How to Teach Your Toddler to Self-Soothe Without a Pacifier?

August 1, 2023 | By Molarbear

Self-soothing for toddlers is the ability to regulate their emotions and find comfort without relying on external sources, such as a pacifier. It is an important skill for their emotional and psychological development. When toddlers can self-soothe, they gain a sense of independence and autonomy as they learn to rely on their resources to calm themselves down. This skill helps them build resilience and develop coping mechanisms for stress and frustration.

Self-soothing is particularly crucial for toddlers when it comes to sleep. When they can soothe themselves to sleep without needing external aids, like a pacifier, they can better establish healthy sleep habits.

Teaching toddlers to self-soothe also fosters a sense of self-confidence. When they can effectively calm themselves down in challenging situations, they develop a belief in their abilities to handle difficulties. This confidence extends beyond infancy and lays the foundation for their overall well-being as they encounter various life experiences.

Teaching Toddlers To Self-Soothe Without A Pacifier

Teaching toddlers self-soothe without a pacifier can be challenging but beneficial. Here are ten effective strategies you can try:

  • Establish a consistent bedtime routine

Establishing a consistent bedtime routine is an effective way to teach your toddler to self-soothe without a pacifier. A predictable routine helps signal your toddler that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep. Start by creating a sequence of calming activities that you can consistently follow each night.

Ensure that the routine is soothing and enjoyable for your toddler. Engage them in the process by allowing them to choose a book or a favorite stuffed animal to include in their bedtime routine.

Try to follow the same sequence of activities every night, as this will help your toddler understand and anticipate what comes next. Consistency reinforces the association between routine and sleep, making it easier for your toddler to self-soothe without relying on a pacifier.

  • Encourage the use of transitional objects.

Encouraging transitional objects is a helpful strategy to teach your toddler to self-soothe without a pacifier. Transitional objects, such as a favorite stuffed animal, blanket, or soft toy, can provide comfort and security to your little one. Introduce these objects during calm and soothing moments, allowing your toddler to develop an attachment.

Regular follow-up visits with the pediatric dentist near you allow for monitoring and necessary adjustments to ensure its effectiveness.

  • Introduce soothing techniques

Introducing soothing techniques is an effective method for teaching your toddler to self-soothe without relying on a pacifier. Teach your child simple techniques like deep breathing, gentle massage, or soft music that promote relaxation and calmness. Practice these techniques together during the day, creating a sense of familiarity and comfort.

  • Provide a cozy sleep environment.

Creating a cozy sleep environment is important for teaching your toddler to self-soothe without a pacifier. Start by ensuring the sleep space is comfortable, inviting, and conducive to relaxation. Use soft, warm bedding and choose a mattress that provides adequate support. Maintain a consistent room temperature to keep your toddler comfortable throughout the night. Soft lighting or a nightlight can create a soothing atmosphere and reduce fear of the dark.

  • Gradual weaning

Gradual weaning is an effective approach for teaching your toddler to self-soothe without a pacifier. Start by setting specific periods for pacifier use, such as during naps or bedtime. Gradually reduce the duration of pacifier use within those designated periods. Consistency is crucial during this process, as it helps your toddler adjust and find alternative ways to self-soothe. Celebrate and praise your child’s progress and efforts, focusing on the positive steps they take towards self-soothing without a pacifier. Gradual weaning allows your toddler to adapt to a pacifier-free routine while developing self-soothing skills gradually.

  • Habit appliance therapy

Teaching your toddler to self-soothe without a pacifier can be approached through various methods, one of which is habit appliance therapy In Houston, TX. This therapy involves consulting with a pediatric dentist who specializes in habit appliances. If deemed suitable, a custom-fitted habit appliance is created to discourage pacifier use by making it less satisfying or accessible. Consult a dentist before getting habit therapy near you for more information.


Teaching your toddler to self-soothe without a pacifier is a gradual and rewarding process that promotes their independence, emotional regulation, and overall well-being. Visit Molar Bear Pediatric Dentistry for more information about habit therapy and other techniques you can use to help your child self-soothe.


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