boy smiling with pacifier

How to Gently Wean Off the Pacifier for a Smooth Transition (The Slowly Vanishing Method)

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The easiest, most gradual pacifier weaning method that your tot won’t even notice is happening–AKA the Slowly Vanishing Method

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Have you already tried EVERYTHING to wean your tot off the binkie and found it to be torture for both of you? Looking for a way to transition so that your little one won’t even notice the paci disappearing? 

I’ve been there.

Guess what–it’s totally doable.

I call this method the Slowly Vanishing Method, because the idea is for the pacifier to slowly, gradually, disappear.

This method takes time, but is the gentlest method and the easiest way for your to transition emotionally off the pacifier.

The idea is for transition should be so smooth and gradual that your little one won’t even realize they are being weaned off.

If you’ve already tried the Frida Paci Weaning System, going cold turkey, creating an elaborate funeral for the paci/binkie, replacing it with a lovey, or anything else that just didn’t work, this method is for you.

What you’ll need:

  • your child’s pacifier
  • a tiny object to prick holes with: safety pin, tack, sewing needle, paperclip, etc.
  • scissors


Step 1: Narrow down to one

Step 1 of the Slowly Vanishing Method is to narrow down all the pacifiers/binkies/dummies to only one.

This isn’t 100% necessary, but will definitely make your life easier for the rest of the process.


You’re going to be altering the pacifier, and it’s much easier to just alter ONE, rather than trying to gather all the binkies in the house and alter them all the same way.

(Plus–if you miss one and your little one finds it, you might have to start over).

It also helps to limit paci use to only at night.

Again–not absolutely necessary, but it will make life much easier.

Step 2: Poke some tiny holes

Step 2 of the Slowly Vanishing Method is to poke some teensy tiny holes in the pacifier before your little one uses it for the night.

Before you do this, try sucking on the pacifier to see how much suction there is before you poke any holes. Test it out again after the holes are poked to make sure there is a tiny difference in suction power.

hand holding paci

Usually poking holes in anything is highly frowned upon.

Not in this case.

The idea here is for the holes to be SO TINY that your tot won’t even notice a difference.

So, using a safety pin, tac, sewing needle, paperclip, or something similar, poke just the slightest holes in the binkie nipple. (One hole made by a safety pin won’t make any difference at all, but several will).


The tiniest holes will prevent the paci from suctioning 100% effectively, but will still offer some suction.


Have you ever tried the Frida or other paci weaning systems where the pacifiers each have a huge chunk taken out?

The reason that doesn’t work for lots of tots is because the transition is too drastic. They immediately notice the change (especially if they weren’t even using that paci brand before).

You want to make just the SLIGHTEST change that first night so your tot doesn’t immediately suspect a change and rebel.

Step 3: Poke more holes

After the first holes are poked, poke a bunch of more tiny holes the second night with something tiny, again like a safety pin or tack.

hand holding paci

Again, test out the pacifier to make sure you’re making a least a tiny difference in the suction power.

You want to take your time that first week, so that your little one doesn’t notice a big change–or any change at all, ideally.

Step 4: Cut a slight hole with scissors

Your tot has been getting used to their paci feeling slightly different. There’s slightly less suction, making it less satisfying to use.

When you think they are ready, squeeze the paci nipple and cut just the slightest hole. You want this change to be barefly detectable, so MAKE SURE you don’t cut that first hole with the scissors too big.

hand holding paci

This ensures that the paci has very little suction power, but still enough that they aren’t noticing a big change.


At this point, your little one has gradually gotten used to their paci being less effective at suctioning. They are really only using it as a comfort object, and that’s okay.

Step 5: Gradually widen the bigger hole

Each day, gradually make that bigger hole just a little bigger.

By now, the paci no longer has any suctioning power.

Moving forward, the goal is to gradually increase the size of the initial hole, so that each night, they have less and less paci to suck on.

hand holding paci
hand holding paci
hand holding paci

You are in the home stretch, my friend.

You’ve gotten past the most difficult phase, and you’re now basically coasting.

Step 6: Gradually snip off the ends of the paci

As the hole gets bigger and bigger, you’ll come to the point of just snipping off a little piece of the paci each night.

hand holding paci
hand holding paci
hand holding paci

Eventually, all that is left will be a little nub, and then just the plastic piece.

It’s totally okay if your tot wants to hang onto that plastic piece for a couple of nights. After all, they’ve been using it as a comfort object, like a lovey, for a while now.

Eventually, they will give up on holding their tiny piece of paci plastic. In the meantime, they’re not harming their teeth with sucking on an object all night, and they’ve officially broken the habit of needing something to suck on to sleep.

This is a huge WIN!!!

If you’re having trouble breaking your little one of the little plastic piece, try explaining to them how they are now a big kid and no longer need their paci.

Give them lots of praise for this, and let them know how proud you are.

congratulations text overlay with confetti
Photo by olia danilevich:


You have now totally weaned your tot off the paci, thanks to the Slowly Vanishing Method.

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