From Bottle to Sippy Cup at Two Years Old

Updated on June 14, 2010
A.K. asks from Truckee, CA
22 answers

Hi moms.....I am trying to get my son to stop drinking from the bottle and use sippy cups as he is turning two soon.
He barely eats any food and was drinking about forty to fifty ounces of milk a day. I took away about half his bottles...he still gets one before his nap and bedtime, and first thing in the morning. At all other times he gets a sippy cup and food. It's only the second day of this and we are tearing our hair out! He refuses the sippy cup with milk, though he drinks water from one. And he won't eat more food. I can see how hungry he is, but he won't eat. Any advice mamas? I know I should have done this earlier, or should I wait till he is older? Any insights would help:)

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So What Happened?

Thanks for all the advice! We took away all the bottles, but the little guy is so stubborn he refused all food and liquids, ended up dehydrated. He ate a little, and drank almost nothing for forty eight hours. We took him to to the doctor, who said we needed to give the bottle back as he was getting very dehydrated and making himself sick. She advised us to wean off slowly, because cold turkey wasn't working out too well...I have gotten every food I can think of for him to try, so we can increase food intake before cutting the bottles back to three a day again.

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answers from Atlanta on

Personally I would throw all the bottles away. He will eat when he gets hungry! Also, he'll start to drink more than water out of a sippy cup. He doesn't HAVE to have milk as long as he eats other calcium rich foods or drinks calcium fortified juices. You may want to ask his doctor what he/she suggests, but I would completely ditch the bottles.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

We had the bottle fairy pick up my daughters on her birthday. We spoke about it leading up to the important date. When she was sleeping the fairy came and picked up all the bottles. She also left some cool sippy cups and a special stuffed animal.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Richmond on

I agree with Julie, TOSS THE BOTTLES!! All of them... he will take a cup when he has no other solution. Maybe take him with you to pick out a new cup, get him excited... but chuck the bottles and don't look back. There's a lot of social stigma to older toddlers who still drink from bottles, not to mention how badly it could potentially mess up his teeth. Once your son realizes you mean business, there's going to be a lot of tears, but stick to your guns honey, for this too shall pass. Good luck and best wishes!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My now 8 year old was quite attached to his bottles. I told him that the bottle fairy would come in 2 days to take his bottles to babies, since he was a big boy. Then I reminded him the next day that the bottle fairy was coming the next night. Then the next night I reminded him that "tonight the bottle fairy comes". I spun a big story about how the bottle fairy gets the bottles when babies turn into big boys and takes them to the new babies that need them. Then that night, I took the bottles, threw away the nipples after cutting them up (no temptation to give in when he cried that way) - and I put ALL the bottles into plastic bags, tied them up and took them out to the outside trash can. The next morning when he cried for his bottle, I took him to the cupboard, showed him that the bottle fairy had come, and gave him milk in a sippy. He cried for a few minutes and then took the sippy. He was about 18 months old. You just have to decide what "the last day" is for bottles, and do something drastic to stick to it. I would suggest throwing out the nipples after destroying them. If you want to save the bottles for future siblings, fine, but you'll want new nipples anyway. Put them in a completely out of sight place, and in an inconvenient place for you to go rescue them. Once that point has been reached you CANNOT give in, or he will KNOW who is boss. It needs to be YOU, not him. He won't let himself starve. When you serve a meal, tell him he has to eat a certain amount of it before he can have any milk, and again, stick to it. He's used to filling up with fluid, and he needs to have more solids.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Throw the bottles in the garbage already and just be done with it! He is 2, you are mommy. He's not gonna grab your car keys and drive to the store to buy some more. When he realizes he is not going to get a bottle because you aren't going to give in, he will move on and drink from whatever you offer him, which by the way at 2 years old he can learn to drink perfectly fine from a regular cup--no sippy needed. This is such a silly thing to let your child get you all worked up over--there will be bigger battles to fight! If you can't stand your ground when he is 2, you are in big trouble when he is 16.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

I agree, toss the bottles.
Your child WILL NOT starve.
It may be a lot of crying or fits (be prepared) but he will eat and drink when he is ready..Do not give him junk, crackers, etc.. Only feed him healthy meals.

