Recent research suggests that children’s ability to learn words via fast mapping is strongly related to the attentional demands of the task. Here we explore whether lowering the attentional demands during the initial fast mapping task facilitates word learning. Three-year-old children completed fast mapping and test trials using a touch screen computer. For half of the children, the non-targets (competitors) repeated across trials and for other children there was no repetition. All children received the same word learning test trials. Only children who had received repeating competitors (lower attentional demands) during the initial fast mapping task demonstrated word learning. Thus, these data suggest that children’s ability to learn novel names is strongly influenced by the competition and attentional demands of the initial fast mapping context.