3 Signs Your Toddler Is Ready To Stop Napping

3 Signs Toddler Is Done With Naps

Ever heard the expression ‘all good things must come to an end’? It proves true in many cases, doesn’t it? Good books, beach vacations, chocolate cake…sooner or later, good stuff ends.

We could add something else to that list – naps. It’s true, parents; the naps that were (or perhaps are) a regular part of your baby’s life will gradually decrease, and at some point in your little one’s toddlerhood, they will stop altogether.

But how do you know when your toddler is ready to drop the last nap, and to stop napping completely? We are answering that question in today’s article. We will outline signs that your toddler is ready to stop napping, as well as tips for how to handle this transition.

Nap Transitions By Age: A Quick Glance

In the first 12 months of your baby’s life, nap transitions tend to happen fairly quickly; your baby will transition from 5 or 6 naps each day to just 2 in that first year! Then, at some point between 15-18 months, your toddler will transition from 2 naps to just 1.

The age to drop the afternoon nap varies greatly; some toddlers are completely done with naps by age 2, while other kids will continue to need naps past age 5! However, the average age for toddlers to stop napping is sometime between age 3 and 4.

3 Signs Your Toddler is Done Napping

Obviously, the window of time in which that transition from one nap to no naps can happen is a BIG one. So even though you know the averages, how can you be sure that your toddler is really ready to drop that last nap? What signs should you look for?

We are glad you asked! Be on the lookout for these 3 signs that your toddler is ready to stop napping:

  1. Your toddler takes a long time to fall asleep at naptime, and generally does not seem tired when naptime rolls around. This is a classic sign that your toddler may be starting to transition away from her afternoon nap. Remember, as your toddler grows, she can gradually handle more and more awake time during the day. For example, let’s say your toddler normally wakes up at 7 a.m. While it may be true that, just a few weeks ago, she was tired and ready for a nap by 12:30 or 1, as she grows, she will be able to stay awake longer and longer.
  2. Your toddler takes a long time to fall asleep at bedtime, and generally does not seem tired when bedtime rolls around. This sign often goes hand-in-hand with the previous one. Let’s say that lately, your toddler has been resisting his afternoon nap, and instead of falling asleep when you lay him down at 1:30 p.m., he does not actually drift off to sleep until 2:30 p.m. This could mean that, instead of waking up at 3:00, he wakes up at 4:00 (or perhaps even later). The problem here is that this later wake-up time will almost surely translate into problems at bedtime.

    Of course, even toddlers who nap at their normal times may go on to put up a fight at bedtime. Why? Again, now that your toddler is older, he can handle more awake time. So even his normal nap will eventually be too much afternoon sleep, and it will begin to impact bedtime.

  3. Your toddler skips the afternoon nap entirely, but does not show any negative side effects. If your toddler sometimes skips her nap altogether, but seems fine (no crankiness, does not seem exhausted by early evening, can go to bed at a reasonable time, etc.), this is a good sign that she is ready to transition away from her afternoon nap.

Nicole’s Note:
“When my eldest was 2 1/2 years old, he would take his normal nap, which had grown to a glorious 2 1/2 hours, but then he began to need 7 hours of awake time before bed! You can imagine that a 10pm bedtime was practically past my bedtime! It pained me to cut his nap down and then out. His brother, on the other hand, toiled with naps some days and not others for over a year, yet never reached a 10pm bedtime (he got pretty close with 9:30, though). Keep in mind, though, that skipping a nap one day is one thing but every day is quite another.”

Here is something to keep in mind: the signs listed above can seem like problems that we parents need to solve. While this can certainly be true (especially for toddlers who have a history of nap issues, or problems sleeping through the night), these ‘issues’ can also be a sign that it’s time to cut out the afternoon nap. Sometimes, all parents need to do is phase the afternoon nap out of the schedule, and their toddlers’ sleep problems resolve themselves.

Handling the Transition from One Nap to No Nap

Nap transitions can be tricky. How do you handle the transition from one nap to none? Well, for starters, keep in mind that it will look different from toddler to toddler. Some toddlers may be able to stop napping from day one, and will almost never need another afternoon nap. Other toddlers may make the transition more gradually. For instance, your toddler might go 3 days without an afternoon nap, but on day 4, he may need that nap. Believe it or not, my middle son did this for over a year! It started out as an every other day thing, when he was about 3; he’d nap one day but not the next. Then, over time, he had more and more no-nap days, until we were down to napping once a week, or once every 10 days. It has just been in the last few months (now that he’s 4 and a half) that he has been able to go weeks at a time without a nap.

