top of page

3 Year Old Speech Milestones - Language Development Norms

Updated: Jul 8, 2021

Parents know how much energy it takes to raise a preschooler, and it can be difficult to keep track of their progress as they age and life gets busier. There's a lot of information available on the internet about how your child should be developing during this stage of life, so we've made it easy for you to assess how your little one compares to the average milestones.

A Typical 3 Year Old:

  • Understands in/on/under

  • Can name 3 or more colours

  • Uses regular plurals (i.e. "socks")

  • Understands time concept (yesterday/today/tomorrow)

  • Overgeneralizes past tense (i.e. "I runned")

  • Initiates conversation

  • Begins to ask permission

  • Talks about what they have drawn

  • Tells stories

  • Whispers frequently

  • Omits some unstressed parts of speech (i.e. "nana" for "banana")

  • Uses negatives (i.e. "none")

  • Communicates about 75% clearly

  • Asks questions (who/what/where)

  • Gives first and last name when asked

  • Converses in 3-4 word simple sentences

  • Starts to use "and" & "because"

  • Understands most common verbs (i.e. "have"; "go", "want")

  • Uses pronouns (he, she, we, our)

  • Expresses feelings (i.e. "me sad")

  • Relates recent experiences

  • Has speech sounds 'p', 'b', d', 'm', 'n', 'w'

  • Working on sounds 'k', 'g', 't', 'ing', 'f', 'y'

If you're interested in seeing these milestones in action, check out this video we created:

If you're interested in watching how speech and language progresses with age, you can also check out our full video series that documents typical development of children ages 1-5 or read about it on our blog post here.

It's important to remember that everyone is different and a lot of factors can determine how quickly children reach each milestone and develop confident speech. However, these videos can be used as a tool to gauge how your children are progressing based on the 'norms' of kids their age. So, if you notice a delay in your child's speech compared to what you see in our videos, or if you think they could be struggling with a speech impediment, don't be afraid to get in contact with a Speech-Language Pathologist to evaluate if they would benefit from speech therapy.


Cochlear Limited. (2009). Integrated scales of development. Retrieved from:

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.

Lanza, J. R., & Flahive, L. K. (2009). LinguiSystems guide to communication milestones. East Moline, IL: LinguSystems.

Learning Disabilities Association of America. Learning Disabilities Online – LD-Indepth: “Speech and Language Milestone Chart”

McLeod, S., & Crowe, K. (2018). Children's Consonant Acquisition in 27 Languages: A Cross-Linguistic Review. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 27(4), 1546-1571.


Andalusia Speech Therapy has multiple clinics across Ontario and offers virtual therapy to clients anywhere in the world. Contact us more for information.

2,379 views0 comments


bottom of page