How & When Do Babies Transition to One Nap?

 

tips to transition to one nap when and how toddlers babies

Sometime around a baby’s first birthday, parents often reach out to me and ask “When should I start the transition to one nap?”

Nap transitions are a tricky part of new parenthood. It seems as soon as our babies get into a consistent napping groove (and we parents get comfortable) they start fighting nap time! And we parents wonder “when do babies go down to one nap?”

When my daughter turned 15 months old… everything changed! She had been on a great 2 nap schedule for ages, and it seemed like one day she just decided she wanted to switch to one nap.

She started fighting naps and when she did fall asleep, her naps were much shorter.

I recognized this as signs she was ready to transition to one nap. It took a few weeks, but we mastered the 2 to 1 nap transition without much fuss and she started taking a 2-3 hour nap everyday! For me personally, the one nap schedule was my favorite!

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Transition to One Nap: How To Master the 2-to-1 Nap Change

 

Transitioning from two naps to one can require more parental patience than other baby nap transitions. That’s because it’s a slow-mover.

Most babies switch to one nap sometime between 13 – 18 months. The average age for transitioning to 1 nap is 15 months, although some toddlers may be ready as early as 12 months.

Unless your family routine (or daycare) necessitates this transition at a certain age, it’s best to watch your toddler for signs that she’s ready to transition to one nap.

 

Signs that Your Baby / Toddler Is Ready to Switch to One Nap

  • Your toddler is 13 – 18 months.

 

AND DOES AT LEAST ONE OF THE FOLLOWING FOR 2 WEEKS:

  • Your baby is refusing one of his naps, consistently for 2 weeks.
  • He’s playing, talking or fussing in his bed, rather than sleeping. He either skips the nap entirely or takes only a short nap.
  • He consistently refuses one nap (for example, the afternoon nap) but still takes the morning nap as usual.
  • He’s NOT refusing all naps altogether (which is a sign of another issue like a regression, change in schedule or night sleep problems.)
  • Your toddler is refusing a nap at its usual time, but falls asleep later. This can make him skip another nap or push bedtime very late.
  • Your baby used to take 2 naps of equal length, but now nap lengths vary. One nap might be long and the other nap really short.
  • Your toddler can go for morning car rides or strolls without falling asleep (on most days.)
  • His mood stays relatively stable despite missing one of his naps. He’s ok with an awake time of 4-5 hours.

Again, this isn’t a one-off event. It happens consistently for 2 weeks.

 

RELATED: How to Get Your 1 Year Old Sleeping Amazingly!

 

Signs that it’s NOT time to transition to one nap:

 

  • Baby fusses or stays awake initially when you put her down for a nap, but ends up sleeping well (at least one hour.)
  • Missing a nap makes baby cranky, irritable, or leads to tantrums. She can’t handle awake times of 4+ hours.
  • She’s recently started walking or talking more. Developmental milestones often disrupt sleep for a few days. It’s best to stick to your usual napping schedule during these times.
  • Your toddler’s night sleep has been “off” recently. She’s waking more at night or earlier in the morning. Always focus on fixing night sleep before beginning any nap transitions. This guide will help if your toddler is waking up too early every morning.

 

Get my Toddler Daily Schedules as a PDF

Includes 2 & 1 Nap Schedule

 

RELATED: How to Extend your Baby’s Short Naps

 

Tips For Mastering the Transition to 1 Nap

 

  • Push the morning nap later

Gradually push the morning nap to 11 am. Keep it here for one week.

You can do this by pushing the morning nap later by 15 – 20 minutes every 2-3 days until you get to 11 am. Then stay here for at least one week to help your baby adapt to a later nap.

For example, if your baby used to nap at 10 am, put him down at 10:15 am for 2-3 days. Then push it to 10:30 am for another 2-3 days. Keep with this pattern until he’s napping at 11 am everyday.

Let your toddler nap as long as he wants for this nap. Don’t wake him after a certain time.

 

  • Distract your baby to keep her awake

Take your baby outside in the morning and expose her to natural light. This is a natural cue for her body to stay awake. Run errands, go for a stroll or take a trip to the playground.

Arrange a morning playdate to keep your toddler distracted and stimulated so she doesn’t want to nap early.

 

  • Offer a meal before nap time

A common concern when babies go to one nap is “When do I feed him?” 10:30 am seems too early for lunch, but your toddler may wake early from his nap if he’s hungry.

What works best for most toddlers is splitting lunch during the early days. Who says lunch has to be one big meal at noon?!

Offer half of lunch before nap time and half when your toddler wakes. Or give a protein-rich snack before nap time. I promise, your little one won’t mind.

 

  • Create the right sleep space

Now that your toddler will be napping only once each day, it’s important that this nap is at home. Napping at home in the crib is more restorative than naps on-the-go.

Go to baby’s bedroom 15 minutes before nap time. Do a quick relaxing routine to help her unwind and settle for sleep. Change her diaper, read a book together, sing a lullaby then place her in bed.

Your toddler should nap in her darkened bedroom with white noise playing to ensure she gets long, restful sleep.

 

  • Let baby nap for 2-3 hours

Your toddler needs 2-3 hours of daytime sleep everyday. This nap transition will help him get all the hours of sleep he needs in one long beautiful nap. It’s a dream!

At first, many toddlers will only nap 1-2 hours. That’s ok, this nap transition takes time. In this case, either offer a 30 min cat nap in the afternoon or move bedtime earlier to prevent over-tiredness.

A good rule of thumb is if your toddler can skip the cat nap and have bedtime be 6 pm, go with that option. But if the awake time will be too long, offer a cat nap instead and keep your usual bedtime.

If a late cat nap disrupts bedtime, skip it and move bedtime earlier. Always prioritize bedtime over a late nap.

 

  • Settle into the right nap time

Choosing the right nap time is the key to mastering the transition to one nap and settling your toddler into a one nap schedule without becoming overtired.

