Sleep Training Goals and Issues

’s sleep issues are:

My goals for sleeping training are:

should be taking 3 naps a day for a total of 2 ½ – 3 ½ hours each day, and sleeping 11-12 hours overnight.

Things may get tough during the sleep training process. Please refer back to your goals and try to remember why you decided to embark on the sleep training journey in the first place.

Remember, consistency and patience are key to your success!

Bedroom Checklist

  • If it is your desire for  to sleep in  own room and  is under 12 months of age, please ask your pediatrician if it is OK to sleep train in  own room. The AAP recommends babies room share for at least 6, or up to 12, months of age, so if you choose to deviate from this recommendation you must seek pediatrician approval beforehand.
  • The 4 Bedroom Sleep Elements:
  • Darkness – darken ’s room for naps and nighttime sleep (ie. add curtains if needed to block bright sunlight, remove nightlights, remember to turn hall lights off outside of ‘s room when sleeping, cover glowing equipment lights like computers, stereos, or cable boxes).
  • White Noise – always use continuous (no timer) white noise for all naps and nighttime (as loud as you feel comfortable). Do not use any other sounds like music, rain, or ocean waves. 
  • A Safe Crib – If  is under 12 months of age, nothing should be in  crib except a mattress, a fitted sheet, and your baby. Mesh (not padded) bumpers, a pacifier, and a small lovey measuring less than 12 inches square are permissible inside the crib but should only be used if necessary. 
  • Video Monitor – It is vital to the Baby Sleep Trainer method to be able to see exactly when  is asleep and awake. It is also unsafe to train  unless you are able to visually and audibly monitor  at all times. A video monitor is an essential tool during sleep training.

As long as you spoken to your pediatrician and have these four elements in place, you are ready to start sleep training!

*For many families, babies or toddlers must share a room with either parents or a sibling. If you find yourself in this situation, try to see if it’s possible for  to undergo the first several days and nights of the sleep training process in  own space. You can choose to allow  to sleep in the master bedroom while you sleep in the living room, or perhaps your older child sleeps in your room while  is sleep trained by self in that bedroom. Again, you shouldn’t allow  to sleep in  own room unless it is okayed by  doctor.

Nighttime Sleep Training

Our goal going forward will always be that your child only falls asleep independently, without help from you or anything else. 

Must read and review tips prior to starting ’s nighttime training:

  1. 48-Hour “House Arrest”: This means no outings of any kind for any reason and no car seats, strollers, or carriers of any kind, and no walks or trips in the car for the first 48 hours of sleep training. Do not begin to sleep train if you are unable to stay home completely for the first 2-3 days of the training program. You are unlikely to be successful unless you are home for the first 2-3 days of training. 
  2. Sleeping Training Begins at Night, Nap Training Begins the Very Next Day: The Baby Sleep Trainer method is designed to help you quickly sleep train your child with the least amount of tears possible, but only if you follow the guidelines exactly as outlined. Not doing naps at the same time as night training is not a good idea. So remember, start training at bedtime, start nap training immediately the next day, and stay 100% at home for the first 2-3 days of the process.
  3. Talk to Your Pediatrician: Ask your pediatrician the following questions prior to starting sleep training…
    1. How many night feedings does  need overnight?
    2. (If choosing not to roomshare prior to 12 months) Is it okay for me and  to sleep in separate bedrooms? 
    3. (If  uses a paci but is unable to easily find it and insert it 100% independently) Is it okay for to not use a pacifier going forward?
    4. What should I do if rolls to their belly during sleep? Should I roll them back over, and if so, how many times in a row should I continue to roll them over? 
  • Rule of the Pacifier: Only sleep train with a pacifier if  is easily able to reach out, grasp it, and put it back in their mouth. If  cannot easily do that, do not use a pacifier. Feel free to use the pacifier throughout the day, but stop its use within 30 minutes of all naps and night sleep. And if you do decide to allow to keep  pacifier during sleep training, under no circumstances are you to return it to  as  wakes throughout the night. If you are having to do that, that means you should NOT allow  to use a pacifier while  sleeps. (Sleep training without a paci under 12 months of age can only occur with pediatrician permission)

Now to begin the training:

Step 1) Pick ’s bedtime – Most children prefer a bedtime sometime between 6:30 pm and 8:30 pm. Know that while most families wish they could simply pick a bedtime that works best for their own circumstances and lifestyle, most often it’s wise to set bedtime as close to 7 pm as possible. Unless your circumstances truly do not permit you to do so, aim to put your child down earlier rather than later each night. 

