My smart friend, an RN/Mom, recently took her son (2.5 years-old) to the doctor for emergency stitches.
On top of being painful, the experience startled him (which isn't surprising because the perspective while getting forehead stitches is even harrowing for adults).
My friend (thinking ahead with enviable foresight) realized that her son's stitches would have to be removed before his memories of their insertion diminished.
She took his fine furry friend Bear-Bear and discovered that he needed stitches too. Throughout the next week Bear-Bear found himself getting into lots of situations that required stitches and, being a fast healer, had his stitches taken out soon afterwards.
By the time they returned for her son's stitch removal, the process was familiar.
She did something very similar with Bear-Bear to prepare her boy for bloodwork and followed up with a pretend blood draw from her son (using her finger as the needle and poking him gently with her fingernail).
That's one smart momma!
***This is the independent opinion of the geek parents at Baby Toolkit, (c) 2008. Our thanks to RN-Mom, her brave son, and Bear-Bear for their great tip won through hard experience.