What to Do When Your Toddler Won’t Sleep: FAQ and Solutions

Hey there, fellow sleep-deprived parents! If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve embarked on the epic adventure known as toddler sleep training. Don’t worry; you’re not alone in this chaotic journey. We’ve compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions about toddler sleep training that might just bring a smile to your face (or at least keep you awake long enough to finish reading).

Q: Is toddler sleep training a form of medieval torture?

A: No, but it might feel like it the first two nights. After you and your child have gotten through the start of training, it is easy peasy. Your toddler will start to be confident, stand a little taller during the day, and celebrate their successes! Our favorite part about teaching toddlers to stay in bed is the joy they experience in the morning when they wake up saying, “I did it! I am so proud of me!” What is much more tortuous for your toddler is not getting the sleep their brain and body need to recover. Did you know most toddlers need 11-12 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night? If they aren’t getting that and a nap, their body is in survival mode and at risk for developing long term health issues such as anxiety, depression, obesity, frequent illness, and impaired decision making skills. 

Can I use a magic wand to make my toddler sleep through the night

Q: Can I use a magic wand to make my toddler sleep through the night?

A: Unfortunately, our research department is still working on the toddler sleep wand. Until then, try singing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” while sprinkling imaginary sleep dust over their crib. Results may vary. In all seriousness, toddler sleep training doesn’t have to be a long, drawn-out process; the Week to Sleep will feel like a magic wand! After just one week, your toddler will fall asleep easily and independently and sleep through the night. Now that has a fairy dust ring to it, don’t you think? 


Q: How do I explain to my toddler that sleep is not the enemy?

A: Consider hiring a toddler-friendly sleep therapist who can make bedtime easy and find some fun in the routine. At Tiny Duck Parenting, we love our bedtime routine and think you will, too. Alternatively, create a bedtime story where the Sandman and Sleep Fairy team up to throw the coolest slumber party ever. They might just be convinced to RSVP “yes” to sleep. Spend time discussing the importance of sleep with your toddlers, use dolls during the day to play and talk through sleep, and when all else fails- your toddler will love the bedtime routine and connection you provide each night leading up to sleep, and that is something to dream sweetly about! 


Q: My toddler thinks naps are a form of punishment. Help!

A: Fear not, weary parent! You’re not alone in the battle against naptime resistance. Try making naps more enticing by transforming their nap space into a toddler paradise—complete with fluffy clouds and a naptime snack buffet. It’s all about creating the illusion that naptime is the place to be. If your toddler is napping at school but not at home, that is okay and very normal after age 2.5+. We suggest working on night sleep first then conquering naps. 


Q: Is it normal for toddlers to negotiate bedtime like seasoned lawyers?

A: Absolutely! Toddler bedtime negotiations are an ancient art form passed down through generations. Be prepared for requests such as “One more story, please?” or “I need a glass of water, but it must be precisely at room temperature.” Creating a very predictable routine that doesn’t change regardless of savvy requests will teach your mini-lawyer to give into the serene wonder of their pillow and relax to sleep. 


Q: What’s the secret to surviving toddler sleep training?

A: Patience, humor, and a well-stocked supply of caffeine. Remember, you’re not alone in this sleep-deprived adventure. Embrace the chaos, cherish the giggles, and know that someday, you’ll look back on these sleepless nights and laugh. Until then, may your coffee be strong and your naps be plentiful! Sweet dreams (eventually), fellow sleep warriors! Remember, you can do anything for a week- if you follow our Week to Sleep program exactly, you will get results and sleep soundly! 


Q: Can I hire a sleep coach for my toddler, or is that reserved for celebrities and royalty?

A: Sleep coaches for toddlers aren’t just for the rich and famous! While you might not have a team of experts at your disposal, there are professionals who specialize in helping parents navigate the labyrinth of toddler sleep. Consider it an investment in your sanity, and who knows, maybe your toddler will get a personalized sleep anthem composed by a Grammy-winning artist! Our sleep coach, Jennie, has helped countless families across the country make bedtime enjoyable and sleep easy for toddlers. For as little as $99 you can stream the Week to Sleep Online course, or up the ante a bit and get two coaching sessions in addition to the online course for just $299 with Our Week to Sleep with a Coach! 