Step 2) Understand the 1 to 10 wakefulness scale – A 1 is the most awake and alert you’ve ever seen , 5 is the first sign of sleepiness  gives you when you know is ready to go to sleep (like a big yawn or rubbing  eyes), and 10 is the most deeply asleep you’ve ever seen .

Step 3) Bedtime Routine & Final Feeding – If is still nursing or taking a bottle, aim to start  last feeding no more than 30-40 minutes prior to bedtime, make sure this feeding is the very first part of  entire bedtime routine, and that it takes places in a very well-lit room with some music or other ambient noise present. If you do things like baths, reading, or singing during ’s bedtime routine, make sure these only occur after  final feeding  During  feeding, ensure  remains 100% fully awake (with  eyes open), or between a 1 to 3 on the wakefulness scale. While many children fall asleep while feeding, you simply must ensure your child remains fully awake. Watch  closely while  is eating and if it looks like  may become even slightly drowsy, stop the feeding and help  become more alert. If  becomes sleepy or drowsy whatsoever during the feeding, sleep training will be very challenging and will require more time (and possibly more tears). If is having an extremely difficult time staying awake during  last feeding, it’s possible  bedtime is too late.


If is no longer nursing or bottle feeding, proceed with  nighttime routine like normal, ensuring that no matter what  remains fully awake throughout the entire process. 

Step 4) Putting to bed – Once is completely done with  bedtime routine, it’s time to put  to bed. Follow the next instructions very carefully:

  1. Walk into ’s room, close the door, turn on the white noise, and make sure the curtains are drawn. 
  2. Set a five-minute timer on your phone and place it in your back pocket. During this five-minute period your goal will be for to go from a 1 to a 5 on the 1 to 10 wakefulness scale. Remember to avoid any movements that you know will make drowsy. Your goal should be to help become calm and relaxed, not sleepy or drowsy. This can often be accomplished by holding your child very still or by walking  gently around the room. If at some point before the five minutes are up you notice that yawns, rubs  eyes, or rubs  face into your shoulder, give  a kiss, tell them you love , put  down and leave the room. 
  3. If  does not get to 5 on the 1 to 10 scale within the five minutes, that’s fine, put  down in  crib once your timer goes off and leave the room. 

Step 5) Checks & Pauses – At some point after leaving, either right away or within a few minutes,  will start crying and protesting because is frustrated that you are not helping fall asleep. Start a timer. Checks should be at least 10, but not longer than 15, minutes apart. If 10 minutes is simply too long and you won’t be able to sleep train unless you’re able to check-in more frequently, then pick a number as close to 10 as possible, and stick with that. Do not start with shorter check-in intervals and “work up” to 10 to 15 minutes. Pick a number from the start and stick to it. 

If cries for the full length of check-in interval go into room (making sure not to introduce light from the hallway) and check on . If is unable to sit or stand independently, you may touch  during your check-in, but don’t pick  up. You can touch  face, give  a kiss, and you should always tell  that you love  and that it’s time to go to sleep. Regardless of whether or not is calming down, do NOT stay longer than 30 seconds and unless something is physically wrong or there is an emergency do NOT pick  up. 

If is able to get self up to a sitting or standing position, do NOT touch during your check-in. Instead, walk in and stay about 2-3 feet away from the crib, talk to , tell you love , and leave the room after 30 seconds. If you touch but don’t pick up, things will go from bad to A LOT worse very quickly. 

On a related note, do not allow the intensity of your child’s cry to determine when you do a check. This is an important and vital part of the Baby Sleep Trainer method – check-in only during established check-in intervals. If you suspect at any time that something is wrong or that there is an emergency, you should physically check on immediately. 

