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How to Get Your Toddler to Drink More Liquids

My little Valentino has been giving me a hard time lately when it comes to drinking liquids. He is now 16 months. He eats just fine, but for the life of me I cannot get him to drink nearly enough as he should. This issue started when he was teething. For a while I had him used to drinking out of a sippy cup that he had to bite down on it to get the liquids out. There was no sucking involved, and it was a great transition cup to regular cups.

This is the cup:


Then he began teething really bad. His molars were coming out, and he would scream and cry and just hold me tight. His crib sheet would be filled with blood stains from his mouth as his teeth were breaking through the gums. He has never in the past been so dramatic when it comes to teething, but I guess when teething with molars the pain is more unbearable.

He would reject his sippy cup over and over. He would howl with pain in my arms. He was getting dehydrated. So I decided to try giving him popsicles, as that would soothe his teeth and hopefully it would make him feel better.



On some days, he would eat the popsicle, but other days he would refuse it. Then I just felt defeated. I gave in, and gave him the bottle. He drank every last drop of it, and would chew on the nipple. I guess it soothed his teeth.


We had worked so hard to take him off the bottle, and he was doing SO well with his sippy cups. However, I just could not sit back and watch him dehydrate himself any longer. I thought, maybe I’ll give him the bottle for a while and then when he’s not teething anymore we will go back to sippy cup.

Big mistake….

Since that time, he absolutely refuses to drink from his old sippy cups. So then one day I decided to ban the bottle, and just continue using sippy cups no matter how much he refuses them. Eventually he has to drink!

Most days turned into a constant battle. I was determined to win. Whenever he took sips from his cup I would dance with joy and give him high fives. Then he would push the cup away and I would sulk.

Then one day he woke up with a fever of 105. We gave him some children’s Tylenol, but even after his nap he still had a fever! He would absolutely refuse to drink anything.


I could tell he wasn’t feeling well at all. Usually he will be running around his room playing, but instead this was him:


Once his temperature didn’t seem to get better, we gave him more Tylenol and called his doctor. His Pediatrician then told us to go to the hospital just to be safe. So we called my mom to come over and babysit Caspian while we take Valentino to the hospital.


They checked him out and told us he has some viral infection and to just continue giving him children’s Tylenol and Motrin, and lots of liquids.

So we went to the grocery store on the way home and bought Pedialyte, Pediasure, and a variety of juice. I was grasping at straws. I needed him to drink something, anything! I never give him juice but this time I broke my own rule and begged and pleaded with him to take a sip of the Pedialyte.


But as soon as the sippy cup would come his way, he would turn his head, and push the cup away. Then I thought, ok we need to get creative. So I started giving him Pedialyte from a syringe that we use to give him medicine in. I thought this was a good idea as he always drinks his medicine through the syringe and never pushes it away. I guess to him it’s new and exciting.


The next day he continued to refuse to drink from his sippy cups. I was afraid he was going to get dehydrated, and he can only drink so much out of a syringe. So then I tried giving him liquids with a shot glass…..and……he LOVED it!!!!

(He is definitely my child….)


I now give him shots of juice and Pedialyte if he ever goes a long time without drinking, and it always works. I may occasionally use the syringe if the shot glass doesn’t work. He also likes drinking water out of a San Pellegrino glass bottle.

But he still absolutely hates his sippy cups. Every day me and the sippy cup chase him around the house so that he may bless us with a sip, however tiny.

So if your toddler is stubborn like mine and refuses to drink anything, get creative!

Go out and buy a bunch of different kinds of sippy cups. One’s with soft spout, hard spout, one’s with straws….etc

Use reverse psychology. Pretend that it’s YOUR sippy cup, and not his. Pretend to drink from it. If he comes and shows interest, still don’t give it to him. Then when he starts trying to grab it from you, STILL DON’T GIVE IT! Then when he is down on his knees begging for it, then go ahead and give him some.

Try diluting juice with water… (I only do this in emergency situations as I don’t want Valentino to get used to drinking juice)

If that still doesn’t work, try popsicles.

If that doesn’t work try using a syringe….

And if that doesn’t work either then try a shot glass! Or a bottle of some kind….

Give your child soup, or that baby oatmeal or rice cereal that requires you to mix it with liquids. Try giving fruit.

And if none of the above work, then your child is either really just not thirsty, sick, or more stubborn than mine!

About: Leila Rahmanian and Salar Rahmanian

Leila Rahmanian is married to Salar Rahmanian. They live in the San Francisco Bay Area and have three wonderful kids, two boys named Valentino Rahmanian and Caspian Rahmanian and a beautiful daughter named Persephone Rahmanian.