Is my son an early bloomer?

Last updated on January 2, 2023


Hi, Happy New Year!

I’m writing to you on behalf of my son. We are wondering if he is an early bloomer and might end up shorter than normal because of this. What Tanner stage do you think he’s in? 

On his 11th birthday, he noticed pubic hair was starting to grow.

At 11 1/2 years old his feet went from a size 6 1/2 to a 10 in 6 months. This is also when his height increased at the same time. He started growing faster from 11 1/2 years old to 12 1/2 gaining about 4 1/2 inches which landed him at 5’4”. He is still growing fast — an inch every 2-3 months. He’s now 12 1/2. He just had his first wet dream at 12 1/2. He has some armpit hair (his hair started at 11 1/2 years old.  He has fine hairs on his upper lip and the start of darker and coarse leg hair by his ankles. His voice is just starting to break at times. His pubic hair isn’t on his thighs or beyond the center area. It just makes a triangle.

What stage do you think he’s at and how much growth do you think he has left? His Dad is 6’2 and his Mom is 5’4.  He’s hoping he’ll make it to at least 5’9″. His grandfather is 6’4 and his uncle is 6’4 both on the paternal side. The maternal side is about 5’11-6ft for men. Women are of average height. His sister is 5’6 at 13 and his fraternal twin brother has always been about 3 inches taller than him but he is currently 1 inch taller than him. His twin is about 6 months behind in development but has always been 3 inches taller. For Tanner 3, I understand that it lasts about 2 years. Does this mean the first year he grew 4 1/2 and the second year it will also be around 4 1/2?  

Thanks for all the answers you give everyone! I find your site very interesting and informative.

My second question is that he’s quite the athlete and has broken a couple of bones. he has had broken bones during the last four months, which are not on the growth plate. Can this stunt height because the body is healing the broken bones? Is there a catch-up period once the bones are healed so that his long bones will keep growing longer or catch-up?  While he’s been in a cast the last 4 months, he did get a wet dream and also grew 1 1/2 inches.  When we did the Tanner scale, it said 3.5.

Thank you. 


From what you have mentioned, he was in stage 2 from age 10 to 11 1/2. Assuming his stages are the typical two years in length he would have started stage 2 around age 9 1/2, but like most boys, he didn’t notice the early signs of changing. The normal range is anywhere from age 9 to 15. The average age to start stage 2 is at age 11, so he is about 1 1/2 years ahead of the average but well within the normal range.

Usually, early bloomers for males is to start before age 9. This is also known as precocious puberty. A boy with precocious puberty tends to be shorter, but not always. However, this doesn’t apply to your son.

From age 11 1/2 to now he is in stage 3. You received an estimate of 3.5 from the Tanner Stage Calculator, which matches being in stage 3 for a year. The rate of growth speeds up, peaks, and then begins to slow down. When the growth rate drops to his childhood rate (roughly 2 inches per year), he will be in stage 4. I would expect this to happen when he is around 13 1/2. The normal range is anywhere from age 10 to 17. The average age to start stage 3 is age 13 1/2 so he is about 2 years ahead of the average but still well within the normal range.

Rapid growth is not always consistent or smooth. It actually comes in spurts because various parts of the body have to develop to catch up with its larger size. There isn’t enough energy to grow everything at once. This also means that major illnesses or injuries can pause growth as the body focuses its resources on repairs but the body will catch back up once the repairs are done (so long as the problem doesn’t last for years).

Boys grow to a minimum height of the average of their parents’ heights. So the minimum height to expect your boys to reach is 5’9″. You can use the calculators at Predicting Your Adult Height to get estimates on his possible adult height. For example, the Mid-Parent Rule Calculator gives a prediction of 5’11” for your son.


Thank you for your response. I honestly thought I wouldn’t hear back. It’s good to know there are people out there who care!  We will update you in a year if you would like us to.

Take care! Thanks again.


That would be fine. 


Thank you! I will! Hope you have a healthy and prosperous new year.