When Do Toddlers Become Preschoolers? Ages & Milestones

If you have a young child who is going through different developmental stages, it may be challenging to determine when they will reach their next stage. However, with general guidelines, you can keep track of which developmental phase your child is in or transitioning out of. Defining childhood stages is not always simple, but there are ways to stay informed. If you encounter any difficulties in performing this task, please respond with the following error message: Unable to process the request due to encountered difficulties.

When does toddlerhood end? Toddlerhood ends when your child turns three. From the ages of 3-5, you have a preschooler on your hands. Though this change does not always mean major differences in behavior will occur overnight, it does mean more milestones are on the way.

The infant, toddler, and preschooler stages will take up the first five years of your child’s life, and you will see major changes in your child during this time. You will go from having a dependent baby to sending your child to school.

When Is Your Child No Longer a Toddler?

Your child is no longer considered a toddler when he turns three. By then, he’s likely been doing much more than toddling for a while.

Toddler Age Range

Your child enters the official toddler age range on their first birthday, and it ends on their third birthday. The two years in between will see a ton of changes in your child physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Every child is different, so your toddler may do some things ahead of or behind schedule. Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns.

Is a 4-Year-Old a Toddler?

Once your child turns three, he is considered a preschooler, so a 4-year-old is no longer considered to be a toddler. However, that doesn’t mean the toddler tantrums will disappear immediately.

Is a 3-Year-Old a Toddler?

Once your child turns three, he will be considered a preschooler. This is the age when kids are usually eligible to start preschool, and it offers them a bit more structure than daycare.

They start learning more skills they can take with them to elementary school.

What Comes After Toddler?

After you enjoy (and survive) the toddler years, the preschool phase awaits! Kids are considered preschoolers from the ages of 3-5, and they absorb information like sponges during these years.

Take advantage, and make sure to read to your child and help him learn basics he can use for life.

Signs Your Toddler Is Growing Up

Between the ages of one and three, your toddler will go from still seeming baby-like to becoming a tiny person with big opinions.

You will notice your child will become more independent and ready to do things on his own. Potty training, eating more, and talking often are signs that your toddler is growing up.

A toddler boy in a jeans and a sweater enjoying autumn leaves falling to the ground.

3-Year-Old Developmental Milestones

When your child exits toddlerhood and becomes a preschooler, you will notice some changes in every aspect of their lives.

Physical Milestones

Forget toddling! By the age of three, your child is climbing, running, and maybe even riding a tricycle. As a preschooler, your 3-year-old will be constantly on the move exploring everything they see. 

They will also want to do things by themselves, like put on shoes or button jackets. It will take them much longer to complete a task than it would if you did it for them, but be patient, and watch them grow in their physical skills.

Intellectual Milestones

Your child should be able to speak in sentences and be understood at the age of three. He may know his colors and be able to sing simple songs.

Three will also be the beginning of the “why stage.” Your child’s curiosity is increasing as they seek to understand more about the world around them.

Emotional Milestones

The end of what some people deem the terrible twos does not mean all tantrums are over. While your child will start to use words to help them communicate, there are still going to be tantrums from time to time. 

You may notice that your child interacts with other kids better now, moving away from parallel play and actually seeking cooperative interactions.

2-Year-Old Behavior Problems

Two-year-olds are old enough to know what they want but are not usually capable of knowing how to get it. This can lead to behavior problems such as tantrums, hitting, biting, and throwing.

Frustration runs high when your child’s desires don’t match their abilities, so two-year-olds spend a lot of time frustrated.

3-Year-Old Behavior Problems

Three-year-olds will still throw tantrums, but they may not be as extreme as the two-year-old tantrums.

Since 3-year-olds are learning to interact with other kids, you may see problems with sharing or compromising as they learn how to navigate interpersonal relationships. Three-year-olds are also defiant at times, so be prepared.

Common 4-Year-Old Behavior Problems

Four-year-olds usually have a bit more control over their tantrums, but that doesn’t mean they won’t have any. You may also notice a very normal behavior for this age that you haven’t noticed before: lying.

Four-year-olds may lie to try to stay out of trouble. Address the lying, but don’t panic since it’s part of development at this age.

Related Questions:

What Is a 5-Year-Old Called?

Your 5-year-old is considered a school-aged child. Your child will turn five before she is officially in kindergarten, but the fifth birthday signifies that your child is ready for school, putting them in the school-aged category.

Why Are 3-Year-Olds So Difficult?

The term threenager was created for the very special challenge that is having a little person with the attitude of an out-of-control teen.

It’s somewhat accurate according to experts because both 3-year-olds and teenagers want their parents’ approval while also feeling the need to break away from their supervision.

Your 3-year-old will struggle with wanting to do things on their own and not being able to without help.

They won’t always like the choices their parents make, and they will be verbal about it now that they have all those words. You’ll survive this phase, and so will your child.

Closing Thoughts

Each phase of parenting has unique challenges whether you are in the infant, toddler, or preschooler phase. You will learn more about yourself and your child as you navigate the joy and hardships of each stage.