Navigating the Baby Nap Schedule: Knowing How and When to Transition to One Nap for Optimal Rests

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Embarking on the journey from several naptimes to one is a significant milestone in your child’s sleep routine. 

This milestone reflects a healthy development for your baby, from physical to cognitive.


Knowing when to transition to one nap can make all the difference in maintaining a harmonious sleep schedule.


In this article, we’ll guide you through the when, why, and how of transitioning to one naptime schedule. We’ll also show you some benefits of observing this transition perfectly. 

Let’s dive in!

When to Transition to One Nap: Timing the Switch for a Consolidated Sleep Schedule

Transitioning to one nap usually occurs around 14 months of age. While some newborns may adapt earlier, a 9-month-old will not get sufficient sleep on a single nap schedule. In the course of this article, we will discuss the signs to look out for and how to observe your newborn’s sleep patterns.

Signs That a Baby Is Ready to Transition to One Nap


As your baby grows, its sleep patterns and habits evolve, including transitioning from multiple naps to one.


Many newborns transition to a one-nap schedule around 14 to 18 months. However, every child is different, so your baby might transition earlier or later.

In that case:

You need to be able to identify the signs that indicate your baby is ready for this change. This way, there’s a smoother nap time switch and better sleep pattern for you and your baby.

Some of the signs you should look out for are:

1. Increased Independence


When toddlers start showing signs of increased independence in their playtime and activities, it could be a sign to monitor their nap times. 

For example:

They become more interested in exploring their environment, engaging in independent play, and demonstrating curiosity. This is often a strong indicator that they are ready to transition to one nap.

2. Longer Wake Periods

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Toddlers who are ready to transition to one nap stay awake for longer. They are also more active between naps without getting fussy or cranky. 


You may notice that your baby is resisting or consistently shortening one of their regular naps. 

It might take longer to fall asleep, have shorter sleep durations, or display signs of restlessness during that particular nap. 

In that case:

Their internal sleep-wake rhythms are adjusting and aligning with a single nap schedule.

3. Longer Nighttime Sleep


If your baby sleeps without waking up frequently at night, it is a positive sign. It indicates their readiness for a single nap during the day. 


A baby who gets longer nighttime sleep is more likely to have the stamina needed to handle longer wake times during the day. 

And while they may sleep longer at night, your baby monitor is still helpful in monitoring your toddler’s sleep in this transition phase.

4. Age and Developmental Milestones


While individual variations exist, most babies are typically ready to transition to one nap between 14 and 18 months of age. 

Some may show signs of readiness as early as 12 months, while others may require more time and transition closer to 2 years. 


It’s crucial to consider your baby’s unique developmental milestones, sleep patterns, and cues rather than relying solely on age as the determining factor.

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The Process of Transitioning to One Nap

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It may take several weeks for your toddler to adjust from multiple naps to taking just one nap. 

Here’s why:

It involves modifying your baby’s sleep schedule and internal body clock to accommodate longer awake periods and nighttime sleep.


It’s no secret that nap time transitioning may be difficult for both parents and toddlers. It involves listening to your baby’s cues and adjusting the process based on its individual needs.

Below is a step-by-step guide we have compiled to help you through the process easily.

1. Observe Your Toddler’s Sleep Pattern

First off:

Pay attention to your baby’s current sleep schedule and note any changes that emerge. 

The trick is to observe signs that your baby may be ready to transition to one nap. Some of these signs include longer wake windows, difficulty falling asleep for the second nap, or shorter naps.


Start transitioning gradually. You can do this by delaying your toddler’s morning nap time by 15 to 30 minutes every week or two. 

This will help gradually lengthen your baby’s wake window in the morning.

2. Lengthen Day Time Wake Window

As you adjust the morning nap, gradually increase the awake period between the morning nap and the potential single nap.

For example:

If your baby normally takes a second nap around noon, try extending it to 12:15 PM and then 12:30 PM. 

This helps your toddler gradually build stamina for staying awake for longer periods of time.

3. Create a Nap Time Schedule

During the transition phase, your baby may struggle to take a second nap or may have shorter naps.


Instead of completely eliminating the second nap, try offering a shorter nap to bridge the gap between the morning and afternoon.

Once your baby is comfortable with the adjusted morning nap and longer wake periods, you can begin working towards merging the two naps into one. 


Start by shifting the timing of the single nap closer to midday, aiming for a consistent nap time around noon or early afternoon. 

Pro Tip:

Gradually extend the duration of this nap to make up for the loss of the second nap. This helps your child transition more smoothly and prevents them from becoming exhausted.

But note:

The recommended amount of sleep time for toddlers, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, is 11 to 14 hours, including naps.

4. Create a Sleep-Friendly Environment


Ensure that your baby’s sleep environment is conducive for naps. Preferably, the room should be dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature. 