For snack only fruit and cheese.. Also, he may not need milk in a sippy. Give her a big boy cup. Children in daycare would not have sippy's in a 2 year old room.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

My sister just threw out all the bottles. My niece was still having a couple at about 4 and so she was tired of people telling her that her daughter was too old. So she just threw them away. Then, my niece did not have a choice.

Also, some kids just won't take sippy cups. They are harder to use than a bottle and the liquid does not come out as easily. My son would not use one so we just gave him cups without lids. I started with small amounts of liquid in the cup and watched him. He became an old pro in no time. All 3 of my children were able to use open cups by 2 so your son should be able to master it and it might make him feel like a big kid sooner.

You could also use cups with straws. They are easier than the sippy and they don't leak as fast as an open cup.

On top of that, there is a 1st grader going into 2nd at my children's school that still uses a sippy cup with the no-drip stopper. He still uses it because his parents did not want him to be pushed into growing up. So not only does he get teased by the other students, he still behaves like a toddler to get attention.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

Yes, you should have done this much earlier, but that isn't the point now. What I would do is simply throw away all the bottles. It is going to be difficult on him and on you for a few days, but I think it's the best way to go and will be very worthwhile in the end.
I personally would also get rid of the sippy cup, but since that's what he's accepting for water you might keep it for a while. The idea is to change it to one of the cups with a straw built in. Those are better for the child to use than a sippy cup. And his taking only water from the sippy cup is fine. Train him to drink anything else from a regular cup. Yes, it can be messy while he's learning, but help him learn to use a regular cup by sitting beside him and at first holding the cup to his lips. Gradually he will begin to want to hold the cup for himself. Let him, and be ready to wipe up spills for a while. When he spills, don't get upset. Tell him that's ok, he's learning and get out the paper towels. If he shows an interest in cleaning up his own spills, encourage that. Do begin to teach him though, that playing with the cup and spilling because of doing that is not OK. When that happens, tell him "you're obviously finished drinking so we're putting the cup away now." and take the cup from him. You might even want to say "we don't play with the cup. It's for you to drink from."
To explain my reason for saying use a regular cup for liquids other than water.... think about cleaning the sippy or straw cups. I just don't feel comfortable that I'm getting them clean enough if there is anything but water in them.
I also use sturdy glass with my kids rather than plastic. I know that 'freaks' out a lot of adults but with consistent training until they are ready to handle the cup on their own, I have trained all of our childcare kids to use the glass cups by themselves by the time they are about 21 months of age. It takes time... you can't do this in a week. I start introducing the child to the glass cup at about 7 months of age so you can see what I'm talking about doing takes a few months to accomplish, but it has been very much worth my time and effort. I now have four children in my childcare that I can trust completely with the cups on their own.. and have been able to do that for the past six months. The youngest is 2 1/2 and the oldest is 6. I'm just starting now with a little 7 month old again, and she is progressing so well, I'm thinking she'll be ready to turn loose with a glass by 18 months of age.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I am not opposed to humans drinking cow's milk...but 40 ounces is WAY too much...I think you realize that.

He is definitely old enough to master this. I wouldn't necessarily take the bottles away cold-turkey, but I wouldn't give him milk in them anymore. If he wants milk, he can have it in the cup.

Some kids need the comfort of suckling longer than others. I introduced the cup around 6 months. Bottles were gone before her first birthday. BUT I nursed her until 18 months AND then she wanted her pacifier back after weaning for napping and sleeping at home. Interesting enough, she never used the pacifier after 8-9 months at the daycare...go figure.

Unless there are some other issues at play, he'll eat when he gets hungry enough. This is a huge time of testing limits. I am pretty relaxed about what my daughter eats. We keep healthy, acceptable choices in the house and she can have some choice in what to eat (I don't COOK multiple meals). If she doesn't want what is for dinner, she can have a bowl of cereal or a peanut butter sandwich. Most kids can understand and master this choice at two. She has gone to bed without dinner 3-4 times in the last year (she is three now) because there was some sort of meltdown at dinner.