At some point within one of the first few intervals you will notice that pauses their crying. This is not just them catching their breath, but a pause in crying that is 3 seconds or longer. Once has first pause, that is a great sign! This pause means it is literally only a matter of time until falls asleep. When you notice that break in crying, reset your timer to zero. You are only to check on if has been crying non-stop for the full length of check-in interval. Remember that checks occurring soon after a pause in ’s crying can delay falling asleep by a very long time. 

NOTE: If you find that you have checked on for about an hour straight and is still not asleep, that is because your checks are too distracting for and as long as you continue checking in, will remain awake. If is still awake after an hour’s worth of checks, stop checking in on , allow as much time as needs to fall asleep on own, and resume checks the next time wakes up as long as it’s before 4:00 AM. 

Step 6) When has fallen asleep and woken up again before 4:00 am – Believe it or not, at some point after you put down for bedtime,  will fall asleep on own. At some point later in the night, will wake again. When has woken up, immediately start your timer and do a check on ONLY after has cried non-stop for a full length of interval. Make sure to restart the timer if takes a break in crying for 3 seconds or longer. Every time wakes up before 4:00 am, do checks in exactly this manner.

Step 7) After 4:00 am – From 4:00 am until, ideally, no earlier than 6:30 am you should not do any in person checks on and you should instead watch closely through monitor and allow to work through wakings independently. If is awake prior to, or right at 6:30 am, get up, feed , and keep [him/her] up until first scheduled nap time. If is still asleep at 6:30 am, do not allow to sleep in past 7:00 am. If must be awake prior to 6:30 am, adjust your times accordingly. 

For children who still need night feedings…

Step 8) Night Feedings – If your pediatrician advises you to maintain a night feeding, I would strongly urge you to feed the first time they wake after 1:00 am. In almost every case, and contrary to popular belief, wakings prior to 1:00 am are typically not due to hunger. As long as your doctor says it’s okay, feed the first time they wake after 1:00 am.  If wakes prior to 1:00 am and is still awake AT 1:00 am, wait until falls asleep (while doing checks) and then feed the next time wakes. Ideally it’s better if you avoid feeding after a lengthy period of crying. If falls asleep during the night feed, that is just fine. Put back down asleep and resume your checks the next time wakes. 

If the FIRST time wakes to eat is after 4:00 am, feed and put back down. This is an exception to the “no in-person checks” during 4 and 6:30 am.

If for whatever reason your doctor advises you to maintain two feedings, feed the first time wakes after 10:00 pm, and the first time wakes after 1:00 am as long as your doctor approves those times.

Nap Training – 3 Naps

Before we get started, please remember:

  1. You must begin nap training the next day immediately following night training.
  2. It may take a few weeks for  to learn how to link sleep cycles during the day.
  3. “Short naps” (naps 45 minutes or less) are extremely common – please be patient! 
  4. Stay consistent. The more consistent you are, the quicker  will begin to take longer, more restorative naps.
  5. Lastly, your #1 job when nursing or bottle feeding during the day is to keep fully awake! Do not allow your baby to become sleepy or drowsy at all during any feedings.

The following sample nap schedule is based on your baby being awake by 7 am and going to sleep by 7 pm.

Wake up between 6:30 – 7 am / milk feeding

(7:30 – 8 am – If eating solids, feed breakfast)

Nap 1 – 8:30 am 

Wake up / Milk feeding

(10:30 – 11 am – If eating solids, feed lunch)

Nap 2 – 11:30 am

Wake up / Milk feeding

(2 – 2:30 pm – If eating solids, feed a snack)

Nap 3 – 3 pm

Wake up / Milk feeding

(4:30 – 5 pm – If eating solids, feed dinner)

Final milk feeding 30 minutes before bed

Bedtime – 6:30 – 7 pm

Nap Training: 

Step 1) Five-minute Soothing Routine – Just like at bedtime, re-do the same five-minute soothing routine, put  down, and leave the room.

