This study tested the hypothesis that certain sound substitutions in older, normally developing children are perceptually based substitutions, typified by poor discrimination, while others are phonetic substitutions – phonemic distinctions that are maintained by the child in a phonetically non-adult fashion. The perception and production of English voiceless fricatives in twelve normally developing monolingual children aged 3;2–5;6 was investigated using a picture-pointing task, audio recordings, and acoustic analysis. Results include significant correlations between production and perception scores for /θ/ but not /s/ and significant acoustic differences in substitutions of [θ] for /s/ (versus productions of [θ] for /θ/) but not in substitutions of [f] or [s] for /θ/. It is suggested that substitutions for /θ/, with the correlated poor discrimination, may indicate a non-adult phonemic representation, while substitutions for /s/ tend to have a motoric basis in older children. Stages in the acquisition of /θ/ are hypothesized.