In The Sims 2, toddlers do not need to learn these skills to grow up well, as that depends on the level of the toddler's aspiration bar when he or she grows up. However, toddlers will often roll wants of learning each of their three basic skills, and accomplishing one of those wants brings in a large number of aspiration points. Teaching these skills can also be high-value wants for parents, especially those with the Family or Knowledge aspirations. With FreeTime, learning the toddler skills gives the toddler lifetime aspiration points. A toddler will form a positive memory of learning the skill from whichever Sim did the last bit of teaching before the skill was learned, and that Sim will get a positive memory of having taught the skill. Not learning these skills as a toddler will have no negative effect on a Sim's later life.
In The Sims 3, learning these skills can bring in lifetime happiness points. In The Sims 3, a toddler must learn these skills in order to age well. This will affect whether or not the player will be able to choose a new trait when the toddler grows up.
To learn any of the basic toddler skills, a toddler must be taught by one or more teen, adult or elder Sims. It is also a bonding experience, as it builds the relationship between the toddler and the older Sim who teaches him or her.
- Learn to speak: This can be taught by a teen, adult or elder controllable Sim clicking on the toddler and choosing Teach to Talk. Nothing in particular happens after a toddler learns this.
- Learn to walk: This can be taught by a teen, adult or elder controllable Sim clicking on the toddler and choosing Teach to Walk. After learning this skill, a toddler can stand and walk, which is faster than crawling. Toddlers who have learned to walk are able to escape their crib if their Fun motive gets low. In The Sims 2, they can use the "Play With Toys" interaction on a toy box. In The Sims 3, they can get toys out of toy boxes themselves.
- Potty train: This can be taught by a teen, adult or elder controllable Sim clicking on the Potty Chair and choosing "Potty Train <toddler name>." This cannot be done if the toddler's bladder need is all the way green and the option is only available when the potty chair is empty. If not, the option Empty will appear when the chair is clicked on. It must be emptied after each use (only a teen, adult or elder can perform this action). The best time to attempt potty training is when a toddler's bladder meter is low; the longer the toddler has to sit on the potty chair, the more progress he or she will make in learning the skill. Once a toddler has been potty trained, he or she will be able to use the potty chair without supervision, which can be quite helpful.
- Learn Nursery Rhyme[TS2:FT]: This can be taught by a child, teen, adult or elder controllable Sim clicking on the toddler and choosing Teach Nursery Rhyme. This enables the toddler to sing the Nursery Rhyme, which will raise Music and Dance enthusiasm and Charisma skill. Unlike other toddler skills in The Sims 2, the toddler will not get a memory of learning the Nursery Rhyme, but the older Sim will get a memory of having taught it. Also unlike other toddler skills in The Sims 2, the toddler will not gain lifetime aspiration points for learning the Nursery Rhyme, but learning it can be a high-value want for a toddler. Also, toddlers who have learned the Nursery Rhyme will frequently roll 500-point wants to sing it with a parent, and 500 points is significant for a toddler.
Toddlers can also learn skills for later life by using certain toys. In The Sims 2, they can play with the rabbit head for charisma, the xylophone for creativity, and the block game for logic. Toddlers can use the activity table with the FreeTime expansion to draw or to play with blocks, allowing them to learn creativity and mechanical skills, respectively. FreeTime also allows toddlers to gain charisma by learning and singing the nursery rhyme.
In The Sims 3, toddlers and children can learn up to three skill points in a skill by using certain toys. These points don't appear until the child grows into a child/teenager (depends on the skill) and attempts something related to the skill (such as cooking a meal or reading a cook book for the cooking skill).