How to Wean Off Pacifier: Tips for Toddlers

`` (

I get a lot of questions about toddlers and pacifiers.  For many parents of toddlers, getting rid of the pacifier is an epic event and they have to call in the binky fairy!  Watch this video for my two cents on pacis generally and how to wean off pacifier in style!

How to Wean Off Pacifier: Tips for Toddlers

Getting Rid of the Pacifier

I received this question from mom Reagan about her 17-month-old who still uses a pacifier:

“My husband wanted to get rid of it at 12 months because that is what pediatrician told us to do,” she wrote, “but I thought that was too young. I don’t want to cry it out, any suggestions or tips?”

My tips on pacifier weaning include distracting your toddler, introducing another transitional object or lovey, or making an event of saying bye-bye to the binky.

What would you share with other parents who are trying to get their little ones off pacifiers?

You might also like:

Thanks for stopping by and make sure to check back for more! xo


  • I cut the tip of the nipple. she would try to sick on it and it wouldn’t feel the same to her she tried a couple of times till shr gave it up on her own. its easier. and less traumatic for baby

  • mamamcneil

    My 18 month old is OBSESSED with her binky. At this point, it will probable be in high school graduation pics. I need help cause the hubby let’s her have it while I am constantly taking it away!

  • Divya Johnson

    I haven’t weaned yet – but we have reduced binky usage to car rides, naps, and night time — My plan is to eventually lose the binkys — I have introduced a lovely and a stuffed animal to soothe her — sometmies in the car we don’t “give” her the binky and give her the lovey – but if she is tired she needs the binky…

    I hope to get rid of them by 12 months…

  • Sarah

    We told our oldest that Grandma was having trouble sleeping and that she needed his nuk (we were down to one nuk at that point, he was not quite 2 years old). We made a big deal of drawing a picture for Grandma, putting the nuk in the envelope and “sending” it to Grandma. She even talked to her on the phone about it. (We actually kept it “just in case”, though times would REALLY have to get tough to get it out, we never did). I have also heard of parents convincing their child to “give” their nuk to a new baby that they know (get the parents of the new baby involved in it). The thought is, “you are now a big boy, it’s time to give the nuk to a baby because she really needs it now”. We are coming up on ridding our youngest of it, we’ll see how it goes (#2 never like it, so it’s been awhile since dealing with this!).

  • Anne

    I had read somewhere to snip the ends off the rubber part of the pacifier when the child isn’t looking. They don’t get that same sucking sensation then and actually basically choose, themselves, not to use it instead of you taking it away. We did this with my daughter over a weekend. At first she would take it out, look at it funny, try again and then set it down. By the third night she wasn’t even taking one to bed. No fighting, no crying, no mean mommy. It was fantastic!

  • Lisa

    We decided to take our daughter’s away the weekend of her second birthday. We had already limited use to bedtime and car rides. What we did next was cut the tip off of all but 1 (just in case of a total meltdown) When she asked for it, we gave her a cut one. She tried put it in and took it out and asked for a different one. She tried a few then handed them back and said she didnt want it. We couldnt have hoped for a better outcome. Good Luck!

  • Julie B.

    I’m dreading taking the paci away from our 13 month old. She is a paci addict. I’m not sure when we will cross that bridge, but plan on doing it before age 2. I read that it’s ok until age 2 as far as dental issues.

    • Julie B., I have heard exactly the same thing — best of luck! it will work out!

  • tam childers

    My son is two and we have been trying to get him off his pacifier what has been working the best is telling him he’s a big boy now and doesn’t need it any more, when he asks for it and then distracting him with something else. At night I have been telling him that mommy and daddy sleep without a pacifier and being a daddy’s boy he is always wanting to do what daddy does, and so this has been working too.

