Toddler Sleep Regression: how we helped our 3 year old get better sleep with one simple trick

Toddler sleep better

Toddler sleep. It’s a funny thing; ever changing and unpredictable and can lead to some very sleepless nights.

Two year sleep regression is fairly common and I feel as though we saw a bit of that with Moose (I think most of what we saw coincided with the birth of Fox and her sleeping in our room), but his true sleep regression hit about 4 months after Moose turned 3.

For the most part, we were blessed in the sleep department with Moose. He was finicky as a newborn (isn’t every baby) but after we moved him out of out room and into his nursery around 4 months, he would sleep from 8ish until 6:30 when I woke him. This only improved when I became a stay at home mom  sleeping from 7:30-7:30. Around 20 months, Moose was practically potty trained, so we decided to switch him to a toddler bed in hopes he would start waking to use the bathroom. This caused a slight disruption to his sleep and he asked us to stay in his room longer while he fell asleep, but he still slept until 7:30 or later.

When Fox was born, she slept in our room to help accommodate those late night nursings. We were soon confronted with two waking children as Moose had begun waking at night to have us take him back to bed (he never asked for anything other than to be held). Our pediatrician advised us this was not uncommon and to make as little interaction as possible. This lessened the wakings, but when Fox moved to her bedroom around 3 months, Moose returned to his usual sleeping habits.

There were brief instances when Moose would have a night or two of midnight wakings but they were consistent. Then shortly after his third birthday, he began waking every night, some nights multiple times. I came across an article (I apologize, but I can’t find the link now) which talked about gently rousing but not waking your child before you go to bed which would help them reach deeper sleep and therefore sleeping through the night. This did NOT seem to do the trick. After consulting our pediatrician, we decided to give overnight underwear a try. This was a disaster and not the cause of Moose’s late night wakings.


We were stumped, then one evening it struck me how little Moose had gone to the bathroom that night. Could this be the reason he was waking at night and did not know how to convey it during his midnight excursion??? Was it possible our little boy was just dehydrated???

Drinking water

Based on his weight, Moose should consume about 40 ounces of fluid each day. I don’t think he was even at half of that on a regular basis. That night, as I read to Moose before bedtime, I all but forced him to drink a full cup of water. I awoke the next morning after a night of uninterrupted sleep. It was blissful. In the nearly 3 months since monitoring his drinking habits, we have had night and night of good sleep. I mean we still have the occasional waking, but overall his sleep is much improved. We all know better toddler sleep means better momma sleep.

3 Replies to “Toddler Sleep Regression: how we helped our 3 year old get better sleep with one simple trick”

  1. Wow, good job figuring this out! We have trouble getting enough fluids in when summer hits and the kids are outside more. Then they wake thirsty. Our kids are older so they get a small water bottle in their room to help them go back to sleep earlier.

    On another note, I’ve really been enjoying your blog! I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. You can read more about it using the link below. Can’t wait to read your post and learn more about you!

    1. Thanks! He does actually keep water in his room overnight, but for some reason won’t drink it on his own. Toddlers are a mystery for sure.

      Thank you for the nomination. I’m so glad you are enjoying my work and am excited to continue. I have had a chance to check out your sight as well and really enjoy it. Time has not been my friend lately so I haven’t been able to check it out as much as I would like.
      Very intrigued to check out the nomination.

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