My mom said she was always blessed with all-night sleepers when my sisters were babies, and they still did alright when they were toddlers too, but some toddlers are not as naturally inclined to sleep through the whole night. What happens when your toddler begins to wake up in the middle of the night? Will they ever have a natural sleep cycle, and how long does it take for toddler to sleep at night without waking up?

Night-Waking
Though it’s fairly typical for babies and toddlers to sleep through the whole night, it’s also common for toddlers to begin night waking when they’re about a year old. Toddlers can and will sleep the whole night through, but recent research has suggested that night-waking is a common occurrence until a child is over two years old.

A common debate among parents is “do I get up with my child, or do I let them lie awake or cry until they fall back to sleep?” The fact is that both methods of dealing with night-waking are acceptable. However, before you let your child lie awake or cry, you need to be sure that they feel comfortable with their sleeping space. It’s commonly thought that an uncomfortable sleeping place is what prompts toddlers to get up in the middle of the night, but that’s not always so.

Night-waking can also just be a show of independence and a desire of your toddler to meet their own needs. They can’t always do this successfully, but the good part is that waking up with them has no emotional or developmental repercussions.

Growing Up
Eventually, your child will grow out of night-waking and will want to sleep the whole night through.  As a parent, the best course of action may be to address your toddler’s reasons for night-waking when it first starts happening, and then having a discussion about what to do. If you toddler needs to use the bathroom, allow them to do that on their own, unless they still need some help. If they just wake up and don’t feel tired, talk with them about the importance of staying in bed anyway because their bodies need sleep.

Also, check with your toddler to ensure that they feel comfortable sleeping in their own bed and room. You don’t always need to let them sleep with you, but it’s won’t hurt them either. Develop a routine and even some consequences of getting out of bed when they don’t need to. Eventually, your toddler will learn the times when they need to lie quietly in bed, and when they need real comfort or assistance.

Narvaez, D. (2013, March 24). Understanding and Helping Toddler Sleep.Psychology Today.