There are a few ways of finding the right nap time. The first is to pick the time that falls in the middle of baby’s previous naps.

For example, if your baby used to nap at 10 am and 2 pm, his “new” one daily nap time should fall somewhere in the middle of his previous nap times. In this case, a nap at 12 pm would be ideal.

Another way to decide the best time for your baby’s one nap schedule would be 5 hours after waking in the morning.

Examples:

Your baby wakes at 6 am & has bedtime 7 pm. Baby should settle into one long nap everyday from 11 am – 2 pm.

Your baby wakes at 7 am & has bedtime 7:30 pm. Baby should settle into one long nap everyday from 12 – 3 pm.

Start transitioning your baby to the right nap time after one week of having nap at 11 am.

*Once your toddler turns 2, nap time usually starts moving later to 12:30-1 pm.

 

RELATED: How to Get Your Toddler to Nap!

 

The 2 to 1 nap transition takes time

 

Remember, switching to one nap takes time. It’s normal for your toddler to need some 2-nap days while making this transition.

If she’s cranky and ready for a nap at 10 am, let her sleep for one hour. Then offer an afternoon nap and try again tomorrow. Over the next few weeks you’ll see that your toddler prefers one long midday nap.

If you have the luxury of time, this transition may take several weeks to a month. If you need the transition to go quicker, stay consistent and remember to move bedtime earlier.

This is the BEST nap transition (in my opinion) because it leads to a blissful 2-3 hour nap every day. Which means lots of down time for YOU! Enjoy it…

Let’s stay connected!

84 Comments

  1. Jaden

    Hi, thank you for this article…it has been super helpful, as with the replies to the comments!

    My little girl is 14 months old. Since September she has been fighting her two naps. She would either sleep for one and not the other, or do both however they would be short. She met all the criteria you listed to transition to one nap, therefore about two weeks ago I started the transition. The first few days were not bad. She was waking up around 6:30-7am, napping for two hours around 11-11:30am then bedtime at 7pm. On day 3, she started only taking roughly a 1 hour nap. I had moved her bedtime to 6:30 to accommodate however this caused her to start waking up earlier as well.

    I feel like I have tried everything from adjusting nap time, moving bedtime, even trying to get her back to sleep in the morning but nothing works to get her on a good routine.

    On top of it all, I’m thinking she may be beginning to pop some teeth, and she has just learned to walk the last few days.

    I’m at a loss on what to do to get her to nap long enough during the day, while maintaining a good bedtime, and to keep her sleeping later in the morning. Ideally back to 6:30-7am would be great!

    Do you have any advice on what to do?

    Thanks!!

    Reply
    • Micaela

      Hello Jaden, the guide suggests to let baby sleep up to 3h at the time he usually has his first nap and then slowly extending this awake time until it fits the middle of the day for your child. Sometimes we need to keep a specific awake time for quite a long time, especially when they transition early. Micaela BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  2. Lindsey

    My almost 15 month old daughter is definitely ready for one nap—she does well being awake from around 7am to 11:30/noon right now. Problem is, she only naps around 40 mins before popping awake and crying! She will go back to sleep only if being held (and who has time to hold a baby for another hour??). Advice on how to lengthen her one a day nap?

    Reply
  3. Rylie

    Hi! All of this information has been extremely useful, especially the stuff in the comment section. My 14-month-old does a great job with longer wake windows, however, her naps are still less than 2 hours. Like today, an hour and 15 minutes and because she woke up at 6 am, her bedtime would have been 5:30 if I hadn’t done the 30 minutes catnap. I have slowly been moving her awake time in the morning. Today she made it to 4.5 hours no problem. Tomorrow we will do the same. Any other tips? Avoid the catnap? 5:30 bedtime is too early, right? She’s really at an in between stage right now and it’s tough!!

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello and thank you for your message! The 2-1 nap transition can definitely take some time. Some days your LO may require a cat nap and other days you may have to do an earlier bedtime. When in doubt, we like to preserve bedtime vs. doing a catnap. We usually say to try a bedtime around 6:00PM at the earliest! If you think bedtime would be much earlier, then I would do a late catnap, but definitely try to keep the nap under 30 minutes (just enough to get the edge off). I would actually recommend starting with doing no more than 4/4.5 hours of awake time before nap 1, and then doing 5/5.5 hours of awake time before bed!

      Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  4. Sarah

    Hi Jilly,

    Your guide has been the most helpful out of all the resources I’ve seen out there, thank you for your guidance! I have a question about the nap transition and early wakings. My little guy is 18 months and I’ve been working on transitioning him to 1 nap but he has been suffering from early wake-ups (5-5:30am) when I consistently follow 1 nap for longer than 3-4 days and have to put him back on a 2-nap schedule for a couple of days until he goes back to waking up around 6:30-7am. I leave him in his crib until 6:30am since he seems fine up until that time which is when he starts to fuss and cry. But do I stick with the 1 nap and put him down around his usual time of 11:30/12 or do I continue to give him 2 naps? If I keep him up to 11:30, he gets overtired and gives me a bad nap that ends at 12:30, where he would need a cat nap around 4 that pushes his bedtime to later (he fights that nap hard and often misses it altogether). when he does go down for a cat nap and I wake him up from the cat nap early so as to not push bedtime even later than it already is, he gets extremely upset and fussy the rest of the day. Early bedtimes (6-6:30) has always always resulted in early wake-ups in my case since his night sleep is almost always around 11 hours and very rarely 12 hours.

    I suppose my long-winded explanation is a preamble to ask these two questions:
    1) what the heck do I do when I put him down for 1 nap around 11 and he wakes up around 12:30 or 1? do i give him a cat nap and deal with the fussiness and late bedtime? or do i push him past his wake window of 5 hours and try to put him down around 6/6:30?
    2) what kind of schedule would I need to put him on if he continues to give me early wakeups? do i assume his wake window starts at 5:30 when he wakes up or 6:30 when i get him out of crib?

