how long did sleep training your toddler take?

Justine - posted on 05/30/2012 ( 18 moms have responded )

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Just joined today and perhaps the answer to my question is here if I seached long enough, however at 20 months I have reached my limit and started sleep training. We are nearly 3 weeks into it and have come a long way. We no longer have to drive everyday for naps or wait at night until she is ready to go to bed. She no longer lies in her crib with her bottle but falls asleep easily in 10 minutes on her own. The biggest achievement is that she no longer drinks four 4oz bottles of milk a night everytime she wakes up. We are on night four of only being offered milk in a sippy cup and point blank refusing it. A much healthier appetite is resuming in the day. (yes we had got into a bit of a mess of accidental parenting). So to summarize, she knows how to fall asleep on her own and no longer drinks in the middle of night when she wakes.... so why is she still waking up? All our achievements mean nothing until she sleeps through the night, I feel like I've finally followed the rules and read so much about it only taking "3 days".I guess I'm looking for someone to give me hope and to tell me that it takes longer to break habits in toddlers and it will happen any day now!

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Joan - posted on 07/09/2012

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Try diluting the milk, a little more each day. It should begin to lose it's appeal and she won't be filling up on milk calories. You're not training the toddler, she already has you trained to get up 3 times during the night. How do you function with sleep deprivation?

Justine - posted on 06/06/2012

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Thank you for all your comments. I am pleased to report that although she hasn't slept through the whole night yet, things are much better. She no longer asks for milk in the night and last night woke only once and I was able to give her a quick pat and she went back to sleep. I have finally had a couple of stretches of seven hours sleep and I feel great. Trust me I cherish every single moment with my beautiful angel but the sleep situation had really got out of control and was doing neither of us any good, particularly the drinking milk all night and not eating proper nutrients in the day. I'm so glad I finally put the hard work in and tackled it. It was not as bad as I thought it was going to be and I realise that most of the advice you read in books that you think doesn't apply to MY baby...actually does ie. earlier sleep times, the more sleep they get the more they want, etc etc etc.

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Rae - posted on 07/26/2014

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Thank you Bella Akker! Enjoying my twin babies is just what I aim to do! They turned 1 last week and have been co-sleeping with hubby and I since they outgrew their bassinets around 5 months. Funny thing is before they arrived I swore they would not be in the bed with us!! These are our firsts and boy how the experience of parenting changes your opinion on things. The year has flown by so fast and I don't expect the others to be any less so. So as conflicted as I am about self soothing skills vs mommy and daddy soothers I'm going to enjoy cuddling with my babies while it lasts, keep checking resources, and go with the sleep solution that feels right and brings the least stress to babies and parents together.

Justine - posted on 07/09/2012

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Thanks Elfrieda, this has been in the back of my mind for a while and you have just concreted it for me. I always thought it was a bit strange when the books told you to explain things in such detail at such an early age, I thought is was not something that would not have impact until after 2 but I think your right and I'm going to to try it.

As an update we went to Europe and everything went out the window - we are back to waking up 3 or 4 times a night and drinking milk... and on top of that the time difference has her waking up at 5am for the past week.... I'm not stressing too much about it though, we had a great holiday and she is at such a cute stage learning new words everyday, I'm just enjoying her as much as I can. I will take the in the middle of night milk away in a day a two when I have the energy. (but not looking forward to it).

Lisa Lizzie, I am totally with you on "training" thing, my little girl is allowed to be cuddly, lovely and sweet more than most. She is with mommy pretty much all the time, she still has her bottle and I'm in no rush to see her grow up. However I do not think waking up three times a night and drinking milk is primarily good for her as she hardly eats in the day, so for her benefit I need to find a gentle way to move her on for this.

Elfrieda - posted on 06/26/2012

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I'm glad things are working so well for you and your daughter! I just wanted to say that she'll probably take a little while to get into the habit of just turning over and going back to sleep when she wakes up in the night. But it sounds like you're on the right track, keep it up! :)

I'm always surprised at what my son understands. I have learned (from my husband) that it really works to explain things to him even when there's "no way" he'll get what I'm saying. But he actually does. (he's 2 now, but this applied way back when he was even 12 months old) So make sure you explain to her that she is expected to sleep in her bed until it's light outside. Tell her what to do if she wakes up (play with teddy if she doesn't feel sleepy and then put her head back down on the pillow and go back to sleep) and that you don't want to come and talk to her in the night, when it's dark outside. The night is for sleeping, and you like sleeping in the night. You want her to sleep in the night, too. You want to talk to her in the morning, when it's light outside! And if you do have to go in, tell her it all again, maybe she forgot. Explaining the situation really helps a lot. Just something obvious that I never really picked up on until recently... maybe you already knew it, but I thought I'd throw it out there.

Joan - posted on 06/26/2012

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My son was bathed at 7 then into bed by 7:30. I used a wind up clock that ticks and told him he could get up when the big hand got to the number at the top. He was always asleep by 7:45.

