Advancing from the Mini Cup to the Happy Cup
As your toddler gets older, their hydration needs will change. They will require more ounces of liquids during mealtime, snack time and even sips of water throughout the day. But does your child have the oral motor, respiratory and swallowing skills needed to advance to a bigger sized cup? See if your little one is ready to move on to their next drinking milestone with these expert tips!
Developmental Age: ezpz is the only feeding brand on the market that is designed specifically for your child’s age and stage of development. Is your toddler older than 24 months of age?
If your answer is yes, then developmentally your toddler is ready for the 8 oz Happy Cup + Straw System. This cup is the perfect size for older toddlers and preschoolers.
- The drinking milestone for this older age group is that by 24 months a toddler should drink independently from an open cup with no spillage. The Happy Cup has a weighted base to minimize spills and help your child achieve drinking independence successfully and quickly.
If your answer is no, then your tot can benefit from the smaller 4 oz Mini Cup + Straw Training System.
- The drinking milestone for this age group is that by 12 months a toddler should drink independently from an open cup with minimal spillage. The Mini Cup has an interior angle to decrease aspiration and choking by providing a safe drinking position. This safety feature will help your toddler become more independent and help them meet this developmental milestone.
Lip Rounding: Drinking from a straw improves lip rounding, which is an essential oral motor movement for drinking and swallowing safely. Does your toddler have the skill to seal their lips around the tip of the straw without any drooling or liquid escaping?
- If your answer is no, then we recommend that you use the Mini Cup and Straw Training System, which has sensory bumps on the training straw. This important design feature provides tactile input to help toddlers understand (and feel) precisely where their lips need to be placed for age-appropriate swallowing. Once they can keep their lip rounding at the very tip of the straw (this may take a few weeks of practice) then you can flip the straw over to reveal the advanced side of the straw, which has no sensory bumps. Continue to have your toddler practice straw drinking in order to achieve this developmental milestone using this advanced side.
- If your answer is yes, then your child is ready to transition to the larger Happy Cup + Straw System. The Happy Straw also has sensory bumps (on the training side), which your older toddler might need when first progressing to this longer straw; longer straws require more respiratory strength! As a final step swap to the advanced side of the straw.
Lip Closure: Open-cup drinking is important, as it strengthens lip closure for eating, drinking, speech development and adequate nose breathing. Does your toddler have the ability to seal their lips around the rim of an open cup without any drooling or liquid escaping?
- If your answer is no, then we advise removing the lid and straw from the smaller Mini Cup + Straw Training System and have your little one practice drinking from that open cup.
- If your answer is yes, then your child is ready to advance to the larger sized Happy Cup + Straw System. Remove the lid to practice lip closure from the larger sized rim, which is developmentally appropriate for an older toddler’s jaw structure. Be sure that the cup comfortably fits in the corners of your child’s lips. If it is too big, transition back to the Mini Cup for a few weeks until your child’s facial structure grows a bit more.
Developmental cup drinking takes patience, practice and repetition – just like everything else in parenting. Learning how to transition from the Mini Cup to the Happy Cup can easily help your toddler become a successful cup drinker! Tag us in your cup drinking adventures by using our hashtag #ezpzfun.
Dawn Winkelmann (M.S, CCC-SLP) is ezpz’s Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist and Feeding Specialist. She has 26 years of experience teaching parents and medical professionals how to start babies on solids safely and encourage toddlers to overcome picky eating. In addition, “Ms. Dawn” is the designer of our award-winning Tiny Cup & Tiny Spoon (for infants) and the Mini Cup + Straw Training System & Mini Utensils (for toddlers).