Step 2) One-hour Nap Attempt – Once you’ve left the room, give ONE hour to attempt to fall asleep on own. You may do checks as outlined in your nighttime training instructions, but keep in mind that many babies struggle to fall asleep for naps during the day if their parents are implementing checks. Watch to determine if you feel like checks during nap training are helping or hindering during training process. 

Within that hour attempt, one of three things will occur. 

Scenario 1: Short Nap – will close eyes at some point within that hour and fall asleep for less than 45 minutes. Regardless of when within that hour falls asleep, keep track of how long ‘s asleep. If is asleep for less than 45 minutes, do not rush into the room when wakes up. Give up to 10-15 minutes to see if may put self back to sleep. If does, great! If doesn’t, that’s okay. When you get out of crib immediately feed and, regardless of how short nap is, keep up until next scheduled nap time. (For example, if you put down at 8:30 am and fell asleep at 8:50 am and slept until 9:20 am, you would give until about 9:30 am, and if didn’t fall asleep again you’d get up, feed while keeping fully awake, and then put down for next nap around 11:30 am.)

Scenario 2: 45-minute Nap or Longer – falls asleep at some point within that hour attempt and sleeps longer than 45 minutes. This is great! If sleeps longer than 45 minutes, get up as soon as wakes, feed , and keep up until next scheduled nap time. As a general rule, do not allow any single nap to exceed 2 hours in length. If ’s first nap does last for two hours, you will want to decide if you should still attempt two more naps that day, or instead just do two total naps for that day. If you deem only one more nap that day appropriate, it should start no earlier than about 1:30 pm, and then keep up until bedtime. 

Scenario 3: No Nap –  refuses to nap all together within that hour. If this occurs, get up, feed (while maintaining COMPLETELY AWAKE) and put down for another nap attempt within 30 minutes. (So for example, if refuses to nap from 8:30 am to 9:30 am, you would get up, feed , then put down for another one-hour nap attempt starting at 10:00 am. From 10:00 am to 11:00 am, will either take a short nap, long nap, or no nap at all, and depending on what they do, you should follow the appropriate guidelines. 

Final reminders about nap training are: 

  • You MUST keep at home and completely out of carseats, strollers, and carriers for the first 48 hours of training. Do not leave your home for the first two days of training. 
  • should get up to start day between 6:30 am – 7:00 am
  • Nap 1 should not begin prior to 8:30 am
  • Feedings should occur (with pediatrician’s approval) only immediately upon getting up from a nap or nap attempt, in addition to a feeding upon waking in the morning and a half hour before bedtime. This may mean some feedings are closer together, and others further apart, and that’s okay. 
  • Naps should not last past 4:00 pm. Often sleep after this time can be treated by the body as nighttime sleep and can cause real havoc on overnight sleep. 
  • If you ever deem a nap is too short, and it’s up to you to decide what “too short” means, you can always allow to stay in crib for another 10 minutes to see if may fall back to sleep on own. You don’t need to do this during nap training, but you can if you’d like.

Nap Training – 2 Naps

Before we get started, please remember:

  1. You must begin nap training the next day immediately following night training.
  2. The biggest issue you are likely to face is only taking short naps and being very tired in between naps. Know that this is very common and happens to most babies during nap training.
  3. So, stay consistent and patient! The more consistent you are, the quicker will begin to take longer, more restorative naps.
  4. Do not allow to become sleepy or drowsy at all during any feedings.

The following sample nap schedule is based on being awake by 7 am and going to sleep by 7 pm.

Wake up between 6:30 am – 7 am / milk feeding

Breakfast – 7:30 am – 8 am

Nap 1 – Starts sometime between 9 am – 10 am 

Lunch – around 12 pm

Nap 2 – Starts sometime between 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm

Final feeding 30 minutes before bed

Bedtime – between 6:30 pm – 7 pm

Note: Unless your doctor insists otherwise, do not nurse or bottle feed again before nap times. Doing so will cause to become sleepy while eating, which will prevent from falling asleep for next nap.

Nap training:

Step 1) Five-minute Soothing Routine – Re-do the same five-minute soothing routine you did at bedtime, put down, and leave the room.

