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Is it ever too late to sleep train?

The short answer is no, it is never too late to sleep train or have good sleep hygiene. While it may be easier to sleep train a younger baby, it is still possible to sleep train an older child. Children are capable of learning new habits at any age, and sleep training can be beneficial for both the child and the parents.

Factors to consider when sleep training an older child

While it is possible to sleep train an older child, there are some factors to consider before starting the process. Here are just a few things to keep in mind when sleep training an older child:

Medical conditions

If your child has a medical condition that affects their sleep, such as sleep apnea or asthma, it’s important to address these issues before starting sleep training. Speak to your child’s doctor before beginning the process to make sure that your child’s health is not compromised.

Behavioral issues

If your child has behavioral issues, such as ADHD or anxiety, it’s important to address these issues before starting sleep training. These conditions can affect your child’s ability to fall asleep and stay asleep, and may require a different approach to sleep training.


Being consistent is extremely important when it comes to sleep training at a slightly older age. If you start the process and then give up after a few days, it can actually make things worse. Make sure you are committed to the process and can maintain a consistent sleep schedule.

Willingness to change

Sleep training requires a willingness to change. If you are not willing to make changes to your child’s sleep environment or routine, sleep training may not be successful. Be open to trying new things and making adjustments as needed.

Methods for sleep training an older child

There are several methods for sleep training an older child, and the right method will depend on your child’s age and temperament. Below are a few methods that could work for your older child:

Graduated extinction

Graduated extinction involves gradually increasing the amount of time you wait before going in to comfort your child. For example, you might start with waiting five minutes, then increase to ten minutes, and so on. This method can be effective for older children who are used to falling asleep with a parent in the room.

Bedtime fading

Bedtime fading involves gradually pushing back your child’s bedtime until they fall asleep easily, and then gradually moving their bedtime back to a more reasonable time. This method can be effective for children who have trouble falling asleep at their regular bedtime.

Positive reinforcement

Positive reinforcement involves rewarding your child for staying in their bed all night. This can be done with stickers, a special treat, or extra time doing something your child enjoys. This method can be effective for children who respond well to rewards.

Establishing a routine

Establishing a consistent bedtime routine can be helpful for older children who struggle with sleep. A bedtime routine can include things like reading a book, taking a bath, and singing a song. The routine should be consistent every night to help your child learn that it’s time for sleep.

So remember, it is never too late to sleep train an older child. While it may be more challenging than sleep training a younger baby, it can still be effective with patience and consistency. Before starting the process, consider your child’s age, temperament, and any medical or behavioral issues they may have. Choose a method that works for your family and be consistent with it. Before you know it, your child will have started sleeping well with ease.

If you need some support on this journey, schedule a quick call and let’s chat!