The Key To Sleep-Training Infant-Toddler

Somehow, I have been "Sleep Training" my child since he was born. He's four. Seriously. Four. And I still feel like I'm sleep training the kid. Or possibly, he's training me. Whatever it is, bedtime and wakw-time have been a constant struggle over the past four years. 

Luckily, the near half decade has taught me a great deal about the art of sleep training and toddler. So with every curve and wave thrown at me, I have a methind. 
Below, are the things I learned 

Even at 2-yeas-old I was STILL waking up with him at all hours of the night. Sometimes he went back to sleep easily. Sometimes, not so much. That's right, nearly 24 months of on and off sleep training.

This latest trip through sleep training hell began WAY back in October, when daylight savings time and my Mother-in-law (MIL) came a knocking at our door... within days of each other. Right at that time Ollie started waking up at 4:30 ready to make the day his bitch. Then he started waking up every couple of hours... turning mommy into a bitch.

When, after a few weeks of this constant early waking, I reached out to every mother I knew, looked into every print and online resource I could find, and even called the doctor for help.  I was given some great advice from, going with the classic cry-it-out method; to getting a crib net to put over his crib to keep him in bed; to getting a gate to put at his door to keep him in his room until it was time to wake up for the day; to all types of self soothing techniques like stand close to his crib, don't stand close, nurse him/don't nurse him, keep putting him back in bed...  but above all, The Key To Sleep Training A Toddler is Consistency.  I was told it was crucial that I stay consistent with what ever method I went with. Which, now that I am three months into this madness of not sleeping through the night, clearly I have been consistent... with not fixing the damn problem!

I have been consistent with giving in to what ever it takes to get him back to sleep.  I can only handle the screaming and crying for so long.  Plus, I am afraid he is going to wake up the neighbors with his screaming fits! I have consistently given in at 2:30am to walking him into the kitchen for water, then rocking him back to sleep.  I try so hard to just pick him up and put him back in bed, but just last night I did that for TWO HOURS straight! TWO. He was so worked up from screaming and crying that it took forever to calm him down. SUUUUUUUUCKS!!!!!

Here is the worst of it, I am sitting here typing this at 4:30am because I also have the horrible issue of waking up with him, getting him back to sleep and then staying up from nervous energy/anxiety.  I CANNOT WIN!

Well, dammit, I want to win.

I need to find some sort of fix for all of this because since mid-October I have not slept more than four solid hours, unless of course I go to sleep at 8pm when the kid does. Which, that sucks too.

If this is an issue for you too, then take it from me, you have to pick a battle plan and stick to it. I have found putting him back in his bed a hundred times does help. If he wakes up before 5am I can get him back to sleep this way.  I just stand outside of his door waiting for him to come out, and then put him back in his crib, until he finally gives in and stays in his crib for another hour or so. Again, sometimes it works quickly, others he loses his shit and takes forever to calm down. I just consistently keep putting him back in his bed. I pray every night that he will finally get it, and stay in bed for good. So, here is hoping this last horrible round was the one that won the battle.

Also, people swear by keeping the child in their room with a gate or crib net, I just do not have the backbone to deal with the screaming.  Plus, my doctor said it is best not to traumatize him by yelling, locking him in his room, or associating sleep with crazy mommy.  Though a few times I am sure he has seen crazy mommy.  The main issue is that no one thing has really worked for us.  He wakes up, I do my best to get him back to sleep without any extra stimulation, and when that fails, I break and do what it takes--rocking, milk/water, reading... whatever it takes.  I know this is not good, and that it is most likely what has me in this situation for so ling, but at the wee hours of mooring, I am more concerned with getting him back to sleep as quickly as possible.
 I know from all the hurdles I have overcome with my child, it usually takes three days of being consistent to make a change.  So... I will let you know how this works out for me.

Just know, if you are up at the ass-crack of dawn with a crazy toddler, so am I, and probably a fair number of parents reading this. I just keep telling myself, this shit will pass! Eventually. I mean, even though everything about the teenage years is supposed to suck, I know for a fact teenagers sleep.

(If you came here desperate for some answers, then check out this post with some good tips from the baby sleep site. CLICK HERE

Got any ideas?  Did something work for you?  PLEASE SHARE!!

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April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit