When I was contemplating sleep training my infant three months ago, I never thought we’d try to sleep train my toddler. It is just harder to sleep train a toddler who is accustomed to a certain way. We were able to get her in her own bed of course, one of us needed to stay with her or play musical beds all night long. It was a mess! We decided to hire a sleep consultant. When I first E-mailed her, I thought she’d help me with the infant. My goal: Sleep train one of them – the infant is the easier one to train – and life would be somewhat easier. The Sleep “expert” or consultant, however, had another plan. Sleep train the 2-year old, and the infant, we could train after 4-5 months of age. Well, as you have been reading, the sleep training of the toddler did not go well at all – we gave up after 8 nights and decided it was harder on our family to sleep train than to just deal with the game of musical beds all night long, everyday. So, we are back to square one. During transition back to the “way it was”, our toddler slept through the night for 2 nights and now has reverted back. What took 9 days to build (and trust me, we did not build much), only took 2 nights to undo.
When it comes to sleep training a toddler, there is no magic solution. You can use Pantley, Weissbluth or any other book out there. You can even pay someone to come into your home and tell you what you are doing wrong (probably alot because you suck as parents) but there is no magic wand you can wave to get a toddler sleep trained. All you can do is exercise patience and pray and hope that one day, she will just do it on her own. For now, we are back to square one but there are two things we are taking forward that we learned from this whole experience: (1) Earlier bedtime and routine – definitely a must in our household – it is obvious with her meltdowns, that our child is truly ready for bed by 730pm and (2) She has to remain contained until one of us can get in there- that is, she does not get to open the door and wander through the home at will. She is after all, TWO!
With those two things going forward, who knows? We may all sleep in our own beds agian by the beginning of the next decade… most likely, we will continue these games well into 2011. Good night, and Good luck!