We recommend starting sleep training at naps once you have a baby that consistently sleeps through the night. Nights are a better place to start because your baby has lots of hormones working with them and an environment that supports the most challenging part of sleep training - the initial learning of falling asleep independently! Additionally, many children will become jet-lagged as they learn to sleep through the night, and even great nappers will have haywire naps as soon as their nights normalize!
When you start, you first must understand how long your baby's naps should be. We have a comprehensive guide to nap transitions that will help you know how to find your baby's nap schedule based on their age. Once you have that schedule, you have start and stop times for your children's naps. Place your baby in their perfect sleep environment and practice your sleep training technique between these times. Only let your little one sleep 15 minutes after your end time, or you can start to experience early morning wakings and bedtime battles.
If you don't want to use a nap schedule, your other option is to follow the "Crib Hour" rule. The Crib Hour rule says that after placing your baby in their crib, you should practice your sleep training technique for the next hour. If your baby is awake after the hour is finished, you go to them. If they are still asleep, let them sleep.
Pro Tip: Your goal is to let your baby connect sleep cycles once per nap. Each baby sleep cycle is 30-45 minutes, so the crib hour gives them ~15 minutes to practice one sleep cycle connection. With practice, they will start to lengthen their naps naturally.
Have trouble connecting daytime sleep cycles? See this lesson in our app on lengthening naps!
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