Parenting Tips: How to Transition from Two Naps to One

transition from two naps to one

Sleep is an important part of your baby’s development. If they don’t get enough sleep, they’ll get overtired, irritable, and fussy. However, you need to monitor your baby’s napping routine to know when they need to transition from two naps to one without denying them the right to enjoy enough sleep. In this article, you’ll important tips on how to transition from two naps to one.

When to Transition Your Toddler from Two Naps to One


Forcing your baby to transition from two naps to one when they aren’t ready can have devastating results, especially since it will cause them to have unhappy days and nighttime wake-ups. Remember that your child can’t sleep well if they are overtired. This is based on the idea that more sleep breeds more sleep.

So, you need to observe your baby and monitor their sleeping pattern before you consolidate their two naps into one. For instance, if your baby takes a long morning nap and then melts down in the afternoon, consider ending their morning nap early. This makes them more submissive to the afternoon nap.

Sometimes you need to time your baby’s naps to ensure they don’t oversleep. For instance, you can wake them up after 75 minutes of the morning nap to see if they’ll be more submissive to their afternoon nap. If the 75-minute nap doesn’t work, shorten it further until you get the results you need. But don’t go below 45 minutes because your baby needs at least 45 minutes to complete their sleep cycle.

Keep in mind the fact that this is a big transition for your baby and therefore it has to be done right. If you do the transition too soon, your kid will suffer from high levels of cortisol because their body works extra hard to keep them awake.

This makes it difficult for your child to fall asleep and stay asleep for the required amount of time to complete the sleep cycle. Here are the most important signs to help you know when your child is ready for the transition.

Children Over 13 Months

• Takes longer than 20 minutes to fall asleep at normal naptime
• Skips their afternoon nap completely
• Reduced nap duration (less than 1.25 hours)
• Wakes up before 6:00 am

Observe your child’s sleeping pattern for about a week to see if any of these signs will remain consistent. If your baby exhibits one or several of these signs for more than a week, then they are ready for the transition. It shows that they are developmentally ready to function with a single nap.

Children Under 13 Months

If your baby is under 13 months old, you should employ the same criteria outlined above. However, you need to observe your child for about two to three weeks before you initiate the transition. This observation period is important because your baby could be experiencing a developmental leap.

All development leaps that your baby experiences will last for a few weeks and they’ll show a desire to practice their new skill more than they would like to sleep. Therefore, you will notice your child ditching their sleeping routines at some point when they are undergoing huge developmental leaps. You shouldn’t initiate the transition at this time because it’s not a sign of readiness.

For instance, your baby will show great excitement and lack of sleep at around 10-12 months when they begin to walk. Unfortunately, many parents confuse this developmental leap with readiness to transition from two naps to one. That’s why you need to observe your child for about two weeks to know if they are ready for the transition.

How Long Does It Take to Transition from Two Naps to One?


Child development experts argue that transitioning from two naps to one is the hardest nap transition you will ever go through with your baby. It’s a difficult transition because your child’s body is trying to adjust to lengthier wake times and amalgamating their sleep during the day into a single nap.

As you continue with the transition, you need to be patient because you are definitely going to experience some nighttime wake-ups, frustration, short naps, and other disappointments along the way.

The trick here is to remain consistent and have faith in the process. Unfortunately, many parents don’t have the patience to wait for the process to yield the desired results. They’re quick to shift their focus and try a different process, which leads to more disappoints. Understand that with kids, consistency is important.

You also need to understand that a nap transition won’t happen overnight. It’ll take a couple of weeks before your baby transitions completely. You might also have to pause the process at some point to avoid making the process too much for your baby. You shouldn’t push your baby too much because it might end up affecting their sleep patterns, causing them to stay awake at night.

Under normal circumstances, many child development experts expect a transition from two naps to one to take about six weeks. But this duration may be longer or shorter, depending on your baby’s age and other developmental factors.

How to Transition from Two Naps to One


The most important component in this process is to ensure the transition happens gradually. Here are the steps to take when transitioning your baby from two naps to one.

Day One

• Delay the first nap by 30 minutes. So, if your baby usually takes their first nap at 10:00 am, move it to 10:30 am.
• Move the second nap later by 30 minutes. For instance, move it from 3:00 pm to 3:30 pm.
• Shorten the second nap to 15-20 minutes. Sometimes your baby may protest this interruption but you have to be adamant so that they can start to get used to the changes.
• If your child didn’t have the second nap, move bedtime earlier by one hour. For instance, if your baby sleeps at 9:00 pm, move it to 8:00 pm.

Day Two

Repeat day one.

Day Three

Repeat day one.

Day Four

• Move the first nap later by another half an hour. So, move it from 10:30 am to 11:00 am.
• Retain the current time for the second nap. The second nap should only last for 15-20 minutes.
• If your baby didn’t have a second nap, move their bedtime earlier by an hour. For example, move the bedtime from 8:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

Day Five

Repeat day four.

Day Six

Repeat day four.

Day Seven

• Move the first nap later by another 30 minutes. So, move it from 11.:00am to 11:30 am.
• Take your baby for a 15 to 30-minute motion catnap instead of allowing them to sleep in the crib.
• If the second nap didn’t happen, move the bedtime earlier by about 60 minutes. For instance, you can move it from 7:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

Day Eight

Repeat day seven.

Day Nine

Repeat day seven.

Day Ten

• Move the first nap later by another half an hour. For instance, move it from 11:30 am to 12:00 pm.
• This is the right time for your baby to have a one-nap schedule. The nap should come about five and a half hours after the baby wakes up in the morning.
• At this point, your baby should be accustomed to a one-nap schedule.

It’s important to mention that the transition won’t just happen instantly without any setbacks. It’s a difficult process that will take between six and eight weeks. Also, the single nap won’t become long overnight. So, if your baby takes a nap of one or an hour and a half, consider it a success.

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