The Best Age to Sleep Train Your Baby: Ideal Sleep Coaching Windows

Best Age To Sleep Train Baby

When is the best age to sleep train your baby?

As parents, we always want sleep training to go as well as possible, right from the start.

That’s why we:

One of the ways to ensure that sleep coaching goes as smoothly as possible is to do it during a window of time in which it may be easier. That’s right — there are times during your baby’s growth and development when she is better prepared for sleep training (and, conversely, times when sleep training may be a bit harder).

What are these ‘ideal sleep training windows’? We’re glad you asked!

Your Baby’s Ideal Sleep Training Windows

You can sleep train your baby (or toddler!) any time, of course. And, it’s never too late! But it may be a bit easier if you do it during one of these windows:

The 4-7 month window

This is the best time to start for many families (although not all). Why?

Because at this point, your baby is past the 4 month sleep regression, so she’s starting to develop more “adult” sleep patterns. Your baby is also much less mobile at this stage than she’ll be in a few more months, and that lack of mobility makes sleep training a bit easier.

Finally, because your baby is still quite young at this point, any sleep associations she may have formed won’t have had time to turn into strong habits. That means they’ll be easier to change. For babies younger than this, our e-book, Essential Keys To Your Newborn’s Sleep outlines newborn-friendly sleep coaching strategies for your newborn, including sample sleep-inducing routines. We also offer special newborn-focused Personalized Sleep Plans® that are crafted to guide your baby to better sleep in a gentle, safe way.

The 11-16 month window

This isn’t as ideal of a time to sleep train as the 4-7 month window, but if you skip that one, this is the next one to try (if you can wait that long!). Why?

Because your baby is past the sleep regression that happens at 8/9/10 months, and her sleep patterns should be back to normal. (Although if your baby has never been a great sleeper, her “normal” sleep patterns may be fairly chaotic! 🙂 Remember, it’s best to sleep train when things are as “normal” as possible, so waiting until a sleep regression has passed can be a good idea.

Less Ideal Times For Sleep Training

In general, it’s best to avoid sleep training during a sleep regression. And, if possible, try to sleep coach before your little one is 18 months old; after 18 months, your toddler’s growing sense of independence and willfullness might make sleep training tougher.

But be careful – don’t let this information paralyze you, or make you put off or give up on sleep training! While sleep training may go a little more smoothly if you do it during one of these two windows, you can sleep train any time. Here’s Nicole’s reminder:

Nicole’s Note:
“Although there are more ‘ideal’ times to sleep train than others such as before your baby can pull up and stand at the side of the crib, if you and your family are ready to make big changes, I wouldn’t wait just because of your baby or toddler’s age. Every baby is different and you know your baby best. It may take a bit more time and patience, but it can work! There is always a reason to put off making positive changes in your life whether it’s delaying a diet because the holidays are near or work is too busy or you put off budgeting because you have too many bills, you can always find a reason to avoid the hard work that sleep training sometimes entails. The first step is the hardest, but I find families are happily surprised when their child adapts to the new routines faster than they anticipated. Carpe Diem! (Seize the Day!)”

Need sleep training help? Look no further!

Selecting the best sleep training window is all well and good – but you may still need help in the actual sleep training process. Well, look no further – we happen to specialize in that! 😉 We have a team of caring, compassionate expert consultants standing by, waiting to create a Personalized Sleep Plan® for your family.
 
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 log in and get started immediately!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers.
 

We’ve shared our sleep training tips – now share yours in the comments section below!

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19 thoughts on “The Best Age to Sleep Train Your Baby: Ideal Sleep Coaching Windows”

  1. I have a 6 almost 7 month old that we’ve started to sleep train. Naps seem to be our biggest struggle. I nurse and for a long time she would nurse and then be rocked for an hour plus because that was the only way I could get her to stay asleep. Now I’m trying to get her to fall asleep on her own and we’re struggling. My question is when nursing how do you prevent them from falling asleep while nursing? I’m trying to follow one of the sample schedules but what if I put her down at 9 and she doesn’t sleep? She can’t last for longer than 3 hours usually in between naps.

