My son refuses to blow his nose. Goo streams down his top lip, and he sniffs it up again if we don't catch it in time.

What's a good way to encourage a two-year-old to blow their nose into a tissue or handkerchief?

  • Great question! +1 - wish I had an answer, I have yet to meet a toddler that ignores snot running down his/her face and only occasionally snuffles at it (or licks it off - I mean, eww!) and I have known a lot of toddlers/preschoolers. Dec 22 '13 at 15:33

We have three boys who all learned to blow their nose probably around 1 year old. They mostly learned from watching their mom who blows her nose around them very visibly and loudly. When they had snot in their nose, she'd hold a tissue to their nose and encourage then saying, "blow your nose." At first they'd do nothing or just make a noise and we'd mostly pinch the snot out. But they all eventually started to actually blow their nose.


We used the snot bulb to suction our kid's snot-filled nose when she was a baby, and just never stopped. She hated it, learned to blow her nose in self-defense before she was 2.


Kids at that age love affection and other "treats"... putting out a realistic consequence as a result of the undesired behavior can be quite productive.

"Daddy, I want a hug."

"Oh, but you don't blow your nose properly. Go wash your hands first."

Be consistent in your implementation and always make it a realistic consequence for the undesired behavior and they will adapt to get what they want faster -- e.g. he wants the hug more than he doesn't want to blow his nose.

  • 2
    But when they choose the other over your affection, how will that make you feel? I guess I am in the position where affection is given without strings attached. I agree with "realistic consequences" but not with encouraging conditional love.
    – Rhea
    Jan 5 '14 at 11:03
  • Washing hands before giving a hug when you've been wiping your nose with your hands is bad? If you think that and give a -1 for it, then IMO you have some room to grow as a parent. Jan 5 '14 at 17:52
  • And, btw, this technique worked for me as a parent and I have a very loving child who feels deeply cared for. Jan 5 '14 at 18:03

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