Welcome to the 31-month mark! There are a lot of things you can expect your toddler to be doing and accomplishing at this stage, but you’re in for plenty of surprises too. To help you gear up for and navigate this phase, we’re revealing some of the 31-month-old milestones you can keep an eye out for, plus advice for everything from picky eating to trouble sleeping. Follow along to prepare for all your adventurous little one has in store.
As with every age, the physical development of 31-month-olds can vary dramatically from child to child. The important thing, as always, is that they're growing in an upward curve and not regressing (although temporary regressions can be normal too). Think about it this way: Some kids focus on perfecting one milestone and then move on to the next. Others are working on a bunch of different things at once, so their paces are different.
31-month-old weight and height
Average weight for a 31-month-old is around 29.1 pounds for girls and 30.2 pounds for boys. Average height is around 35.8 inches for girls and 36.2 inches for boys, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
What should my 31-month-old be doing? Although each child develops at different paces, these are some 31-month-old milestones to be mindful of around this time:
- Speech. Your 31-month-old may be saying around 100 to 250 words. They may also be using two- or three-word phrases—though it'll take them a while to use correct grammar. A 31-month-old who’s not talking or who isn't making improvements in speech may need to see a speech therapist for extra help.
- Potty training. Thirty-one-month-olds vary in their potty skills. You might be in the throes of potty training—or your kid might have mastered the art of staying dry all day long (woo-hoo!).
- Teething. Your 31-month-old child may be teething with their second molars. Also known as the 2-year molars, these pearly whites tend to erupt between 20 and 33 months. And since they're big, it can be a painful process. The good news is that they're the last teeth to come in until around age 6, when kids can better deal with the discomfort, so soon, you'll be done with teething woes.
- Saying no. Two-and-a half-year-olds are notorious for saying no to just. About. Everything. Try not to pose questions with yes or no answers. Instead, give your kid two choices you’re comfortable with, and let them pick.
- Tantrums, whining and screaming. This all may stress you out, but some experts say the best way to deal with these undesirable behaviors is to calmly but firmly set your boundary (“it’s not time to eat cookies”) and don’t give in. When your toddler isn’t whining, spend some time focusing your attention solely on your child.
- Stress. When your 31-month-old is stressed, you may notice a change in personality, regression (in things like potty training or thumb-sucking), asking to go home or just plain resistance. Step back and take some time to comfort your child. More one-on-one time or less hectic days may help.
Health is always a top concern for parents, and this age is no different. Some common health questions parents of 31-month-olds have are:
At 31 months, some might assume you'd have a firm grasp of your child's likes and dislikes. But honestly, they're still figuring it out themselves. So it's totally normal for your toddler to ask for seconds of broccoli one day and then refuse to eat it the next. Just keep offering the healthy stuff and try not to push them into eating it.
How much should my 31-month-old be eating?
Two-year-olds should continue to eat three meals per day, plus two snacks. Offer a variety of foods in all food groups—vegetables, fruits, grains, protein and dairy—daily. Portion size isn't big at this age: Expect your kid to eat only ¼ to ½ as much as an adult.
Your 2-year-old should be drinking 1 percent or skim milk (not whole milk). Try to offer low-fat dairy products too, such as yogurt and cheese. Doctors recommend kids ages one to 3 get 700 mg of calcium per day. Fat should account for less than 30 percent of your toddler's daily calories.
What to feed my 31-month-old
Looking for some tasty and nutritious meal inspiration? Check out these food ideas for a 2-year-old:
31-month-old feeding schedule
31-month-old eating problems
If it were up to a 31-month-old, they'd probably overdo it with the juice. It's true that fruit juices offer some of the vitamins and minerals of fruit, but too much juice can cause unhealthy weight gain, malnourishment and tooth decay. That's because juice can have a lot of calories (and sugar) but not a lot of nutrition.
If you choose to introduce your child to juice, limit it 4 oz or less each day. Stick with 100 percent juice, and look for fruit-and-veggie blend juices. Some parents like to mix half a cup of juice with half a cup of water to prevent going overboard. Keep in mind, children are perfectly fine consuming just water and milk!
