One of the trickiest transitions that babies go through is switching from two naps to one nap per day. In fact, navigating this transition is one of the most common questions parents ask me about. Not to worry—Carolynne Harvey, sleep expert at Dream Baby Sleep is going to equip you with everything you need to know in order to help the process go as smoothly and as successfully as possible.
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When should I transition my toddler to one nap?
I can't emphasize this point enough: the biggest mistake many parents make with this transition is doing it too early.
- Most toddlers are ready to transition to one nap per day between 14 and 19 months old.
- Many babies go through a phase between 10 and 12 months old during which they protest one or both naps.
- This doesn't mean that they're ready to drop a nap. For babies younger than 14 months old, a nap strike is most often due to cutting molars or working on a developmental milestone such as learning to stand or walk.
- Stay the course and continue putting your baby down for both naps. She'll likely get back on track within a few days or a week. The longer you hold off on dropping to one nap, the smoother the transition will be.
How will I know that my toddler is ready?
The first telltale sign that your toddler is ready to drop a nap is that she's between 14 and 19 months old and is skipping one or both naps per day. Is she skipping the morning nap and taking the afternoon nap? Is she taking the mowing nap and skipping the afternoon nap? Does it vary depending on the day? If you find yourself in this awkward naptime limbo and your toddler is between 14 and 19 months old, then you know that the transition is upon you. You may also see sudden bedtime battles, night waking or early rising when you previously did not struggle with those issues.