What To Do When Toddler Throws His Cup?

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So we’ve all been there.  You sit down to have a meal with your toddler and they throw their cup.  You reach down and get it and they throw it again.  Then they laugh in your face.  You’re a pawn in their game and there’s no getting out of it.

What To Do When Toddler Throws His Cup?Pin for later!

Discipling Toddlers

I hate the idea of disciplining toddlers (and let me just say, that this is not an example of behavior problems in toddlers or anything like that, in my view, not at all.)  Rather, to me a toddler who throws things is just pushing the boundaries to see how far he can go – something we all do! Sippy cups for toddlers were sort of manufactured with this idea in mind!  They knew they were just going to throw them!

Anyway, watch this video for my two cents on what you do when a toddler throws things and tests your patience and let me know if you agree with what I do!  Am I right or wrong?

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


  • Stacia Ehlen

    When my one year old throws her cup on the floor we give it back once and try to tell her if she doesn’t want it anymore she can give it to one of us. If she throws it again, we take it away until she is done eating.

  • Molly

    My son is 16 months old and h has thrown the cup so many time and I have learned when he throws the cup now! I say bye bye cup, he fights screams, but I say we don’t throw our cup and next time if you want you cup lets not throw it it took about a week of doing this now the cup stays the the tray! Proud mom!

  • Andrea V.

    I have a lot of health problems and fibromyalgia is one so I have a difficult time constantly leaning down to pick my son’s thrown objects. So we have set the three strikes rule. If he throws it once I pick it up a second time he gets a warning and I give it back and a third time it’s gone! This teaches him cause and effect, responsibility and respect. I have a sippy cup tether and a few plastic rings we use while shopping but he’s old enough now (17 months) that he knows how to remove Velcro and un snap rings!

  • Heather

    I pick it up and move it out of reach. If she asks for it back I give it to her and after three or four times I don’t give it back. I believe this behavior indicates she is no longer interested in eating so then dinner is over.

  • Michelle Lyles

    We have her sit with us when we eat. I normally feed her but when she starts to play we give her Plum puffs. This way she can play with them but they are not a big mess. It keeps her occupied and if she eats them, all the better!

  • Nicole miller

    I too leave it on the floor or I pick it up and put it on the table next to her high chair and she doesn’t get it back till done….

  • Stef

    My little guy knows that I will pick it up one time for him – but if he throws it again then it stays on the floor. He rarely throws his cup anymore.

    Would love some plum products 🙂

  • Rayla Cassinat

    I think that is the perfect reaction! Now if I could just figure out the food throwing part….

  • diva1981

    When he does stuff like that, I try not to freak out cause then he is just going to keep doing it. Toddlers are going to throw things, that is what they do. They are trying to see what they can can get away with. If he throws his cup the first time,I tell him not nice and I will pick it up, when he does it again I will leave it on the floor for a few minutes and then put the cup next to me. with food if he keeps throwing it then meal time is over. Just try to stay calm and not go balsitic thry r little people in a scarry new world B-) .

  • Courtney

    Hi!
    I think you are totally right! My 2 year old throws everything at mealtime and I just take it away from him. It doesn’t seem to affect him though, he really just enjoys the launch! At least if I take it, and say “all done!”, he can only launch once!

  • Annie Browne

    When my 20 month old starts throwing food, I just take it away. Or we take him out to his playroom and let him throw balls!

  • Bradyboo30

    I totally agree with you. When ever my son throws his cup or anything else, after one or two times when I try to give it back to him and he does it again, I take it away. I let him throw his little tantrum for the short while he does it. When he’s calm, I say, don’t throw it again or I will take it away again. He’s usually good after that.

  • I agree 100%! I don’t think it is mean – when your toddler is testing and looking for the boundaries, it is our responsibility to lovingly show where those bounties are. Basically you can play by your rules Or your child’s rules. I prefer to play by mine!! 🙂

  • Trista Clarke

    I totally agree! They have to learn that there are consequences to their actions and this is a good way to teach them that.

  • Amie

    I totally agree! Ignore, ignore, ignore!!

  • Katie

    I totally agree. My daughter did this about 3 times and I never have this problem again and with food there was a big No and she does not throw food. Show them who is the boss and they will love you forever. Like you said they test boundaries to test your love.

  • Katie

    I totally agree. My daughter did this about 3 times and I never have this problem again and with food there was a big No and she does not throw food. Show them who is the boss and they will love you forever. Like you said they test boundaries to test your love.

  • Jaime Moxley

    We try to give Amelia her food
    In small portions so she doesn’t get board with it and we’ve taught her to put anything she doesn’t want in the cup holders on the tray. We also have her help pick any food up off the floor after she is done eating.

  • Erica1618

    I absolutely agree with you on option #2. It is a learning experience for all! Baby/Toddler needs to learn that there are consequences for their actions. Although the act of throwing their cup or food may seem “funny” and is most definitely typical, they are also testing boundaries and reactions. Personally, I would continue with what I was doing and without showing frustration or any other emotion, say something like “oh well, you dropped your cup” or “that’s what happens when you throw your cup on the floor”. If they are throwing food, I would patiently and without emotion remove the food from their reach. I usually tell my toddler “I’ll wait until you’re ready and then you can get your food”. It becomes a lesson in consequences and appropriate behavior.

  • Shobana Arunachalam

    I pick it up and put it away after the second time. After that, the cup is allowed/given only when needed and taken right back. This saves me the frustration of wanting to pull my hair out and ends any power struggle right at the beginning.