Bedtime with a 31-month-old can be a challenge. This is where sticking to a routine and setting certain boundaries (like no getting out of bed except to use the potty) can help. It may seem like a struggle every single night—even when you're doing everything right—but eventually your kid will get it and stop protesting so much. (It just might take a while.)
How much sleep does a 31-month-old need?
Most 2-year-olds need around 11 to 12 hours of nighttime sleep, plus a nap of about 1.5 to 3 hours, for a total of about 13 to 14 hours of sleep per day.
31-month-old sleep schedule
Every kid is different, but your child's schedule may look something like this:
31-month-old sleep problems
Switching from a crib to a big-kid bed may mean you have an occasional middle-of-the-night visitor. If you want to prevent night waking from becoming a habit, keep leading your child back to their own bed and tucking them in. Eventually, they'll understand the boundaries.
When they're not being super-stubborn, 31-month-olds can be wonderful playmates. Take some time to play together. So what to do with a 31-month-old? Some fun activities, games and toys for a 31-month-old include:
- Pretend play. Your 31-month-old may be obsessed with dolls or stuffed animals. Don’t prevent them from pretending—play along! You’ll honor their creativity.
- Roll a ball. A simple game of “roll the ball on the floor” is fun for a 31-month-old and a great bonding activity. If they're getting good at the game, you can work your way up to a full-fledged game of catch.
- Indoor parade. Rainy day? Put on a parade! Play some music and march along. Then get creative, taking turns copying each other's backward steps, skips, and jumps.
- Your 31-month-old still thrives on routine, so keep nap and mealtimes as consistent as you can from day to day.
- Midday slumber is more important than ever right now. Kids who don’t get enough sleep during the day are often overtired at bedtime, which makes getting them to wind down harder (the irony!). At this age, one two-hour nap after lunch usually does the trick.
- Unfortunately, bedtime issues are par for the course at the 31-month-old stage. Does your child have a hard time staying in bed at night? Join the club! Plenty of activity during the day may help your child to sleep more soundly at night. Also, remember that toddlers crave routine, so stick to the same bedtime schedule every night.
- Need to change your child’s bedtime? Start early and adjust it gradually—by increments of around 10 minutes each day—to get them to adapt more easily.
- Along with sleep issues might come a fear of bedtime. If your child is afraid of the dark (or monsters), you may have to get creative. Some parents swear by Monster Spray, aka a squirt bottle filled with water you can use to "ward off invading monsters."
- Don’t be alarmed if your 31-month-old is developing some picky eating habits. It’s not uncommon for children to suddenly hate their favorite foods from one day to the next. Be patient, get creative with meals and keep a variety of foods on hand at all times.
- Is your toddler acting shy around others? It could just be a phase or a part of their developing personality. Encourage them to engage with others but never force them—respect your child’s boundaries. If you’re concerned about excessively shy tendencies, speak with your pediatrician.
- This stage is often when 31-month-olds develop an imaginary friend. This is totally normal behavior. Allow your toddler to explore this friendship and sense of imagination and creativity.
- Continue to teach and enforce good habits, such as handwashing and toothbrushing. Toddlers love being self-sufficient and doing tasks, so you can have fun with these while teaching your 31-month-old baby good habits and hygiene.
- Read to your toddler! Reading is extremely important at this time, as it can have a positive effect on your child’s developing vocabulary. Toddlers usually have a favorite book by this age, so don’t be surprised if your kiddo wants to read the same story every night. (Just roll with it.)
Can you believe your toddler is nearly 3 years old? Time flies, but there is so much to look forward to during the 31-month-old phase and beyond. Your toddler is getting bigger and smarter every day. And trust us, they have plenty of surprises up their sleeve in the coming months to keep you on your toes.
Medical content was reviewed by Alexis Phillips-Walker, DO, a pediatrician at Memorial Hermann Medical Group Pediatrics in Atascocita, Texas.