To further understand the excitatory effects of motoneurons on spinal network function, we investigated the entrainment of disinhibited rhythms by ventral root (VR) stimulation in the neonatal mouse spinal cord. A brief train of stimuli applied to a VR triggered bursting reliably in 31/32 experiments. The same roots that entrained disinhibited bursting could also produce locomotor-like activity with a similar probability when the network was not disinhibited. The ability of VR stimulation to entrain the rhythm persisted in nicotinic and muscarinic cholinergic antagonists but was blocked by the AMPAR antagonist NBQX. Bath application of the type I mGluR1 receptor antagonist CPCCOEt reduced the ability of both dorsal root and VR stimulation to entrain the disinhibited rhythm and abolished the ability of either type of stimulation to evoke locomotor-like activity. Calcium imaging through the lateral aspect of the cord revealed that VR stimulation and spontaneously occurring bursts were accompanied by a wave of activity that originated ventrally and propagated dorsally. Imaging the cut transverse face of L(5) revealed that the earliest VR-evoked optical activity began ventrolaterally. The optical activity accompanying spontaneous bursts could originate ventrolaterally, ventromedially, or throughout the mediolateral extent of the ventral horn or very occasionally dorsally. Collectively, our data indicate that VR stimulation can entrain disinhibited spinal network activity and trigger locomotor-like activity through a mechanism dependent on activation of both ionotropic and metabotropic glutamate receptors. The effects of entrainment appear to be mediated by a ventrolaterally located network that is also active during spontaneously occurring bursts.