    **current schedule**
    5:30/6am wakeup
    10:30/11am (he starts getting overtired) nap 1

    3:30/4pm catnap for a half hour
    [4:30pm absolute max time to wake him up]
    8:30 bedtime (he plays in his crib in the pitch black until he finally falls asleep around 9pm)

    **ideal schedule**
    7am wakeup (I wish I wish I wish)
    12pm nap 1
    2/3pm wakeup
    7:30pm bedtime

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello Sarah,

      Thanks so much for your message! The 2-1 nap transition can certainly be a challenging one. It is definitely my favorite nap though once LO is on a consistent schedule–so lets get there! An 18 month old is definitely ready for 1 nap and I think we just need some consistency. First, I would make sure your LO is up at the same time everyday and not to start your day before 6am. For bedtime, it is best to keep a consistent time and never alter bedtime more than 20-30 minutes in either direction. This can really cause some confusion with your LO’s body clock. So if your bedtime is 7:30pm, you can move it up to around 7pm or later to 8pm, but I wouldn’t do much more than that. It is normal for your little one to go between 2 naps and 1 nap during the transition. When in doubt, we always say to preserve bedtime over naps, so don’t do a cat nap and just move bedtime up. If your LO is showing that he is super overtired, instead of a cat nap, go into the nursery and dim all the lights and do some quiet time with books or low stimulation toys. I would try 5 hours of awake time in the morning and 5.5 hours of awake time in the afternoon before bed. You may need to move up your bedtime in general during the transition because 7:30 may be too late since your LO is up at 6am!

      Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
      • Marissa

        Hello so even if they had a bad nap ending early should we not make bedtime as early as 6:00 to help with being overtired?

        Reply
        • Alyssa Taft

          Hello! We do recommend moving bedtime up early on a bad nap day, but we still try to keep bedtime within a 30 minute range to keep in line with your LO’s body clock! Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

          Reply
    • Marissa

      Hi there did you ever get a response or what resolved I am in the same situation

      Reply
      • Alyssa Taft

        How old is your LO? Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

        Reply
  5. Christy

    Hello!

    My son will be 18 months old in two weeks. He is still taking two naps, but I am trying to figure out if he is ready for one nap. He is waking between 6:00-6:15am, goes down for first nap at 10 and sleeps for 1 hour and then goes down again around 2:30pm and sleeps for an average of 1.5 hrs. Bedtime routine starts around 7:15pm, and he is in his crib by 7:35pm on average, but he will lie in his crib awake for at least 30 minutes, so he falls asleep between 8:15-8:30pm. For his naps, he stands up and fusses for about 10 secs when I leave the room, but then lies down and lays there quietly for about 10 minutes and then he is asleep. For both naps he will sleep for a full hour and I wake him up. His afternoon nap is usually longer and most days I wake him up at about 1.5 hr mark, but sometimes he wakes himself up before then. He isn’t fully fighting his naps like I described above, and they aren’t short in the 30-45 minutes sense, but it takes him so long to fall asleep at night (doesn’t fuss) that I wonder if he isn’t tired enough. We keep him active when he is awake too (inside and outside). Thoughts? Thank you so much!

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello Christy,

      Thanks so much for your message! Most babies do transition to 1 nap by 18 months, so you should probably start to see some signs soon that your LO is ready. It sounds like your LO is still napping really well and not really resisting naps. I would wait until you see some resistance. I would agree that your LO is probably having a hard time falling asleep at bedtime because he is still getting a lot of sleep during the day and there isn’t as much awake time before bed. You will see this get better when you transition to 1 nap! The guide gives great tips for transitioning to 1 nap and outlines the clues to keep an eye out for! Alyssa, BSMS Support team

      Reply
  6. Marilyn

    Hi Jilly,
    Tried to transition my 13 month old to 1 nap a few weeks ago and it resulted in literally hourly night wakings, early morning wakes etc (overtired I assume). So we went back to 2 naps for 2 weeks. Now he’s showing the signs of wanting to drop it again so will try again using your method.
    When transitioning, for the first few days, do I move morning nap 15 minutes forward and still try and offer a second nap? Or just do a cat nap in the afternoon?
    Also, if the night wakings start again, should I just persist with the transition? It took 2 weeks to get rid of the overtiredness last time so I’m super nervous to go ahead!

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello Marilyn,

      Thanks so much for your post! Most babies drop to 1 nap between 13-18 months of age, with the average being 15 months. If your LO has been fighting for at least 2 weeks, then that is a good sign your LO is ready to drop to 1 nap. We always want you to be sure your LO is showing all of the signs outlined in the guide or else the transition can be tougher when LO’s aren’t fully ready. If your LO is ready, follow the steps in the guide. Scroll down to the bottom to look for the tips which tells you how many minutes to move everything 🙂 Let me know if you have any questions! Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/transition-to-one-nap-when-how

      Reply
  7. Rachelle

    Hi Jilly,

    I have been using your guide for the last week. I thought my 14.5 month old was ready to transition to one nap because for weeks he would not sleep much, if at all, for his afternoon nap though consistently slept 1.5 hours during his morning nap (9:30-11). I was able to get him to stay up until 11am but he would only sleep 1.25-1.5 hours and wouldn’t take a catnap but I put his bedtime earlier to 6:30. He would still wake up from 5:45-6:15am (prior wake up was around 6:30-6:45). Today I just could not get him past 10am. He was so fussy and closing his eyes, something he hasn’t done before. He napped from 10-11:15 and then from 2-315 and went to sleep at 7:15. He was so much happier this evening. Does this mean he isn’t ready to transition to 1 nap? Do I try to go back to our transition work tomorrow? Thank you for your help!

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello and thank you for your message! I would continue with 2 naps for another 2-3 weeks. It sounds like you had a good day! If your LO continues to fight the nap for another couple weeks, then I would try to be consistent and move to 1 nap. However, when you do go down to 1 nap, it is completely normal to have some 1 nap and then some 2 nap days while transitioning! Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
      • Rachelle Savoie

        Thank you for the quick reply and helping me feel more confident with this nap transition fun!

