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Sleep training a 1 year old that climbs out of her cot!

Hi Everyone

My daughter is 19 months old and has always fallen asleep at bedtime and when she wakes in the night by breastfeeding.  But at bedtime, it can take up to an hour and a half for her to fall asleep this way.  I've been back at work for a year (I'm a teacher) and it has been the hardest year of my life.  It's now the summer holidays and I decided that my daughter has to be falling asleep independently before another school year starts.  I decided that now's the time to do it because she's at nursery in the day (where, incidentally, she naps by herself without help!) and I'm on school holidays so if we have a bad night I'm free to catch up on sleep during the day.

I decided to use the controlled crying method as described on this website.  I started last night.  We did our normal bedtime routine, bath, story, breastfeed.  I put her in her cot while she was still awake, said goodnight and left the room.  She cried immediately and I went back in at intervals of 2, 5 and 7 minutes.  Then in the next interval of 10 minutes, I had to run back into her room after only 5 minutes because I saw on the baby monitor that she was, for the first time, climbing out of her cot!!!  By the time I was in her room she was on the floor and walking towards the door.  I decided to give up the sleep training at that point and breastfed her to sleep as normal.  But after that, she was waking up every 30 minutes and instead of crying/calling for me she was getting straight up and climbing out of her cot.

I feel like she's too young to move into a bed, but it's going to be very difficult to use a controlled crying method and leave her in her cot awake if every time I leave she's climbing out.  I also feel like an absolute idiot for not sleep training sooner.  I was so stubborn that I didn't want to make her cry or feel like she'd been abandoned.  And now that I've decided to sleep train, it turns out I've missed my opportunity.

Any advice would be very much appreciated! Also, my partner works nights, so bedtime and night time wake ups are totally on me.


  • Oh goodness, what a situation! Don't feel like an idiot, these kids surprise us all the time, and it's all par for the course. Ok, so sounds silly, but is she in a sleeping bag at bedtime? If not, maybe try one of those as they're so difficult to get out of and will stop her climbing out of the cot. 

    And if you don't want to go down the sleeping bag route, i agree, she's too young for a bed, and if she continues to climb out the cot, i would pop loads of pillows by the cot, just in case she should fall out, and then simply keep putting her back in. 
  • Thanks for the advice.  I've just ordered a sleeping bag for her (tog 0.5) we live in the south of Spain and currently experiencing a heatwave so I didn't think that a sleeping bag was an option, but a friend had success with the one I've ordered when she took her family on holiday to Australia.

    Also, I've set up the travel cot in her room too.  The sides aren't higher than her usual cot, but they're netting instead of bars...possibly harder to climb?

    I'll let you know how we get on tonight...
  • Oh good luck, and please do let me know how you get on. If she should escape, remember to just pop her back. Don't talk, just straight back in! 
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