As you work through this transition, use your toddler’s cues as a guide. If your toddler genuinely does not seem tired at naptime, then don’t try to force a nap. Instead, have ‘rest time’ – put your toddler in bed with some books and small toys, and have her play quietly for an hour. This is a win for everyone: it gives you a break, it allows your toddler to entertain herself and rest, and, if your little one is tired, she has the quiet and relaxed environment she needs to lie down and sleep.

Keep in mind, too, that in the early stages of this nap transition, you may need to adjust bedtime a bit. Remember, overall sleep amounts tend to stay consistent for babies and toddlers. 2 year olds need 12-14 hours of sleep each day, while 3 years olds need more like 11-13 hours. So if your toddler is no longer napping, he may need to go to bed a bit earlier (and he may wake a bit later in the morning) in order to compensate for that missing daytime sleep. This is normal. Or, if your toddler is like my middle son, on the days when he does nap, you may have to wake him from sleep (to be sure he doesn’t sleep too late into the evening).

Toddler Sleep Help That Really Works – Guaranteed!

Struggling with your toddler’s sleep (or lack thereof)? Tired of trying to solve the problems by yourself? Wish you could get some expert advice that’s personalized to your situation? Guess what…you can! Our consultants are ready to help you with your toddler sleep challenges – you can connect with them today, get your Personalized Sleep Plan™, and start your journey to better toddler sleep!

Browse our list of consultation package options here.

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

bss_ebook_masteringnaps_leftIf you’re looking for ways to get your baby or toddler into a healthy sleeping routine during the day, I encourage you to explore Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-tos” of good baby sleep. With over 45 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style.

bss_ebook_5steptoddler_smalFor those persistent toddler sleep struggles, check out The 5 Step System to Help Your Toddler Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your toddler sleep through the night and enjoy a better daytime schedule.

bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOr, join our Members Area packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!


Can’t decide which product or service is right for you? Visit our Getting Started Page for help.

Are you struggling with any of these 10 points? Have nap questions to ask, or nap tips to share? We want to hear from you!

5 Things You Need to Know About Your 2 Year Old’s Sleep

2 Year Sleep Regression


If you’ve followed this blog for awhile, you’re likely no stranger to the concept of sleep regressions. You’ve probably experienced them first-hand, right? 😉 If you’re new here, however, let us fill you in. A sleep regression refers to a period of time when a baby or toddler who’s been sleeping well suddenly begins waking at night and during naptime, or even refusing to go to sleep at all.

There are several distinct regression phases that most babies and toddlers experience: one at 4 months, another at 8, 9, or 10 months, a third around 18 months, and (as if three weren’t enough!) a final one around 2 years. This article will focus on some of the challenges surrounding your 2 year old’s sleep, including elements that are part of the 2 year sleep regression.

5 Facts About Your 2 Year Old’s Sleep

1: Your 2 year old’s awake time is longer.

As your toddler grows, she needs progressively less sleep than she did as an infant. Most 2 year olds need approximately 12 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period, on average; compare that to a newborn’s need for about 16 hours of sleep! And of course, most of your toddler’s sleep is happening at night now. You may also find that your 2 year old is showing more resistance to bedtime than usual, and that she’s falling asleep late. Or, she may be waking too early. All this adds up to equal less downtime (and maybe less sleep!) for you.

Nicole’s note:
“We start getting a lot of e-mails around this time of year that toddlers are beginning to “fight bedtime.” Here in the States, when we are approaching summer, it stays light later and this can directly influence your toddler’s internal clock. Nights may get shorter, but this is temporary! She may truly be unable to fall asleep at an earlier time.”

2: Your 2 year old’s separation anxiety may resurface around this time.

Separation anxiety peaks around 18 months, but it can appear off and on until your child is 5 or 6 (or maybe even after! Yikes!!) At age 2, separation anxiety can be based on actual fear; your 2 year old may be afraid to be left alone, or with people he doesn’t know. However, it can also come from a desire not to miss out on the fun! By now, your 2 year old knows that when you leave, you don’t just disappear. Instead, he knows that you’re off somewhere not far away, having (in his mind, at least) tons of fun without him. Understandably, he doesn’t want to be left out! If this separation anxiety surfaces as soon as you walk out the door during naptime and/or bedtime, it can disrupt your toddler’s sleep.

