I struggled with deciding on when to have Caleb stop using his pacifier. He's two and a half and doesn't sleep through the night. I didn't really have any intention of taking them away, until we went to the dentist and he told us they had to go. Caleb was starting to have an open bite. I did not know where to go from there. The dentist told us to ask the pharmacist for something that would make his pacifiers taste bad. I thought about it, and decided I would try it. My pharmacist recommended putting a tiny, TINY amount of Nail Biting Formula. She said as long as he was over 30 months, we could use this.
So, we put it on his pacifier, tasted it ourselves, and realized how disgusting it was. We put an even smaller amount on next time. I also washed it, to make it not taste SO bad. We told Caleb his "Licky" turned bad because they were too old. He tried a few of them and spit them out. The first week was hard. I supplied a "bad" pacifier to daycare and we would give it to him, if he asked. The first 4 nights were the hardest, Caleb would wake up every hour asking for his pacifier. The 5th night, he was waking up every 20 mins, and I absolutely caved and gave him a "good" one. We all needed a night of sleep, we were exhausted. I felt like such a failure and definitely thought we would have to start over the next night. Surprisingly, he was fine and went to bed without it. The next couple days were much easier, and if I asked him if he wanted one, he would just say "No, they're yucky." Each day got better and better, and now he doesn't really ask for them. Every once in awhile he'll ask in the middle of the night, but I tell him they taste bad, and he doesn't ask again.
I really think if we took them away completely, and just said "no, you can't have it." We wouldn't have been successful. I think we would have just given them back to him. This way, we weren't saying "No," we were letting him have them but he didn't want to put them in his mouth. Some nights he would just hold on to them. The first week was the hardest, and the night I caved... I felt so horrible but it turned out alright. It didn't set us back, and we were able to move forward. I really think he was over tired, and he needed that one decent night of sleep. I do recommend using the Nail Biting formula, check with your pharmacist before using it yourself. Now...we need to work on potty training, because Caleb isn't that interested.