The development of an anterior-posterior (AP) polarity is a crucial process that in the mouse has been very difficult to analyse, because it takes place as the embryo implants within the mother. To overcome this obstacle, we have established an in-vitro culture system that allows us to follow the step-wise development of anterior visceral endoderm (AVE), critical for establishing AP polarity. Here we use this system to show that the AVE originates in the implanting blastocyst, but that additional cells subsequently acquire AVE characteristics. These 'older' and 'younger' AVE domains coalesce as the egg cylinder emerges from the blastocyst structure. Importantly, we show that AVE migration is led by cells expressing the highest levels of AVE marker, highlighting that asymmetry within the AVE domain dictates the direction of its migration. Ablation of such leading cells prevents AVE migration, suggesting that these cells are important for correct establishment of the AP axis.