How to teach rinsing and spitting to a toddler?

We’re trying to teach our son (a little over 2yo) to rinse and spit after brushing. He just takes gulps of water and swallows them (and we've been trying for a couple months). Any ideas for teaching this skill? When did your kids get it?

We've said it's like spitting out food when a bite is too big or too warm--something he can do. Amusingly, he can repeat our explanations of what to do and enjoys teaching his toys. (“The trick is, DON’T send it down to your tummy! Make it come back out in the sink!”) But words are one thing and practical knowledge another, it seems... Any suggestions?

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How about putting something in the sink for him to spit at?  A small toy or something like that ("Give Batman a shower!").  Of course, you may create a monster...

We practiced in the bath tub (with clean water from the tap).  One kid had a lot of difficulty and what helped with him was teaching him steps and lots of bath time practice.  First, we worked on sipping water and learning to hold it in his mouth without swallowing.  We made up a lot of games and silly things, like opening our mouth and letting the water spill out.  Trying to aim (spill) the water from our mouth on a bath toy, etc.  Basically anything fun that kept him from trying to immediately swallow the water and let him practice holding it in his mouth.  Once he was able to take a sip without swallowing comfortably, we worked on how to spit it out. There was a lot of spraying.  There still is.  We just kept at it and made it a ritual (a few sips and sprays after brushing, etc.) and every now and then, he is able spit it out pretty cleanly.  Keep it up!  It may be messy for a bit, but they'll improve.  Good luck! 

My mother in law recently came to visit and taught our 3 year old to rinse and spit. She showed him the motions herself so that he could copy them. I'm not sure if she also explained it - it would probably be worth explaining and also giving him a demonstration if you haven't tried it already.

You don't need to have him rinse and spit at this age. I'm a pediatrician and what I tell parents is that at this age, they usually can't rinse and spit (most kids can't until 3-4 although there are exceptions). Just use a tiny (rice grain size) amount of regular toothpaste and rub in to the bristles so he isn't swallowing a gob, then brush the bristles onto the teeth and don't give them anything to drink for at least a few minutes (ideally 15-20 min). Then it binds to the teeth to make them stronger and very little is ingested.