Are you looking for an optimal 18 month old sleep schedule? Let me help you fit in all the activities your busy toddler craves while still getting them the sleep they need.

18 month old sleeping on a bed

Babies thrive on a regular routine, and as your little one transitions to toddlerhood, they have even more awareness of their schedule and what to expect.

By the time your baby has reached 18 months old, they are actively anticipating what comes next in their day. They can also be pretty vocal about it when their schedule feels off.

A growing body and brain means your toddler is more inclined to push boundaries and test limits. That’s why having a predictable routine is so beneficial to the harmony of a household.

When your toddler knows what to expect, there’s less likely to be power struggles, especially over sleep.

Let’s talk about what goes into an optimal 18 month old sleep schedule.

To help you better, download my free sleep calculator to see when naptime and bedtime should be based on your baby’s age. Click here to grab it, it’ll be super helpful.

image of toddler playing with toys and reaching towards the camera

What is the Wake Window for 18 Month Old?

For a large part of your baby’s life, you have probably been following wake windows to know when it’s nap time.

But once your baby drops to one nap, you don’t need to follow wake windows as closely.

Instead, you can set a nap time and stick with it each day. There’s no need to adjust it by 5 or 10 minutes if your baby woke up earlier or later each day.

Keep reading to see when nap time should be each day for your 18 month old.

What Time Should an 18 Month Old Go to Bed?

At 18 months old, your toddler will need between 11 to 12 hours of sleep at night. That means it will be somewhere around 12 hours between when they wake up in the morning and when they go to sleep at night.

Since they still need a good amount of sleep at night, your 18 month old’s bedtime will be determined by the time they usually wake up in the morning.

For example, if your toddler wakes up consistently around 7:00 am each day, you’ll want to try to make bedtime around 7:00/7:30 pm.

Setting your little one up to get the ideal amount of sleep at night will be so helpful in getting them to nap consistently (and long enough) during the day. An overtired baby means potential nap time battles.

Since you’ve got a curious, mobile toddler on your hands, it will be more important than ever to optimize their sleep space for calm and quiet at bed time.

Make sure you stick to a consistent bed time routine, and use a noise machine and/or okay-to-wake clock to signal to your toddler when they can get up.

I love the Hatch Rest because it pulls double-duty as both.

How Many Naps Should an 18 Month Old Take?

At 18 months old, your little one could really use between 1.5-3 hours of daytime sleep to keep them well-rested and regulated.

I know that’s a big range and it really depends on the toddler!

Between 12 to 18 months, toddlers are typically ready to transition to one nap. If your 18 month old hasn’t made that transition yet, now is a good time to look into a nap transition plan.

Some toddlers may still sleep for up to 3 hours at nap time and have no problem at bedtime.

If your toddler starts to fight the nap, fight bedtime, or wake up early in the morning, you may need to push their nap time back slightly and shorten it.

See the sample schedules below for examples of how to do this.

Baby sleep schedule binder mockup image

Get Sample Schedules With the Baby Sleep Schedule Binder

If you’d like more tips or details about how to make the 2 to 1 nap transition, check out my Baby Sleep Schedule Binder.

Not only does this downloadable resource contain sample schedules from ages newborn to 4 years old, but I go over the steps you can take to make the transition to one nap go smoothly.

Check it out today.

Potential 18 Month Old Sleep Regression

Not all toddlers will hit a sleep regression around this time, but it can happen. And boy, can it be a doozy!

What sets the 18 month old sleep regression apart is that you are now dealing with a much more vocal (and likely much more stubborn) tiny human.

What makes this potential sleep regression even harder is that, by this point, your toddler probably knows how to appeal to your emotions. They make express feelings of being scared or missing you.

Here’s the thing: by now, you know that your little one is capable of sleeping through the night. You’ve not only seen the light at the end of the tunnel, you’ve already been there. So don’t stress—you’ll get back there again.

Check out my post on the 18 month sleep regression for tips on how to make it through.

If you have a little climber on your hands, I also have suggestions for how to keep your toddler from climbing out of the crib.

Thankfully, most sleep regressions work themselves out between two to six weeks. This is not a permanent sleep setback, I promise.

Sample 18 Month Old Sleep Schedule

There is quite a bit of range in the 18 month old sleep schedule, depending on your toddler’s needs.

Some toddlers may still take a long 3-hour nap, while some may need this shortened to 2 hours to ensure they sleep well at night.

Here’s a sample schedule with a nap time and bedtime range built in, based on your toddler’s needs.

18 month old sleep schedule

Sample 18 Month Old Schedule with A 2.5-Hour Nap

7:00 am: Wake Up / Feeding

7:30 am: Breakfast

11:30 am: Lunch

12:00-2:30 pm: Nap

3:00 pm: Snack

5:30 pm: Dinner

6:30 pm: Feeding / Start Bedtime Routine

7:00/7:30 pm: Bedtime

Sample 18 Month Old Schedule with a 2-Hour Nap

7:00 am: Wake Up / Feeding

7:30 am: Breakfast

12:00 am: Lunch

12:30-2:30 pm: Nap

3:00 pm: Snack

5:30 pm: Dinner

6:30 pm: Feeding / Start Bedtime Routine

7:00/7:30 pm: Bedtime

Once you have the 18 month old schedule set, your toddler’s sleep schedule should hold pretty steady until their second birthday.

Eventually they will transition to a 2 year old sleep schedule that has slightly longer wake times and a shorter nap.

I hope this helps get you started on setting up your 18 month old’s sleep schedule. If you have questions, let me know in the comments below.

Amy Motroni
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