How to Get Toddler to Stay in Bed: 8 Easy Tricks That Work!

Last Updated on October 4, 2023 by Michele Tripple

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If you are wondering how to get toddler to stay in bed all night you have come to the right place! With the help of family life educators and years of parenting experience, we have found the best ways to get toddlers to stay in bed and sleep.

toddler sleeping in own bed with pink border and white text "how to get toddler to stay in bed: 6 Easy Tricks to Try"

How to Get Toddler to Stay In Bed All Night

Parents can agree that getting their toddler to stay in bed all night may just be one of the most difficult things to do. Some parents even suggest it is harder than potty training! Whether you think this or not, one thing is true, getting a toddler to stay in bed can be a real pain in the, you know what!

With these tips, tricks, and strategies we are going to share from real moms and dads (like you) and family life educators, you will have your toddler dreaming in their bed all night long.

toddler sleeping with text "how to get your toddler to stay in bed"

Set Expectations

When we are raising toddlers, it is easy for us to forget to set clear expectations when it comes to bedtime. We set them throughout the day, but at bedtime, it seems harder for moms and dads. Set clear expectations and remember to talk about them throughout bedtime. As you do this, your toddler will remember the expectations or rules that are required at bedtime.

When setting expectations, it is ok to talk about the transition your toddler made from a crib to a big girl or big boy bed. Explain to them that this new bed allows them to get up when they wake up in the morning.

Remind them of the routine. We will have a bath, then read a story, say prayers, and have a one minute cuddle and then you will stay in bed.

It is important to follow through with the routine to allow your child to understand when boundaries and expectations are set at bedtime both them (the toddler), and you will follow through.


If your toddler is getting up frequently, analyze their schedule. Is bedtime too early because they take a really late nap? Studies show that toddlers should be awake for at least 5 hours between naptime and bedtime. Be sure you are leaving enough time in between to allow your toddler to be sleepy again.

The opposite is also true. Sometimes toddlers and over tired, and you might have to move up the bedtime so your child is not too tired to go to sleep.

Clear the Room of Distractions

One of the number one mistakes most parents make is making a toddler’s room fun! There are toys and books and all kinds of things to stimulate a toddler if they get out of bed.

One of the best things I did was clear the room of distractions. This includes removing books, toys, stuffed animals (except a couple of their favorites that they sleep with), and anything else that can entertain them if they were to get out of bed. At night the room should be dark with no entertainment.

Be sure to also check the room for any safety hazards that they could hurt themselves with.

  • anchor furniture to the walls.
  • Cover plugs
  • Hide wires and chords.
  • Secure blind pulls as well.
Little girl curled up asleep with and open book in her lap.

Interact Briefly When your Toddler Wakes Up

If you are up (which most parents are) when toddlers are trying to go to sleep, more often than not, they can hear you. They hear the TV, you talking, and maybe even the freezer opening to get a well-deserved bowl of ice cream out of the freezer. All of these things can keep your toddler awake and curious to know what you are doing.

We are not saying to stop any of these things, but just be sure that the TV’s volume is low and conversations are a bit quieter.

If your toddler does make an appearance after bedtime, walk them back to bed with minimal interaction. It is best to not even make eye contact with them and keep what you say to them short, “(Your child’s name, it is bedtime.)

How to Get a Toddler to Stay in Their Own Bed

Check in

Toddlers often have a sense of fear that once they are in bed, they are all alone. This causes panic as well as lots of tears. Close the door at bedtime and remind your toddler it is time to sleep, and in the morning, you will play again.

If your toddler does begin to cry, allow them to cry for 10 to 15 minutes. If they are still crying, it is okay to open the door and remind them that you are still here and that it is time to sleep. You can repeat this every 10-15 minutes until they sleep.

This is the hardest thing about being a parent (in my opinion) letting your toddler cry it out at bedtime, but the more consistent you are the easier it will become for them and you. If you do give in and let them come sleep with you one night, they will know that that is your breaking point, and so they know that if they continue to cry, you will eventually come and get them. Yes, toddlers are wy smarter than we give them credit for.

So check in with them, let them know you are still there and remind them to go to sleep and you will see each other in the morning.

Little girl smiling with her eyes closed and head on a light brown pillow.

Conitnue to Use a Baby Monitor

Continue to use your baby monitor even after your toddler movves out of the crib. This helps you keep an eye on your toddler without entering their room.

If you have a monitor that allows you to communicate with your toddler through it you can use it to remind them to stay in bed if they are trying to get up and play or come and find you.

Little girl asleep in a bed with a purple and blue quilt and white pillow with ballerinas.

Set Limits

If you don’t love the idea of letting your toddler cry it out when it is bed time, you can set a limit as to how long you will be in their room with them.

“After tucking you in, I will sit in this chair for 5 minutes.” While there make sure the lights are off and it is suitable for sleeping.

When the time is up, leave the room without speaking even if your toddler is upset.


