19 answers

When to Break Toddler from Sippy Cup

I have a 3 year old daughter that still takes a sippy cup. I just wanted some thoughts on what age is a good age to start taking it away. She has to have it at night when she goes to bed which is a horrible habit but she also likes to have it with her when we do any kind of shopping or when we're riding in the car. So when do I cut her off and tell her she only gets a regular cup? She knows how to drink out of a regular cup but still prefers to have her sippy cup over anything else. Any thoughts are greatly appreciated! Thanks and Happy Valentines Day!!!

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Is there a reason she needs to stop drinking from a sippy cup? If not, why not wait until she doesn't care.

I have to Toss N Go cups for my 4 yr old son. When he wakes up in the morning I let him have a regular lid on his sippy, but after that he uses the ones with the straw. It works really great for us, he knows the only time he gets the regular lid is in the morning, then the rest of the day he uses the straw lid. Hope this helps!!

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When my son turned 3 I felt it was time to begin to break the habit. Don't take it away right away, kind of wean her off from it. Find other things that she's interested in to help get her mind off from it, or set up rewards. Say like if she likes barbie dolls everytime she goes shopping with you without the sippy cup then she'll get an accessorie or a new doll, and so forth. You don't want her to still feel that she needs it when it's time to start pre-k or kindergarten, that will only cause more issues. I hope those suggesstions will help.

I think it's just an attachment, if she can hold the cup and drink ok from a regular cup I would start gradually and remove it, but you will have to find something else perhaps a small stuffed puppy or something she might not want to hold the cup as much and them maybe eventually not at all, teach her only drink a meal time.

Hi! I have a toddler (she just turned 2) and about 6 months ago I bought her a Nalgene bottle (check your local camping store). I just now started giving her a "big girl cup" at the dinner table and around the house. She knows it has to stay in the kitchen (where there is no carpet). However, if we are in the car or out and about she either gets her Nalgene bottle or (even still) sometimes she gets her sippy cup. However, like a lot of people have said, I don't give her anything but water in her cup. If she wants O.J. for breakfast or milk for dinner than she gets it in her "big girl cup." I just make it sound really exciting to her!

Hi B.,

Well I have a 3 1/2 year old and a 14 month old and they are not limited to a certain amount of fluids a day but I also don't allow my 14 month old carry her cup around at all times of the day.

On the other part I am also a home child care provider and the fastest way to spread germs through a daycare is let them drink from the same cup so they only have their cups at the tables when it is breakfast, snack, lunch, snack or dinner time.
I also watch a 2 1/2 year old and my daughters cup and her cup (regualr cups) are left at the table and they have something in them but they can't take them away from the table.

My advice replace the sippy cups with regular cups but explain they have to stay at the table. Replace it during the day time and work up to the night time.
I did it cold turkey with my oldest and and my oldest daycare girl. She also drinks out of a regualar cup at home and if they go somewhere she takes on of those cups with a straw in them.

Hope this helps, W.

Are you very sure that you want to break her from the sippy cup? My daughter was capable of drinking from a regular cup, but we made her use the sippy cup when drinking anywhere besides the kitchen - so the car, living room, bedroom etc.

Just a thought though.. you could switch to "sports bottles".
That way she looks like a big kid or adult, we all drink from them! and just try making her use a regular cup for one meal a day. Pick your battles..
Also, depending upon what you put in the cup at bedtime is what makes it terrible. Water isn't as damaging as fruit juice.

Is there a reason she needs to stop drinking from a sippy cup? If not, why not wait until she doesn't care.

I have completely opposite advise than the previous one. My daughter is 4 and still has a sippy cup of juice available at all times. I drink continuously throughout the day, so why would I limit what she can drink. She can drink from a regular cup without any problems and does at meal time, but it is easier for me to give her a sippy through the day, to prevent spills. If you are worried about the attachment issue, you might just not let her have it at night time, or in the car. But I wouldn't limit her intake of fluid. Hope this helps.

If you fill it only with water, it won't hurt her to have it until whenever. She will eventually not want it anymore, anyway, so you don't need to make a big issue out of it. My daughter did not give them up until she was about 4 and it has done her no harm.
If your daughter is drinking something other than water from the cup, you should start replacing some of the juice or milk with water in small increments, until finally all she gets is water. Juice or milk from sippy cups can start to damage your childs teeth.

