How To Get Your Baby Or Toddler Off The Pacifier

I’m sure there will be quite a few parents reading this post who will react with “What?! We don’t want our child off the pacifier! How will we survive?”

The truth is the longer you wait to take away the pacifier the harder it becomes. Its quite a tricky process taking away a pacifier. Either the baby will be too young and not understand and in that case taking the pacifier away is a bad idea or maybe the child would be too old and will have already become too attached to his pacy that taking it away would be impossible.

Some recommend taking the pacifier away when your baby is around six months old. At that age your baby no longer needs to suck and has yet to become attached to it.
My wife wanted me to take the pacifier away from our son before he was six months old but I wanted to wait until he was older. With our daughter, we took the pacifier away from her when she was around two years old.

Well I am happy to say that our two year old is officially off his pacifier. The process this time around was a bit easier than it was with our daughter.

Taking it away
My sister in-law is a pediatric dentist and she told us that the toddler will overcome the need for the pacifier in just three days. While the process is done cold turkey, it does help to restrict pacifier use to nap and bed time only. Except for when they were newborns, our kids were never allowed to have the pacifier any other time during the day.

Taking a pacifier away from a baby really doesn’t require more than just taking it away. It shouldn’t take more than three days for the baby to get used to sleeping without one. However, there are some key points to be aware of:

  1. Do not take the pacifier away from the baby the same week you are trying to wean your baby off nighttime feedings or doing something else. Stick to one thing at a time.
  2. Make sure that there is nothing major in your life going on that week. If you are going on a trip then wait until you come back and have everyone back on schedule. Also, if it’s a week that you are planning on having family visit then do it another week.
  3. You, as a parent, must be absolutely committed to taking it away. If you arent ready to do it then the baby wont be ready either. You’ll end up giving in at the first sign of your baby’s distress.
  4. Mom and Dad should do it together as a team for the above reason.
  5. Weekends are a great time to do it. You could start on a Friday evening and have him off by Monday.

While this process is also done cold turkey, it helps to involve the toddler. The best time to take a pacifier away from a toddler is when it needs to be thrown out because it’s all chewed up. It can’t be used anymore for safety reasons and this is a great opportunity to get your toddler involved. You could show your toddler that the pacifier is broken and explain to her that it needs to go to the garbage. You should try to get your toddler to be the one to throw it out.

With our son, we were going to wait until he was about two and a half before taking it away but one night a month before he turned two I noticed that the pacifier was just to damaged to be safe for him to use. I showed him that his “pacy” was broken and it needed to be thrown out. Then I gave it to him and told him to throw it out. He was very reluctant at first but after I kept telling him that it was broken and it wasn’t safe anymore he put it in the garbage. That night when he went to sleep he looked at us and said “pacy broken” and then put his head down and went to sleep. The next morning he woke up and again said “pacy broken.” I responded “Yeah, pacy broken. No more pacy” and that was it.

Our daughter, on the other hand, was crying and crying for her pacifier after we took it away. She even went to take it out of the garbage the next morning but thankfully, we had already moved it somewhere else. Finally, after three days she quieted down and went to bed without any issues.

Some things to be aware of when taking your toddlers pacifier away:

  1. As with a baby, you will need to be fully committed. If you aren’t your toddler will know it and the process will take much longer than three days.
  2. When you do take it away make sure that your toddler can’t take it back. You want it to disappear.
  3. Be strong. Taking a pacifier away can be an emotional process. Although you’ll feel terrible, keep in mind that your helping your toddler not hurting him.

Good luck!

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31 Responses

  1. JHS says:

    Thanks so much for participating in this week’s Carnival of Family Life hosted at Pajama Mommy Community! Be sure to drop by and check out some of the other wonderful entries this week!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’m trying to wein my 2 year old off the pacifier but her dad won’t he says it will hurt her teeth or she will suck on her lip is that true

  3. Candis says:

    My 2 1/2 year old is totally dependant on his papa…one day it dropped in the toilet and i told him to throw it in the garbage.It has been 3 days now and it is truly a struggle he is not the same anymore he wants me to hold him now(in place of papa) considering giving it back, but it has been 4 days already. Confused what should i do?

