How to Handle the 18 Month Sleep Regression


  1. Patricia King

    My 18 month old was able to be to put himself to sleep until a week ago. He prefers to be put in his crib to sleep in his own, rarely woke at night but if he did, he would roll around and back to sleep on his own. And if he woke up early, he would play around until we came in. And right before this, he didn’t want to come out of his crib right away in the morning. But now he is fighting bedtime, it has gotten to 4-5 hours or leaving him in crib, sitting next to crib, intervals of checking in and now holding until sleep but the second he is placed in crib he stands and starts screaming. No matter how tired he is, he stands and cries. He’s starts to dose off while standing and screams as soon as he realizes it. We’ve let him CIO up to 3.5 hours. I feel like he’s so determined that sleep training will not even work at this point. This 18 month regression is breaking my husband and I. We both work full time, he works days, I work nights, and no one in the house has slept in a week. Please help!!!

    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello Patricia,

      Regressions can be brutal! Regressions are a normal part of brain development, but it can cause sleep disruptions for a couple weeks or so. As a mom of two toddlers, I can completely empathize with what you are going through!

      I would be happy to chat with you 1-1 to see if any schedule adjustments or environmental shifts can help your little guy. I offer 45 minute private consultations on Zoom and we can see if some changes can help your son get back on track! Here is the link if you want to check out the details!

      Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

  2. Jasmin

    Hi Alyssa!

    Your website has been helpful and comforting for a tired mama! 🙂 would love love love some advice though!

    I have a 17 month old. We haven’t officially sleep trained her but she has been doing fairly well sleeping with a pacifier on her own when placed in the crib awake. However, starting last week, she has been sick so I have held her for naps consecutively for ~4-5 days. Bedtime remains the same by placing in crib with a pacifier. She has straight out refused to take any day time naps. (Will only nap if held) – we now try to avoid holding her if possibly unless we are out, but she will take ZERO naps otherwise. She will cry and wail in the crib however long she is left there (we try to let her CIO x45min-1.5hrs, but I struggle to let her cry past the 1.5-2hr mark). Bedtime has still been successful at placing her in the crib but more frequent wakings throughout the night.

    I can’t tell if it’s the 18 month regression, being sick, transitioning from 2 to 1 nap, or if it’s because I held her for a few days in a row which led to a bad habit I am trying to now undo. (Or a combo of something above). I am wondering if I should continue to let her forego all daytime naps and make bedtime earlier each night without holding her to sleep or would that affect her negatively. It’s been 3 days she’s gone without any naps at all.

    I’d appreciate any advice or suggestions you may have!

    Thank you for your time!!

    • Artemis

      Hello, Jasmin!

      So sorry to hear your 17 month old hasn’t been napping, yikes!

      I think we need some official sleep training ASAP to get your little one sleeping amazingly and to avoid sleep deprivation. Please join us here:

      Email us if you have any questions, otherwise just sign up right away and we’ll work on it togther.

      Kind regards,
      Artemis, BSMS Support Team

  3. Padma


    Thank you for the info about the 18th month old sleep regression. My son will be 18 months old in 3 days, and I am certain we are in the midst of this regression now, which started about 5 days ago.

    We have followed all your tips and survived the previous regressions, nap transitions and daycare routines. Our son in an independent sleeper: usual routine is 7.30pm – 7.15am for night sleep and 12.30pm – 2.30pm afternoon sleep.

    Since Friday we have noticed the following:
    1. Waking up at 5.30am and crying, sitting up in crib wailing/whimpering (we do allow him to sleep with his lovey)
    2. On some days shorter nap times
    3. Last night there was a night waking at 12.30am. We allowed him to CIO for 45 mins as he was sitting up in his crib crying. We did a silent re-position on his back and gave him his lovey but he was more upset by knowing we were around and cried more.

    Looking for some advice:
    1. This is the regression? (no signs of being sick or any other concerns)
    2. We live in an apartment, and we know that for our son CIO is the only sleep training method which is effective. However, crying in the middle of the night at 12.30am is disruptive to our neighbors and so is a 5.30am wake-up. What should we do at these times? Do we just let him cry it out and trust he should settle back in? At 5.30am, we have avoided pulling him into our bed, but this has been so tough because he is ready to start his day and keeps talking, but I know he will be exhausted at daycare if he doesn’t stay in his cool, dark room until 7am.

    Any tips or suggestions for navigating a night waking or early morning would be so appreciated.

    • Becca Fuentes

      Hi Padma,
      Sounds like you are doing wonderfully! You have a very good grasp of what is going on. I do believe this is a sleep regression. Generally a sleep regression will resolve in a week or two. If CIO is what works for your kiddo then stick with that. If you are interested in trying any other methods you can check out our sleep training program: 21 Days to Peace and Quiet:

      Otherwise, I would stick with what you are doing since going to him seems to upset him more. Even though it upsets him more at the time, sometimes checking in and letting him know you are there, he is safe and giving him some pats on the back and comfort can help him decrease the length of his cry time. This is different for all kiddos but if you feel like it might help, try a little check in and then pop back out of the room and see if it helps him to settle. Otherwise you probably just need to wait this out, utilize the strategies in the article, and be consistent with how you have sleep trained him in the past. Maybe bring your neighbors some pie. haha! Seriously though, letting your neighbors know what you are going through and that the experts you spoke to said that it would be over in a week or so might help them to be more understanding. You could even provide a little noise canceling gift: some ear plugs and chocolate and a sleep mask or something like that just to show them that you understand it is not ideal but you hope for their understanding. A white noise machine on your side of the wall might also help decrease the noise they are hearing. Hope this helps and good luck! You will get through this! Stay consistent and this will pass!

      Here are a few additional articles and videos that might help:

      Becca, BSMS Support Team

  4. Andrea Legarda

    I took this course already and he has been sleeping well. He is 16 months old, barely wants to nap in the day. Max nap time is 1hr 30 min. He is now screaming when I put him to bed at night and wont sleep unless I hold him. He kicks, screams, jumps, I dont know what to do helps

    • Alyssa Taft

      Hi Andrea!

      We would love to help you get back on track! Please go ahead and email us at and share with me your LO’s daily schedule so we can see what is going on.

      Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

  5. Lydia

    Hi, my daughter has started waking at 5/5.30am every morning. I leave her and try to try and get her to go back to sleep. She is 19months and has one nap in the afternoon 1.30-3.30pm. As she is waking so early by 9am she is very grumpy and tired!

    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello, I would try to move up your LO’s naps. Toddlers at this age can handle around 5 hours of awake time in the morning. So try a schedule like this:


      Give it a solid 1-2 weeks to see how your LO adjusts and follow the clock 🙂

      Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

  6. Julie Pulling

    I have twins. We took their pacifiers away a little over two weeks ago. Also tried going to the one nap a day at that time. Baby 1 is crying every time we put her down fpr naps amd at night time. I’m not sure if it’s 18 month sleep regression, not having the pacifier or teething. Should we go back to the two nap a day for now?

    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello Julie! It sounds like the 18 month sleep regression. I would just continue with your 1 nap, but move bedtime earlier if they don’t nap well! Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

  7. Madison Stockton

    If 18 1/2 month old is only fighting bedtime not nap would you put in crib a little earlier like you said for nap?
    Do you still suggest waiting five minutes and going back in and padding and then going out again?

    • Alyssa Taft


      I would leave nap time the same and just focus on putting him down a little earlier for bedtime. If he is just rolling around and not sleeping, I would give him space to settle. I would only go in to his room if he is crying continuously!

      Alyssa, BSMS Support Team


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