While effects pedals can and do help to color the sound of the guitar, they cannot and will not make you a better player. However, the use of the right pedals for your particular chosen style of music can never be understated, and should never be underestimated because they can make or break the uniqueness of your sound.
Before you add any effects pedals into your rehearsal regimen it is of the utmost importance to play all drill exercises clean so as to ensure that you are able to hear every note clearly. A good thing to bear in mind is that the better you become at playing everything clean, the better you will sound when effects pedals are added into the mix in order to color your guitar tone.
Admittedly, it is a lot of fun to be able to color the guitar tone in various ways whenever the need/desire to do so occurs, but pedals are really the frosting on the cake and not the cake itself. With that said, once a good solid foundation is established where an individual’s playing technique is concerned, it is time to add in effects pedals and have some fun.
To be clear, there is no set time frame for when effects pedals can or should be added to your playing regimen, just so long as you have played everything clean with enough repetition to the point where you have all your guitar parts down pat.