If you want your toddler to stop using a dummy, firstly, limit the time when your child is allowed their dummy.

Initially only allow them to have it when they’re tired or in need of comfort. Don’t have dummies around the house, and don’t ask them if they want their dummy unless they ask for it. And then have a rule that the dummy’s use is limited to once a day. Whenever your toddler needs it most. And be very consistent in stopping your toddler using a dummy at any other time.

Secondly, decide a date when the dummy will go, and help your child get used to the idea.
One lovely way is to explain that the time has come to give the dummies to the dummy fairy. The dummy fairy needs the dummies for various uses in fairyland. Talk about it lots.
There’s a book Bea Gives Up Her Dummy by Jenny Album that you could read.
If that idea doesn’t appeal you could just explain that the dummies go to poor children who need them more.
If your child’s old enough ask them lots of questions.

  • ‘Where will the dummies go?’
  • ‘When’s that going to happen?’
  • ‘How will you get to sleep when your dummy has gone?’
  • ‘What will you do if you’re upset instead of sucking your dummy?’

If possible practice getting your child to sleep without a dummy. So they can get used to it.
Then one night leave the dummies in a bowl outside their room, and replace them with a thank you present from the dummy fairy.
In the morning, talk about how pleased the fairy must have been, and how kind and grown-up your toddler is for giving up their dummies.
Sometimes the fairy may visit again with an extra treat for your child.

And finally, once the dummy has gone, you can never give in, and let them have a dummy again. Or all your preparation will have been for nothing.
Make sure you throw the dummies away rather than hiding them ‘just in case’ so you don’t get tempted to give it back.
Be ready for difficult days.
Your child may be more upset for a while and need extra help getting off to sleep. Distract them with cuddles and toys and favourite games. And praise them for managing without the dummy. And within a couple of weeks, they’ll get used to it.

So the 3 tips to help your toddler give up a dummy are:

  1. Limit the time when your child is allowed their dummy.
  2. Decide a date when the dummy will go and help your child get used to the idea.
  3. And once the dummy has gone, never give in, and let them have a dummy again.

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If you need more than three tips on this – or you’d like to discover the secrets you need to have happy well-behaved, children – please contact me by clicking here. You can arrange a free 20-minute (no obligation) chat to find out if working with me personally (by phone, Skype or face-to-face) would help you and your family. Contact Elizabeth

child behavioural expert
The author:

Elizabeth O’Shea is a parenting specialist child behaviour expert and one of the leading parenting experts in the UK.

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