How Do You Teach a 3 Year Old to BLOW His Nose?!

Updated on August 27, 2013
A.H. asks from San Antonio, TX
12 answers

Unfortunately, my whole family has a cold right now. My 3 year old has a terrible runny nose and I just can't seem to make him understand that he needs to blow out instead of sucking in! I know he'd feel so much better if he'd just blow. Any suggestions on what to do?

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So What Happened?

Thank you all so much! I really didn't have any luck with him. Bless his heart, he tried lol. I just ended up using one of those bulb syringes to give him a little relief!

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answers from Wausau on

Just keep at it. He will get the hang of it in the next 2-4 years. Heh. I hope you're all feeling better soon.

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answers from Washington DC on

I told DD to pretend she was blowing out a birthday candle...with her nose.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Savannah on

Keep working on it in different ways. If all else fails, use an aspirator (at least before bedtime). A little bit of discomfort will make a big difference when he can breath easily to fall asleep.



answers from Norfolk on

My pediatrician says kids either get it or they don't. My oldest could do it by age 3. My youngest at 5 still can't do it. He had no tricks for me. :(

Just keep trying and be patient! Good luck!



answers from Portland on

I had to resort to bribes. Sorry, but true-- this was an area which was really hard for my son.

And after all that, due to his allergies and inclination to getting ear infections during that season, the doc has told him to just wipe his nose instead of blowing. Can't win!



answers from Honolulu on

Just SHOW him, you doing it.... and then tell him to try.
Blowing out from his, nose.
Show him yourself and you doing it.

My kids learned to blow their nose by that age.


answers from Chicago on

Still working on this concept with my now 6yr old. The most effective method has been to take a tissue and have him hold it on both sides of the nose with fingers. Then have him suck in air thru his mouth, lift the right, close mouth and blow! Repeat on other side. This works for us often, but I prompt him step by step still. I also like to help him by giving him a warm bath or steaming his face (gently and safely of course), it seems to come out with less of a blow.



answers from Oklahoma City on

Most kids can't do this even at kindergarten age. It's something you can work on but it's likely not going to be Just keep wiping and use a snot sucker.

Put him in a blanket like a burrito. Put him on a dresser or cabinet that is at least waist height. If you're right handed....snuggle his head in the crook of your left arm. Use your body to lean over his chest a bit. Use your right elbow to hold his body while holding the snot sucker in your right hand.

Your left hand holds his other nasal hole closed while the snot sucker is in the other one.

Have a paper towel or several tissues laying on the other side of him so you can blow out the snot sucker after each suction.

So you're effectively getting all the snot in his sinuses out with the snot sucker and then switching sides when that one is clear.

He'll hate it of course but it's healthier for him to get the snot out instead of sucking it down his throat and then getting upper respiratory goop too.



answers from Las Vegas on

Hmmm...who to write this out. Put a tissue over your nose and show him what the tissue does when you blow out. He will likely blow through his mouth, which is fine, but then show him that you can do it with your mouth closed.



answers from Chattanooga on

I held the tissue over my DD's nose, told her to take a BIG breath, then shifted my hand so it was covering her mouth too. Then I told her to blow REALLY hard out of her nose. It worked well, and after that she just did it right.



answers from Chicago on

I think some kids do it more naturally than others. My 2 year old is really good, but at time I use the nose frida to help get it all out. It certianly cuts down on the length of time for a cold/stuffy nose.

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