The Shameful Trick I Used to Make My 3-Year-Old Give Up the Pacifier

Mom Moment 65

toddler with pacifierOut of all the things I vowed I would never allow my baby to have -- a pacifier was at the very top of the list. I absolutely hated the damn things and thought they were nothing but a crutch that lazy parents used in an effort to shut their kids up because they couldn't manage to control them.

And then about three weeks after my son was born, I suddenly became said lazy parent. After popping a paci into his mouth and experiencing the pure bliss of silence for the first time since his birth -- the binky became my best friend. And his.

But then I reached the point where I suddenly had a 3-year-old who was still sucking away on his "na-na" (as he so affectionately referred to it) to fall asleep every night. I knew it was about time to get rid of it.

And because I was a naive idiot, I figured it wouldn't be too difficult to convince him to part with it, you know -- because he wasn't a baby anymore and didn't really need it. So I tried to take it away cold turkey.

Yeah. That didn't quite pan out the way I'd planned. Have you ever dealt with a pissed off 3-year-old at midnight? It's not fun. And the only thing that calmed him down was handing the paci back over, so I surrendered and found myself back at square one.

But then I came up with this really cool plan to make sure he'd kick the binky to the curb once and for all -- and it worked like a charm.

Of course, some will argue that my method wasn't exactly the best parenting move a mom can make.

To put it plain and simple -- I bribed the kid.

He'd had his eye on a shiny new John Deere bike for a while. I told him if he went to bed without the na-na for a full two weeks, my husband and I would buy him the bike.

And guess what? He took the bait, and two weeks later, he had a brand new bike, the pacis were all in the trash (just kidding, I kept them for at least another year just in case we ran into a crisis), and all was right with the world again.

toddler bike

But that doesn't change the fact that I bribed my kid to get what I wanted out of him, which probably doesn't make me a model parent.

Oh, who cares. He's 7 now and totally binky-free, so I'm calling my little strategy a win.

Are you struggling to get your child off the pacifier? (Try the bribe trick. It works.)


Images via Mary Fischer



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Coles... Coles_mom

I never wanted to use them for my kids either, but it happened almost like you- it was pretty much necessary for my sanity. My oldest son just used it here and there and it was no big deal around a year old to just stop giving him one. My younger son didn't want one at all and sucked him thumb for a bit. My daughter...oh daughter was a paci addict!!!!!! She was 3 and literally had a stash! She wouldn't stop crying and screaming unless she had a BUCKET full of them. I honestly mean a bucket. She'd always have one in her mouth, one in each hand and her bucket (with about 10 others in it). I should've nipped it in the bud a lot sooner, but we went through a move, a new baby, and a divorce- so I let her keep them as comfort. Finally, a few weeks before she turned four, I took all of them away from her while she was asleep and in the morning when she got up, a HUGE balloon bouquet was on the kitchen table with lots of little gifts and a letter from the "paci fairy" thanking her for sending all her paci's to new babies. She totally bought it and hasn't asked for a paci ever again.

kdsue kdsue

We had planned a family trip to Disney World.  My paci-addicted daughter was 3 1/2 when we went.  We told her that Disney World doesn't allow 3-year-olds to have pacis, so we had to leave them at home.  (Yes, I had a couple stashed in my purse for an emergency.)  She survived the week without them, and hasn't used one since. But she did try to weasel one out of me a few days after we got home by telling me that she didn't think she needed to go to Disney World again until she was older!

nonmember avatar Emmie

I feel like I missed my window to remove the paci drama free. Only one of my kids ever used one and she became very ill as a newborn until she was about 18 months. She was always getting poked, hospitals, doctors, medications, etc. It was her comfort during procedures and appts. Now she's fine and she is very attached to her paci. Only uses it for sleeping and when she is very tired or upset. It's her only attachment, so I see it will be a challenge. Good luck to me!!

dizzl... dizzledaz

Before Christmas last year, I told my son (who was three months away from turning three) that Santa Claus wasn't going to bring presents to him if he still had his "plug". I took them away ( he only used at nap/bed time) and never looked back.

Katriena Young

My cousin used one till he was about 5. He only used it at night and even then he didn't suck on it. Just wanted it under his pillow. My grandma told him to throw it away and he chucked it across the room and into the trash can. (But we had to dig it out before bed time.)

Angie Bugaj Stickley

My 4 year old daughter was SO attached to her's also (but only at home at bedtime - not even for naps at dayschool).  We tried leaving them for Santa one year but she didn't go for that.  The next Easter, right around her 4th birthday, I got her to agree to leave them for the Easter Bunny.  This bunny was supposed to take them to all the little boys and girls who didn't have any and in exchange, leave her a special something in her Easter basket.  Worked like a charm!  She asked for it a couple times after that but didn't argue when I reminded her where they went.   Funny thing was, her younger (by 2 years) sister never wanted anything to do with a pacifier and even when seeing one laying around would go to her sister and give it to her. 

nonmember avatar 4under4mom

My oldest was an addict so we cut the very tip of the nipple off. She couldn't figure out why they didn't work anymore. It only took about two days for her to stop trying. Then with the other kids we took them away at around one when they had a cold. They were stuffed up and couldn't use them and they never missed them when they got better!

Jessica Taylor Moore

I guess I lucked out so to speak with that situation. Neither of my boys would take a paci. Both of mine love a blanket though. My oldest only uses his blanket at bedtime or strickly at home and my 4 yr old has his for nap and night time. It will be interesting to see how that plays out for the youngest when it comes time for kindergarten but I have almost a year to figure that out. Good luck to the momma's fighting the paci battle.

TAG_u... TAG_ur_it

I took my son to toys r us and he bought a toy with his pacifier. He was so proud when he gave it to the cashier. He was 2.

Dellyn Edeburn

You gotta do what you gotta do. My daughter didn't give her night time "Gucko" up until her 3rd birthday. I had to tell her that 3 year olds are big girls and big girls can't use a paci and if she gave it up she got have an awesome birthday party.

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