        Reply
        • Alyssa Taft

          Absolutely!! 🙂 Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

          Reply
  8. Cameron Elenitsky

    Hello – your transition guide has been SO helpful. Over the last 6 weeks I’ve been able to get my 15.5 month old down to 1 nap and we’ve successfully pushed it to 11:30am with a 7am wake up time, working towards a 12pm nap. She doesn’t ever sleep longer than 1.5 hours for her nap, but once we’re at 12, ideally I’d like her to be down from 12-3 with a 7-7:30pm bedtime. With the 11:30 (and next week 11:45) nap start time, should I try and keep her in there for 3 hours now if she’s content and only mildly complaining? Should I keep the same thing up when nap is moved to 12pm? Or should I get her up when she’s clearly done napping after about 1.5 hours? I usually get her if she’s really upset and crying which doesn’t happen until later when she’s been in there long enough and she’s fed up with being in her crib.

    Just an FYI for other moms reading this – I too have struggled with the short naps recently which lead to crankiness in the afternoon due to over-tiredness. She never wants to take an afternoon catnap so I put her to bed 30-45 minutes early when this happens, but I’m staying strong and sticking to these suggestions and am hopeful the naps will start to consistently lengthen as they have on some days.

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello and thank you for your message! If your LO has a 7-7:30PM bedtime and a 7am wake up time, then a 2 hour nap is perfect and sufficient. If your LO only sleeps 1.5 hours, keep your LO in the crib until the 2 hour mark if your LO is content. There is nothing wrong with some extra rest time! Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  9. Alessandra

    Similar situation with my 15 month old. She used to sleep at 10 and 2 for 1-1.5 hours each. One day she absolutely refused the 10am, but shes exhausted. We can stretch her to fall asleep between 11 and 12, but no matter what time she naps, she will not nap longer than 30 minutes. She will obviously be very tired around 3/4 in the afternoon, and will again only sleep for a half hour in her crib (longer if shes in the stroller). Any ideas? 30-60 minutes a day is not the ideal.

    Reply
    • Alessandra

      Oh, and we try to leave her be once she wakes up after the 30 minutes in hopes that she will fall back asleep but she never does. She works herself up and is hysterical. Going on two weeks of this.

      Reply
    • panagiota

      Hi there Alessandra. Yes at this age your LO should sleep longer than an hour a day. Please check out our 1 year old sleep guide here –> https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/1-year-old-sleep-tips-toddler

      And our guide on how to extend your baby’s short naps here –> https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/how-to-extend-your-babys-naps

      Try implementing the tips from these guides for a few days and let us know how things work out. Panagiota, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  10. Cathy

    Hello Jilly. Thanks for this beautiful and detailed explanation. My quesiton is that my 19 month son used to have a perfect sleep routine while he was taking 2 naps. It’s been a month that we are trying to drop to one nap but still couldn’t manage it. We started like you said pushing the first nap 15 min. away until we get to 11 am. Then we moved to 12. But he never made it longer than 2 hours. And now it became worse and he never sleeps more than an hour. So we moved it back to 11 am now. He wakes up around 7 am and we put him to bed at 11 am. He can’t fall in sleep for an hour.. He sleeps around 12 and wakes up at 1.. So we put him to bed at 6pm at the end of the day.. He still gets hard time falling into sleep but then he makes it and sleeps till 7 am. We are with this routine for the last 5-6 days and it doesn’t get any better. What would you recommend us at this point? Looking fwd for your answer. Thank you so much!

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello Cathy,

      Thank you so much for your message! So a 19 month old is definitely ready for 1 nap. This can often be a super tough transition. I would continue to work towards a 12-2 nap. Your LO needs more awake time in the morning before his nap. It is normal for the nap to only be an hour or so to start off. Some babies only nap 1.5 hours vs. the 2 hours. If your LO is content in the crib, you can leave him in the crib until the 2 hour mark for extra quiet time if he only naps 90 minutes or so. If he is starting with an hour nap, try to gradually try leaving him in the crib longer if content. You can work towards 10-15 minutes longer every 2 days, until he is able to stay for the full 2 hours (hopefully sleeping). I would give this a solid 2 weeks of being really consistent! Good luck! Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
      • Cathy

        Thank you so much for the quick reply :)) Well he waits in the crib for almost an hour after his 1 hour nap without crying but never can sleep again 🙁 i was thinking of taking his nap from 11 am to 10 am and see if he’s not over tired and can sleep better? Should i do that or should i stick with 11? Or keep moving to 12? And another quesiton is if he sleep at 11 and wakes up at 12 am.. When should i put him to bed 5 pm maybe? Thanks a lot.

        Reply
  11. Abigail Haines

    I am having a really hard time trying to figure out a schedule for my 13 month old who is naturally wanting to take a nap around 11:30 but has a 4 year old sister in pre k that has to be picked up at 1… I’m at a loss as to how to make this transition work. He always ends up overtired bc I have to wake him up and goes to bed very early because he doesn’t get a long enough nap. HELP! I need suggestions

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Abigail, This is a tricky one! Although this may not be appealing, you could wake him up earlier in the morning so that he has enough time for a 2 hour nap and be awake by 1 pm to pick up big sister. So wake him 30 mins earlier so he can nap 11-1. Then bedtime will probably need to be around 6:30 pm. I hope this helps! Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  12. Alex

    Hi Jilly, we’ve been working on transitioning our almost 18 mo to one nap for about a week. We made it up to 11:00 am but the last few days she’s only been taking a 30-40 minute naps and then refusing a second nap. Before that, she was doing ok with a slightly later nap time (like 10:30 and a 90 min nap). Do you think we should go back down to 10:30 for a while or try to keep getting the nap a bit later and see if the naps lengthen?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Alex,

      This nap transition is often the toughest! I would stick with an 11:00am nap since you slowly worked towards that. Even though the naps are short now, they should lengthen over the next few weeks. At first, many toddlers will only nap 1-2 hours. That’s ok, this nap transition takes time. In this case, either offer a 30 min cat nap in the afternoon or move bedtime earlier to prevent over-tiredness. If your toddler can skip the cat nap and have bedtime be 6 pm, go with that option. But if the awake time will be too long, offer a cat nap instead and keep your usual bedtime.If a late cat nap disrupts bedtime, skip it and move bedtime earlier. Always prioritize bedtime over a late nap. Keep us posted! Good luck Mama! /Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
      • Mary

        Hello!