  4. Eric says:

    I guess the question is did he have the pacifier all the time or only for bed? If your son had it all day long then it will be a much more difficult process. It really helps to first restrict the use of the pacifier to nap and bedtime only. The 3 day rule will really only work well if the use is for these times only. Otherwise it can be more difficult as you are stating. keep me posted.

  5. Scott says:

    I have a five year old daughter who cannot sleep without her paci! She keeps it under her pillow only. There’s no other issue other than the fact that she needs it to fall asleep. I want to completely rid her of it, but can’t muster up enough strength to battle through a few unresting nights by taking it away from her. Any suggestions out there?

  6. Jennifer says:

    My husband and I came up with an idea to get our son (2 1/2) off his paci – with a little planning and preparation, it worked like a charm! In November we talked off and on about Christmas, Santa, etc and we told our son that if he put all his pacifiers in his stocking, Santa would fill it with goodies! Then we explained how there were so many babies all over the world that didn’t have pacis and Santa needed our help. We talked about it and prepared him for weeks in advance. On Christmas eve day, we had a scavenger hunt around the house to collect all the pacis; then Christmas eve, he put all of them in his stocking. When he woke up Christmas morning, we reminded him to check his stocking. It was filled with little toys, candy, and other knick knack fun stuff —- NO PACIS!!! At first, he was a little shocked, then we reminded him that Santa took them to give all the little babies (…he wasn’t a baby anymore) and Santa gave us chocolate, etc in exchange for our pacis. He was so happy with his new ‘items’, he didn’t care! However, we did have to remind him at naptime/bedtime why Santa took our pacis and how much of a big helper he was, but only for a couple weeks. He now sleeps with a stuffed animal – that’s it. We were even able to bypass thumb-sucking!!! πŸ™‚ Hope this helps…

  7. Jtbruder says:

    I read the 3 days of crying after taking a paci away, my daughter just turned 2 is now sleeping in a big girl bed and trying to potty train……. only has her paci in bed and always has but the past 2 weeks she seems to be wanting it more often while she is awake when she gets upset and so on and so forth so now i really want to get rid of it! Gonna try to get her to wrap it up to give to Santa next week……. figure its gonna be a rough 3 days as she only uses it to fall asleep if you go in to check on her during the nite its usually on the bed next to her! Any other ideas to make this easier on her? Or on us as im sure there will be alot of screaming till she falls asleep that is if she does fall asleep! If she wakes during the nite and cant find it she will cry till we get up and find it for her…….. any ideas will be greatly appreciated!

  8. Amy McClellan says:

    I have 3 year old twins, both on pacifiers, only some use during the day, both are very dependant. TIPS PLEASE I am losing my mind with this subject, wanna get them off this weekend.

  9. Eric says:

    Amy, my suggestion is to try what I wrote in the post above. But if you are going to do it make sure you are committed to doing it and expect that it will be a bit difficult Friday and Saturday night. There will probably be a lot of crying for the pacifier.

    If you give in to their crying you could try again in a month or so.

  10. Tara says:

    My son is 27 months and we took his paci away 8 days ago. It’s like having a newborn again. He has been waking up every couple hours screaming for it both at night and nap. He only used it in his bed prior to taking it away. We told him he was a big boy and we needed to send it to his baby cousin in cleveland. He understands that we sent them away. I’m at my wits end but do not want to give them back. HELP. SO TIRED.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Tara, I am going through the same situation with my 36 month old. We took her paci away 7 nights ago and she wakes up at least 3 times/night screaming and upset, not asking for her paci, but just does not sleep well when she used it. I’m extremely tired and hope this cycle ends soon. Do you have support? Very important! A good book that I’ve been reading is “Good Night Sleep Tight” by Kim West. Stay strong and wish you the best!

  12. Ryan says:

    For those of you who are struggling: try replacing the pacifier with a more “healthy” soothing method.