Nicole’s note:
“Many parents report they have to, all of a sudden, stay with their 2 year old as she falls asleep at nap and bedtime. This is SO common!”

3: Your 2 year old may suddenly stop napping.

Around 2 years of age, some toddlers abruptly stop taking an afternoon nap. You might find that when you put your 2 year old down for her nap, she spends the entire hour talking/laughing/singing/playing. Or, you may find that your 2 year old’s nap resistance isn’t nearly so pleasant — she may spend the whole hour screaming! As with separation anxiety, this sudden resistance to naps can come from your 2 year old’s desire not to miss out on anything. It can also be the result of her growing self-awareness and independence — she’s becoming more aware of what she wants, so if she doesn’t want to lie down for a nap, she’s going to let you know it!

We advise parents to treat this sudden naptime resistance as a regression, and not as something permanent. Most children won’t completely give up their naps until 3 or 4. It’s best to simply stay consistent with your 2 year old’s schedule and routine, and to not give up on the nap just yet.

Nicole’s note:
“All 2 year olds are different, of course. We, personally, had to stop allowing a nap around 2 1/2, because my son’s awake time approached 7 hours after nap and waking up at 3pm…well you can do the math. It was after my bedtime!”

4: Your 2 year old may be going through some transitions that disrupt sleep.

There are a few common transitions your 2 year old may be experiencing:

  • Moving to a big boy / big girl bed: Although more children make this transition closer to age 3, some toddlers make this step at age 2. This new sleeping arrangement can make it harder for your 2 year old to sleep well at night and for naps, since the new bed is unfamiliar. You may also find your 2 year old taking advantage of his new-found freedom and getting out of bed often, even when you’ve told him again and again to stay put! (A side note: Whether you do it age 2 or wait a bit longer, when the time does come to make the move to a big kid bed, we recommend that you toddler proof your toddler’s room carefully.)
  • Potty training: Again, most children aren’t potty trained until age 3 (or even later.) But some parents begin the potty training process around age 2. If your 2 year old is in the midst of potty training, you may find her waking from sleep and needing to use the potty. And even those 2 year olds who haven’t begun potty training yet are still becoming more and more aware of their bodily functions. It’s not uncommon for toddlers this age to wake early in the morning from a full bladder or needing to poop. And by age 2, most children are much more aware of the uncomfortable feeling that a wet or full diaper causes.
  • New sibling: Of course, this doesn’t apply to all 2 year olds, but around age 2, some children are preparing for or adjusting to having a new brother or sister around. This is a huge change for toddlers, and (as with all major changes) it can cause lots of anxiety for them. Couple that with the fact that the new baby is likely causing some anxiety for you, too (as you work to juggle multiple schedules), and it can mean that no one is getting much sleep!

Nicole’s note:
“We potty trained around 2 1/2 with both boys (which was late for one and a good age for the other). You might remember my article about potty training my second son, here: 6 ways Potty Training is Like Sleep Training.”

5: Your 2 year old may begin having nighttime fears.

By age 2, your toddler is becoming much more imaginative. This makes for really fun and entertaining play, but boy, can it ever be a problem at night! Most 2 year olds’ nighttime fears are triggered by the dark, and all the things that come with it — spooky shadows, monsters lurking under the bed, etc. By this age, toddlers are growing more aware of the world and realizing that there are “bad guys” and things out there that can hurt them. These new nighttime fears can lead to things like nightmares, and even night terrors.

Nicole’s note:
“My eldest (who inspired this site) began to be afraid of dinosaurs, no matter how many times I tried to define the word ‘extinct’. :) These aren’t always rational fears to us adults, but very real to them, so be patient and empathetic.”

As with any regression phase, the best thing to do when you encounter these problems is to cope as best you can. Work hard to stay consistent, and try to remind yourself that it won’t last forever. :) Keep in mind, too, that you don’t want to your toddler to form any bad habits while you’re working on getting through the 2 year sleep regression, so let that guide your decisions about how you’re going to cope. As Nicole always says, “You don’t want to make or continue long-term habits for a short-term phase.”

Finally, if you’re doing your best to cope with your 2 year old’s terrible sleep but are finding yourself at the end of your rope, consider contacting us! We have the products and services you need to get your 2 year old sleeping well again.

