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Bye Bye Binky; Ten Tips to easily Wean the Pacifier

If you are a parent you know the struggles of saying Bye Bye Binky! But follow these 10 tips to help eliminate the pacifier easily. Soon your little one will be free of the binky and all with the least resistance possible!

(This article originally published Jan 16, 2013. It’s been refreshed with updated content and relaunched for your convenience)

Bye Bye Binky; Ten Tips to easily Wean the Pacifier

Bye Bye Binky

It doesn’t matter what you call it; Binky, Pacifier, Soother; we all face the same problem. How does weaning pacifiers away from our children work when you want the least path of resistance? I was cursed and blessed at the same time that neither of my boys would use a pacifier.

Those first few months were a big adjustment and full of very little sleep. But my daughter is a completely different character. Once she took a Binky there was no looking back! She was the Binky Queen! And oh those nights of sleep were bliss!

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There was no taking the pacifier away from her. I thought, “oh I’ll just wait until she falls asleep, sneak in and take it out of her mouth. Then she can get used to not having it in her mouth all night long and wake up without it.”

Yeah, that didn’t work. The moment I took it out of her mouth, she immediately woke up and cried for her Binky. There was no consoling her. No distracting her. And no option of just letting her cry herself to sleep. It didn’t happen. She would cry for hours until I gave the Binky back. This is why I delayed saying “Bye Bye Binky!”

But when she reached 3 years old I knew I had to say bye bye binky with her. I should have weaned the pacifier long ago. The ideal age to wean your toddler from pacifiers is right around 12 months. But that isn’t always the best for each individual child.

With my daughter’s speech delays, I didn’t want the horrible battle I knew I would have. She wouldn’t understand when I tried explaining. So I put it off. But I decided we had reached a point that I just couldn’t put it off any longer. Bye, Bye Binky!

We were done! And guess what? It was a lot easier than I thought. But I know many people struggle to get their little one to give up the Binky, so we did our research and found some easy tips to help you and your child say “Bye Bye Binky”.

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1. Take away Binky sooner than later. Most babies usually only need their pacifier up until 12 months. After that, it is solely a comfort mechanism. More so than in earlier months. So if you are able to take away a Binky before they become too attached it is much easier. Plus they are not old enough yet to resist and protest and beg for the Binky again.

2. Limit Binky Time. This method has you limit the amount of time your child spends using the Binky. Usually, this means only allowing them a Binky at nap time and bedtime. Then once your child has adjusted to this new schedule; begin not having Binky allowed for nap time. Eventually, you will be left only with bedtime. Then simply stop cold turkey for bedtime.

3. Cold Turkey Binky removal. This may not work for some children but believe it or not; it was the easiest way we tried. It is also the way I’ve heard many parents praise as being the easiest!

I already had my daughter limited on the amount of time she could use a Binky. It’s always been a rule since she first accepted her Binky at 4 days old that she was only allowed to use a Binky at naptime, bedtime or when she was sick. That was it. So I couldn’t begin by limiting Binky time. It was already limited.

I also didn’t want to have to struggle with trying to get her to understand that she couldn’t have Binky anymore at nap time when she could have it at night time. It would be very confusing for her. So after New Year’s Eve, I hid all the Binkies. When it came bedtime and she asked for Binky; I simply said, “Binky is all gone.” she whimpered a little. Asked for Binky again. I reemphasized that “Binky was All Gone”. She gave her little pout, but eventually settled down and went to sleep. No crying, no tantrums, and no fussing all night long! It was amazing!

The next night she asked for Binky once. I reminded her that it was all gone. I got a little pout from her but she went to sleep without it. She never asked for it again.I was seriously expecting a much bigger struggle about saying Bye Bye Binky. But the cold turkey method was so easy! No going back and forth. It’s gone and she accepted it.

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The trick to this method is that your child needs to understand the term “all gone” or “bye bye”. Or be young enough that they can easily bounce back and not put up much of a resistance.

4. Make Binky taste bad. There are many things out there that one can use to apply to the Binky to make it taste bad. I have heard of some even using Tabasco sauce. Ouch! But the idea is that if it tastes bad, the child will no longer want it.

