If your 12-month-old has yet to sleep through the night, take heart: About 28% of fellow 1-year-olds aren’t snoozing for six hours straight either. While there’s a small comfort in numbers, chances are you’re itching to move your young toddler to the other side of that stat! Keep reading to learn all about how to gently—and successfully—sleep train your 1-year-old. Plus, find out what sneaky obstacles may be sabotaging your bub’s sleep efforts. 

Is 1 year old a good time to start sleep training?

There’s a good chance your 12-month-old is primed for sleep training. After all, most babies are developmentally ready for sleep training by 6 months old! But don’t worry if you’re just dipping your toes into sleep training now. While go-to sleep training techniques for 6-months-olds are slightly different than those for 1-year-olds, success is still in reach. Just keep in mind that many little ones go through a 12-month growth spurt, so you’ll need to plan your sleep training around that.

Can you sleep train a 1-year-old?

While there are extra obstacles sleep training a tiny toddler, such as mobility and budding independence, the good news is that 12-month-olds are very sleep-trainable! Helping matters:

You no longer have to worry about back-sleeping or putting your little one to bed with a cuddly lovey. That said, it’s important to be realistic when you are sleep training your 1-year-old. (Learn more about sleep training toddlers.)

How often do 12-month-olds wake at night?

In total, your 1-year-old should be clocking 12 to 16 hours of sleep per 24-hour period—and snoozing for 7 to 10 hours a night, with no wake-the-house rousing. Of course, that doesn’t mean your 12-month-old is immune to wakeups! Teething, stuffy noses, outside noises, constipation, separation anxiety, and more have the potential to wake your 12-month-old from a sound slumber.

How long does it take to sleep train a 1-year-old?

Sleep training—no matter a child’s age—is not an exact science. You’ll need to factor in your child’s temperament, your sleep-training method, your consistency, and the collective attitude of the household. However, it often takes a bit longer to sleep train tiny toddlers than younger babies. For example, while it may take a week or so to sleep train a 9 month old, it may take two or so weeks to sleep train a 1-year-old. If you’re still in the sleep training trenches after about three weeks, it’s time to take a break and reevaluate your strategy and your child’s readiness.

Is there any reason to not start sleep training my 1-year-old?

It’s always best to sleep train your child when there are no transitions, illnesses, or other chaos-contributors swirling around your family. That means: Don’t set off on your sleep training journey if…

  • Your child is actively teething.

  • Your child is ill.

  • It’s daylight saving time.

  • You haven’t established a bedtime routine.

  • There’s been a change in caregivers.

  • Your child is moving to their own room.

  • There are other disturbances in the household, like a parent returning to work, going on vacation, or a new sibling is joining the family.

How do I sleep train my 1-year-old?

Before plowing into traditional sleep training, pediatrician Dr. Harvey Karp, bestselling author of The Happiest Baby on the Block, encourages parents to start “sleep training” by subtly tweaking their 12-month-old’s bedtime routines by doing these three things:

  • Establish comforting bedtime rituals. About an hour before lights out, turn off all screens, dim the lights, and engage in only quiet play or reading. Then, about 30 minutes in, turn on low and rumbly white noise. Consider adding a bath, massage, and quiet cuddling or singing into the routine as well. Researchers found that doing these three things helped 1-year-olds fall asleep faster, sleep longer, and call out to their parents less after just two weeks.

  • Give your bub a lovey. If you haven’t already introduced your 12-month-old to a lovey, now’s the time. A lovey, like SNOObear, offers your 1-year-old the comfort, confidence, and security they need to go to sleep and stay asleep. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics notes that every child needs a comfort object, like a lovey, for emotional support in their early years. (Learn how to introduce your tiny toddler to a lovey.)

  • Make a DIY sleepytime book. Create a personalized book filled with photos or drawings illustrating a day in the life of your 12-month-old—including all the steps of their bedtime routine. Regularly read it together during the day and before bed to help your tyke know what they’re expected to do when it’s time to go to night-night.(Read more on creating a Beddy-Bye Book.)

