30 Easy Steps To Sleep Train A Toddler

by Kathy Glow
Originally Published: 

I absolutely adore my son! He is, as the world’s greatest super nanny said, “practically perfect in every way.” He is sweet, loving, friendly, smart, curious, fun, happy and gives the best hugs.

That said, he does have one flaw…he is a horrible sleeper.

It may have something to do with the fact that he has no idea how to self-soothe and that he thinks my nipples are his own personal sucking candies. When he wakes up and they are not there in his face, he has no idea what to do but cry. (I’m sorry ladies, but does this not sound like a typical man or what?)

Anyway, as he is almost 19-months old, and the quality of my own sleep has been so poor for the last, oh, 28 months, I think it’s time to lay down the law and do some sleep training. So I present to you, my 30-step plan for sleep training my toddler:

1. Put him to sleep at his normal bedtime, via the normal routine (rocking and nursing—hey, if he’s all cozy and satisfied, maybe he will stay asleep all night this time).

2. Go about my normal routine, which involves getting into bed at about 2:00 a.m.

3. Get all snuggled up in bed, wiggling and tossing and turning until my body is right in that comfortable groove in my bed.

4. Drift off and just barely enter REM.

5. Is that a baby crying? Hmm…a baby is crying. I wonder where it is.

6. Get kicked in the shin by husband, “The baby is crying.”

7. Unwrap from warm cocoon and prepare to get out of bed as husband says, “Just let him cry.”

8. Cover back up and stare at the ceiling, listening to baby cry.

9. Twenty minutes later, lay fuming as husband is solidly snoring away and baby is now yelling, “Mommy! Moooooommmmmmy!”

10. Uncover again, get out of bed, and close door to bedroom so husband doesn’t hear. Mustn’t wake him up.

11. Close all bedroom doors so no other little children wake up.

12. Stand with hand on door handle to baby’s room, willing baby to stop crying.

13. After almost falling asleep standing up, decide it would be best to lay in hallway and listen to baby cry. Maybe being so close to the door, I will absorb all the sound and no one else will hear.

14. Start drifting off, only to be awakened by a shooting pain in my hip from laying on the floor.

15. Realize baby is now all out sobbing.

16. Think, screw it, and go in his room.

17. Have every intention of just shushing him, giving him a pat and leaving, but instead, melt and give in when he smiles, reaches his arms out and says, “Mommy!”

18. Pick him up and sink into his tight little hug and toddler sweetness.

19. Stand with him, swaying back and forth until his little head drops on my shoulder.

20. Convinced he is asleep, gently lay him back down in his crib.

21. Yell, “CRAP!” and run out of the room when he immediately pops back up.

22. Go back down the hall, close the door, get back in bed and cover head with several blankets and pillows.

23. Realize I can still hear baby yelling, “MOMMY!!”

24. Hear 9-year-old in the hall, and realize baby is in danger of waking everyone up.

25. Throw off covers, sighing audibly.

26. Meet 9-year-old in hall, who says, “Mom, the baby wants you.”

27. Curse fertile uterus.

28. Completely give in by picking toddler up, getting comfy in rocking chair, and nursing him until he’s sound asleep. Realize I have a cramp in my butt.

29. Resign myself to this routine until baby is in kindergarten or I have enough money to hire the baby whisperer.

30. Put baby down, sound asleep, and creep out of room as sun is rising while thinking to myself, He’s only little for a short time. Who cares? Not me. Not really.

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