My mom tried this method with me and thumb sucking. Sadly it didn’t work for me. I was smart enough to just go wash it off my thumb. Again, my Poor Mom! She put up with a lot from me. Sorry, Mom!

But still…if your child is younger this very well could work.

5. Get Creative and involve the child. I’ve seen many different suggestions for helping your toddler say Bye Bye Binky. If they are older this works well. Some suggestions include

  • Have the child give their pacifier away to a new baby. Obviously, due to germs you probably wouldn’t actually give it to the new baby. But your child will think it has been given to someone else who can use it.
  • Trade it for a new toy.
  • Tie it to the end of a helium balloon and watch it fly away.
  • Involve your child in throwing them out into the trash. Then they know they are all gone.
  • Use the Binky Fairy. Just like a tooth fairy, only they collect old pacifiers instead of teeth.
  • Bury it with a seed. Then they will get to see the seed sprout and they think the pacifier turned into a plant. It’s just fun.

6. Alter the Binky. This is a method I would not recommend myself, but during research, it kept coming up as a successful method. Over and over again. So I thought I should include it and leave the decision to you.

The idea is that you alter the Binky to where it is unsatisfying to suck on. This varies from poking little holes in the top or to cut off little sections of the rubber part down to the nub.

Safety note: Cutting off the tip of the pacifier could be dangerous – small pieces could break off and become a choking hazard. One-piece pacifiers are less likely to have pieces break off. If you poke a hole in your child’s pacifier, be sure to supervise him when he’s using it and check it regularly for signs of wear.

7. Read books and find resources. If your child is older and comprehends more, you can share stories. This will help them prepare mentally for giving up the Binky. There are many children’s books aimed specifically at helping children give up the pacifier.

I typed in  Bye Bye Binky on Amazon and found a vast amount of resources! from Books to DVDs! Even a sweet ELMO Bye Bye Pacifier DVD and a cute Binky Fairy story.

8. Big Kid Day. This is a special day when you set the child down and reason with them. Explain to them that they are a big kid now. Tell them all the fun things that big kids get to do. And explain to them that big kids no longer use Binkies. Then take them out for a day full of big kid activities. Go out for ice cream. Get a cake. Play fun activities. If the child asks for the Binky, remind them that they are now a big kid.

9. Countdown to Big Kid day! To make tip #8 even more special create a countdown. Make a simple paper chain countdown. Each day for the week to 2 weeks before mention about Big Kids Day. Remind them what happens on Big Kid Day. Have them involved in the countdown. Get them excited for it. Then on the actual big kids’ day; they are excited and more willing to give up the Binky.

10. Bribery and reward! When all else fails, bribe them! This may seem funny, but you may be surprised how many toddlers might actually go for this!

Now while I didn’t have to bribe my daughter to give up her Binky; I did reward her. Explain to your child that if they can give up their pacifier for X amount of days that they will get a reward. Make it a good reward too. They are giving up something precious to them. For my daughter, we got her a new bedtime stuffed toy.

If you have a toddler who is attached, saying Bye Bye Binky can be hard for them. Some things to remember is to never make them feel bad or less because they still have a pacifier. Never use any negative tones at all. This will hinder any attempts.

Never say,

  • “why can’t you be like…”
  • “you need to stop being a baby…”
  • “only babies use Binkies, are you a baby?”
  • or anything of that nature.

Keep the entire event of removing the pacifier from the routine as positive and happy as possible. It will help the child feel more confident in themselves. And it will allow them to give up the pacifier a lot easier.

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Also remember, each child is different. What works for one, may not work for the next. Take each child as a case by case basis. Each child will be ready to say Bye Bye Binky at different stages.

And different professionals offer differing opinions as to when the best age to wean a pacifier is. Some say 12 months, others say 2 years. See what is best for your child. Remember these tips and soon you will be Binky free too!

What have you found to be helpful in saying Bye Bye to Binky?



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Vanessa Simmons

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I didn't have a problem with my boys. i took them away before they were a month old. Didn't want them in daycare with them.

A neighbor used this trick...I have a small pomeranian, Homey, that their son, Eli, liked to play with. Homey and I took a road trip across country and when we returned Eli came up to him and said "Bad Homey, bad Homey." I looked at his father who told me that Homey stole Eli's binky to take on the trip with us!

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