Just because she is 3 doesn't mean she "has" to quit the sippy cup. If you want her to quit then take out the sipper seal that prevents the spillage. It will stop her from having to suck up the drink, but it will also keep the mess down. The sucking is the habit. After a while she'll realize that drinking the sippy cup and a regular cup are no different. There is nothing wrong with bringing the sippy on the road. Our kids still used them in the car to prevent messes at that age. You may want to stop the cup at bed though. If you are letting her go to bed with it, it will mess up her teeth and can give her ear troubles. And a drink before bed can cause some unexpected bed wetting also. So, all that said, don't fret giving up the sippy. I'd say it would be a problem when she's in school if she still wants one. But right now don't worry.

Just like a bottle or breastfeeding, it tends to be easiest to cut out the daytime use, and then move to bedtime. I just started having my boys use regular cups more and more and they never missed their sippy cups. Good luck.

I have a 3year old son (he will be 4 in Nov), I need the same help...I have considered using the toss and go cups with the straws as a new cup for him to use. It is a hard habit to break...good luck and let me know what advise you get!!

I did it for my kids at the same time. One was 4, and the other 2 1/2. I bought them Nalgene bottles in their favorite colors and told them that we were getting rid of the baby cups. They could take their Nalgenes with them on walks or in the car. We were already using regular cups at the table though, and they only get one drink of water before bed so that they don't wet the bed. So there was not that sleeping attachment to the sippy cups for us. It went pretty smoothly and they still love their water bottles.

I don't see any big deal about a 3 year old using a sippy cup. My dd's still use one when we leave the house and in their lunch at preschool bc of the spilling danger.

She'll let you know...

I agree with Wendy. Cold turkey is best. With my (at the time) 4 and 2 year olds they would carry their sippy cups everywhere. I got sick of finding them hidden with milk or juice in them. I just took all of them and packed them away. They knew how to use a regular cup, and I put the regular cups in a low drawer that they can get into when they want a drink (they also know how to get water from the dispenser on the fridge). As for nighttime, put a cup in the bathroom that is just hers (maybe with her favorite cartoon character) and a stepstool and show her how to get water if she wakes up thirsty.

I agree with Heather H. that you don't need to limit your child's fluid intake. You didn't mention what she drinks from her sippy cup. If it's not water, I would suggest keeping her sippy cup full of water and letting her have it throughout the day. If she is thirsty, water is what she needs anyway. There is no reason for anyone to be drinking juice all day. According to our pediatrician, even 100% fruit juice is essentially like sugar water with vitamins. Juice is fine in moderation of course, but water is really what a 3 year old, and really anyone else (except for babies of course), needs to rehydrate. If she is attached to the juice in the sippy cup, then replacing it with water might help her not be so dependent on it. If she still doesn't want to give it up, there isn't anything wrong with her drinking water all day.

Children adjust much better than we give them credit for. Talk to your daughter about being a big girl. Praise her for things she does independently. Tell her big girls drink from big girl cups and offer them to her.

When it's time, set a date, you need to take all the sippy cups out of the house. If they're not there you won't be tempted to give in to her. She may cry for a couple of days, and you'll feel guilty, but you will both make it through. Good Luck Big girls

I would suggest getting a neat big kid cup with her favorite character on it and letting her drink from that. One thing that my 4 year old loves is water bottles. If I give him a cup of water oh no he wont drink it. If it is in a neat water bottle oh he is all for that. I usually just buy the small water bottles at Wal-Mart and just refill them. He helps himself to a water bottle anytime he wants one from the bottom drawer of the frig and puts them in the sink for me to wash out and refill. At lunch he gets juice or milk from a regular cup and at dinner it is milk from a regular cup.

Hey B.,
I've been working as a nanny for a long time, but I also have a one-year-old. I actually had a child who had the same habit as your 3-yr-old. This is how I dealt with it: it was before christmas- so use Easter- and told the boy that Santa needed him to be a big boy now and leave the sippy cup for him to take. Then he would get some really cool presents. It worked really well- the boy gave up the sippy cup and got some really cool presents in return. So do the same with the Easter bunny and watch how it works. Good luck! And by the way, at night, maybe you can make it a special "nite-nite-time" reading her a book before she goes to bed.

I have to Toss N Go cups for my 4 yr old son. When he wakes up in the morning I let him have a regular lid on his sippy, but after that he uses the ones with the straw. It works really great for us, he knows the only time he gets the regular lid is in the morning, then the rest of the day he uses the straw lid. Hope this helps!!

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