Tips to get a toddler to drink more water

As parents, we all want the best for our children. As a first-time mom, it can be difficult to navigate the ins and outs of toddlerhood. They are growing so fast and changing by the minute. It’s tough to keep up with all of it. This article contains tips to get a toddler to drink more water.

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Drinking water is pretty essential to life. As humans, we need water to survive. Consuming a healthy amount of water on a daily basis is a great habit to instill in our young toddlers. The problem is, how do you get a toddler to drink more water?

Often, toddlers can be resistant to change, especially when it comes to food and liquid consumption. My daughter loves her milk and would probably drink it all day long if I let her. So, I’ve had to make an effort to encourage her to drink less milk and more water.

Like any new habit, it will take time. If you put in daily, consistent effort, you’ll see your toddler drinking more water in no time!

How much water should a toddler drink per day?

get a toddler to drink more water

As a general rule, toddlers should drink anywhere from 2 to 4 cups of water per day, which equates to 16 oz. to 32 oz. of water. (Source) Of course, the amount depends on their age, gender, weight, and other factors. It will vary from toddler to toddler.

So, here are some tips to get a toddler to drink more water and stay hydrated.

1. Start early

Just in case you’re reading this while your child is still an infant, start right away! Babies can start taking sips of water to accompany solid foods around 6 months old. (Source)

When my toddler was an infant, we started putting small amounts of water in a sippy cup. She would practice using the sippy cup and drink water. It was a win-win! 

2. Fun and exciting drinking vessels

When my daughter was about to turn two, we had some difficulty with getting her to drink water consistently. On her second birthday, my brother bought her this ridiculous Minnie Mouse cup with a spinning snow globe on the top. My main gripe was that I couldn’t even put it in the dishwasher.

At first, I thought it was a lot, then it became the only cup she would drink water from. She loved spinning the snow globe while sipping on water. Magic, right? It soon became her water cup and she drank water!

There are many cool and exciting toddler drinking vessels on the market. If you pick out the most insane one, your toddler will probably go nuts over it.

3. Water only in car seat and stroller

We live in a city where it sometimes takes 30 minutes to get to our destination or an hour round-trip. I realized that if I only put water in the car seat cup holder, she will eventually get thirsty and drink it! Or get bored and drink it. Either way, she is drinking water.

We tend to take a lot of walks in the neighborhood. Since we live in the heat in New Mexico, I always bring along a beverage for her. It used to be milk but then we slowly transitioned to water only

Sometimes, she drinks an entire cup of water on a walk. If it’s her only option, she will drink it. This is a great way to get a toddler to drink more water.

4. Offer water frequently

get a toddler to drink more water

I’ll offer my toddler sips of water throughout the day. Now that she’s two, she’s more apt to drink water if it’s in a water bottle or a regular cup like mommy. It’s also great practice to drink out of an open cup.

I tend to leave a straw cup with water in her play area or her bedroom so she can drink whenever she’s thirsty. This works on occasion. Right now, we are in a phase where she constantly asks for milk.

5. Limit consumption of other liquids

get a toddler to drink more water

Understandably, toddlers love milk. It has been their main source of sustenance in their lives. 

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, toddlers should consume 2 to 3 cups of milk per day between the ages of 12 and 24 months. (Source) At 24 months to 5 years, that amount goes down slightly at 2 to 2.5 cups per day. Each cup is 8 ounces.

For us, limiting our toddler’s milk intake to the recommended amounts increased her consumption of water. It was a slow transition that took time and consistency.

6. Try healthy alternatives to water

My daughter loves sparkling water with a little bit of natural flavor. It’s mostly water and pretty healthy, so it’s a great alternative to the real thing.

Other options are coconut water, naturally flavored water, certain teas without caffeine, and light smoothies.

7. Flavored ice cubes

I personally haven’t tried flavored ice cubes with my toddler, but many parents rave about them. It’s definitely something I want to try this summer because they are so easy to make.

Here is a very simple recipe for Juice Ice Cubes for toddlers.

Another alternative is to simply add chunks of fresh or frozen fruit to your toddler’s water.

8. Silly straws

We are currently in a straw cup phase with my toddler, so silly straws are a must. I don’t know what it is, but drinking from a straw helps you to drink more liquid, especially water.

As an adult, I tend to drink a lot of water when I’m given a straw at a restaurant. At home, if I take the time to pull out a straw and make my water ‘nice,’ I end up drinking more!

It’s definitely a mind trick and I think it applies when you’re trying to get a toddler to drink more water too. Newness is exciting and fun for them.

Final thoughts to get a toddler to drink more water

I hope this article gave you some inspiration and tips to get your toddler to drink more water. If you have any tips of your own, drop them in the comments below!

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