Want FREE sleep help that you can put to use right away? Download a copy of our free guide, Toddler Sleep Secrets! The guide is available to download instantly, which means you can start using the techniques in it as early as tonight. So download now, and learn why your fodder is waking at night and resisting naps – and what you can do about it.

bss_ebook_3stepsystem_leftFor those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 5 Step System To Better Toddler Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night.

bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOr, join our Members Area packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!
Baby_On_Computer_RESIZEDIf you are looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation, and want plenty support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations. Your consultation package will provide you with the chance to interact one-on-one with a trained sleep consultant, who will create a Personalized Sleep Plan™ for your family and then work to help you implement it at home.

Did your 2 year old experience any of these sleep challenges? How did you cope? Share your story!

How Many Naps Does Your Baby or Toddler Actually Need?

Napping is a hot topic around The Baby Sleep Site, and it’s no wonder: most of us count nap time as our favorite time of the day! Of course, naps are essential for the health and development of your baby, but don’t count yourself out — you need a little downtime during the day, too! And naps offer the perfect opportunity for you to get a little breather.

One of the most popular questions we get around here (aside from “How can I get my baby to nap longer?”) is “How many naps does my baby/toddler need each day?”

All babies are different and your baby will develop at a different pace than other babies the same age. Even twins develop at a different pace, sometimes! Just like some babies will walk first and some babies talk first, the age at which your baby will transition to fewer naps will vary, too.

Newborns and Naps

In those first few months after your baby is born, it’s best not to worry much about a napping schedule. Your baby’s brain is developing, central nervous system maturing, and sleep is organizing. As we’ve previously shared:

In the beginning, your newborn sleeps most of the time and you don’t usually have to worry too much about naps. Your newborn’s sleep schedule and patterns are highly unpredictable, usually, so it’s hard to tell if she will have 5 naps or 8 on any given day. You’ve just given birth (or partnered the birth), so as long as she sorts out the difference between day and night, you probably won’t stress too much about it, unless she isn’t “sleeping like a baby.”

Once your newborn has become more social, you may begin to have more napping challenges. You may also want more predictability in your day. This won’t come easily for some babies, depending on age, but you can begin focusing on getting your baby to nap better and get on a schedule, especially if your baby won’t nap at all. No naps or short naps can lead to fussiness (for you and baby!) and make it difficult for your baby to sleep through the night.

How Many Naps Do Babies and Toddlers Need?

Here are some guidelines for how many naps your baby or toddler likely needs:

  • From 1-4 months, the number of naps your baby takes will be variable, but will hover around 4-5 naps per day, depending on how long his naps are and how long he can stay up between naps.
  • By 3 or 4 months old, she will lean towards just 4 naps, rather than 5.
  • From 5-8 months, most babies will have three naps per day (though my son had four until after 7 months). They will start to resist the fourth nap, no matter how tired they are. There are a few babies who will only have two naps at a very young age, but those naps are usually long.
  • From 9-15 or 18 months, on average, your baby will nap two times a day. Although many people believe most babies can transition to one nap at 12 months, the average age is actually 15 to 18 months.
  • From 18 months to 4 years, toddlers nap once a day. The age to transition away from all napping varies a lot, from 2 to 5+ years old, but the average age is between 3 and 4 years old.

Remember, these are general guidelines and all babies are different. We have seen a few 10 month olds taking just one nap while others are taking three naps, still. Your baby’s sleep needs will vary. You should also know that a nap should be at least an hour to be considered restorative, except for any third or fourth nap of the day, which are almost always catnaps of about 30-45 minutes each.

My Baby/Toddler Won’t Nap — Help!

bss_ebook_7napmistakes_left-transShort or non-existent baby naps can be so frustrating – but you don’t have to suffer through them! We have a ton of nap resources – and one of those nap resources is our free guide, 7 Common Napping Mistakes. Are you making any of these common nap mistakes? If so, they may be the cause of your baby’s non-napping. So download your free guide today, and start putting the tips to use as early as your baby’s next nap!

Special Members-Only Nap Resources

bss_ebook_masteringnaps_left Mastering Naps & Schedules — For starters, all Baby Sleep Site® members receive unlimited access to all our e-Books. That’s right – for the price of your membership, you can read all our e-Books at no additional cost! That includes Mastering Naps & Schedules. With over 45 sample schedules (all available for you to view in the Members Area), Mastering Naps & Schedules is THE e-Book for tired parents of non-napping kiddos! We tackle all your top napping issues, including how to get your baby or toddler to take longer naps, how to get your child’s naps to be more consistent and predictable, how to manage nap transitions, how to encourage good napping while traveling – and more! Become a member today, and access the e-Book instantly – no download necessary!
Tele-seminarNap Tele-Seminars — Another great members-only resource? Our tele-seminars. Hosted by Nicole herself, these 30 – 45-minute tele-seminars offer you insider-information and our trademark sleep coaching methods and techniques. We have several awesome nap-focused tele-seminars, including one on managing nap transitions, and one on lengthening short naps! Listening to these seminars is like getting a coaching session from Nicole! She’ll walk you through the basics of dealing with common nap problems and give you tried-and-true strategies you can implement at home.