Step 2) One-Hour Nap Attempt – Once you’ve left the room, give ONE hour to attempt to fall asleep on own. You may do checks as outlined in your nighttime training instructions, but keep in mind that many babies struggle to fall asleep for naps during the day if their parents are implementing checks. Watch to determine if you feel like checks during nap training are helping or hindering during training process. 

Within that hour attempt, one of two things will occur. 

Scenario 1: Sleeps – falls asleep at some point within that hour for some amount of time. If this occurs, get up as soon as wakes, offer a milk feeding if is still bottle or breast feeding, and regardless of how little or long sleeps, do not put down until next scheduled nap time. No single nap should exceed two hours and should be fed lunch around noon. 

Scenario 2: No Nap – does not fall asleep within that hour. If this occurs, get up, offer milk or a snack, and put down for another nap attempt 30 minutes later. (For example, if attempted to fall asleep for a nap between 9 am and 10 am and was unsuccessful, at 10 am you’d feed , and then attempt a nap again around 10:30 am.) You would continue in this manner until has successfully taken two naps, or it’s 3:30 pm, whatever happens first. 

Final reminders about nap training are:

  • You MUST keep at home and completely out of carseats, strollers, and carriers for the first 48 hours of training. Do not leave your home for the first two days of training. 
  • should get up to start day between 6:30 am – 7:00 am
  • Nap 1 should not begin prior to 9:00 am
  • Feedings should occur (with pediatrician’s approval) only immediately upon getting up from a nap or nap attempt, in addition to a feeding upon waking in the morning and 30 minutes before bedtime. This may mean some feedings are closer together, and others further apart, and that’s okay. 
  • Naps should not last past 3:30 pm. Often sleep after this time can be treated by the body as nighttime sleep and can cause real havoc on overnight sleep.

Nap Training: 1 Nap

A word of caution: Nap training toddlers has its pluses and minuses. Mainly, toddlers tend to handle the lack of sleep that occurs during sleep training relatively well, but, they can hold out and nap strike for quite some time. The biggest issue you are likely to face is only taking a short nap and being very tired throughout the day. Know that this is very common and happens to most babies during nap training. For toddlers in particular, it can take up to 30 days for them to fully consolidate their sleep into one longer sleep period. The best thing you can do is remain consistent and patient throughout the first two weeks of nap training. By that point it’s likely will begin to develop longer and more restorative naps.

The following sample nap schedule is based on your baby being awake by 7 am and going to sleep by 7 pm.

Wake up between 6:30 am – 7 am / Breakfast

Snack – sometime between 9:30 am – 10 am

Nap 1 – Starts sometime between 11:30 am – 1:30 pm 

Final feeding 30 minutes before bed

Bedtime – between 6:30 pm – 7 pm

Nap training:

Step 1) Five-minute Soothing Routine – Re-do the same five-minute soothing routine you did at bedtime, put down, and leave the room.

Step 2) First One-Hour nap attempt – Once you’ve left the room, give ONE hour to attempt to fall asleep on own. 

Within that hour attempt, one of two things will occur. 

Scenario 1: Sleeps – falls asleep at some point within that hour for some amount of time – count this as a success! Get up as soon as wakes, feed lunch, and keep up until bedtime. No single nap should exceed two hours, and should be fed lunch around noon. 

Scenario 2: No Nap – If does not fall asleep in the first nap attempt (from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm), get up, give a snack, and put down for another attempt 30 minutes later (from 1 pm to 2 pm). If is again unsuccessful at putting self to sleep in that hour, give one more 30-minute break followed by one, final 60-minute nap attempt (from 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm). Whether falls asleep or not, when gets out of crib you should keep awake until bedtime.

You may do checks as outlined in the nighttime training if you wish, but keep in mind that many toddlers struggle to fall asleep for naps during the day if their parents are implementing checks. Watch to determine if you feel like checks during nap training are helping or hindering during training process. 

Final reminders about nap training are: 

  • You MUST keep at home and completely out of carseats, strollers, and carriers for the first 48 hours of training. Do not leave your home for the first two days of training. 
  • should get up to start day between 6:30 am – 7:00 am
  • At first, do not let sleep longer than 2.5 hours for a single nap.