  • Joleen

    Totally LOVE the paci attached to a kite or other flying object. We have been trying the paci fairy technique also a new big girl toy for the paci….NOTHING has worked with my second child…SO I think we will try the kite/balloon idea. THANKS for the tips

  • Kim

    I’m laughing because I’m watching this with my almost 14m old and he has one in his mouth and one in his hand. He has to have all the time! My husband and I have just talked about needing to do this. With my oldest now 10 he had them and we thought it would be hard. He was 21/2 when we got rid of them. It was pretty easy, we got to just one in the house and I threw it away. He was starting to not nap as much and didNt have one all day, so when night came he asked for it and we said its gone. Well he passed out tired. Did this two nights and that was gone and done forever. Now with this lil dude he’s my last so I find it harder, just to give it to him. It’s going to be really hard. It might take a bit. This was great timing 🙂

    • Kim, you certainly have a tons of tips now both in the video and in these awesome comments!!! Wishing you the best of luck!! xo Melissa

  • LeeAnna Taylor

    Hey there! While I haven’t had to deal with weaning my son off a pacifier (because he stopped taking one at 3 months!) I have heard several suggestions. The first, if they are old enough to understand, is to take all the pacifiers and have them help put them in a bag. Tell them you are going to leave them at night for the paci fairy to take to all the little babies who need them. Before they wake up, replace it with a toy of some kind and say look what the fairy left you! It definitely worked for a friend of mine. Very similar to the tooth fairy concept. If they aren’t old enough, I’ve also heard of dipping them in vinegar or a bitter type spray and after a few times they don’t want them anymore. Hope this helps with some of your little ones! 🙂

  • Thanks for the advice. I broke my son’s habit at 2 by throwing out his pacifiers and replacing them with a different kind. He did not like them and broke himself in 2 days. My daughter, however, just turned 3 and I am dreading this process with her. She is so dependent but I know I have made too many excuses and let it go on way too long. I am starting this weekend and now thinking of having a party!

  • N8SMOM

    My son’s hand puppet ‘ate’ the pacifiers. He bought it and I would just remind him the puppet ate them if he asked for them and he seemed satisfied with that answer.
    This was good because I didn’t take them from him, they were simply eaten and therefore gone.

  • jamacattack

    Thank you so much for the tips and to the ladies who posted tips! I am going through this now and am going to try out the tip cutting first and see how that goes!

  • jordanswife

    I have the binky on a clip and only give it for naps, and nighttime. Eventually we will take it away.

  • tsigmon2

    We took our daughters “yeayea” away when she turned 2. The way it worked for us was, we told her that Jesus took her “yeayea” to the hospital to visit a new baby & that the new baby needed her yeayea. She turned 2 in December and from time to time she still will ask where it went & we just tell her that it went to a baby.

  • jennifer

    noticed this was mentioned already, but I have also heard about slightly cutting the tip of the pacifier so that the suction isn’t the same…going to try this soon.
    thanks for your good advice too!

  • gsblondee

    Our little guy’s pacifiers kept cracking until we were down to the last one and once i saw it cracking, I told him it was broke and we had to throw it away. He threw it into the trash can himself. There were 2-3 nights that he cried for it but it really wasn’t as bad as we had anticipated.

  • Andrea

    My son is 14 months old and we have reduced pacifier time to naps and bedtime. We were using it for car rides but I started giving him his sippy cup with water instead and that’s given him something to suck/chew during the ride. So far it’s been working! He’s been sick with various illnesses the past few weeks so I’ve given it to him a few times during the day for comfort.

  • MommmieD

    I never had to deal with the pacifier issue because my son was a thumb sucker – a horrific thumb sucker – and that perhaps is even more difficult to deal with because you can’t control thumb sucking in any way. A child always has that thumb there for immediate security. My son still was sucking his thumb when he started kindergarten and I wanted it to stop. I decided to talk to him about it in as adult a way as he could handle, explaining why physically (teeth issues) and emotionally (teasing issues from other kids) it was necessary for him to make the choice to stop. I told him (in September) that I knew that stopping sucking his thumb was not an easy choice to make so that I was going to help him pick a date to stop sucking his thumb – Christmas – because he would be so happy with new toys and excitement that it would be a little easier. We talked (lightly) about the Christmas end date for stopping the thumb sucking from September until the date actually happened. On Christmas night a happy little boy climbed into bed, put his thumb half way up to his mouth, shook his head, and fell asleep without it. I was shocked – it had actually worked! He never sucked his thumb again. 🙂

