Stop Your Toddler From Pouring Everything Out

Does your toddler constantly pour out or spill drinks? Is it driving you crazy? Here’s how to curb that behavior and encourage a more desirable outlet.

Young children love to pour things. It’s in their nature to be curious and liquids are a state of matter that is just so darn interesting. But, let’s be real here…when you leave the room and your wine gets poured out or into the nearest glass of leftover juice or milk you’re not happy. Neither am I. As a family of 5 with the youngest two being twins, it’s pretty much a guarantee that there’s an unfinished cup of juice or water sitting on any given surface. I don’t pretend to be perfect and life is messy, but how to reduce the mess? 

Strategies to Curb Unwanted Spills

There are a few strategies I’ve implemented that have helped. The first thing I did was put myself in my son’s shoes. He’s never experimented with liquids before. Yes, he’s had baths. I’m not a heathen, but his scientific curiosity has really amplified lately and he’s looking at the world with a much different understanding. So my goal was to fill the curiosity by making his need to pour a daily requirement and set limits on what items he could pour. I also included him in food prep and cleanup of spills that were accidental or done in the wrong setting.

1. Fulfill the Need to Spill

I bought a set of children’s measuring cups to help teach fractions. And to my surprise, it also had fun recipes that we could follow and help make really cool science experiments. It is amazing! He is allowed to use it outside, in the bath, and they are real measurements so we can also use them for baking after a good wash, while that specific toy is no longer available here are a few options that may curb the craving to pour.

2. Explain the Limits

This tip is a bit boring, but once they know there is an accessible outlet they may decide they prefer that instead. It all depends on your child specifically though. For us, this was the kicker. After my son realized that he had “water toys” that weren’t just for the bathtub he was floored. He nearly stopped pouring everything out and would reach ask for his water toys instead. Every child is different, that’s just how mine ended up responding. 

3. Let Your Child Help With Everyday Tasks and Cleanup

Once my son was able to pour things with ease we stepped it up. Kids love to be challenged! We started having him do a few things inside and outside. This is a great age to start developing character with chores and other small tasks. The key here is to try to keep your child busy!

4. Put a Lid On It

If none of these tips seem to be working. Well, you have one of two problems, or maybe both. You’re leaving too many exciting things out or your child is still too young to understand what they are doing is not a desirable action. Either way, if none of the above-mentioned tips are helpful just stick to water bottles and keep an eye on them if you can’t move something out of their reach. 

Of course, moving the temptation is by far the easiest thing to do… maybe I should have put this at number one? LOL! Eh, it’s fine. You’ll be fine, spills are cleanable. Life will go on. At the end of the day just love your little one and make every moment as magical as you can!

Well, hello there!

I’m Chaka. I'm so excited you're here. I'm a baking enthusiast mother of three working to rediscover my style. I’m loving motherhood and homeownership. Make beautiful things with my own two hands is very satisfying.

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2 Comments

  1. 7.21.20
    Linda said:

    That’s all sounds fine and dandy, but most overactive kids are not going for that list of things…although it all sounds and is fun for them…basically don’t leave open containers out, eventually they outgrow it..it does take a while for some

    • 7.21.20

      I totally agree! These distractions worked for me about 80% of the time. Now that my twins are at the age that they want to pour things out too I still use all of these methods, but with two of them I am much more careful about where I leave my water cups. I also drink out of a water bottle more often than not. Saves on dishes and spills!