When I lived and taught in France I noticed something: Kids drank water in the cafeteria. There were no juice boxes, or vending machines. Even in my then-fiance's home, our meals were accompanied with three options: sparkling water, tap water and wine. That's all. No juice, no soda, nothing.
So when my husband and I became parents, we decided that we wouldn't bother with juices (unless they were natural homemade juices) and that our son would only have water. We were already aware that the prepackaged juices were loaded with sugar so we decided to stop purchasing them altogether.
Every day we served our son dinner with water in a cup. We also only drink water with dinner (and the occasional wine if we have friends over). Juice is reserved for his birthday, and when he attends birthday parties. We also make juices at home. He also drinks flavored seltzer water sometimes.
Today, my son is five years old and I love seeing that he goes to the fridge and fills up his own cup of water. Sometimes when asked when visiting friends, he prefers water to juice which I am thrilled about. When I see him making these decisions, I know that it is partly because to him, water is a part of his every day life. It's what he has been given since he was a baby, it is what he prefers. It also helps, of course, that we drink water around him, and that sweetened beverages are not found in our home.
Water has become our son's favorite drink because we introduced it at a young age, and we explained as he got older that it was the healthiest thing he can drink. It also helps to have childcare care facility and teachers that are also on board and a school that does not serve sugary drinks, unless it's a special occasion.
I think making a conscious decision about getting rid of sugary beverages in our home helped our son love and prefer water. We didn't think it would make that big of an impact, but it has! We are so happy to have started this healthy habit early on!