Q: What’s the best way to deal with my toddler’s sudden bursts of energy at bedtime?

A: Ah, the classic bedtime sprint. It’s as if your toddler just discovered they’re competing in a toddler Olympics event right as you’re trying to tuck them in. Channel that energy into a pre-bedtime dance party or an impromptu toddler obstacle course. By the time they’re done, they might be too tired to resist the siren call of sleep. All joking aside, we recommend a very peaceful end of bath that we call “spa time,” where lights are dimmed, relaxing music is played, and you practice deep breathing and quiet, hushed talking. Continue that calm energy into books time, and goodnight. If you find your toddler is still bouncing off the walls, you might have the wake windowswake windows not quite right. Try adjusting bedtime to be slightly earlier. 


Q: Is it okay to bribe my toddler with treats for good sleep behavior?

A: In the world of toddler sleep, bribery is not just acceptable; it’s practically a love language. Consider using our Toddler Sleep Sticker Chart, small prizes, or morning celebrations like pots and pans parade around the house or Facetime a relative. 


Q: What’s the protocol for handling a toddler who insists on co-sleeping?

A: Co-sleeping is like a surprise party you didn’t sign up for. If your toddler has declared your bed as their own kingdom, consider implementing the “slow eviction” strategy. Gradually introduce them to their own sleeping space with cozy blankets and stuffed animals. It’s a win-win – they get their kingdom, and you get your sleep sanctuary back.


Q: How can I survive the transition from a crib to a toddler bed without turning my child’s room into a circus?

A: Ah, the crib-to-toddler-bed rite of passage! To avoid the circus act, consider making the transition a celebration. Throw a “Big Kid Bed Bash” with confetti, balloons, and maybe even a clown (or not, depending on your child’s feelings about clowns). This way, the new bed becomes a source of excitement rather than an excuse for midnight acrobatics. Check out our Crib to Bed Transition guide here to make this a seamless transition. 


Q: Is there a secret language toddlers use to communicate that it’s time to wake up at 5 AM?

A: If there is, we haven’t cracked the code yet! To combat the early bird phenomenon, invest in blackout curtains that make the room so dark that even in the middle of the day it is difficult to navigate the room. 


Q: Is it normal for toddlers to request a bedtime snack, a bedtime story, and a bedtime song all within a five-minute span?

A: Absolutely! Toddler bedtime rituals are an intricate dance that requires predictability and impeccable timing. Consider it a mini variety show before the main event – the elusive pursuit of sleep. Just make sure to have your dinner, bath, story, and song routine down to a science to avoid any encore requests.

In the grand tradition of toddler sleep training, humor and a touch of creativity can be your secret weapons. As you navigate the ups and downs of bedtime battles, remember that you’re not alone in this sleep-deprived adventure. Share your war stories with fellow parents, embrace the chaos, and celebrate the small victories. 

We believe sleep training should be quick and get lasting results which is why we created the Week to Sleep. If bedtime and night sleep are something your family dreads, look no further; this is your sign to start training now and never have to stress about bedtime again. We know it sounds like a big promise, but trust us and the countless families who have well-rested toddlers happily dreaming right now!  Sweet dreams to you and your tiny bedtime negotiators!

Share This

About The Author

Picture of Jennie


Jennie is a certified sleep consultant with a background in Child and Adolescent Studies who specializes in teaching toddlers and children to choose to stay in their open bed, fall asleep independently, and sleep through the night. After earning her Bachelor of Science in Child and Adolescent Studies, and spending time in the classroom, she decided to follow her passion and move to New York City to become a professional theatre actress. Between shows, she worked as a nanny. One family had a toddler that couldn’t fall asleep without help, he refused to nap and would wake-up multiple times a night. Frustrated by the lack of resources for toddler sleep issues she became a certified sleep consultant. Relying on her education and experience, she then created Week to Sleep geared for toddlers in an open bed.

Jennie has helped so many families across the country make bedtime easy and enjoyable. She has been featured on Mommy Mingle, Parentville, corporate Google, and buybuybaby. Jennie’s favorite part of working with families is when a toddler runs to their parents in the morning exclaiming, “I did it, I am SO proud of me!