Laurie and I agree on most some daycares/preschools DO require sippy cups. It is actually one of things I don't really like about mine. I don't think they are really helping the kids by not helping them master an open cup in every day situations.



answers from San Diego on

Hi A.K first of all don't use the bottle fairy OMG it's a crying shame if you have to lie to your child for them to obey. Anne could not have said it better. I have a 15 month old that can drink out of a regular cup. You are right you should have done this earlier, but you can't go backwards, Definitly do not wait till he is older. Please don't take the other mom's advice, except for Annes, and mine of J.


Hi A.K first of all don't use the bottle fairy OMG it's a crying shame if you have to lie to your child for them to obey. Anne could not have said it better. I have a 15 month old that can drink out of a regular cup. You are right you should have done this earlier, but you can't go backwards, Definitly do not wait till he is older. Please don't take the other mom's advice, except for Annes, and mine of J.



answers from Chico on

Have him watch you throw out the bottles and he'll no they are no more and not to ask for them. Also, once cow's milk is introduced, they shouldn't have more than 16 ozs/day or it could cause "milk baby syndrome". Which happened to a friend of mine or I wouldn't mention it.

You are the parent, just stick to your guns. I know it's not always easy as my little guy is not into eating either. It hasn't always been pleasant, but after a year of makin our kid eat what we thought was healthy, our Dr said he had gained too much weight during the year and stop feeding him so much...LOL.

If you are ever concerned about weight loss or gain, check with your pediatrician.



answers from New York on

I gave my daughter a choice. Milk in a cup...water only in the bottle. She doesn't drink milk anymore (just doesnt like it) so I supplement with yogurt and calcium fortified juice.



answers from San Francisco on

Hello AK, since you let the child use this bottle for your convience for nearly 2 years and that is what he knows why do you think it is going to be an easy change? Think of someone giving up cigeretts and it takes time and effort. But since you are the parent and not his friend remember that you are in control and in charge. Now that my 5 are grown we all have a special relationship but as we talked recently one said "Mom, we knew if it was a hold out you were not going to cave and if you did it was a moment to write down" We started all of the grandchildren and my children by the time theyu were 7 months old . Have you found a sippy cup with his name? That may help as it is special, try getting the kind that are colored /clearwith colored tops(we have both) that have attached straws. Kids like to see the liquid come up the straw into the mouth. Do you like bottled water? get the child size of bottled water they really like doing what the parents do- I keep a couple of cases here all the time. There are usually 2 shapes to choose from. Please don't make the child stay on the bottle longer than now. I am constantly shocked when I see a great big 3/4 year old walking around with a bottle. I have seen foster children that had parents that were to lazy to do it any other way and the 4/5yo didn't know how to drink from a glass. So do what a good parent does pull out your hair, bite your tounge, and say sweetly this is the new game in town. You are the sherriff and he is the deputy notthe other way around. It will take him some time but he will get it. As for food unless he has a helth problem then just keep offering. We keep vegetables and dip around in the frig all the time or cut up apples. Our little 3yo will go and get her own yougart off the bottom shelf if she needs a snack and noone is listening.Smile. Keep healthy good sncks near at hand and that problem will take care of itself.
If you want to have him like meat keep small amounts cut up smaller than bite size and he can pop them into his mouth. When my children were little-- they ate all their vegetables as lumpia a Phillipino food that had everything ground up and then rolled in a spring roll wrapper and they could eat them on the go.



answers from Sacramento on

Don't worry about when you should have done it. Just work on it now. Keep trying what you're doing and make sure you have the right sippy cups. What I've had to do is give my 17 month old a teeny tiny bit of milk in a regular child cup and let him drink it on his own. I've also had to find food he WILL eat. He no longer will eat applesauce, eggs, cheese, yogurt etc . He's tired of those things so I keep trying new things and eventually find something he likes even if it's a McDonald's hamburger cut up into bite size pieces. Not ideal but he will eat it. Protein drinks (just a bit of that though to make sure he doesnt' get constipated), different flavors of yogurt, frozen yogurt, trying all kinds of different fruits that are actually okay for him to eat etc. Try all the good advice you get from this site and soon enough he will be changing it up.



