Toddler Won’t Let Me Cut Nails: Here’s What To Do

Toddler Won't Let Me Cut Nails

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So you want to cut those sharp, long nails but your toddler won’t let you. And each time you bring the nail clipper close to your toddler he or she would freak out or throw tantrums, now you are wondering how you can successfully cut those nails without putting up a fight. 

To fix toddlers not letting you cut their nails issues, you should consider changing the nail-cutting tool, assure them you’d be extremely careful and gentle, surround them to help keep them in place, promise them a treat after a successful nail trimming, and cut the nails when they are fast asleep. 

Even when you haven’t mistakenly cut their skin or inflicted any pain while nail trimming, your toddler seems to have developed some phobia for the object; however, leaving the nails to grow for too long is not and should not be an option as it is unhygienic, some dirt would clog in the nails, and this can lead to some illnesses. 

Since it is essential to keep those nails short, what can you do to make the experience painless for your toddler and less of a struggle for you? There are many ways to get your toddler to stay calm throughout the process, and we’ll discuss them extensively in this article.

READ: My Child Hates Her Dad: Here’s What To Do

7 Helpful Tips For Cutting Your Toddler’s Nails

Some parents find it hard to get their kids to stay put when cutting their nails and it can be frustrating. When I was younger, my sister would ask for my assistance to cut her toddler’s nails at the time.

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It was quite tough that I would have to hold him down while she trimmed his nails. Now as a mother, I didn’t want to go through so much stress while cutting my toddler’s nails so I did a lot of research and found useful tips that worked for me.

1. Consider changing the tool

If your toddler freaks out at the sight of scissors you should consider switching the cutting tool to a nail clipper or a nail file. Try out different tools until you find one that he or she is quite comfortable with. It’s always better to work with your toddler’s preferences in this case.

2. Assure Your Toddler 

Your toddler is not just crying and refusing to stay put for crying sake, he or she is scared they would get hurt in the process. Nail cutters and scissors could be terrifying to kids with high sensitivity, this is why you need to calmly assure your toddler that you would be as gentle as you can ever be and that you won’t hurt him or her. That way they could have some confidence in you. 

3. Let Them Have Some Control

Let’s be honest, some toddlers like to feel like the boss, they want to have control of what they eat, and what they wear, and when it comes to nail cutting they also want to be in control.

I used to give my son a nail file, just to give him a sense of control and when he feels he is done I’d tell him how great his nails are and ask him if he’d allow me to make them better. This trick always worked for me because he gets so excited to see what I was up to.

4. Try To Soften The Nails 

Softening the nails with water will make the whole process bearable for a sensitive toddler. It makes it easier and quicker to get it all done. More preferably try doing this while your toddler is in the bath, with the noise from the running tap he or she won’t hear the sound of the nail clipper. 

5. Surround Your Toddler

While in a sitting position, snuggle your kid between your legs. This way you are both in a comfortable position, you can try to engage him or her to distract them from the nail clipper. Talk about things that could spark their interest while you cut the nails.

6. Promise Them A Treat

Everyone loves a treat, and toddlers are not exempted. As the saying goes, desperate times call for desperate measures. Promise your toddler a scoop of ice cream or a couple of candies in exchange for their compliance. Bribing your toddler is not exactly the best thing to do but it works all the time. With time when he or she must have gotten used to having their nails trimmed, this trick will become unnecessary.

7. Cut Their Nails While They Are Asleep

To avoid a series of drama, this tip is my go-to, it requires less stress as your toddler won’t even have an idea of what is going on, especially when they are deep into their sleep. This does the magic every time as your toddler wakes up with short and clean nails after a nice nap.


Long nails can result in health issues as it gives room for dirt and germs to clog the toddler’s nails. It can also harm them as it could inflict wounds on their soft and delicate skin.

This is why it is of great importance for their nails to stay short but some parents find it hard and tasking to cut their toddler’s nails. It could take hours and sometimes days to finish the job which could be very exhausting to the parent and even the toddler. 

However, this article is very helpful as it explains the seven ways to make the process easier and better. Over the years these tips presented have been a practical go-to guide for me.


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