Toddler Bedtime Routine


I need help with our sleeping situation. My two year old currently sleeps in a crib for his nap, which is very easy since I just put him down and he falls asleep on his own. For bedtime he sleeps in a twin bed but I stay with him until he falls asleep and then in the night he usually comes to sleep in my bed. My goal is to have him sleep in his own bed, on his own, after laying him down but I don't know how to accomplish this. Do I put him back in the crib so he can cry it out contained or just take down the crib and sleep train him in the bed? We're also potty training during the day. Is this too much change for him all at once?


Thanks for reaching out to Parent Guru. There are a lot of important lessons toddlers learn and sleeping on their own is a big one. This is the first step into independence and self confidence. So, you are on the right track. You can accomplish this in several different ways. If he is not climbing out of the crib, you can use that at night for bedtime. Whether he's in a crib or toddler bed, the goal is to have him fall asleep on his own and stay in his own bed throughout the night. You know that he can fall asleep on his own because he does it at naptime, so you can set that expectation at bedtime as well.

You could transition to the twin bed and say that since he's now in a big boy bed, he can sleep like big boys do- on their own in their room the whole night. It is helpful to set a consistent bedtime routine: same time, use the bathroom, brush teeth, read a story, a quick hug and then it's time to go to bed. At that point you leave the room. If he gets out of bed in the middle of the night, you simply walk him back to his own bed consistently without much fanfare. The key is consistency. He will eventually figure out how to fall asleep on his own if you expect that of him. Whether you use the crib or the twin bed is up to you. If he is climbing out of the crib, then I would go ahead and transition to the twin bed.

Good for you for beginning the potty training as well! He will be learning how to control his body like big boys do. Keep in mind that most children like to grow up and accomplish new things, so you can encourage him as he learns how to be a big boy. Even if he hits a few stumbling blocks along the way, you are headed in the right direction. If he is used to sleeping with you, it may take a few weeks to get out of that habit. Keep the goal in mind and remember this stage will pass by quickly.
Hopefully, this helps you.

Alyson Hudson
Certified Leadership Parenting Coach

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