How to Handle Your 14 Month Old Waking Up at Night

Wondering how to help your 14 month old waking up at night, inconsolably crying and screaming for hours? Check out these effective tips!

14 Month Old Waking Up at Night

What gives? I asked myself.

I felt like I was back in the newborn stage when my 14 month old suddenly started waking up at night. My usual eight-hour stretch of sleep was getting broken up in random patterns each time he cried.

After months of having a good sleeper, I worried that these sleep regressions were my new norm—that I wasn’t out of the woods like I thought I was.

I learned that the reasons can be common, from a sudden separation anxiety at bedtime to teething pain. But sometimes, waking up at night comes as a surprise, even though nothing in our daily life had changed.

Thankfully, I wasn’t destined for sleep disruptions forever. While his needs were changing at this stage, I was able to reinforce new sleep habits that turned things around. Take a look at these tips that helped us get better sleep once again:

12-15 Month Sleep Regression

1. Get enough wake time between naps

From being overtired to not tired enough, how much sleep he gets during the day can contribute to his waking up at night.

If he’s still taking two naps a day, aim for 3.5 hours of awake time between sleep. This can help him develop a regular pattern and set him up for predictable sleep at night. For instance, if bedtime is at 7pm, the afternoon nap can end at 4:30pm.

What if he’s already on a one nap schedule? Toddlers typically drop to one nap between 14-18 months old, so he’s likely entering the rocky transition to one nap right about now. If so, try to have one long, midday nap that lasts 2-3 hours, with equal hours of wake time before and after.

For instance, if he wakes up at 7am, put him down for a nap from 12-2pm, with bedtime at 7pm. That gives him a wake window of 5 hours before and after the nap.

Transition to One Nap

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5 Mistakes That Keep Your Baby from Self Soothing

2. Let your child fall asleep on their own at bedtime

Many parents are willing to rock, feed, or hold their kids to sleep at bedtime if it means they can sleep through the night. But here’s the thing: That only works if your child doesn’t wake up all night. Because once he does, he might need your help going back to sleep.

Think of it this way: How he falls asleep at bedtime is how he expects to go back to sleep when he wakes up in the middle of the night. So, if he’s used to falling asleep in your arms at bedtime, he’ll want the same should he stir throughout the night.

All that to say, encourage him to fall asleep on his own at bedtime. Put him down in the crib awake so that he can practice what it’s like to fall asleep alone. Say goodnight, close the door, and allow him to settle.

He might not like this new sleep routine, and understandably so, since he’s learning a new skill that’s unfamiliar and different. But the more he puts himself to sleep, the more he can do so without crying should he wake up in the middle of the night.

Expert tip

Give him a small lovey or blanket as a comfort item so he can develop an attachment in your absence.

Is your toddler waking up at night and not going back to sleep? Here’s what to do.

Toddler Waking Up at Night and Not Going Back to Sleep

3. Check in briefly and strategically

Let’s say your 14 month old suddenly woke up at night crying for you to put her to sleep. Rather than resorting to old habits of rocking or feeding, check in to make sure all is fine (for instance, change her dirty diaper if need be).

But more than anything, use these check-ins to let her know that you’re still here and that you know she can do this. This gives her the comfort and reassurance that you’re nearby, while still allowing her to fall asleep on her own.

Keep these check-ins brief—30 seconds at most. Avoid picking her up unless needed, as this only teases and confuses her to think that you’re going to help her fall asleep. Instead, stay calm and confident that she can go back to sleep alone.

Set your timer for about 10-15 minutes and check in again at those intervals if she’s still crying. Do the same should she wake in the early morning before the official wake time.

4. Stick with a method

Hearing your child cry and telling him to fall back asleep on his own isn’t easy, especially when his tears break your heart. That said, the more you flip flop with how you respond, the more confused he might be—and the longer these nighttime wakings might go on.

Instead, pick a method you’re comfortable with and stick to it for a while. There may be tears no matter what you do, whether that’s sleep training or hearing him cry multiple times a night. But in the long run, having everyone in the family get a full night of sleep is worth it.

5. Use a white noise machine

Create a soothing sleep environment for your toddler by adding a white noise machine to her room. This muffles any sounds that might startle her awake throughout the night or early in the morning. She might fall asleep better with a steady calming sound in the background than in complete silence.

This also works well for your other kids, too. If you have a baby or older kids and worry that they won’t be able to sleep with your toddler crying, white noise in their rooms can block her cries out.

Tip: Hang darkening curtains over the windows and blinds, too. This can block light from outside in the early evening and morning hours.


As surprising as it is that your 14 month old is waking up at night, rest assured that it doesn’t have to be your new norm.

Experiment with wake time, extending them to a good length between naps and bedtime. Give him a chance to fall asleep on his own at bedtime so that he knows how to do the same when he wakes up throughout the night.

Keep your check-ins brief, not so much to soothe him to sleep but to make sure all is okay and reassure him that you’re still here. Use white noise to muffle sounds that could startle him awake, and do the same in your other children’s rooms so they don’t wake up.

And lastly, stay consistent with the method you choose. Going back and forth might confuse him and prolong these sleepless nights even more.

No more waking up multiple times a night, friend! Now you can get back on schedule with the sleep you and your whole family need.

14 Month Sleep Schedule

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  1. I have a very defiant strong willed almost 3 year old little girl who we’ve always struggled with bedtimes (cry it out, lay to sleep with her, come in and out every couple minutes). We’ve tried lots! She now seems too hyper to focus on her bedtime stories and just wants to run about her room. Then, when it comes to us leaving, she gets so upset which can go on for up to an hour every night. The only reason we stopped lying with her at bedtime until she fell asleep was because she would take up to an hour which we just don’t want to be lying there for an hour every night either.

    Any tips/advice?

    1. Nina Garcia says:

      t’s definitely rough when kids don’t just go to sleep when they’re supposed to. I think you did the right thing by not lying down with her any longer if she’s taking too long. If it were me, I would set clear expectations throughout the day of what is supposed to happen. Tell her, “Later tonight, we’re going to read a book, tuck you in bed, turn off the light, and I’ll walk out the door and sit in the living room so you can fall asleep. I’ll check in on you from time to time.”

      Then, do exactly that. You might want to find a way to keep her in her room so she doesn’t open the door. Then, set your timer for a few minutes, at which point you’ll check in on her to let her know you’re still here and that it’s time to sleep. Eventually she’ll fall asleep, and you’ll want to congratulate her the next morning for falling asleep on her own.