Previous research indicates learning words facilitates categorization. In the current study, we investigated whether learning about a category facilitates word learning (retention) by presenting 2-year-old children with multiple referent selection trials to the same object category. Children either encountered the same exemplar repeatedly or encountered multiple exemplars across trials. All children did very well on the initial task. However, only children who encountered multiple exemplars retained these mappings after a short delay. Overall, these data provide strong evidence that providing children with the opportunity to compare across exemplars during referent selection facilitates retention.