Consider using white noise or a consistent sleep cue to signal nap time. These environmental factors can help your baby settle into a deep and restful nap.

5. Be Patient and Flexible


Every child is different, and some take longer than others to adjust to the one nap routine. Thus, be patient with your child as they adjust and adapt to the new routine with time.


It’s normal to experience some temporary disruptions in sleep patterns during this transition period. Eventually, these disruptions will fade off.

6. Stick to a Consistent Routine

Establish a consistent daily routine centered around the new single naptime. This helps your baby anticipate and prepare for sleep. 

Include relaxing activities such as reading a book or singing a lullaby. A predictable routine can signal to your baby that it’s time to relax and sleep.

How to Handle the Transition to One Nap

  • Ease into it: Begin the transition with gradual adjustments; this will help you and your child adapt smoothly.
  • Create a consistent routine: Establish a predictable schedule with a consistent nap time and bedtime routine. This will provide a sense of security and help your child adjust to the new sleep pattern more easily.
  • Observe your child’s cues: Pay attention to your little one’s sleepy signals and adjust nap times accordingly. Some days they may need a slightly earlier or later nap, and that’s okay. Flexibility is key!
  • Be patient and understanding: Your child may experience some bumps along the way, but remember to stay calm and patient. Your support is crucial and can help facilitate the process.
  • Offer comfort and reassurance: During the transition, provide extra comfort and reassurance to help your child feel safe and secure. Engage in relaxing activities before naptime to create a calm and relaxing environment.
  • Trust your instincts: As a parent, you know your child best. Rely on your instincts and make adjustments as needed. In time, you’ll find the approach that works best for your baby.

The Benefits of Transitioning to One Nap

Transitioning to one nap can bring several benefits for both the baby and the parents. Here are some of the advantages:

1. Consistent Sleep Schedule


Having a set nap time helps parents regulate the baby’s internal clock and promotes a healthy sleep routine. 

A consistent schedule can also benefit parents by allowing them to plan their day more effectively and have designated times for personal or household tasks.

2. Improved Nighttime Sleep


Transitioning to one nap can result in better quality nighttime sleep for babies. By having a longer wake window during the day, babies are more likely to sleep more soundly at night. 

This can lead to a more restful night for both the baby and the parents, promoting overall well-being.

3. Longer Wake Windows

By merging multiple nap times into one long nap, toddlers can stay awake longer during the day. It provides an opportunity for more engaging activities, such as outings, playdates, and structured learning experiences. 


Longer wakeful periods can contribute positively to the baby’s cognitive and social development.

Final Tip: Annie Baby Monitor – Your Baby Sleep Solution Helper

Transitioning to one nap can be tough, but Annie Baby Monitor has got your back.

This baby monitor has got all the features you need to keep tabs on your little one’s sleep routine. With Annie, you can easily keep track of the sleep patterns and adjust the sleep routine without any fuss.

Plus, Annie’s insights will help you understand your little one’s unique needs and prepare for the one nap transition.

Your little one can sail through nap transitions with ease.


To summarize:

Everything about babies in their early childhood is like a project, including mastering their sleep schedules. Each project has its rewards, which we can call milestones.

Consequently, embracing the transition to one nap daily is a significant milestone in a child’s development. While the change might seem daunting at first, making the switch has many benefits.

All in all:

Some of the common indicators parents should look out for before making this transition include the following:

  • Increased independence
  • Longer wake window
  • Long nighttime sleep
  • General developmental milestones and age


Transitioning to one nap is a gradual process that takes many weeks for the baby to adapt fully. Thus, parents must be flexible and patient as every baby progresses at their own pace. 

Once you have mastered what transitioning strategy works best for your toddler, it’s time to say goodbye to naptime confusion!


I hope this article has answered your questions and concerns regarding when to transition to one nap. You are also welcome to share any suggestions you have in the comment section below. 

FAQ: When to Transition to One Nap

How do I know when my child is ready to transition to one nap?

Every child is unique and might have different traits. However, some of the common indications include increased independence, longer wakefulness periods, and extended nighttime sleep.

What is the best way to transition my child from two naps to one nap?

The best way for parents to transition their toddlers from two naps to one is by gradually shifting the morning nap time forward. Then shorten the afternoon nap before eliminating it eventually. Also, stay flexible, be patient, and follow your child’s cues. It also helps to have a consistent routine.

How can I maintain a consistent sleep schedule during the one-nap transition?

First, establish a calming pre-nap routine that signals it’s time to wind down. Parents should also create a sleep-conducive environment with a quiet, dark, and comfortable setting. Lastly, staying consistent with nap times and bedtime throughout the transition process helps reinforce the new sleep schedule.

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