Baby's 18-Month Checkup: What to Expect

Medically Reviewed by Sabrina Felson, MD on November 02, 2021
3 min read

By now, your toddler can probably say about 10 to 20 words, walk, point to body parts, and follow simple instructions, including "no" -- but that doesn't mean they'll always listen! It's normal if your child tries to push limits. Be sure to be consistent with discipline and talk about any concerns that you may have with your pediatrician.

Here's what to expect at your toddler's 18-month checkup.

  • Weigh and measure your child
  • Perform a physical exam of your child
  • Catch up on any vaccines, including a flu shot in the fall/winter
  • Ask you to complete a developmental screening about your child


  • Has your child been having temper tantrums?
  • Is your child talking a lot? Pointing? Scribbling?
  • Are they sleeping and napping well?
  • Do they appear to understand what you are saying?
  • Have they had a dentist appointment?
  • Are they still taking a bottle?


  • My child doesn't want to nap. What can I do?
  • How can I keep afternoon naps from causing problems at bedtime?

  • Try soft music or a sound machine to ease your child into naptime.
  • Stick to a routine so your child knows what to expect.
  • Starting naps earlier and limiting them to less than 3 hours may help nighttime sleep.
  • Expect to wean down to one nap per day.

  • My child seems interested in potty training. Is it too early to start?
  • Many kids are physically ready between 18 months and 2 years old.
  • Girls are usually ready sooner than boys.
  • If your child shows interest in the potty or stops an activity to "go," they may be ready.
  • Your child needs to be able to understand instructions about the potty and control the muscles involved, and needs to be able to remove their pants and underwear.
  • Set up a potty chair in the bathroom and let them come in with you when you go. This will spike their interest!
  • Some parents use training pants to transition from diapers to underwear. Or you can go "cold turkey" if you are okay with some messes as they learn.
  • It can take a long time for a child to stay dry at night, so you might want to keep them in training pants at night for a while.
  • Celebrate and congratulate your child if they use the potty -- even if nothing happened.
  • If it doesn't seem to be working, don't worry. Just try again a few months later.
  • Remember, your child may be enthusiastic at first. But then they may start finding their own activity too interesting to break away from to go to the potty.


  • How can I encourage my child to speak and learn words?
  • Read to your child often. TV and videos (even the educational kind) can't compete with you reading or talking to your child.
  • Read the same book over and over if your child asks. Repetition helps them learn.
  • Read interactively. Ask questions abut characters. Ask your child to point to characters or objects, or ask them to tell you where characters or objects are. Ask them to tell you what the characters are doing.
  • If your child can't sit still long, keep reading when they are playing or moving around.
  • Pick books with lots of pictures about activities like bedtime or bath.
  • Music also helps with language development.
  • Expose your child to all kinds of music, not just children's songs.
  • Make up songs to daily activities, like brushing teeth.
  • Talk to them throughout the day. Explain to them what you are doing such as folding laundry or cooking dinner.

Talk to the pediatrician if your child:

  • Prefers to use gestures to communicate
  • Has trouble imitating sounds
  • Doesn't understand simple instructions such as "get your book"
  • Isn't walking

Remember that TV and media need to be limited. This time will go fast and you want to use the precious moments to stimulate their brain. TV will take this time away. Music, reading, and interactive play are wonderful ways to help their developing brain.