        What is the wake window from wake up to nap time?
        And the wake window from nap time to bed, on a one nap schedule?

        Thank you!

        Reply
        • Micaela

          Hi Mary, an awake window is counted from the baby waking up, till the baby being asleep again (same for naps and bedtime). So if the suggested awake time is 3h for example you start counting from when your baby is awake and you place him/her in the crib to fall asleep (or you help him fall asleep) in time to be totally asleep at the 3h mark.

          when our babies first transition to 1 nap a day they will probably need 4/5h awake time in the morning and 5/6h in the evening.
          Micaela BSMS Support Team

          Reply
  13. Andrea

    My son is 17 mos old and we tried to make the switch this last week. He was napping at 9:30-11:00 and 2:00-3:30 for months. His morning nap was consistently long and his afternoon nap was getting shorter and shorter, sometimes non-existent. In trying to make the switch, he has gone from being a happy boy most all day to being fussy from 9:30-11:00 and taking anywhere from 1.5-3 hr nap once and cranky in the afternoon too. He is teething, so this is adding to his unhappiness. The mornings are the worst. He is miserable trying to stay up 4-5 hours after 7am. I’m not sure if it’s too soon and I should stick with maybe a 10:00 morning nap for a while. This is pushing his nap out 30 min from where it has been. My question is, when should I put him down in the afternoon if he naps 1.5-2 hrs in the morning? Or do I push him to 11:00 and do a catnap? And what time should the cat nap be? How late is too late?

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Andrea,

      I can remember when my daughter was transitioning from 2 naps to 1. It can definitely be stressful and a little bit chaotic. Gradually push the morning nap to 11 am. Keep it here for one week. You can do this by pushing the morning nap later by 15 – 20 minutes every 2-3 days until you get to 11 am. Then stay here for at least one week to help your baby adapt to a later nap. Let your son nap as long as he wants for this nap. Don’t wake him after a certain time. At first, many toddlers will only nap 1-2 hours. That’s ok, this nap transition takes time. In this case, either offer a 30 min cat nap in the afternoon or move bedtime earlier to prevent over-tiredness. A good rule of thumb is if your toddler can skip the cat nap and have bedtime be 6 pm, go with that option. But if the awake time will be too long, offer a cat nap instead and keep your usual bedtime. Always stay within those awake times. It can take a few weeks to get into a routine, but your little one will get there soon! Good luck Mama! /Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
      • Andrea

        Thank you! I am just seeing this. Things settled down after his teething settled a bit. He now naps from 10-11:30 and 3-4:15/4:30 daily. Bedtime is at 7:15 and he wakes at 6:45-7am. I gave up on two naps because I missed my happy boy. Do some kids just take two naps past 18 months? He’s our third and our other two transitioned pretty easily around 15 mos, but he’s not having it. Just curious if I should just leave well enough alone until he starts fighting one or both naps. Right now he very happily takes two naps and falls asleep pretty quickly.

        Reply
        • Alyssa Taft

          Thanks for your message! I am so glad to hear things are doing well after teething. Every baby is SO different. If your little one is still happy and napping well with 2 naps, I would stick with it! When he starts to fight one or both naps, then you know its time to transition to 1 nap 🙂 Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

          Reply
          • Andrea

            Hi Alyssa…so shortly after my last reply, he started refusing afternoon naps, so we made the gradual switch to 11am and we’ve moved up to noon. It hasn’t seemed to matter what time he naps. He went from two naps totaling 3 hrs to now not napping longer than 1.5 hrs, but mostly only an hour. He wakes up mad because he hasn’t napped enough. You said the nap transition takes a while. What is a while? We’re at 3 weeks with what I consider zero success. I’ve tried 6:30 bedtime, but he never falls asleep before 7pm. He always wakes at 6:45-7am. Seems his nap should fall at noon based on the middle of his two naps before. I’m at a loss though. At what point do I try another nap time…like 11:30 instead of noon? I honestly think it would make zero difference. And truthfully with me now doing school for two older kids, noon is ideal for all of us.

          • panagiota

            Hi there! Since your LO is sleeping great at night, approx. 12hrs from what I see, and his mood is ok during the during by sleeping only 1.5hr it’s ok. I know it would make a difference for you to sleep better, so you can try different bedtimes to see what happens. Please check out our guide on how to extend your LO’s naps here –> https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/how-to-extend-your-babys-naps

            Also, you’re welcome to join our Nap Training program here –> https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/naps-getting-downtime-in-the-daytime.

            Hope this help. Panagiota, BSMS Support Team

          • Andrea

            Things have actually gotten worse this week. He is 20 mos and has gone from happily taking two naps totaling 3 hrs and sleeping 12 hrs a night to outright refusing to nap. He won’t even lay down. I’ve left him up to 1 hr whining. Now three days at noon and he won’t lay down and hasn’t napped at all. He’s so overtired he was up 1.5 hrs last night and up early this morning and still refused to nap. Currently he is screaming in bed now for an hour. He won’t lay down for the night. This has never happened in his life. He’s gone from the perfect sleeper to basically refusing all naps and I’ve changed nothing except to put him down for one nap daily since he started refusing his second nap.

