Some of the links on this page are affiliate links that earn me a small commission, at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I personally use and love, or think my readers will find useful.
Toddler cups. There are entire aisles of stores devoted to them. All colors, materials, and types can be found. But which ones are best? What should you buy? Let’s talk all about the best cups for toddlers!
At around one, we want to start transitioning away from bottles. By 18 months, for tooth and oral health reasons primarily, we really like to see all bottles gone. But what should you use instead?
Rely mainly on open cups
Open cups are the best toddler cups to use when around the house. Just your basic cups that you or I would use, scaled down to child size, are where we’d really like to see kids. Here’s an example of the types of cups I’m talking about! You can start with open cups as soon as your child starts eating around 6 months. This generally gives them tons of practice time so that around 1 they are fairly efficient at drinking.
Use straw cups when out and about
When you’re out and about I like to see straw cups being used, and not sippy cups. Sippy cups, especially the hard plastic ones, are not great for oral-motor development. Read more about this here! Sucking from a straw is much better for children.
My favorite straw cups are the pura kiki stainless steel ones as they don’t have any plastic parts. Read about plastic and feeding items here! But really, any straw one that you don’t have to bite to get water out of will work.
Some of the more popular ones, like the Camelbak Eddy bottles for kids, have a valve that kids need to bite down on before they can suck out the water. This is also not great for oral-motor development, as much as it can be convenient for parents. It’s better to stick with a straw that your child can just fold the lid over on, like this one, instead.
Bottles and cups for milk and water
As your child is making the transition from bottles to cups, you might get some push back on what cups they are willing to drink from. Especially when it comes to milk. First, make sure you check out this article on how to help your child transition to milk.
Second, avoid the temptation to go through a myriad of cups and toss any that your child doesn’t seem to care for right off the bat. Pick a cup or two and stick with them, even if it takes some time.
Use cups just for milk
Try designating a style of cup that will specifically be for milk, and a type for water. The last thing you want when you are trying to help your child make the transition to milk in cups is for them to expect water in something and get milk instead. To avoid this, when home you can also use clear glasses like the ones mentioned above. Then there are no surprises for your child!
If your child isn’t quite there yet with open cups, I’d recommend trying something like open cups for water, and a straw bottle for water when out. Then designate a specific straw bottle for milk at home while you gradually make the transition.
The most recent recommendation from experts is to avoid the 360 style cups, as they can interfere with normal facial development and drinking muscles, just like sippy cups.
The bottom line for the best toddler cups
When it comes down to it, there is no one cup that will work for everyone and that is simply amazing. If you can transition straight to open cups like you use at the table, you will save yourself some money. Otherwise, invest in one or two cups and stick with them while your child learns to use them.