Using a time out for a toddler is usually pretty ineffective.
Infants and toddlers are too young for time-outs. they are not developmentally ready to be in charge of self-soothing, nor can they make the connection between what just happened and sitting in a corner. The lesson of timeouts are really lost on young children.
Try this instead:
Remove the child from the 'scene' from whatever was upsetting or frustrating.
Help them to soothe and calm down by being with them or hugging them.
Don't waste your breathe on lectures or punishments, they just don't have the reasoning skills or life skills at this age that is necessary to understand what you are trying to say.
Redirect the child to another acceptable activity or show them the behaviour you desire.
Tell the child what they 'can' do instead of focusing on what they 'can't' do.
Some examples of this are:
-When on the phone and the child is 'acting up' or 'at your legs climbing up you... give them a 'new bin' with toys in it they have never seen. (rotate this with other new toys weekly you keep in their closet up high)
-Pick the child up from the 'dumped box of speggetti' and put them in front a bin of balls they can dump.
-When they hit their friend or pull the dogs tail. Go to the child who hit, pick them up and stroke their arm or hand over hand have them stroke your hand and say, "We pet the dog gentle, like this." "GENTLE" and repeat it, try adding a baby sign language word such as GENTLE and repeat. Practice with the child on the dog or his friend, and say, "SHOW GENTLE" Do hand over hand or show them.
Positive Time outs are only for children who actively participate in understanding the situations they are in and 'talk about it.' Time outs are a safe place to go to and calm down when angry or frustrated. They should be a safe, calming place and not a punishment.