  14. Whitney

    Hi!
    My 14 month old twins have recently transitioned to 1 nap. The first two days went well where they slept 2-2.5 hours at 11am (usual nap is 10). I’m doing gradual transition. However, they are now waking at 5am these past 3 days since the naps have been hour long only. One twin in fact wakes after 30 minutes during nap, then sleeps another 30 minutes. What am I doing wrong?! I’m trying to extend The wake time since it’s been 5 days of 11am, but since I see that their nap is not going well I’m afraid to change it. Help!

    Reply
    • Leena

      Hi Whitney! Make sure you adjust bedtime when naps are short. Bedtime can be as early as 6 pm to keep awake times 5-6 hours MAX. That will help with early wakings. Good luck!/ Leena, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
      • Whitney

        so far two weeks of this and I’m still struggling! Nap is now 11:30am and the length is from 45 minutes to 1 hour. I’m doing bed time at 5:30pm. Is that too early?
        Also, should I keep transitioning the nap to 12pm even though they are still having very short naps?

        Reply
        • Whitney

          And also my girls wake between 5 and 5:30am ever since I transitioned to one nap. What do you suggest I do?

          Reply
          • Jessica Martin

            Hi! Thank you so much for the above explanations – I am struggling right now with my 10.5 month old – who has always been a rockstar sleeper (after training at 4 months)… anyways she’s pretty consistent with her first nap which is at 10 am (she wakes up around 6/630 depending on the day) and I wake her at noon, wake windows before naps are currently 3.5 hrs minimum or she will lose her marbles and skip a nap … She is starting to fight night time sleep as the wake window is 3 hrs in order to get her enough night time sleep … I don’t know how to have 3 x3.5/4 hr wake up windows and provide her enough sleep, not wanting to transition to
            Early but is it possible she is ready?

            Your help is greatly appreciated

          • panagiota

            Hi there Jessica. Thank you for your message. To be honest it’s a bit early for your baby to transition to one nap. But not all babies are the same. You can follow the tips from this guide and try transitioning her to one nap and see how this works, especially if this is interfering with her night sleep. Hope this helps. Panagiota, BSMS Support Team

        • Leena

          Keep the nap at 11 am, don’t move it later. If nap is short, move bedtime as early as 6 pm to make up for lost sleep. Nap transitions can take several weeks, so stay consistent and they should start taking a 2-3 hour nap each day and waking later. Check out this guide as well!
          https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/toddler-keeps-waking-up-at-5-am

          Good luck! / Leena, BSMS Support Team

          Reply
  15. Kim

    Hi!

    My daughter is 14 months old and has been resisting her second nap for a month and a half now. The problem is whenever I try to transition her to a later first nap she gets overtired and refuses to nap altogether! There’s a very small window for her between tired and overtired for that first nap.

    Right now she almost always takes her first nap around 9:30 and if she naps in the afternoon, it’s a car nap. Otherwise, she’ll stay awake until bedtime (so she’s up from 11am-6pm).

    I’d love to make the transition to 1 nap later in the day but I don’t know how to get there!

    Please help. Thank you!

    Kim

    Reply
    • Leena

      Hi! Thank you for the comment, the guide above guides you exactly with that. You work on moving the nap in 15 min increments until you get to 11 am. When you implement the steps in the guide consistently for 2 weeks, you should see improvement! Good luck mama! / Leena, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  16. Kristen

    Thought my son was ready! 13 months old. Fights first nap consistently and then falls asleep for 35-40 minutes at 9:50-10:30z Then takes an hour nap from 2:30-3:30. When we tried one nap for a week he was totally pleasant during the day and was taking one 2 hour nap. 11:30-1:30. I pushed bedtime to 6:30 rather than 7:00. However, he started waking up at 4am screaming!!! When we went right back to 2 naps he started sleeping till 6 again and woke up happy. I’m mow deathly afraid to try one nap again.

    Reply
    • Leena

      Hi Kristen! I completely understand your fear, the good thing is that you don’t HAVE to do it until your baby is truly ready (unless daycare or other things come into play). It is completely normal to do it even around 18 months. The guide will help you with the steps when it’s time for you. it takes a little while and your LO might like a more gentle approach, slow and steady does it! Go with your LO’s lead, you got this mama! / Leena, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
    • Susan

      Hi – I’m in the middle of 2 to 1 nap purgatory! You say if they are knackered by 10am let them nap for up to an hour but if my wee girl (almost 15 months) naps for an hour up to 11, she won’t nap again till 3.30. If I let her nap for more than 30 mins then, she won’t go to bed till after 8pm. Bedtime is usually 7-7.30. If she only naps for 30 mins she’s still over-tired at bedtime and inclined to wake at 5am. So, my question is what would you do when baby wakes at 5am?

      Reply
      • Leena

        Hi Susan! I’d most definitely recommend moving bedtime earlier when giving one nap a day. Bedtime can be as early as 6pm (asleep), this should help with the early morning wakings. 🙂 good luck mama! / Leena, BSMS Support Team

        Reply
  17. Amanda

    My daughter is nearly 13 months. She has been refusing her second nap for 8 weeks. If she accepts it she then refuses bedtime. We moved to one nap and this had solved the problem. However she only ever sleeps 75-90mins which is how long EACH of her two naps were previously. It’s been 2.5weeks now and no improvement. How do you get them to sleep longer?

    Reply
    • Leena

      Hi Amanda! Thanks for your comment! If you feel like the change has not worked for you for two weeks, it could be that your LO is not ready yet. If you’re up to it, I would try to temporarily offer a second nap and see if that lessens the over tiredness. The second option is to make sure you have a really early bedtime, meaning asleep at 6 or 6 .30 pm. Try this out and let us know how it goes! / Leena, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  18. nicole

    My son is showing signs of being ready for one nap (screams for too long and fights second nap a lot everyday) he is almost 14 months. My older daughter needs to be picked up at 2:30pm. Can I keep his one nap from 11-2 instead of moving it later? Right now he usually is up by 6:30am and bed time is 7:30pm which i can adjust if needed.