    • jules

      First we never had a huge issue with this when it did happen I’m not even entirely sure it was on purpose …we left it and ignored it and when she finally got down she ran over and got it and held on tight after that. I think if she throws it I want her to realize she has to go get it. If I don’t react its not and interaction and can’t be a game.

      But I have a question as to if ppl think this may be a more gender related issue. If you read the responses there is a huge disproportionate amount of he vs she. Is this a problem more common with boys? I can’t think of any logical reason for that but just noted the responses.

  • I am going to try your method! I usually correct my 17 month old daughter , Audrey by telling her to say ” all done” and hand me her cup. This only works if i am right next to her when she is all done.

  • Danielle B.

    Redirection is always good. Being consistent and all that.

  • chelsea lasure

    I will pick it up once and tell her no we do not do that, if she throws it again I leave it there and if she gets fussy I tell her you threw it in the floor.

  • Leteasha Ross

    I make noises to distract my 11 month old. If something is thrown or spit out, I say no, tell her I won’t pick up item again and keep on feeding. If she is not interested after a few times, I let her sit in highchair for a few minutes alone then try again and if she still acts uninterested, dinner is over.

  • Lisa

    My little guy would do this with his cup, with his food, and with everything he could get his hands on! For the cup, the first time I would pick it up and set it on the table near his highchair (so he could see it but not reach it). I’d give it back when he asked for it nicely (sign language “please”), and I told him not to drop it again. If he dropped again, it would stay on the ground until we were done with the meal. He’d pick it up when we got him out of the highchair and we’d have him put it in the sink. I always have him “help” clean up whatever food he has dropped. He doesn’t drop things anymore unless he’s full or bored waiting for the rest of us to finish.

  • Patty

    I am inclined to agree with Melissa about not giving the cup back to the kiddo. Although I might go the extra step and pick it up and put it out of reach – having a always-hungry dog complicates these matters. I then try and reinforce him saying “all done” or “no” as a behavior instead of throwing. He does like to put things away, so I also might “help” him pick it up and take it to the sink and put it in the sink.

  • Kelly @ In the Mom Light Blog

    For me, it depended on the situation and developmental age. When my son was learning about cause and effect, I would simply ignore the situation completely so it wasn’t interesting to him. When he reached the age of throwing it because he was “done” or wanted my attention. I taught him that if he didn’t want something on his tray that he should hand it to me instead of throwing it. So…. I spent a good 6 months having random crap handed to me from his tray 😉

  • stars2moon

    If my son (will be 2 in June) throws things like his cup while we are eating, I tell him we don’t throw this and I pick it up. I give him a second try. If he does it a second time, which he usually does, I’ll take it away. He will usually throw a fit, which I just ignore.

  • Liz K

    I take him out of his highchair and stop mealtime. When he throws things it usually means he’s finished. I’ve also started feeding him when he’s playing on the floor. Some days it’s just easier that way and I’m usually able to get him to eat more if he’s distracted with a toy.

  • Kelly

    I don’t remember this happening very often, but I think that’s because the cup or the food went away if thrown and my daughter learned the lesson very quickly. In these situations I try to keep a very pleasant but no-nonsense attitude and not laugh but also not get angry and frustrated. Kids read emotion very well.

  • Lindsey

    Although I have yet to try this I completely agree and anxious to try. This is such a battle with us. I am also curious what people do with the food throwing. This is the worst for me and such a waste because we have a dog who hovers around at mealtime waiting for the food throwing to begin. It doesn’t phase her if I leave it on the ground like a sippy. When she is finished or board (which doesn’t take long) the food starts flying and fast!! Before I know it her dinner is all over the kitchen. Help! No wasting Plum food/snacks in our house!

  • Generally we say to our toddler “don’t throw your cup,” and hand it back. If she throws it again, then we say “done” and put the cup out of sight.

  • Tonya Lewis

    I pick it up once. If the twins throw them again they stay in the floor till meal time is over 🙂

  • Sara

    We leave pick up the cup and place it out of reach of our 19 month old. When he reaches for it later on we just hold it for him while he sips away. Same with food, when he throws we start hand feeding him. When he won’t take anymore, we know he is done.

  • Mama J

    Just leave it there until he learns! Which is working.

  • Clayton

    Ahhh the thrower! Once the child shows he/she will throw the cup, I don’t mind sitting next to their dominate hand. If I see the cup is going to be thrown, I just take it and say no. It takes a little vigilance but I’ve worked with a lot of children and this works well. Often children throw the cup because they are bored, full, or want to watch you fetch it. If you can figure out what the real problem is, finding the solution is 100 times easier! Nice article!

  • Neans

    I agree. Definitely stay calm. It may take a while, but toddlers learn boundaries about what is play and what’s not. My son knows thru encouragement and laughter a that when he throws a ball it is ok and fun. Showing him a different response for throwing his cup or food allows him to learn from a reaction. You can act unhappy with a toddler’s actions without getting excited about it.

  • Thank you so much to everyone for the absolutely amazing comments on this post — I had so much fun reading them! Stay tuned as I plan to do another post pulling together the best of these comments in association with our pals at Plum Organics! We’ve picked our winner and will be notifying her. Stay tuned for more great contests like this on Cloudmom.com and thank you from the bottom of my heart for checking out my site!!! xoxo Melissa