The present study sought to determine whether acoustic properties of the auditory conditioned stimulus (CS) or the use of a discrimination learning procedure would alter the emergence of eyeblink conditioning between postnatal Days 17 and 24 (Days 17–24) in the rat. In Experiment 1, we employed a 3 × 2 × 2 factorial design, involving pitch of the auditory CS (2.8, 5.0, and 9.0 kHz), training condition (paired vs. unpaired), and age (Days 17 or 24). Associative learning was evident at all tone frequencies on Day 24, but increased across frequencies on Day 17, although large age differences in conditioning remained at all tone frequencies. In Experiment 2, rat pups were trained to discriminate 2.8 versus 9.0‐kHz tones on Day 17 or Day 24. Eyeblink conditioning increased with tone frequency on Day 24 but discriminative conditioning failed to appear on Day 17. These findings are discussed in relation to the role of auditory system maturation in the ontogeny of eyeblink conditioning. © 1995 Johnv Wiley & Sons, Inc. Copyright © 1995 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.