Other Sleep Training Methods for a 1-Year-Old

If, after trying the above techniques, your 12-month-old is still struggling to go to sleep and stay asleep, you can try a more direct approach to sleep training, such as…

  • “Pick-Up, Put Down.” For older babies, the “pick-up, put-down” sleep training method is actually a combo of “pick-up, put-down” and The Chair sleep training methods. According to Dr. Karp, this strategy tends to work best with toddlers up to 18 months old. Here, you run through your bub’s regular sleepytime routine, including playing white noise and offering a lovey. Next, put your 12-month-old in their crib and quietly sit next to them. If they cry, feel free to pick them up and cuddle—but only until they calm down. Once your tot settles, place them back into their crib…and remain in your child’s room until they fall deeply asleep. Over the course of several days, as your 12-month-old gradually cries less and less, move your chair closer to the door, until you eventually move out of your tot’s room.

  • Twinkle Interruptus. At bedtime, after going through your routine, suddenly say “Oh dear! Wait just one second! I need to shut the water off! I’ll be right back!” Leave the room for a couple of seconds and come back. When you return, give your 1-year-old praise for waiting then pick your routine up where you left off. But once again, make an excuse for why you must leave and then step out for a little longer. (“Uh, oh! Mama has to go potty really fast! Snuggle your bear and I’ll be right back.”) Repeat this a few times, gradually boosting the waiting interval. After several nights, your tot will likely fall asleep while waiting for your return (which you always do). This strategy is best used in conjunction with the “pick up, put down” method. (While Dr. Karp notes that Twinkle Interruptus works about 75% of the time for kids over 18 months old, he’s also seen success with children as young as 12 months old.)

  • “Longer and Longer.” This sleep training method is a twist on “cry it out.” Here, you go through your 12-month-old’s comforting bedtime routine, put them into their crib, say good night and exit. If your bub cries after you close the door, let them continue. But a the three-minute mark, pop your head in to make sure they’re okay. Say, “I love you, sweetie. It’s time to sleep. Night-night!” (It’s best not to linger.) After you close the door again, wait five minutes before poking your head in and offering comforting, albeit brief, words. After that, wait 10 minutes…then 15 and so on, until your 1-year-old falls asleep. This method is understandably distressing for many, which is why it’s often used as a last ditch effort. Even still, if your tot’s sleep isn’t better by the fourth night of “longer and longer,” take a pause and reconsider the approach.

Why isn’t sleep training working for my 12-month-old?

There are several reasons why your 1-year-old may be butting heads sleep training. Your child may be feeling sick, or they may be struggling with an unexpected change in their routine, like, a parent is on a work trip, or a new babysitter just started. Some possible sleep-training obstacles include…

  • You’re sending mixed signals during sleep training.

  • Your child has separation anxiety.

  • Your child’s bedtime is at the wrong time.

  • Your child’s naptime needs to be adjusted.

  • Your child’s tummy is adjusting to new foods.

What time should a 1-year-old go to bed?

Now that your baby is a year old, their bedtime will likely fall between 7 and 9pm. The average 1-year-old catches 7 to 10 hours of ZZZs at night and naps for two to four hours daily, waking up for the day between 6 and 7am.

Getting Your 1-Year-Old to Go to Bed on Their Own

One-year-olds thrive on routine—and establishing a predictable and calming bedtime routine that includes rough and rumbly white noise is no exception! At the same time, there are stealth sleep-sappers that may be interfering with your 1-year-old’s sleep. For help getting to the bottom of your sleep training troubles, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I sending mixed signals? During sleep training, are you talking to your little one too much, turning on sleep-disturbing lights, or staying too long when you check in on them? If you’ve got a spirited or defiant child, too much attention during sleep training often encourages them to stay awake.

  • Does my child need extra comfort? Many tiny toddlers struggle with separation anxiety—and a lovey and a nightlight can help. In fact, the pair are fantastic steppingstones to sleepytime independence. That’s because cuddly loveys help children feel secure, comforted, and courageous overnight and a soothing and dim nightlight helps fend off nighttime scaries. (Learn what to look for in a toddler nightlight.)