Jennifer - posted on 06/20/2012

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You have to stay strong and vigilant. With my 5year old we shared a bedroom for the first 3 years. I got her into her own room by establishing our own routine. Ie: bath time, quiet time and a story before bed. She definately was not willing in the beginning. Everytime she got out of bed, I would stay silent and walk her back to bed. I found that if I said anything at all or engaged her in talking it would take twice as long to get her mellowed out again. You have to be strong, don't give in and don't give up. There were nights that I got up almost every hour but I am glad that I put that time in then as she has become more stubborn with age..lol (don't we all?) I am also a big fan of no bargaining. Good luck and stick to your guns!

Chelsea - posted on 06/19/2012

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I feel pretty lucky! I thought it was bad my 16mo took an hour+ to fall asleep most nights, me sitting on the edge of his toddler bed waiting for him to fall asleep while he squirmed around and tried to give me hugs every few minutes. I agree I like the idea of attached parenting but when it's 10pm and your entire house is trashed and the dishes are piled up to the ceiling and the last 2 loads of laundry need to be folded, I started to feel like this wasn't the way for us. My back started to really hurt sitting there and I usually just ended up crashing out with him, and then all the days started blending into one. Or I felt like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. It was weird.
So now I'm back to a crib. It's been about 5 days. I put him in his crib with a bottle and the first cpl days took about an hour--same as before except for this time he was screaming. I either rub his back or hum a song and it seems to be working. I think the key is to get him REALLY tired before bedtime--yesterday we went for a walk to the beach (about 2 blocks) and then to the boardwalk for a cpl hours. He was pooped and it only took about 20 minutes to get him down--and no crying :) He tried to get up a few times but I gently lay him back down.
You guys are right--It's not as hard as I thought it would be, the first couple days were rough but I think it may work!! Thanks for your posts, hope mine helps!

Joni - posted on 06/12/2012

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I have a son who just turned 2 in march he was always pretty good at falling asleep on his own when I took his bottle away and started a sippy it wasn't good, he refused hard spout sippys so I got him a nuk sippy soft spout he adjusted to that fine. Just try warm milk before nap time and bed time. I don't let my child take it to bed he drinks his milk brushes his teeth get a drink of water then goes to bed. He also has to sleep with a fan on in his room pointed away from him. Sometimes he still wakes up in the middle of the night I just give him a couple minutes if he don't go back to sleep I go in get him change his diaper rock him for about 5 minutes put him back in his bed and he goes back to sleep. Maybe since she just started falling asleep on her own she just wants to make sure that she's not alone hope this helps best wishes.

Lisa - posted on 06/09/2012

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I don't really understand why babies have to be trained? Isn't the first 3 to 5 years the most important time in bonding with your children? If it is really tirering to look after the baby I can understand why you need a rest but it can also be really enjoyable to use the evening to read them stories and just lie there until the baby falls asleep. Can they not just have as much comfort as possible because soon they are going to be introduced to the real cruel world. Can we not allow them life to be cuddly, lovely and sweet at least when they are small? I think that will help them keep happier throughout the rest of their life. Attached parenting instead of detached parenting.

Laura - posted on 06/05/2012

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I guess I got lucky with both of my girls, because they started sleeping through the night (I don't remember the exact age), but it was before they were one. As long as she can't get up and roam the house, just let her lay in her bed if she wakes up. We, adults, wake up in the middle of the night (or at least I do). If you are checking on her multiple times, she may sense you in there, and that could be waking her up even if you make no noise. If you have a baby monitor, turn it on, and let her me. She may lay in her bed and babble for a few minutes, but she'll eventually go back to sleep.

Bella - posted on 06/04/2012

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Enjoy your little one. Day and night! all may seem endless now, but believe me, when you're old and alone, these will be the things you will bring to fond memory. And miss! Your kiddies are small and need your loving attention for such a short time. Time goes by so fast! Like a flash, they are grownup and into the big, cruel world. Keep her tucked under your wing for as long as she needs you to. You will not regret living for your babies.

Sumita - posted on 06/03/2012

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She won't sleep straight through the night as yet.Waking up twice in between is I guess normal.When the kid starts going to school,then things start moving your way.Don't fret everything's normal.Isn't that good and lucky.

Belinda - posted on 06/01/2012

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I find it doubtful that it would only take 3 days to get over bad habits that have been occurring for months if not years, Ususally it takes 2-3 weeks of being absolutely consistent.

Belinda - posted on 06/01/2012

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what happens when she wakes up at night? Are sitting outside the door until she falls asleep or are you going in to check on her? There might be something that you are doing that is reinforcing her waking up to the point of getting your attention.

Can you tell us what happens?

Justine - posted on 06/01/2012

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I did gradual withdrawal a few months ago, we did well and I got as far as sitting outside her door, she wasn't particularly comfortable with this but didn't wail, only protested. Then something happened (i think we took the clocks back or something) and she started refusing to go down so we were back with me lying on the spare bed in her room whilst she drank her milk in her crib.... So with this new "sleep" attack I just went straight to sitting outside her door and doing 3, 5 then 7 minute checks ins. It wasn't as bad as I thought and 15 minutes was the most she cried. Three weeks later and most of the time she's asleep in 15 minutes but for some reason she took an hour tonight. I wouldn't care if it took an hour every night if only she would sleep all night!! :)

Magnolia - posted on 05/31/2012

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Well.. I would like to know how you got her to go sleep on her own.??
My daughter is 3 years old and I stilll lay with her in her bed until she falls asleep, then I sneak out...

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