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My Toddler Hates Cutting Nails!

Grooming toddlers is highly necessary, but, in some cases, they become very opinionated on what is necessary.

Sometimes your toddler may put up quite a fight when it is time to brush their teeth or brush their hair. Other times your toddler may twist, turn, scream, or try to run when you have to trim his or her nails.

This is normal behavior even though it can be quite frustrating.

How long will this hate of nail cutting last?

As with everything, toddlers experience things in phases.

Your toddler has become mobile and is earning their big personality. With that personality comes blatant likes and dislikes.

Learning how to work with the behavior and overcome it often leads to the end of these annoying phrases.

The length of a grooming dislike phase can last anywhere from days to months. It is all relative to how you, as the parent, handles it and how strong-willed your child is.

Why is it important to cut my toddler’s nails?

It is important to practice good personal hygiene and start teaching your little one right away. Nails must be properly trimmed to cut back on the number of harmful bacteria that could become trapped.

The longer the nails are, the greater the chance of dirt and germs being trapped. Toddlers often suck on their fingers, and this is an easy way to transport that bacteria directly from behind the nails and into the body.

Long nails also post a scratch hazard. As your toddler tosses and turns at night, he or she could accidentally scratch themselves and draw blood.

How can I help my toddler behave while cutting their nails?

There are several strategies that you can employ to help make nail cutting a positive experience for your toddler. It comes down to figuring out which one will work for your unique child. It will be a hit or miss process, but eventually, you will find a way to perform the necessary nail trimming.

  • Use TV as a distraction
  • Sing a song while trimming nails
  • Trim nails right after a bath
  • Use a nail file
  • Offer a treat or sticker as a positive reward
  • Purchase new nail clippers together
  • Trim nails while your toddler is sleeping

Distract your toddler with TV.

Distraction is key. When your little one is immersed in a television show or cartoon on a smart device, you will have a better chance at trimming nails. Be sure to put on your little one’s favorite show and then get to trimming. The process should go much more smoothly

Sing songs while trimming your toddler’s nails.

A simple online search will produce several task-specific songs. Songs do exist about nail trimming. You can teach your toddler this song and encourage them to sing along with you.

You can also sing your toddler’s favorite song or play it on your phone. This will also serve as an adequate distraction for nail trimming.

Trim your toddler’s nails right after a bath.

Nails are softer after being submerged in water. After your toddler is done with bath time, you can make nail cutting part of their grooming routine.

The nails will be softer and cut much easier. This typically cuts the time for this process in half.

Use a nail file!

If your toddler hates nail clippers, then consider using a nail file. You will have to file a bit more frequently, but it may be easier. Nail files gradually trim down long nails without making the clipping noise.

Give your toddler a treat and/or stickers.

Sticker charts and snacks highly influence toddlers. A lot of parents use stickers and snacks to encourage potty training.

These methods can also be used for nail clipping. If your toddler likes to pitch a fit every time you need to trim his or her nails, then utilize a reward system.

Perhaps give your toddler a sticker for each hand once they are completed. You can also put a sticker on each foot once each is trimmed. Snacks also work great to promote positive behavior.

Purchase new nail clippers with your toddler.

Toddlers like to be involved in decision making. If your toddler is putting up a fight about trimming his or her nails, then get them involved and excited. A quick trip to the corner store will produce a few nail clippers’ options.

While all nail clippers look very similar, your toddler will still feel special for picking out their new clippers. Make a big deal about how special these new nail clippers are and how wonderful it will be to use them.

Can you trim your toddler’s nails while he or she sleeps?

If you have tried all of the other six tips for trimming your toddler’s nails and have not worked through the dislike, then you still have one more option.

If your toddler does not allow you to trim his or her nails while they are awake, trim them while they are sleeping instead.

You will have to be sneaky and quiet when you are trimming your toddler’s nails while they are asleep.

Make sure your little one has been asleep for at least an hour and is in a nice deep sleep. Carefully sneak in trim the nails. You can do this at nap time or bedtime; either will work.

Naptime may be the best because there should still be natural sunlight, and you can easily open the curtains a bit for a better look at the nails you are cutting.


These seven tips will help you to acclimate your toddler to having their nails trimmed.

Suppose your little one is upset and will not allow your nails to be trimmed.

Then walkway from the task and try again later. It is not worth making the experience a negative task every time.

Eventually, this difficult phase will pass, and your little one will sit patiently while you trim his or her nails.

If all else fails, simply trim your toddlers’ nails while they are sleeping to eliminate any dirt or germ build-up behind the nails.

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