Congratuations on sleep-training your baby! Now, you're on to the real challege: getting your toddler to sleep.

toddler in bed not sleeping
Credit: Marc Romanelli/Getty Images

Once you get your new baby to sleep through the night, raising kids is cake—at least according to the thousands of books on the topic of infant sleep. But once you've settled into the role of mom or dad for a couple years, you discover parenting's dirty little secret: When it comes to repeatedly waking during the night, infants have nothing on toddlers.

In other words, if you were hoping you'd finally get some shuteye when your baby entered the toddler years, you're about to be majorly disappointed, my sweet, innocent, sleep-deprived friend. In fact, your chance of getting a good night's rest sometime in the next five years (or longer if you have multiple children) is about... Who am I kidding? You have no chance. You know why?

Because no one avoids sleep more deftly and relentlessly than a toddler.

Toddlers may appear wide-eyed and innocent, but they're skilled in the fine art of nighttime deception and manipulation. In the semi-darkness of their nightlight-lit bedrooms, these tiny humans lie in their beds, crafting excuses for why they should get to stay up later. Perhaps you've heard one of these...

  1. I can't find Pickles [favorite stuffed animal, a dog, who is hidden under the covers].
  2. Pickles licked me and now I'm wet. I need you to dry me off.
  3. Pickles needs a kiss, too.
  4. And a hug.
  5. I don't want Pickles in my bedroom anymore.
  6. Fan on!
  7. Fan off!
  8. Fan on!
  9. I need a glass of water.
  10. With ice. Icy water.
  11. My water is too cold now. I need different water.
  12. I forgot to take my gummy vitamins. I need to take them now.
  13. And then brush my teeth again.
  14. I'm sooooo cold [while lying on TOP of blanket].
  15. This mattress is making my elbow hurt.
  16. My elbow needs a kiss to feel better.
  17. My PJs are too scratchy. I want to wear the comfy ones [that are in the laundry].
  18. I need another blanket.
  19. No, not that blanket with stars. The one with the BIG stars. Why do we need blankets? Why do we need pillows?
  20. What are the crickets saying? Why are they so loud? When do they sleep? Are the birds asleep? Where do birds sleep? When do they wake up? Are there birds at Grandma and Grandpa's house? Are those birds asleep? Are Grandma and Grandpa asleep?
  21. The cat's meowing is too loud.
  22. Why don't Grandma and Grandpa have any pets?
  23. I'm STARVING.
  24. Pickles isn't sharing the pillow.
  25. I'm afraid. What are you afraid of? I don't know, I'm just afraid.
  26. I can't see.
  27. My eyes make it too dark.
  28. Is it your bed time, too? Why isn't it your bed time?
  29. MOMMY, CAN YOU READ ME A BOOK? [yelled from bed at 3:39 a.m.]
  30. Is it morning time yet?