The relation between the prediction and explanation of the false belief task (FBT) with counterfactual reasoning (CFR) was explored. Fifty eight 3-5 year-olds received a prediction or an explanation FBT, a belief attribution task and some counterfactual questions of increasing difficulty. Linguistic comprehension was also controlled. CFR highly predicted FBT in the explanation version but not in the prediction one. Additionally, results in the explanation version indicate that CFR underlies achievements prior to the understanding of the representational mind and stimulates the explicitness of the mental domain. This study identifies the conditions under which CFR becomes a fundamental cognitive tool for social cognition. The results obtained contribute to the dialog between the two major theoretical approaches: theory-theory and simulation theory.