When your toddler stays in bed all night it is a big deal! In the morning let them know how proud of them you are for doing their best to stay in bed (even when they get up 15 times.)

Positive reinforcement will create better habits and will encourage your toddler to keep trying to stay in bed all night long.

Additional Tips to Get Toddler to Stay in Bed All Night

Routine: Establish a nighttime routine and stick to it. Toddlers thrive on consistency.

Make bedtime a joyful occasion: Bedtime can be stressful and as parents we are tired and just want to relax ourselves. But take the time to make bedtime joyful with your toddler. Let them say goodnight to their toys and stuffed animals, get a few extra snuggle in before you turn off the light, etc.

Nightlight: Sometimes a nightlight can really help toddlers feel safe. Toddles can’t communicate like preschoolers can, so they will often say it is “scary”. The reason they are scared because it is too dark.

Find Something Comforting that they Like to Sleep With: Toddlers love to feel a sense of security. Find a stuffed animal, a special blanket, or something that they like to sleep with. This allows them to feel safe while they are away from you.

White noise: A white noise machine can help your toddler stay in bed at night as well because it helps them get to sleep soundly.


When it comes to getting toddler to stay in bed, one thing is for sure consistency is the key to success. Regardless of the tips that work for you and your toddler be consistent with your plan and your toddler with be staying in their bed all night long in no time.


25 thoughts on “How to Get Toddler to Stay in Bed: 8 Easy Tricks That Work!”

  1. My youngest has always struggled with sleeping good at night. We have a very consistent routine at night, but I’m going to have to try some of these other tips! Thanks for the advice.

    • Bedtime is hard! Having a bedtime routine is hard so you have won half the battle. Definitely try these other tips for getting your toddler to stay in bed and let me know how it goes!

  2. Pingback: Parenting Toddlers: 61 Toddler Experts Share Their Best Kept Secrets! -
  3. Do you have any ideas on what to do if your toddler wakes up a lot? My little girl wakes up several times a night still and she has been weaned since about 2 1/2. She is almost 3. We have gotten her used to sleeping in a big girl bed, but I usually lay with her til she falls asleep and then I leave. It doesn’t really work for long because she wakes up so much and once she realizes I am not there she screams and cries. I am just not sure what to do.

    • My son is the same way! He literally wakes us screaming. Something we have done for him is to constantly talk about how he needs to stay in his own bed throughout the day. We physically show him several times that we all sleep in our own beds. For our older son, we actually set up a toddler mattress next to our bed to kind of wean him from needing us to be right next to him to fall asleep. So we moved him incrementally. After 3 nights of consistently falling asleep without one of us next to him we moved him to the floor in his own room, and then one night he just decided that he wanted to sleep in his normal bed. Does she have anything that is comforting to her, like a blanket or a lovey? My son doesn’t, so we just wrap him up really tight in a sheet and it seems to help.

    • I’m curious also. My daughter did 3 1/2 and I have the same problem. She just keeps waking up! We have white noise, a night light, a routine, and she doesn’t nap (she has a rest time) but she wakes up scared every night.

  4. Completely agree about consistency. We found that although we’d agrees on the routine, we would alter it slightly when going to him but that’s ironed out now. Some nights he needs a bit more cuddling but I’m cherishing that now as I’m expecting again and I know it will be a big change for our relationship. #WanderingWednesday

  5. As a mom of 7, we have been through this a few times. Consistency is key and even a simple forgotten part or change in the routine can drag it out longer. You think I would know that, but I am forgetful sometimes! I agree with having an expected routine with boundaries or limitations like the “1 song”.

  6. I just can’t do it for the hour or so it takes he’s so strong it exhausts me! Thankfully he usually falls asleep on the boob.

  7. The challenge is real! I’m reliving this through our grandson as my son and DIL are getting tired of the three of them sleeping together and baby #2 is months away. Consistency was always the most important for me. It works but you have to stick with it!

  8. Consistency is so key! Or, if you are at your wits end… a baby gate across their doorway. Not saying i’ve ever done that but…

  9. These are great tips Michele. We went through a very similar issue in our house with our toddlers. We used a lot of the same techniques you describe and now everyone is sleeping much better.

  10. OMG yes to all of this! Especially the consistency (incl on time/routine) and the firm, NON-engagement when they pop back up! Yes the first few nights are rough, but so worth it later! And I LOVE The praise in the morning -that is an added bonus! I’m trying to work w/my own girls on more praise for jobs well done/things remembered…

  11. GREAT advice. Consistency really is an important key. I’m now trying to get my teenagers to stay in bed. LOL. If I hear the microwave running at 10:30 one more time….

  12. wow I am so trying this my son is 3 but is terrified of sleeping in his own room we have semi got the sleeping in own bed thing sussed but sleeping all night has always been a big no no he wakes 2x in night every night and still can be on go from 6am to 8pm everyday.


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