The BIG question is how to get toddler to sleep without a pacifier? This past spring we went through a lot of milestones with the twins. Their baby brother had been born in November and until he was sleeping well at night, we put things off like taking away their pacifiers, transitioning out of cribs, and potty training. In this post, I will share the simple process we used to get rid of pacifiers.

I was not sure how to go about it, but S, had started biting hers and making holes in it. Between safety concerns and the fact that the twins were over 2 and a 1/2 years old, I knew we had to get rid of the pacifiers ASAP.

Pacifier History

First, a little history on the twins’ pacifier use. After they were 1 and a 1/2 years old, we only used pacifiers for naps and bedtime. This was a big help because we did not have to worry about taking the pacifier away when out and about. This made the pacifier removal process faster and easier. If you are reading this and have young toddlers, I encourage you to start only allowing pacifiers for sleeping. Besides having a newborn, we did not take away pacifiers sooner because the twins were such good sleepers. We were just not willing to mess with a bedtime and nap routine that worked so well.

I did a little research on how to get toddler to sleep without a pacifier and I found the following article from to be very useful.

Bye-Bye Binky: Ending the Pacifier Habit

More specifically, check out the section titled “How to Stop: The Three-Day Plan”. We followed this very closely and I found it to be so much easier than anticipated. The steps below outline the version we used in our house.

How to ditch the pacifier in 3 days.

How To Get Toddler To Sleep Without A Pacifier

Step 1: 3 days before, the day before, and the day of pacifier removal, I told the twins they were getting so big and it was time to stop using pacifiers. I also told them there were babies that needed them more than they did and we would send the pacifiers to them. That was it, I left it at that and they both seemed receptive to this idea.

Step 2: On the day of pacifier removal, we gathered all the pacifiers and put them in zip-lock bags. I made it fun, like a scavenger hunt. We did this after dinner, so it was close to bedtime. Each twin had a bag of their own. I went with each of them individually and put the bags on our front porch. I told them the pacifiers would be picked up and sent to babies that needed them. They were very happy about this.

Step 3: We did our bedtime routine and everything went very smoothly, there were no mentions of pacifiers. My husband and I tucked them in and went to leave the room. Both girls started crying hysterically and my heart sank. But, we stayed calm and reminded them that there were babies that needed their pacifiers. This calmed them down a bit and we left. The crying started again, but we were prepared this could happen. We let them cry and the crying lasted about 5-10 min (although it seemed so much longer). Once the crying stopped they were asleep within 30 minutes or so. Wow! We were so relieved and surprised at how smoothly it went.

I should also mention, at this point in their lives the twins were still sleeping in their cribs. This helped because they did not have the option to run out of their bed or their room. Crying at bedtime for a few minutes lasted a couple more days. Waking up at night or early the next day also happened a few times over the next week or so. The good news is, within 2 weeks both children were fully adjusted to their new, pacifier free life.

3 Days Isn’t So Bad

If you follow the steps above, you should be able to successfully get your toddler to sleep without a pacifier in just 3 days. It is important to be prepared for some crying and a few off nights. But, stick with it, and you will solve the big problem of how to get toddler to sleep without a pacifier.

Need more toddler sleep help? Consider hiring a toddler sleep consultant to return to peaceful nights of sleep for the whole family. 

Related posts: Toddler Parenting Tips

how to take away your toddler's pacifier in 3 days.

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  1. Always interesting reading how other parents manage transitions such as stopping using a dummy (im from the UK!) great tips #wanderingwednesdays

  2. I have a toddler and these are some good suggestions. I think I may try it. With my first two I cut the tip of their pacifiers and told them it was broken. It worked great for my first born, but my second wasn’t having it. Maybe I will try a new strategy this time around.

  3. This is great. We are just at that stage right now. Our twins will be 3 in April. We took daytime pacis away in June, potty trained in October, and we are getting ready to get rid of the nighttime ones. You make a great point – while they are still in cribs. Yes, our boys are, too – so we need to get on that! We’ve told them that babies need their pacis – we just need do it! Did you go in at night when they were crying for their paci? Thanks for sharing! #wanderingwednesdays

    1. Hi Katie, sounds like you are about 6 months behind us with your twins…potty training, taking pacis, crib transition, etc. the crying at night wasn’t as bad as I expected luckily. But, yes if they cried we went in, made sure they were okay. Reminded them the pacis were sent to babies, then left. If they cry again, I would let them cry since you checked on them. Or you can check on them in longer intervals. Good luck!