  • Starbrdr99

    When my daughter was 10 months old she got a cold with a stuffy nose so she couldn’t breathe with her binky in. A week went by (she still had a stuffy nose) so we decided not to give it back to her, since she already went a whole week without it. She didn’t even miss it.

  • Megan Sullivan

    I told my daughter the tooth fairy is going to come take her binky soon, because she is almost 2. The tooth fairy is going to bring her binky to a baby, since big girls don’t need binkys. She’s excited for the tooth fairy to bring her money for a new toy when she takes away the binky!

  • Crystal

    We started weaning my daughter off the paci at 12 months. She is only allowed to use it for naps, when she is tired on a car ride and bedtime. We also gave her a minnie mouse to sleep with for comfort. Now at 17 months I’m going to cut the end of the paci and hopefully she will not want it anymore.

  • Amy

    I weaned my nephew when he was 2, because my brother had the hardest time weaning him! I told him that his stuffed animals were having a hard time sleeping and needed a paci. He tried to give them to the stuffed animals himself! So I cut the nipple off and hot glued three pacis to his stuffed animals mouths. Anytime he asked for a paci, we were able to show him that his stuffed animals were still using them! He loved it! This totally worked for potty training too… He was too big for diapers and wanted to put the diapers on the stuffed animals too! It just gave him a visual explanation for why he didn’t need them anymore!

  • Emily

    We are working on this with my 2 year old –we have only been using it at nap time and night night time–my husband is more of a stickler than I am–I have faith he will want to get rid of it on his own.

  • Hether

    Wow, thanks to all the moms who suggested cutting the tip off! My daughter is 22 months and has always (and only) used the pacifier in the crib. When she was about 4 months old I bought a stuffed lamb that holds the pacifier. She can’t sleep without it! I bought it with the intention of just not attaching the pacifier at some point, hoping her bond with the stuffed animal would be enough. She’s never been a good sleeper and I am dreading this process. I want to have it gone before she turns 2, but can never seem to find the “right week” to do it (ie, the week when I also don’t get any sleep!) Good luck to all the other moms facing this challenge!

  • Mary W

    We had planned on having my daughter, just a little over 2 years old give it to Elmo at Sesame Place. She decided she wanted to buy a Minnie Mouse Doll a few months before her trip. We went to the Disney Store and she picked out what she wanted. She put the pacifier on the counter and the cashiers were really great with her. Gave her stickers and cheers! The whole store was looking. She never looked back. I think the trick is to find out what will work with your child and not stress over it.

  • Misty

    I tried the paci fairy. I told my daughter the paci fairies come when they think you don’t need one anymore. At first they hide them and it is too hard to find them. When the fairies know that you totally don’t need a paci anymore, they leave a gift. My daughter has not used one for almost a week now and she is getting her gift this weekend.

  • Alissa Sarate

    When our baby girls turned two and a few months, we told them that they needed to send their binkies into the binkie fairy so she could give them to new babies! We got an minilla envelope and addressed it to the binkie fairy and our two year old would decorate it by coloring all over! Our two year old would kiss each binkie and put it in the envelope! We would seel it up and put in the mailbox! The next morning a new envelope would be in the box with small prizes for the two year old! I’ve had babies very attached to their binkies, some would carry three or four around at a time! Occasionally they would ask for a binkie, they would get a reminder that the fairy took them and then we were done with binkies!

  • Nrash

    My daughter will be a year old this month and this is something I have been thinking about! We already have her weened to bedtime only but it’s definelty her security object. A friend suggested cutting the tip off as well. She said it worked easily for both her children. I think that’s what we are going to try.