Age-by-Age Sleep Training Guide

Ilana Wiles: How I Successfully Sleep Trained My Kids
The best time to start sleep training your baby varies by age and stage. 
Brooke Slezak
Brooke Slezak

Sleep Training Must-Knows

"There are good times to sleep-train and periods when it may be less likely to work," says developmental psychologist Isabela Granic, Ph.D., coauthor of Bed Timing: The 'When-To' Guide to Helping Your Child to Sleep. "This is because infants and toddlers go through mental growth spurts that make them especially clingy, fussy, and prone to night wakings. They're learning new cognitive skills and often don't sleep as well."

What follows are her explanations of what's developmentally happening as your baby grows.

Fancy Photography/ Veer
Fancy Photography/ Veer

Newborn to 2.5 Months

Babies can't tell the difference between night and day—they don't produce enough melatonin yet—and require frequent feedings.

Fancy Photography/ Veer
Fancy Photography/ Veer

3 to 4 Months

Infants are developing a night sleep cycle, are more sociable, and show little separation anxiety, so they start to snooze better.

Baby sleep whisperer Ingrid Prueher meets Mara, whose three-and-a-half-month old son wakes constantly between midnight and 6am. This leaves Mara, who has two other children, dangerously sleep-deprived. Ingrid gives her the tools to tackle the issue.

A 3-and-a-half-month old baby wakes constantly between midnight and 6 am. Baby Sleep Whisperer Ingrid Prueher offers tried-and-true advice for a sleep-deprived mom.

BananaStock/ Jupiter
BananaStock/ Jupiter

4.5 to 5.5 Months

Your little one is just learning that when he coos, he'll get a response from you. Trying to sleep-train him during this time could be challenging.

Juice Images/Veer
Juice Images/Veer

6 to 8 Months

Babies are more interested in reaching for toys than keeping their eyes fixed on you. Go for it—she may not be as fussy when she wakes at night.

Baby sleep whisperer Ingrid Prueher meets Liz, whose eight-month-old son Nate wakes up throughout the night. What Ingrid discovers in the nursery holds the secret to getting Nate to sleep.

An 8-month-old baby has trouble sleeping through the night. Baby Sleep Whisperer Ingrid Prueher discovers the miracle nursery item that will keep baby asleep for a longer period of time.

Image Source/ Veer
Image Source/ Veer

9 to 11 Months

An infant starts to understand that parents still exist after they leave the room. Knowing you're just outside the door as he's crying away can be frustrating.

12 to 16 Months

As a toddler focuses on developing speech and physical skills, he is less clingy with Mom and Dad. This is another good time to sleep-train.

Frances Janisch
Frances Janisch

17 to 21 Months

It sounds counterintuitive, but a child's budding independence makes her more needy. Hold off on sleep training for now.

Ilana Wiles shares her experience on sleep training her children.

MommyShorts blogger Ilana Wiles shares her sleep training success stories!

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