Nothing works better than a pacifier for comforting crying babies in the early stages of their lives. However, what once served as a miraculous distraction for soothing a fussy baby and restoring peace in the house, needs to be taken away as your newborn grows into a toddler.
You probably never thought you’d be Googling how to get rid of a pacifier for your 2 year old since it’s been such a helpful part of soothing your little one. However, when your toddler begins to drool continuously, chews the binkie, and demands a pacifier all day long, it’s time to give up the pacifier.
Dentists will tell you that prolonged use of pacifiers may lead to dental problems and other oral issues. However, if you stop pacifier use early enough, your child’s teeth won’t be effected and you can reverse any changes that have occurred in their mouth.
How to get rid of a pacifier for 2 year olds and toddlers
Getting your toddler to say goodbye to a pacifier is easier said than done. Your baby’s dependency on the pacifier can be similar to any other psychological and physical addiction. This article discusses effective ways of getting your toddlers to relinquish pacifiers while reducing the risk of any withdrawal symptoms.
Every baby has its unique temperament, and he/she behaves differently from other kids. Thus, you’ll need to adopt a trial and error tactic to pinpoint which of the above methods works best for your toddler.
You can try out one or more of the following methods to make your babies say “goodbye” to the pacifier. Don’t expect your baby to give up their oral security blanket overnight. Have loads of patience for any of these approaches.
1. Slow and Steady Method
This method allows you to start limiting access to a pacifier gradually every day to make it easier for both baby and parents. This will allow your toddler to take his/her time to get used to a pacifier-free world.
It’s better to limit pacifier use at specific places and times inside the home first. This way, you can monitor their reaction and see where you need to tweak your approach. For example, tell your 2 year old, no pacifier during wake up time and he’ll only get it after breakfast.
You should then make your toddler understand that he/she can’t use a pacifier outdoors and only for a limited time indoors. Then, gradually increase the timings of pacifier-free intervals (from 15 minutes to 30 minutes and so on) as your child begins to drift away from his arguably best buddy.
You can make your own rules with how and when you want to allow your toddler to have it. Gradually they will be used to not having it anymore and the last time to take it away would be bedtime.
2. Go Cold Turkey
Going cold turkey is a very effective way of transforming your pacifier-sucking toddler into an emotionally mature and independent kid. However, this method requires you to be patient and determined while dealing with various withdrawal symptoms.
Take a firm stand and remove the pacifier away from your kids’ room. Don’t give in to the screams, pleads, and cries of your little one.
I know it’s tough seeing your little one so upset, but stand your ground and deny it politely. Come up with distractions that will help them to not realize that their pacifier is not there anymore, by coming up with new activities, games, and toys for them to play.
Once you’ve committed to this method, there’s no going back. When I used this method, I actually threw all the pacifiers in the garbage so I wouldn’t be inclined to give in. This helped me not simply hand back the pacifier when I wanted some peace and quiet.
3. Limit the number of pacifiers
If you have stocked up on a ton of pacifiers in your kids’ room or elsewhere, it’s time to limit the quantity of pacifiers.
Make your child understand that if any pacifier is misplaced, it will be gone forever and there won’t be any replacements. Slowly, keep reducing the count of pacifiers when you see them laying around the house and eventually bring it to zero.
4. Snip the ends
Snip the sucking end of the pacifier by using a pair of scissors. Explain to your child that the pacifier has been damaged and doesn’t work properly anymore.
When the tip of the pacifier is snipped, it loses it’s sucking capability and doesn’t provide the same soothing as it used to. When your toddler realizes that his pacifier is indeed broken and won’t serve any purpose, he gets easily detached from it.
This is a great way to still give him the pacifier and you don’t seem like the bad guy. They’ll simply think that their pacifier broke.
5. Use Non-Toxic Nail Biting Oil
Another way of ruining the pacifier is to apply a non-toxic and foul-tasting paste prepared using natural and harmless ingredients over its surface. These are typically used for thumb sucking or nail biting, but serve the same purpose for pacifier use.
When your kid sucks the pacifier with the foul tasting treatment on it, he/she will hopefully find it no longer pleasant and satisfying to suck. This worked great for my toddler who sucked her thumb and I’m sure it would work the same with a pacifier.
6. Counsel your child
If you’re really struggling with how to get rid of the pacifier from your 2 year old, you may need to talk to them about why they should no longer be using it. They understand much more than you think at this age and perhaps will be more reasonable than you imagine.
Take time out to play with your kid, engage him in conversation, and counsel him while appealing to his/her sympathies. Assure them that they no longer need a pacifier as these are meant for small babies only.
Make your child understand that he/she has grown up and should do charity by donating his/her pacifier to an infant in need.
7. Give them warning well in advance
You should let your toddler know well in advance that you will be removing the pacifier soon. It’s better to give him the exact date and time, a few days in the future.
This helps your toddler get mentally prepared. Keep reminding your child of the impending transition on a daily basis. Keep this countdown and as soon as the deadline arrives, simply remove the pacifier.
This trick might not work for kids who get very fussy at the mere mention of parting away from the pacifier. It’s not worth it to see them get upset when something hasn’t happened yet, but it could set them up for less of a hard time when it’s actually taken away.
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8. Tell white lies if necessary
As a parent, you have probably told several white lies to ease your kids’ fears and add thrill into their lives. Tell them a fairy tale where a supernatural power comes in the night, takes away the pacifier, and leaves a thank you note while they are sleeping.
Remove the pacifier and leave a note, special toy, or prize near your 2 year old’s bed. Tell them that the super hero or fairy left it for them which may add to the excitement of giving it up.
9. Read them a book
At this age, toddlers can understand a lot of what is told to them. Find a book that will catch their interest that talks about giving up the pacifier, like Pacita the Pacifier Fairy or Pacifiers are Not Forever. This will help them because they will be hearing it from someone else instead of just their parents (since we know that sometimes kids just don’t want to listen to mom or dad!).
10. Be compassionate but stand your ground
Don’t try to snatch pacifiers forcefully from your little ones. Show compassion and listen attentively to their fears and validate their worries.
Tell them that you understand their concern by repeating it in your own words. Get cuddly and show extra warmth for showering them with your unconditional love.
However, don’t give in to your child’s demands and maintain your ground once the pacifier is gone.
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11. Don’t ask permission
Once you have decided that it’s time to remove the pacifier, inform your kid about it but don’t ask for permission before taking it away.
If you ask for your child’s permission, it would indicate weakness on your part, and your baby would never agree to it. Let them know that you are the one making the rules, not them.
12. Forget it
Another way to ditch the pacifier cold turkey is to simply “forget it” while going on a trip or being somewhere out of the house for a long time. Of course this is risky because you never know how they will react and you don’t want it to ruin your vacation, but I’ve seen this trick work so well!
Simply explain to your child that you forgot the pacifiers at home and won’t be able to get any new ones. Hopefully they will be too distracted with new sights and activities on vacation that they will easily forget about it too.
I hope the above methods gave you some great ideas for how to get rid of the pacifier from your 2 year old or toddler once and for all. The biggest key is to be consistent and not give in and you will soon see that it works!
Abdul Ansari is the writer of this article. He is a freelance blogger and has written multiple articles for websites. He also likes to write product reviews about home, sports, and fitness. On weekends you will find him playing volleyball.