When should my child switch from two naps to one? Sleep

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toddler napping
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As your toddler grows, they're likely to transition away from taking two solid naps a day. Here's what experts and moms have to say about the best timing and strategies for making the switch from two daily naps to one.

Between 15 to 21 Months

"A general guideline is that babies start to drop from two naps to one between 15 to 21 months of age." -- Madhavi Kapoor, MD, pediatrician at Hassenfeld Children's Hospital at NYU Langone, New York, New York

It Can Be a Slow Transition

"Typically between 12 and 21 months. There are days when babies will nap once, others when they will nap twice. By age 21 months, it's typically one daily nap until age 3." -- Hannah Chow, MD, FAAP, pediatrician and codirector of the Loyola Center for Health at North Riverside, Illinois 

Extra Catnaps Can Help

"I think you'll want to do it when they don't go down for their morning nap within 20 minutes. It just slowly shifts to lunchtime, and then if they need an afternoon catnap during transition, let it happen. Car naps are good for that!"

Let Them Lead

"Personally, I think your child dictates when they are ready to take it down a notch in nap time. Neither one of my kids let me change their schedule for them. They each led the way on that."

Make the Afternoon Nap Longer

"My kids transitioned from two naps to one around age 1 to 1½. You'll notice they start staying alert longer. You can be out for three to four hours without them getting completely overtired. Usually it's the morning nap that goes, because they simply aren't ready to go back to sleep yet that early in the day. And then, they take a long afternoon nap, which is heaven. Mine kept that one long nap up all the way through preschool."

Every Kid Is Different

"With both of my children, this happened a little before they turned 1, but everyone is different. I know 18-month-olds who still take two naps. As long as they're sleeping at night, I think it's fine!"

They'll Make It Clear

"Your child really tells you when they are ready. For my child, her morning nap got shorter and shorter, and some days she didn't want to nap at all. Then, we switched to one nap at around noon, and we pushed it back slowly and she now naps around 1 p.m. for two hours. She is 23 months now, but has been doing this for four months."

The advice on CafeMom aims to educate, inform, and provide a range of solutions to the issues moms care about. It is not a substitute for consultation with a medical professional or treatment for a specific condition. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem without consulting a qualified professional. Please contact your health-care provider with questions and concerns.