Ever since being potty-trained at 19 months, our now-22mo wakes up crying 2-3 times a night. At first she was asking to go potty at night, and we would put her on the potty, give her water, and put her back to bed. Now she wakes up crying and doesn't want potty, doesn't want water, sometimes wants food, or wants to go sleep in a different room. Sometimes she doesn't want anything and is just crying because she's not asleep. I offer her water and potty, then rock her a minute and put her back in bed. Sometimes she will scream for 20 minutes or more, and wake up the other children. How do I get my big baby to sleep through the night again?
Thank you for your question. Sleeping issues with toddlers can be frustrating for sure. Consistency is critical. If, when your daughter wakes up in the night, you are giving her food, allowing her to sleep in a different room and/or rocking her, you are perpetuating the problem. To solve the problem, you are going to have to be more determined than your daughter. Start by making sure you are following a consistent, steady bedtime routine (bath, story, potty) every night. Although it sounds like your daughter is no longer wanting to use the potty when she wakes up in the night, I would still limit the amount of liquids she consumes in the evening.
When she cries in the night:
•Go in and tell her it is not time to get up, it’s nighttime, kiss her on the top of her head, lay her back down, pat her on the back and leave the room. Keep your comment short and simple and your voice calm, but direct. Your daughter needs to know you mean business.
•If she continues to cry stressfully, you may need to go back into the room and repeat the steps every 20 minutes. DO NOT take her out of the crib.
•If she is just whimpering or fretful, do not go in the room; ride it out. It is important that your little one learn to self-soothe.
•Even if you have to go reassure your daughter periodically, eventually, she will fall asleep. It is important to stay the course and for her to see that you are going to respond the same way each time you enter the room.
Until your 22-month-old is sleeping through the night regularly again, I would not have her in a room with siblings (this may require that you move the 22-month-old’s bed elsewhere or move the siblings elsewhere). Explain to your other children that you need to change the sleeping arrangements to help their sister learn to sleep through the night.
It's time to regain the upper hand. Resolve to stay the course. It will definitely be worth it. Your daughter will be happier when she is sleeping through the night and so will the rest of the family!
Certified Leadership Parenting Coach
Subscribe To Get More From ParentGuru
Subscribers enjoy access to all questions and answers.