Back in March, I wrote a post on the book Bed Timing, which says that the most important factor when it comes to sleep training is when you do it. The authors say that because all babies go through predictable developmental stages, sleep training at particular ages ensures the best success. According to the book, these are the best and worst times to sleep train:

0 to 2.5 months – not so good
2.5 to 4 months – good
4 to 5.5 months – not so good
5.5 to 7.5 months – ideal
8 to11 months – really not so good
12 to 16 months – good
17 to 21 months – not so good
22 to 27 months – good
28 months to 3 years – not so good
3 to 3.5 years – good
3.5 to 4 years – not so good

We sleep trained Charlie when he was 4 1/2 months old in a not so good stage, nap trained Olive when she was 8 months old (7 months adjusted) in the ideal stage, and then night trained her when she was 13 months old in a good stage, so we’ve been able to test out their theory. These were the results!

By the time we sleep trained Charlie he was in a full-blown sleep regression, and I can’t help but wonder if it would have been much easier, and saved him weeks of exhaustion, if we’d sleep trained just a couple weeks earlier during a “good” sleep training period. I wouldn’t say Charlie was difficult to sleep train, though he was definitely way more difficult than Olive. But even before reading Bed Timing, I always said that Charlie was ready to be sleep trained before 4 1/2 months, and planned on sleep training my second child earlier.

I waited for the “ideal” period to nap train Olive (5.5-7.5 months), and it really was ideal because she was the easiest baby ever to nap train. She only cried less than 3 minutes, 3 times. She went into her crib awake from day 1 and her sleep improved instantly. I go into a lot of detail on how we nap trained Olive here. Was she so easy to nap train because it was during the “ideal” period? I was able to test that theory again when we recently night trained her.

Olive was 10 months old when we got back from the Philippines, and her sleep unbelievably got right back on track. But then she was sick for pretty much 2 1/2 months straight with 2 ear infections, a respiratory virus, and cold after cold. After she got better, she was still in the habit of waking up at night — often over 5 times a night! I knew the time had come to night train her, and luckily she was in the 12-16 month good period to sleep train. You can read how I night trained Olive in her 13 month update, but the summary is — she was so easy to night train!

The first night Olive cried 15 minutes. The second night she cried 4 minutes. The third night she cried 1 minute. I even kept 2 middle of the night feedings during night training, but she quickly dropped them on her own the first week. That was 3 weeks ago, and Olive has been night weaned and sleeping through the night ever since! She sleeps 11-12 hour stretches, and goes back down in the mornings after I nurse her for another hour or two. It’s been life changing because I’d been waking up multiple times a night for over a year, and she’s finally sleeping through the night. She hasn’t woken up in the middle of the night even once since!

I always thought that Olive would be difficult to sleep train because she can have a really stubborn personality. But maybe sleep training her in the “good” periods really made it much easier. They’ve made a believer out of me!

When did you sleep train your little one? Were they easy to sleep train?