Members-Only Nap Articles — And now, we’ve recently added a special members-only article on the hot topic of nap transitions: 5 Practical, Hands-On Tips For Managing Common Nap Transitions. Learn our 5 top secrets for how to gently and painlessly navigate nap transitions, and help them happen in a way that preserves your child’s sleep while also preserving your own sanity! 😉

For more details about all our member benefits (including weekly chats with a trained sleep consultant and 20% off ALL sleep consulting packages), visit our membership page, and consider becoming a member today!

Is your child a champion napper? A no-napper? Something in between? Share your story!

Why Not All 12 Month Olds Transition to One Nap

Toddler NappingAs your baby approaches her first birthday, most parents are beginning to wonder when it’s time to transition to one nap. How will you know when it’s time? Don’t all 12 month olds take just one nap? Actually, they don’t. It surprised me when I was a new mom, too, but the average age for a toddler to transition to one nap is actually between 15 and 18 months. They take just one nap until between 3 and 4 years old, on average, before they stop napping all together. This article will review the reason not all 12 month olds transition to one nap.

Once a baby goes through her 8, 9, or 10 month old sleep regression, typically most babies will get into a pretty good groove. A 10 month old’s schedule typically involves being awake for 3 to 4 hours between sleep periods. 10 to 11 month olds get 11-12 hours of sleep at night and 2-3 hours total in naps, for an average total sleep of about 13 1/2 hours per day, on average. Naturally, some babies will get more and some less, of course.

Based on both my personal experience and in my consultations with countless parents, I know that 11 month olds also seem to go through a nap regression. It starts to appear that your 11 month old is trying to transition to one nap. They either start skipping one nap entirely or they start taking two 45-minute naps. You might think it’s time to transition to one nap. Many parents will transition their baby and many babies will do just fine. Similarly, babies in daycare typically are required to transition to one nap around 12 months old, ready or not. Again, most do just fine. However, I typically tell parents, who have a choice, not to rush this transition.

Just last week, a new client told me her baby started walking at 8 months! I was shocked as this is the youngest I’ve heard of a baby WALKING! My boys didn’t even CRAWL until 10 months! 😀 Although my eldest was a late crawler, he started walking just three weeks later around 11 months. He always wanted to be on his feet, since he was just a few weeks old, actually. He’s the son of a track star, what can I say? This kid very rarely sits still.

While there are babies who walk very early, the average age is between 10 and 14 months to take first steps. Keep in mind that those first few steps pale in comparison to how active they will become and this is why not all 12 month olds actually finish the transition to one nap. Once they start really walking, they get extremely tired, again. Think of what you might feel like after you’ve done cardio or run on the treadmill for an hour. Now do it three times in a day. You would be pooped! Lately, I’ve been sucked into doing Turbo Fire (seen the infomercials?) and I have been EXTRA tired almost every night, too (more on this later as I have more to tell you). Well, your baby cruising, walking, running, and climbing is expending a LOT of energy. I find some babies even start getting hungry at night, again, due to all the calories burned (that does not necessarily mean feed them, but do increase daytime intake).

I find that although an 11-month old may begin to transition to one nap, she seems to go backwards and get tired sooner, again, a few weeks later. So, you may want to hold on to those two naps for a bit longer before you push her too soon. I didn’t know better my first time around and had a mess a month after transitioning my 11 1/2 month old to one nap. My toddler was extremely overtired and CRANKY and I just couldn’t figure out what I had done wrong! The second time around, I hung on to two naps for about three weeks and my toddler happily kept napping twice a day until he was around 14 to 15 months old. Now I help clients in similar situations every day as they transition to one nap.

For help getting your toddler on a good nap schedule, transitioning to one nap, or helping him sleep through the night, check out The 5-Step System to Better Toddler Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-Book puts you back in control with a toolkit of strategies and sample schedules to put your toddler on the right sleep track. For those looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation with support along the way, please consider the book option with consultation or one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations, where you will receive a Personalized Sleep Plan™ you can feel good about!

When did your toddler transition to one nap?