    • @ Caitlyn – This is so normal! Naps are tough for lots of parents. As for how to keep your daughter from falling asleep while nursing: could you try moving the feeds a bit earlier, so that the end of the feed isn’t coming quite so close to the start of the nap? Some parents have success w/ moving the feeding and then doing something else before the start of the nap (like a mini nap routine).

      Hope this helps, Caitlyn; best of luck to you!

  2. I have a wonderful 14 week old boy. We are having a bit of a sleep conundrum. He will only sleep on me for most naps & at night. It’s getting to the point were he is so heavy that it’s physically hurting me to have him on me for so long. Plus at night he rubs his face back and forth and wiggles most of the night. I haven’t had much sleep in awhile. And I don’t think he is getting quality sleep either. I do rest while he is napping but it’s very hard for me to sleep during the day. I’ve tried to put him in his co- sleeper, next to me, baby wear and in a swing. He either wakes up immediately or cries until I put him on my chest & nurse. Is there anything else I can do? No CIO and husband works long hours….thank you so much.

    • @ Amber — absolutely! There are many, many approaches before you get to full-on CIO 🙂 For help with naps, I’d suggest starting with our free nap guide (https://www.babysleepsite.com/free-baby-nap-guide/). For the nighttime sleep, I’d suggest downloading a copy of 5 Ways To Help Your Child Sleep Through The Night, our free sleep coaching guide (https://www.babysleepsite.com/baby-sleep-through-night-free-ebook/).

      Bravo to you for starting this process now — at about 4 months, your son is ready and able to learn some good sleeping habits (and you are no doubt ready to start sleeping again!)

      We also have hundreds of articles on the blog that offer general helps and insights. If you click the ‘Articles’ tab on the main menu bar, you can search them by category; that may be a good option if you want to quickly find specific articles. We have an enormous ‘Sleep Training’ category; those articles will no doubt be helpful to you. 🙂

      Thanks for commenting, Amber! Hope these resources prove helpful to you.

  3. @ Jackie — if you’re a few weeks in, and you haven’t seen any noticeable progress, it may be time to consider a new method. You mentioned that patting and hushing usually works — you may want to try sticking with that technique, instead of CIO. That’s actually a gentler method, too, which may make it easier for both of you to do!

    Hope this helps, Jackie! For more info on sleep coaching techniques, check out our free guide, found here: https://www.babysleepsite.com/baby-sleep-through-night-free-ebook/

    Thanks for commenting, Jackie! 🙂

  4. I’ve been letting my 6 month old cry it out for a few weeks now. Some nights she cries for a few minutes, other nights it past 10 minutes of heavy crying. Every night is different and you never know what to expect. She wakes 2 times to nurse and it’s the same thing when she goes back to bed. Some nights she’ll go back to bed or fuss!! And when she fusses, she fusses!! She’ll usually fall back asleep with some patting and hushing. I don’t know if the CIO method is working for her because she has both good and bad nights. It’s not consistent. Any recommendations????

  5. @ marisa o — This sounds really, really tough 🙁 I imagine that sharing a room with her makes it hard, too, since she’s able to see and hear you, and that means she’s less likely to soothe herself to sleep.

    We wrote an article about sleep training while room sharing; some of these tips may be helpful to you: https://www.babysleepsite.com/sleep-training/sleep-training-room-sharing-tips/

    Have you ever considered trying a sleep consultation? They’re great for babies and toddlers who seem especially resistant to their parents sleep coaching efforts. You can find out more about the consultation packages here: https://www.babysleepsite.com/baby-toddler-sleep-consulting-services/ At the point you’re at, this is probably your best option for getting help with your daughter’s sleep.

    Again — I’m so sorry you’re going through this, marisa! Truly, it sounds like you’re a great mom, and that you’re trying your hardest to figure out what’s best for your daughter. I know it can be discouraging when friends and family members are critical of your parenting choices, but hang in there — remember, your family members aren’t the ones who have to sleep with a screaming toddler each night! Nothing you are doing is wrong, or bad, and you’re not a bad mom for trying to help your daughter learn to sleep on her own.

    Best of luck to you, marisa! Do let us know how you progress with your little girl. And don’t hesitate to reach out for help, or with more questions, either by leaving a comment or by e-mailing contact (at) babysleepsite (dot) com.

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