    Our 24-month old has been restricted to pacifier use only during naps and bedtime for almost a year, and we decided now would be a good time to wean her off it. The first two nights she asked repeatedly for her “ba ba”, and she sounded devastated, like a good friend had been taken away from her. At that point I started to reconsider taking it away…it just didn’t feel right taking this item (somewhat arbitrarily) that she had become so attached to. She bawled for about 5 minutes and fell asleep. Same routine the next night. She has never been terribly attached to a stuffed animal, so on the third night I offered to let her pick a stuffed animal to sleep with her, as if it was a new privilege. She initially didn’t like the idea, but eventually she grabbed a teddy bear, cuddled up with it and went to sleep without a word or a tear.

  13. latoya says:

    My daughter just turned 1 years old a week ago i took the passy away this friday she didnt even know it was gone until it was time for bed she cryed for a hole hr. then she fell asleep satday nite she didnt even think of the passy she sleeps better without it.

  14. Eric says:

    Thanks for the comment latoya. I happy it worked for you.

  15. Jamie says:

    My son is 26 months old. We took away his binky three days ago. He was restricted to using it only during nap and bedtime. For the past 3 days it has taken forever to get him to sleep and his up early in the morning, during the night and hardly taking a nap anymore. I am about to give the binky back..although I do not want to. Do you have a good advice on how to help him self soothe?? Up to this point he was an excellent sleeper.

  16. Brenda says:

    We just took the “binky” from my grand daughter 20 months old. we cut the end of it off and told her the bad dog ate it. It was long enough to still put in her mouth, but had no suction…at the end of the day and pushing it back in her mouth all day, she got tired of doing it…we said why dont you throw the broken binky away, which she did. when she asked for it the next day, we reminded her that she had thrown the broken binky away. Our plan was is she still wanted it after we cut the end off…we would continue every week to take a little more off until it would not stay in her mouth at all…Our plan worked the first time however.

  17. Lori says:

    With all 3 of our children we cut the tip of the nuk off and the kids accepted that it was broke and that was the end of it. They were all in the range of 2 yrs old when we decided to take it away with restrictions to nap and bedtime for a quite a while before cutting it. Good Luck!

  18. sona says:

    Hi, you can make a slit on the pacifier and let your kid use it. She won’t take a pacifier after two days. It worked for my baby (20 months)

  19. mandaB says:

    i tried many different things when my daughter was around two years old. but the thing that worked best was when i cut the tip of the pacifier off and gave it to her like normal. at first i cut too much of it off and it pissed her off. then i did another one, but ONLY the tip. then she basicly broke herself. she spit it out, looked at it and didnt want anything to do with it. and it was over with.

  20. Tammy says:

    For all who is trying to take the binky or passy away cold turkey we have a 2 year old and my mother suggested cutting the tip off and letting her use it that way. we did that and she looked at us and said “broken” and took it to the trash and threw it away.

  21. Lisa S. says:

    I found a product online that helped my 2 year old. We decorated the mailer box and “mailed’ the pacifier to the paci-fairy. My daughter got a stuffed animal, a “big kid” certificate and fridge magnet. She’s so proud now that she’s a big girl. 5 weeks now. Here’s the website if you’re interested.

  22. Sam says:

    I just want to add a tad here, all of your ideas are great, and all the questions are legit, but i do have to say all children are different. My son was walking before 9 months, some dont walk till a year and half, and we got him off his bottle at 11 months now, some people said it would take a while. As where my son is quick this paci act may take some time. These ideas are great, but we have to understand genetics, if we were buttjeads, our children may be too πŸ™‚

  23. Philomena says:

    Hello friends, its impressive paragraph about educationand
    entirely defined, keep it up all the time.

  24. Jessie says:

    Super inrifmatove writing; keep it up.

  25. Rebecca Clee says:

    My daughter and grandson live with us. My grandson’s 28 months and was able to give up his paci, but now has started to bang his head so hard ,he gets goose eggs. Sometimes more than 2 at once. Then he cries and cries. My daughter and sitter put him in time out , but I think he needs cuddled and get the attention he craves. He was banging his head before taking the Paci away but it got worse once he threw his paci away. Now what. I know how I would handle it but she won’t listen to me.

  26. Worried says:

    any tricks to use when the child spends 1/2 time at one parent and 1/2 time at the other – one parent has taken away the soother but the other has not

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