    Reply
    • Leena

      Hi Nicole! Thanks for your comment and questions! Yes, you have to fit everyone’s needs into your daily routine. So if he naps at 11 am, he should have a 5 hour awake time between morning wake up and nap. This would mean waking at 6 am. If you prefer to let him sleep until 6:30 am, then have nap begin at 11:30 and go as long as he can until you need to wake him for pick up. Then bedtime should be 5-5.5 hours later (that’s the time he falls ASLEEP.) I hope this helps! / Leena, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  19. Kelsi Palin

    I’m wondering about the suggestion of moving the bedtime earlier to avoid being over tired. My LO just wakes up earlier if I put her down earlier, she doesn’t sleep longer (which I would prefer not to wake up earlier). What is the right thing to do in this situation?

    Reply
    • Leena

      Hi Kelsi! Thanks for your comment. It sounds counterintuitive, but helps avoid over tiredness if naps were not successful that day. Often over tiredness causes early morning wakings and can cause doubt on moving bedtime earlier. We still recommend trying this for several nights as it takes a while to see the improvement. When the over tiredness lessens, the early morning wakings will fade as well. Hope this helps 🙂 / Leena, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
    • Laura S

      Hi! I have been slowly working on moving to 1 nap and have done well for the most part. Problem is, my twins continue to have the odd playdate or appointment smack in the middle of their NEW nap time. Is it OK to randomly insert 2-nap days, say once a week, to accommodate these events – or is this going to mess with their biological clock? Would I need to wake them up earlier? TIA!

      Reply
      • Alyssa Taft

        Hello Kelsi,

        Thank you for your message! I can remember the 2-1 nap transition with my little one. It was the toughest of the transitions for us, but honestly one of the most rewarding. It is wonderful to have our entire morning and afternoon to do things, and to get a glorious long nap in the middle of the day! I personally think that trying to do two naps on one day will be tough for your twins because they will be used to a specific awake time which will then be altered on that one day. You may find that they won’t really nap on that one day and be extra fussy for your fun play dates! There is certainly no harm in giving it a shot! Because your twins will be on one nap for a few years, I would personally try and get them to take a solid nap every day and then just schedule play dates and appointments during the morning or afternoon hours. Keep us posted! /Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

        Reply
  20. Stephanie

    My 14 month old is ready to transition to just one nap but we made the mistake of not transitioning and just jumping right into which has caused so much over tiredness and night wakings that last hours sometimes. So we are going to try your transition method and hopefully get some more sleep! What would you say is the ideal wake time between the first nap and either a short cat nap or bedtime?

    Reply
    • Jilly Blankenship

      Hi Stephanie,

      Most nap transitions take a few weeks to master. It’s normal to want to drop a nap right away, but a slower approach usually works better.

      For a one-nap schedule, awake times should be 4.5-5.5 hours. Sometimes 6 hours before bedtime is ok, it just depends on if your LO can handle it.

      I’d start off aiming for 5 hours between nap and bedtime.

      If your LO naps for 1.5 hours or more, don’t give a cat nap later in the day. Just move bedtime earlier. But if the nap is less than 1.5 hours, you may need to give a 30 min cat nap (as long as it doesn’t interfere with bedtime or night sleep.) You don’t want cat naps to last for too long though, a week or so max.

      I hope this helps,
      Jilly

      Reply
    • Wendy

      Hi Jilly
      My daughter is 15.5 months and I just transitioned her to 1 nap last week. She has been napping 2-2.5 hrs at 11:30am. I try to get her to bed around 7/7:30. A bunch of times she has woken at 5:30am or earlier. I leave her in the crib but sometimes she doesn’t fall back asleep even by almost 7am. She falls asleep independently at night. My question is would you continue to leave her in the crib until she falls asleep or if she doesn’t, do you move the morning nap up or just keep her up until her normal nap time? when she was on 2 naps, she would only sleep 9.5 -10 ish hours at night. Can she learn to sleep longer (11-12 hrs)?

      Reply
      • Alyssa Taft

        Wendy,

        Thanks for your message! Because your little one just started the nap transition, it can take a few weeks to become more “solid”. Your little one is napping great! She can definitely learn to sleep longer. I am attaching a link to our toddler sleep guide. It will give you some helpful tips to get your little one sleeping longer in the morning! /Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

        https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/toddler-keeps-waking-up-at-5-am

        Reply
  21. Ruby

    When moving to one nap, do you just stop offering the second nap of the day and the first one is gradually being moved later and later?

    Reply
    • Jilly Blankenship

      Hi Ruby,

      If your baby naps 2-3 hours for the first nap (that you’re moving later) then you should skip the second nap and move bedtime earlier, if needed.

      But, if you’re working on this transition and your baby naps 1.5 hours or less for the first nap, you may need a cat nap in the afternoon to make it to bedtime.

      This transition can take a few weeks, so just start fresh everyday.

      Good luck,
      Jilly

      Reply
    • Tanya

      My 14mo baby can last almost 5h before needing a nap but freaks out if I put him down any earlier than 4h. He only naps 60 to 90 min. So I’ve been offering a 30min catnap in the late afternoon after 4 hours of being awake. How long should he be awake for before bedtime. He wakes at 7, naps 1130-1 and catnaps 5-530. Hope you can help. Thanks 😊

      Reply
      • Leena

        Hi Tanya! Thank you for your question! The recommended awake time for a 14 month old taking 2 naps 3-4 hours and if taking 1 nap, then 4-5.5 hours.
        However every toddler is different and the important thing is, that you find the so called “golden” awake time that works for your LO. If in your case it is 4 or more, that is still completely normal. Jilly has a detailed sleep guide with more information on age appropriate awake windows, nap schedule, daytime and night time sleep information. You can find the guide here: https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/1-year-old-sleep-tips-toddler#point5

        Check that out and implement the tips for at least a week. Let us know how it goes! / Leena, BSMS Support Team

        Reply
  22. Lidia

    Hi Jilly,

    My daughter will be 12 months at the end of the month. She’s been refusing her afternoon nap for almost a month. I hired sleep consultants and followed the plan and she still refuses it. She’s showing all the signs of wanting to transition but everyone, including her pediatrician, tell me that she’s way too young. What do you think?