answers from Saginaw on

Throw the bottles away! He is way to old for bottles still! When my kids turn 1 they are already using sippy cups! That sounds like alot of milk to me and maybe he is getting to full on the milk to want to eat. Unfortunatly I think you may just have to tough it out and keep giving him the sippy and the food and eventually he will eat! But I def wouldnt give him anymore bottles cause it could also be confusing him! Good luck!



answers from Cincinnati on

hi -
another idea - cut all the nipples off and put then on the bottle thus when he tries to drink from it he will not be able to take a drink. He may fuss - you can say "it's broken"

Re: feeding: Is he a picky eater? does he gag? is his diet very limited?
offer food first then milk later - if he is drinking too much milk, he will not be hungry for food.



answers from San Francisco on

He will eat when he gets hungry enough - do not give in. If you do, you'll have a four year old with a bottle hanging out of his mouth and starting kindergarten will really be challenging! As for milk, if he doesn't want it, that's okay. There are many other ways to get the vitamins milk provide. Just stick to your guns - it won't get any better if you give in. In fact, next time around, and there will HAVE to be a next time, it will be worse!



answers from Stockton on

I am going to be brief because I think that everyone said it already. On thing is you can do something I have heard works for pacifiers, tell him he is a big boy and there are babies who need his bottles so he needs to help you gather up his bottles into an bag to give to babies, then you can drop them at a friends house with a baby or something like that. Then because he is so big and did so good reward him by going to pick out some of his new sippy cups, there are so many ones with fun characters on them. Also he is only supposed to be getting 3 cups of milk a day too much and he will not get enough iron so really be careful with that, try to give too much juice either becuase they are not supposed to get too much of that either, water is the best thing. Good luck, he is going to be your big boy pretty soon



answers from Oklahoma City on

My son was not much of an eater but liked to drink. My ped said it was because he was feeling too full from drinking whole milk, it has lots of fat and can make children feel full. Cut down to a small amount of milk once a day but never with meals. At meals small sips of water if they need it but concentrate on the food. At almost 2 he can eat more foods with calcium and won't require as much drinkable calcium as milk. He won't starve, he will eat when he is hungry. Get rid of the bottles today!


answers from St. Louis on

Throw away all bottles. Take him out and let him pick out a few cups, even if they are ones without a lid. When he asks for a bottle, tell him he's a big boy and leave it at that. If he cries, tell him you understand he liked his bottle, but big boys don't use them and don't you want to do X (color, play outside, watch a cartoon) - and explain he can do that because he's a big boy.

He should be getting milk around three times a day - one for each meal. Water and 50% juice / 50% water are fine in between meals. I never have kept strict count of how many ounces my child was drinking once she went to milk, but I can guarantee he's full of milk so doesn't want to eat.

Sit him at the table with you and offer him a plate of food. If he doesn't eat it, then let him get down. If he gets hungry in between meals, offer him healthy snacks.

This is just my what works to get him to eat but don't fret about it. He'll eat when he's hungry but you DO need to throw away the bottles and cut back the milk!



answers from Stockton on

make a big production of throwing out all of the bottles in front of him or boxing them up to mail to "The Babies that Need Them" so he KNOWS a bottle is not an option for a big boy. stick to your guns - he will not starve and if you back down and give in now you will make it exponentially harder to get him to do anything again because he will know that all he has to do is step up his game a little and he will win. If he cries -it's because he is being manipulative and feeling frustrated - he is not sad or scared etc. You need to show him you're the boss now and that you mean business or every new thing will be a huge fight. Imagine potty training for a moment...
Remember his tummy is only as big as his little fist - so maybe he's not as hungry as you worry he is.



answers from San Francisco on

I say don't force it. My daughter was the exact same way...we tried all kinds of sippy cups and she still didn't want to drink from it...only her bottle, so I just let her...she finally was able to give it up when she turned 3...I got pregnant with my second and I told her that it was time to save the bottles for her little brother and get her a big sister cup, she agreed and never looked back. So I think its really when they are ready. Just my opinion :)

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