  • Are my child’s naps too long? If your 12-month-old’s naps are too long—and too close to night-night—it’ll make going to bed in the evening difficult. To help, make sure your tot doesn’t nap for over 2 hours and that they wake from their nap at least four hours before lights out.

  • Should my child drop a nap? Most 1-year-olds happily take two naps a day, but between 12 and 18 months, some may be ready to drop a nap. A few clues that this may be your kiddo include refusing all naps for two weeks; refusing their afternoon nap but taking a morning nap; and talking during naptime. For help with transitioning from two naps to one, follow Dr. Karp’s advice.

  • Is my child’s bedtime too early? If your 1-year-old fights sleep for up to an hour, shows no sign of fatigue at bedtime, and/or wakes in the middle of the night—or very early the next day—full of vigor, their bedtime might be too early. Push their entire evening routine 15 minutes later every two to three nights until you land on the ideal bedtime.

  • Is my child’s bedtime too late? Your 1-year-old’s bedtime may be too late if they fight sleep for up to an hour despite rubbing their eyes, yawning, or showing other signs of sleepiness. More clues you need to adjust your child’s bedtime include taking super-long naps, easily falling asleep on car or stroller rides, and exhibiting moody and irritable behavior. To help, push your 12-month-old’s evening routine 15 minutes earlier every two to three nights to land on the best bedtime.

  • Is my tot constipated? Constipation is uncomfortable and can make getting to sleep—and staying asleep—difficult. If you think your 12-month-old has a “poop problem,” regularly lay your tot on their back and move their legs in a half-bent position, like they’re riding a bike to help stimulate their digestive system. Also, make sure your child is getting plenty of exercise and water throughout the day—and they’re chowing down on high-fiber foods, such as beans, fruits, and veggies. Before lights out, offer a warm bath and a soothing belly massage.

Do I need to worry about sleep regression for my 1-year-old?

It’s true that some children experience a sleep setback around the time they turn 1 year old. Right now, your baby is blossoming into a tiny toddler who’s moving and shaking all day long and often filled with big-time FOMO. Plus, at 12 months, separation anxiety and nighttime fears may be starting to kick in, too. All of this can lead to a 12-month sleep regression. Signs your child is going through a 12-month sleep regression include:

  • Increased crying or agitation at bedtime

  • Difficulty falling asleep

  • Frequently waking at night

  • Taking longer to fall back to sleep

  • Suddenly resisting naps

  • Suddenly taking longer naps

While every child is different, the 12-month sleep regression usually doesn’t last longer than a few weeks, especially if you’re engaging in healthy sleep practices, like leaning into white noise and loveys. (Learn more about toddler sleep regression.)

Products That Can Help With Sleep Training a 1-Year-Old

Having a comfy, cozy crib to sleep in, a full tummy, and being surrounded by loving and supportive grownups all help your 1-year-old get the ZZZs they need. At the same time, 1-year-olds need to feel secure and confident in their own ability to soothe themselves to sleep and back to sleep. To help, offer your 12-month-old these pediatrician-approved sleepytime helpers:

  • SNOObie: One-year-olds adore this Smart Soother, which is a customizable nightlight and sound machine featuring eight soothing colors (including sleep-helping red and orange), and 12 sleepytime sounds, like white noise and lullabies. (Bonus: As your tot grows, they can use SNOObie as a mindful breathing coach and an OK-to-wake “clock,” too.)

  • SNOObear: Designed by Dr. Karp, SNOObear is a super soft lovey, a silly puppet, and a white noise machine that “listens” to your tot. That means, if your 1-year-old cries after SNOObear’s white noise has turned off, it’ll come back on again to help comfort your child.

  • Sleepea: While your baby has been out of the warm embrace of a swaddle for a while now, there’s a good chance they still love the snuggly feeling of being zipped in a blanket. Enter: The award-winning Sleepea, which can easily transition from a baby-loved swaddle to a toddler-loved sleep sack. Simply unfasten the snaps at Sleepea’s shoulders, gently pull your tot’s arms through the holes, and—voila!—a safe sleep sack for little ones up to 33 pounds. (A large accommodates babies from 18 to 26 pounds and an extra large goes up to 33 pounds.)

More on Parenting a 12-Month-Old:

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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.