Skip to main content

When do babies start walking? This is what you should expect

This is when you should have the house baby-proofed

Toddler boy walking around.
Prostock-studio / Shutterstock

We bribe. We beg. We will set that baby up for those first steps any way we can. But your little one will not start walking before they’re ready. When is that? When do babies start walking? It’s the next major milestone after crawling, and parents cannot wait to capture the moment their baby discovers they have two feet that will take them anywhere. If you have a baby who’s about to become a walker, this is what you should expect before the first step is attempted.

Look for clues to tell when your baby will start walking

Happy toddler boy running with mom following behind.
Oksana Kuzmina / Shutterstock

First things first — there are markers to watch out for to know your baby is about to walk. If you keep an eye on that little human of yours, they give hints as to when they’re ready to start walking. By then, you can obsessively watch them so you don’t miss a step.

Your baby will hit these milestones when it’s almost time to walk

  • Can pull themselves up from sitting to standing
  • Can continue to stand by themselves without help
  • Can walk while holding on to something

One day, you’ll look over and see a tiny head sticking up behind the arm of the couch. Or, you’ll hear a little thud from across the room, signaling your baby has let go of the couch and fell back to their bottom. Your baby pulling themselves up to their feet is a great indication walking is around the corner.

Parents who want to see if their child is ready should do the stand test. Pluck baby in the middle of a room on their feet, let go, and see if they stay standing. Once they find their balance, the first steps may follow.

Your baby will start to piece things together, and that’s when the fun happens. You’ll see your little one pull themselves up along a piece of furniture and then figure out they can walk the length of it if they hold on tight. It’s the cutest thing.

When babies start walking

Toddler crawls on grass in park with mother watching.
Jordan Rowland / Unsplash

You know the signs — but when does walking start? Babies could walk as early as 9 months old. Please keep in mind this doesn’t mean all babies will walk by 9 months old or that something is wrong with your child if they aren’t walking by then.

The average age for walking is 1 year old

Most babies start walking by the 1-year-old mark. If you’re the kind of parent who likes timelines, pencil in walking for their first birthday. Some babies walk later, and it might not be until they are 18 months old before they start following you from room to room. But, parents, be ready for your child to start walking by the time they are 1 year old. It will happen faster than you think.

How to help those first steps happen

A mother helping a baby learn how to walk.

Practice makes perfect, and repetition and routine help when developing a new skill. While you can’t force your child to walk, there are things to do to get them as ready as possible to move things along.

Walk with them

Grab those pudgy hands and walk with your child. It’s a great bonding experience, and your child will learn by watching you.

Skip the baby walker

Those tiny tripping hazards do more harm than good. We all want a moment to finish the dishes or pretend we’re going to switch the laundry out, but skip plopping your baby in a walker. Your shins will also thank you for not having one around the house.

Don’t go crazy buying shoes

Until your child is walking consistently and walking outside, you don’t need to purchase shoes of every kind and color. It’s better to learn how to walk barefoot. Even socks may be too slippery and could mess with their balance. Free the feet.

Get the house ready 

If you haven’t baby-proofed things yet, get that done. Your baby will feel discouraged if you constantly tell them no or pick them up and move them all the time, even to keep them safe. Give them plenty of room to flex their leg muscles and see where they wind up.

Don’t rush your baby to start walking

Toddler walking with parent
Guillaume de Germain / Unsplash

The second they figure it out and are on the go, you’ll never sit down again. There is no need to hurry things along. Enjoy the process.

When to see a doctor

You don’t want to speed through this stage, but you do want to know if your child might be falling behind. If your kiddo is around 12 months old and not showing signs of walking, it’s time to talk to the pediatrician. When your little one is 18 months old and isn’t walking behind you from room to room, bring it up with the doctor. While this still doesn’t mean something is wrong, there are tests a doctor may want to sort out to make sure there aren’t growth or developmental issues. 

Learning how to walk is a tough job, but one your child will love to get the hang of it. For parents, when do babies start walking is a question that pops into their head as early as the first rollover. Check for those sharp edges, put away the breakables, and get ready to applaud the first steps.

Editors' Recommendations

Dannielle Beardsley
Dannielle has written for various websites, online magazines, and blogs. She loves everything celebrity and her favorite…
Your questions answered – everything you need to know about baby-led weaning
Guide to this trending solid introduction method
Baby eating solids in a highchair

Feeding your newborn is pretty straightforward. They only need human milk or formula for the first six months of their life to thrive. Once your baby is ready to start trying new foods, things can get a bit more complicated.
Parents shift to making or buying purees as they begin to introduce their little ones to solid foods. Cue caregivers pretending a spoon is an airplane and feeding their little child some version of oatmeal or pureed peas and sweet potatoes. These days, some parents are taking a different approach and introducing solids straight away. It’s known as baby-led weaning.
What is baby-led weaning? The method, developed by former public health nurse Gill Rapley, involves adults giving babies solid foods in their natural form and allowing them baby to self-feed. If a parent makes spaghetti, meatballs, and broccoli for dinner, the baby will eat it, too. Proponents say it respects a baby’s independence and food autonomy and may reduce picky eating.
It can also be a ton of food. Here’s what to know about baby-led weaning.

When do I start baby-led weaning?

Read more
Why do babies growl? Understanding your little one’s weird sounds
We'll help you navigate this little animal stage with your baby
Mom holding her baby up to her face

There is no sweeter sound to a new parent than listening to their baby cooing and babbling. While you're waiting for those first words, those early squeals and giggles are simply delightful. With each sound, your little one is communicating with you even without saying their first official word. But have you ever sworn you've heard your baby sound more like an animal than a human? There are reasons why babies growl sometimes, and parents need the heads up.

If your baby has added growling to their language skills, you may be wondering why they chose to sound more feral than human. Turns out, it all depends on when and how they growl. Even though it might be unusual, it is pretty adorable to witness. Here’s how to decode why babies growl and what those noises mean.
Deciphering your baby's new sounds

Read more
Are baby walkers safe? 5 dangerous reasons you shouldn’t add one to your registry
Learn why baby walkers may be unsafe
Infant in baby walker

Baby walkers used to be a popular gift and toy, but their popularity has shifted over the years and studies have found they can be quite unsafe. This can be disappointing for some parents looking to give their little ones a bit of independence while also allowing them to be hands free.

Even though you may have used a baby walker as a child yourself, in this day and age, there is quite a bit of information about just how hazardous baby walkers can be. If you're considering getting a baby walker, adding one to your registry, or if you already have one in your home, keep reading before you pop your toddler in.
Are baby walkers safe?

Read more