Rug rat is a popular slang expression, used for toddlers and small children, who are not yet capable of walking but are capable of crawling and making a mess.
Although the exact origin of “Rug rat” is not known, its origins may be traced back to the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, with documented cases of it appearing in print dating back to the late 60’s.
It was gaining ground moderately in the subsequent decade, not yet being recognized across the entire continent.
“Rug rat” started becoming a viral expression by the 1980’s, as it started appearing in a wide array of contexts, including radio, television series, magazines, and novels.
Its popularity was further boosted by the television series “Rugrats” which first aired on August 11th, 1991 and ran until 2004.
The series became iconic for a generation, later serving as the source for many-a meme at the beginning of the 2010’s.
“Rug rat” was first defined on Urban Dictionary on November 6th, 2003, with several other entries following in later years.