So, it is advisable to allow space for discrepancies. Dosman et al.; (2012) conducted a study on a framework for developmental surveillance. As well as checking it, you can, of course, seek a qualified expert’s advice.

Tham, E. K., Schneider, N., & Broekman, B. F. (2017). Infant sleep and its relation with cognition and growth: a narrative review. Nature and science of sleep, 9, 135–149.

Dosman, C. F., Andrews, D., & Goulden, K. J. (2012). Evidence-based milestone ages as a framework for developmental surveillance. Paediatrics & child health, 17(10), 561–568.

Stefano Ceppi

Neurodivergent father of two, and here to share what I've learned thus far! Qualified 200h RYT, AIMS Global Level 1 Mentor.