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How to Get Rid of a Pacifier from a 3 Year Old

How to Get Rid of a Pacifier from a 3 Year Old
February 23, 2016 Erin Royer-Asrilant

How to Get Rid of a Pacifier from a 3 Year Old

My oldest son is now just over 3 years old. He still uses his pacifier all the time. The pediatrician strongly suggests we get rid of it, as he is behind in speech. So I need some tips on the best way to do this.
~Sarah mom of 2 boys

Dear Sarah,

Here is how to get rid of a pacifier from a 3 year old (of course this will also work just fine with a 2 or 4 year-old as well!) You can either do this process in steps or go cold turkey. It’s up to you.

In steps
get rid of the paci during waking hours first
then bedtime
then nap-time

During Waking

  1. Give a couple of days of warning. “Starting on Saturday, we are going be using the pacifier for sleepy times only.” Then remind him once again the next day. “Today is the last day for paci during awake times.”
  2. On the day you specified, take the pacifier first thing in the morning. If he gives you trouble or throws a tantrum, give a gentle reminder, “Today we are only going to use the pacifier for sleep times only, remember?” He may be just fine or may throw a tantrum, regardless stick to your resolution, remain calm, empathize with his feelings, “I know you love your pacifier and this is hard for you.” If tantrums are tough in your home, we have a great class on tantrums in the parenting class library.
  3. After 2-3 days, he will most likely just stop asking at all and be used to the new routine. But wait a full week before moving onto the next step.


At this point you can get rid of it altogether for both bedtime and nap-time or do bedtime first then nap-time in another week.

At bedtime sleep pressure is very strong so it’s easier for kids to change habits at bedtimes than nap-time.

Give a couple days warning.

  • Stop giving the pacifier at bedtime. Deal with any tantrums as mentioned in step 2 above or watch the class on tantrums if this is a trouble area.
  • Wait a full week before moving onto nap-times.



Give a couple days warning

  • You have several options here:
    a. Just get rid of it (throw it away but don’t let your child see this!)
    b. Poke a hole in the plastic – see cold turkey below
    c. Use the pacifier fairy – see cold turkey below


Cold Turkey

  1. Give a couple days warning.
  2. You have 3 options:
    a. Simply throw it away (but don’t let you child see you do this!) and tell him it’s all gone
    and he is done with the pacifier
    b. Poke a hole in it or snip a small bit of the plastic off so that it no longer holds any air in it. Your child will lose interest really fast.
    c. Invoke the pacifier fairy. This is just like the tooth fairy where you leave the pacifiers somewhere specific for the “pacifier fairy” Then exchange them for a few small toys. When your son asks about the pacifier, you can remind him the pacifier fairy has them and she left the toys in it’s/their place.


how to get rid of a pacifier from a 3 year old