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By 12 months of age, toddlers should be drinking water and milk from a cup. Like learning to eat independently, learning to use a cup takes practise and can be messy.  You can start teaching your toddler to drink from a cup at the same time as you introduce solids.  

Learning to drink from a cup will also help bottle-fed babies to wean off the bottle.  

Teaching your toddler to drink from a cup

toddler drinking water from a cupLearning to drink water from a cup, is an important skill that will continue to be used throughout their childhood and life. Your child will develop confidence and independence when mastering this skill. Here are some tips on how to teach your toddler to drink from a cup: 

  • Use small, plastic, non-breakable cups that are easy to hold. 

  • Allow your baby time to play with the cup before introducing water into it. 

  • Help guide the cup to your toddler's mouth. 

  • Start off with small amount of liquid to reduce spills. Increase the water as your toddler builds their skills 

  • At family mealtimes, be a role model and use a cup yourself. 

  • Try using a silicone scoop bib to catch some of the water spills as your toddler practises their new skill. 

How to choose a cup?growing healthy kids in south west sydney

Your toddler will be more likely to use their cup if they are involved in choosing it. Choose cups that:  

  • are not easy to break  

  • have handles or are narrow enough to hold easily  

  • do not have teats, valves or spouts that require sucking  

  • are easy to wash  

If using an open cup, fill it halfway to minimise spills as your toddler is learning.  


[Australian Dental Association, 2019; NHMRC Eat For Health, 2020; Raising Children Network, 2022; NSW Health - Centre for Oral Health Strategy, 2020]