Self Care Developmental Milestones

Here are some skills that your child should have at different ages. If you are concerned that your child is not acquiring these skills, please speak to an Occupational Therapist.

Developmental Milestones in Occupational Therapy


12 months: Indicates discomfort when wet/soiled

24-35 months: Shows interest in potty training

32-35 months: Achieve regulated toileting with some occasional daytime accidents

32-35 months: Tells someone when they need to use the restroom

30-36 months: Washes hands independently

32-36 months: Completes hygiene after urinating

36-48 months: Independent with toileting, including getting on/off the toilet but may still need help with cleaning self and fasteners

4-5 years: Independent with toileting routine, including cleaning self and clothing management.

baby using potty
child dressing


12 months: Cooperates with dressing routine. Holds out arms/ legs. Takes off shoes and socks

24-36 months: Removes front opening garments (i.e., jackets). Pulls down/ removes pants (not including buttons, snaps, scissors). Helps pull socks on, puts on front opening garments. Unbuttons large buttons

36-48 months: Puts on pullover shirt with minimal assistance, puts on socks and shoes ( not including fasteners, zips, unzips jackets once latched. Buttons large front buttons. Begins orienting clothing appropriately ( Differentiating from front and back). Snaps/fastens front fasteners. Unties/ unfastens shoes. Buttons 3-4 large buttons. Unzips zipper including separating it.

4-5 years: Undresses and dresses self with setup/ supervision – upper and lower body. Consistently orients clothing appropriately. Zips zippers independently. Puts on socks and shoes without assistance, except for tying laces.  Ties and unties knots.

5-6 years: Undresses and dresses self with set up/supervision – upper and lower body. Ties shoelaces. Zips Back Zipper. Buttons back buttons.


5-7 months: Takes cereal or pureed baby food from a spoon. Has good stability and emerging sitting skills.

6-8 months: Attempts to hold a bottle (monitor/assist for safety)

6-9 months: Begins to finger feed self. Sucks on food more than biting.  Grabs the spoon and bangs it on the table or sucks on either end of it. Good sitting balance/stability emerging. Guided reach. Palmer grasp used for hand-mouth actions (raking)

9-13 months: Consistently finger feeding self soft foods, i.e., dry cereals, peas, macaron, (at least portion of the meal). Isolating radial (thumb, index, middle fingers) to pick up small foods.

12-14 months: Dips spoon in food, not yet loading spoon. Brings loaded spoon to the mouth but commonly flips food before making it to the mouth. Frequently spills and is messy. Pronated grasp on the spoon (palm down).

15- 18 months: Scoops food and brings it to mouth independently. Shoulder and wrist stability improve and increase precision. Still messy.

24-30 months: Shows interest in using fork. Beginning to spear food with fork. Proficient with the use of the spoon. Tolerates various textures in the mouth. Spina test (rotates forearm) to scoop and bring food to the mouth.

baby feeding

Personal Hygiene and Grooming​

2 years

  • Imitates parents when brushing teeth
  • Requires set up / supervision

2-6 years

  • Continues to require supervision and sometimes reminders
  • Particularly difficult for kids with oral sensitivity