    Reply
    • Jilly Blankenship

      Hi Lidia,

      Some babies are ready for one nap at 12 months. But most aren’t.

      There can be a nap-specific regression at 11 months, so perhaps that was the cause of her refusing her afternoon nap. If so, sticking tight to your nap routines and offering her 2 naps each day should see her go back to 2 naps / day for the next few months.

      Here’s more info on the 11 month nap regression: https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/11-month-old-sleep

      On the other hand, if your baby meets all the criteria for readiness to transition to one nap in this article, then go for it! You’ll soon know if it was the right decision based on how well she handles awake times of 4-6 hours and if it affects her night sleep.

      I hope this helps!
      Jilly

      Reply
  23. Courtney Hart

    I’m confused by the bulletpoint of “hes NOT refusing all naps altogether” – is this a typo? It’s under “signs to switch to one nap”

    Reply
    • Jilly Blankenship

      Hi Courtney,

      Sorry that’s unclear!

      If your baby was refusing all naps for many days in a row, that would be a sign of a sleep regression or other issue like sickness, teething or schedule problem.

      If your baby consistently refuses one of his naps each day, that could be a sign that he only needs one nap a day.

      I hope this makes it more clear!

      All the best,
      Jilly

      Reply
  24. Lisa

    Hi, my 14 month old adjusted nicely to moving the nap later. We moved it to 11:15/11:20. Sometimes he naps two hours but sometimes just an hour and 45 min. I thought of moving it back to 11 because he wakes at 6a and seems tired at 11a. But when i did that today, he took a shorter nap, leading me to think 11a might be too early. Any thoughts or suggestions?

    Reply
    • Jilly Blankenship

      Hi Lisa,

      It’s hard to tell if something is a true pattern after just one day. Instead, try 7 days straight of something new before deciding if it works or doesn’t.

      5 hours awake time before the nap is right on target. 5 hours and 15 mins probably doesn’t make much difference, but I wouldn’t go longer than that.

      Good luck,
      Jilly

      Reply
  25. Allison

    My daughter wakes at 8:00/8:30 and goes to bed around 8:30/9:00 due to our ministry life style.
    Needing help transition her to one nap!
    She will be 13mn at the end of the month.

    Reply
    • Jilly Blankenship

      Hi Allison,

      You can go by her awake times. Start pushing her morning nap later by 15-20 minutes every few days. You want to get to where her nap falls 4-4.5 hours after morning wake up, then stay there for a while. This nap should lengthen and when it reaches 1.5-2 hours consistently, you’re there!

      Drop the second nap and keep pushing her nap later, slowly, until it falls right in the middle of her day (which is around 2 pm.)

      I hope this helps,
      Jilly

      Reply
    • Kait

      Are some babies just “late bloomers” when it comes to their nap/sleep needs? My 17 month old still takes two (1.5-2hr) naps every day. She wakes around 7, goes down around 10am til 11:30/12, and then goes back down at 3pm and wakes around 4:30. Bedtime routine begins at 8pm, in bed by 8:30. All naps and bedtimes are 98% fuss free and she sleeps excellent. Is this a case of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?” People seem surprised she still naps twice a day. She also held onto the third nap longer than most babies. (Gave it up around 10 months.) should I just follow her lead and as long as its working leave it alone?

      Reply
      • Leena Pasila

        Hi Kaitlin!

        Thank you for your comment!

        This is most definitely the scenario of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. We offer advice and general guides, but of course if there are no problems, there is no need to change anything just because a guide says so or other families are doing it…Always go with your gut, momma’s know best and every baby is different. You got it MOMMA!

        Reply
    • Suzy

      Our sons 15 months old and we’ve been trying to transition him from 2 to 1 nap for a week now. He’s been pretty good about taking just 1 nap around 11-11:30am (45mins~1hr 30mins long) but the problem is he would not go to sleep earlier than 7pm and wake up around 4:30-5 am still super sleepy. When he wakes up early, should I try and put him back to sleep (what I usually do)? Or keep him awake till his nap time. Is there a way to make him wake up later?

      Reply
      • Leena

        Hi! Sorry to hear about your LO’s sleep struggle!

        With all nap transitions it can take 2-3 weeks for your LO to fully adapt. But your consistency will get your LO taking one long midday nap each day.

        It’s critical to keep awake times in the appropriate range, so keep trying for an earlier bedtime. It can take many days of consistency for your LO to accept going to sleep earlier.

        Any waking before 6 am should be considered a “night waking” so keep your LO in his dark bedroom and try your hardest to get him back to sleep.

        If your LO sleeps well at night but struggles with naps, you might want to take a peek into our naps-program information below:
        https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/naps-getting-downtime-in-the-daytime

        If you think that your LO still needs help to fall asleep at night I’d recommend our program, 21 Days to Peace & Quiet. We offer 4 different pathways for you to choose from (from super gentle/no-cry to quick & efficient.) Each step of the way you get advice based on your baby’s developmental stage,
        energy levels, and temperament. For more information on the program, please don’t hesitate to ask, here is the link to it:

        https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/21-days-to-peace-quiet-program

        Best of luck/ Leena, BSMS Support Team

        Reply
  26. Jessica McCoy

    Hi Jilly,

    My 13 month old meets the criteria for transitioning AND Has recently started walking AND might be have her first molar coming in. Should I wait on the transition?

    Reply
    • Jilly Blankenship

      That’s a lot going on!

      If she’s consistently refusing one of her naps everyday, then I think it’s best to start the 2-1 transition now. If she still takes 2 naps half the days of the week, you could wait 1-2 weeks and then decide if you want to start it.

      Good luck,
      Jilly

      Reply

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