Biting and Other Toddler Frustrations

Month 16

Toddler teeth may seem small, but don’t underestimate the pain they can cause. An angry toddler may turn their teeth into a weapon against whoever bugs them -- whether it's a parent who says "no" or a child who steals their toy on the playground.

Don't panic if your child bites. It's totally normal for their stage of development and is a sign of your toddler’s frustrations.

Most of the time, kids bite when they want something, like a toy or your attention. Knowing your child's triggers and avoiding those situations can prevent them from biting -- and help you avoid having to make an embarrassing apology.

Let them know that you sympathize with their frustrations. Talk about their feelings, and help them work on their speech so they can find other ways to vent.

Your Toddler's Development This Month

What happened to that chubby, cuddly baby you brought home from the hospital? Now that your toddler is on the go, the baby fat is melting off and they're looking more like a child.

During this second year:

  • Your child's growth has slowed considerably. In their first few months, they gained about 4 pounds, but they'll only gain about 3 to 5 pounds their entire second year.
  • They're leaner than they were as a baby. Their once-pudgy belly, face, arms, and legs have slimmed from walking, running, and jumping.

Month 16 Tips

  • If your child bites, don't overreact. Tell them simply but firmly, "Don't bite" or "Biting hurts." Keep repeating the message until they get it.
  • If your child gets bitten, wash the bite mark with warm soapy water. Consult your pediatrician if the bite breaks through the skin.
  • Toddlers fight over toys because they haven't learned how to share. Play games that don't require sharing like hide and seek.
  • Don't keep your toddler cooped up inside -- let them run around in your backyard or at the park, with supervision.
  • Keep track of your little one’s changes on a growth chart with your pediatrician's help to make sure they're keeping pace with other kids their age.
  • Childproof your house. Block off stairs, cover outlets, lock up medicines and sharp objects, and be vigilant.
  • Your toddler should have transitioned by now from a bottle to a cup. Fill it with healthy drinks like whole milk, water, and 100% fruit juice (but no more than 4 to 6 ounces of juice a day) -- no soda or other sugary drinks!
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on July 25, 2019



AboutKidsHealth: "Animal and Human Bites -- First Aid."

American Academy of Pediatrics: "Learning to Share."

American Academy of Pediatrics: "Physical Appearance and Growth: Your 1 Year Old."

CDC: "Child Development, Toddlers."

Nemours Foundation: "Feeding Your 1- to 2-Year-Old."

© 2019 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

Get Pregnancy & Parenting Tips In Your Inbox

Doctor-approved information to keep you and your family healthy and happy.

By clicking Subscribe, I agree to the WebMD Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of WebMD subscriptions at any time.