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An Optimal 2 Year Old Sleep Schedule for Your Toddler

Get an idea of what kind of schedule your 2 year old would thrive on, including naps and overnight sleep with osur 2 year old sleep schedule samples!

2 year old sleeping

Two years old is such a fun stage! Your little baby is a full-on toddler now, walking, talking and pushing those boundaries like it’s their job (which it really is!).

Even though two years old gets a bad wrap with the terrible twos, I find it to be one of the most endearing and adorable phases!

Sleep can be tricky at this age as your two-year old may start having fears of the dark or monsters in their room. And the 2-year-old sleep regression can hit your family really hard! It definitely did for us!

Let’s make sure your 2 year old’s sleep schedule is right where it should be so you can combat any sleep issues that may creep up in this adorable toddler phase!

What is A Good Sleep Schedule for A Two-Year-Old?

Our number one priority when setting up the best 2 year old sleep schedule is to optimize both nap time and night time sleep. Before we can do that, you’ll need to know two important things.

First, how much sleep does your two-year-old need during the day? Second, how much sleep do they need overnight?

By this age, your two-year-old needs between 12 to 14 hours of sleep every day. Ideally, they’ll sleep 11 or 12 of those hours through the night. Not getting enough sleep can lead to sleep issues including toddler bedtime tantrums and fighting sleep.

At this age I recommend sticking to a regular nap and bedtime schedule as opposed to following your toddler’s wake windows.

If your little one is between 24 to 36 months old, they likely need between between 4 to 6 hours of awake time before and after their nap. That’s a huge difference from the newborn days when they could only stay awake long enough for a diaper change and a feeding!

Solve your Toddler’s Sleep Troubles

toddler sleep training guide mock up

Grab my Toddler Sleep Training Guide to help you with your toddler’s sleep! Get your toddler out of your bed and into their own using the most effective sleep training techniques for toddlers and big kids. This guide also includes tons of tips and tricks for tackling toddler’s sleep! Get it here.

How Many Naps Should A Two-Year-Old Take?

Your two-year-old is resilient, but they are also super active. That’s why I still recommend you keep a nap time in the daily schedule.

You don’t want your toddler to get too overtired or overstimulated throughout the day. That can cause big problems when you’re trying to settle them in to their bedtime routine.

Nap time serves as a daily reset. Also, the extra daytime sleep—at the appropriate amount—will actually help your little one sleep better at night. A well-rested toddler sleeps better!

In general, you should aim for your two-year-old to get 1 to 2.5 hours of sleep during the day. Keeping appropriate wake windows in mind, they should go down for their nap about 5 hours after they’ve woken up for the day.

If you haven’t moved from two naps to one, it’s time to transition. Too much nap time at this age means your toddler has less time to be active and tire out their growing bodies and minds, which they need for a solid night’s rest.

toddler playing with mom before bedtime

Naps and the Two-Year-Old Sleep Regression

On the other end of the nap time spectrum, you might find your two-year-old is suddenly fighting their only nap of the day and going on a two year old nap strike. Don’t be fooled! They can still really benefit from that extra daytime rest.

A non-napping two-year-old is likely to overtire and struggle at bedtime.

Some toddlers go through a two-year sleep regression. One sign of this regression is when your little one tries to drop nap time completely. Hold strong! Keep fostering a good nap environment and do what you can to avoid introducing poor sleep habits during a regression.

Most kids still need a nap until they are 3 or 4 years old. Plenty of parents drop it around 2 years old and move to a 2-year old no-nap schedule, but if you keep offering the nap, your toddler may pick it up again and keep it for another year or two!

If you decide to drop, make sure to introduce quiet time during nap time hours, so your toddler still gets a little rest during the day.

If nap time is a battle—either because your two-year-old wants no part of it or because they seem overtired during the day—it may be time to take a look at when they’re going to bed at night.

2 year old sleep schedule

What Time Should A Two-Year-Old Go to Bed?

If your toddler is regularly cranky and tired long before nap time or if your 2-year old is waking up too early in the morning, it’s time to look at how long they’re sleeping at night or how late the nap is being offered.

You can’t necessarily control how early your toddler wakes up in the morning. Thankfully, you do have some power over when they go to bed.

Again, your two-year-old needs between 12 to 14 hours of sleep every day. If your toddler takes a 1 to 2.5-hour nap during the day, you should aim for 11 to 12 hours of sleep every night.

If you know that your toddler isn’t getting enough sleep at night, you can try easing them in to an earlier bedtime. You can do this over the course of a week, pushing bedtime up in 15 minute increments each night.

How to Pick a Bedtime for Your Two-Year-Old

One easy way to determine your two-year-old’s ideal bedtime is to pay attention to the time they normally wake up in the morning. Then, start their bedtime routine around that same time in the evening.

For example, if your toddler is waking up at 7:00 am, start easing into their bedtime routine at 7:00 pm. Ideally, they’ll be falling asleep on their own by 8:00 pm at the latest.

This schedule sets up your toddler to get enough sleep at night. It also leaves some room during the day for a 1 to 2.5 hour nap.

If your two-year-old is taking a long time to fall asleep at bedtime, nap time might need to be earlier. Remember that the appropriate wake window at this age is 5 to 6 hours. If there’s less than 5 hours between when they wake up from nap and go down for bedtime, it may take them longer to fall asleep at night.

I know that’s a lot of information. Let’s break it all down into a sample 2 year old sleep schedule.

toddler getting ready for sleep

Example 2 Year Old Sleep Schedule

The sample 2 year old schedule is similar to a 1 year old schedule, but with a bit more time in between naps.

Remember that the three key elements of a two-year-old’s sleep schedule should be:

  1. A total of 11 to 12 hours of nighttime sleep.
  2. One 1.5 to 2 hour nap during the day.
  3. Wake windows that fall between 4 to 6 hours.

With those things in mind, here is a sample sleep schedule for 2 year old.

  • 7:00 am: Wake up and eat breakfast
  • 9:00 am: Snack time
  • 12:30 pm: Lunch time
  • 1:00-2:30/3:00 pm: Nap
  • 2:30/3:00 pm: Snack
  • 5:30 pm: Dinner
  • 7:00/7:30 pm: Bedtime

Of course every two-year-old and their family’s needs are different. The great thing about understanding age-appropriate wake windows and sleep requirements is that you’ll be able to adapt your schedule to meet your toddler’s needs and your own.

If you need some extra help coming up with the right two-year-old sleep schedule for your family, I’m here for you!

Amy Motroni

Steffany

Friday 20th of May 2022

Hi! My son is a little over two. He typically takes a 1.5-2 hr nap each day around noon. We start getting him ready for bed around 7pm, but he takes FOREVER to fall asleep. He will be asleep by 8:30pm if we are lucky, but it’s usually more like 8:45 or 9. He then wakes up very early in the morning (he has white noise and a dark room). He learned how to get out of his crib so he’ll just get out of bed whenever and decide he’s ready to be awake. Recently he’s been getting up around 4am, and we put him back in bed but he doesn’t typically fall back to sleep. So we’ll kind of just keep him in bed until 6am, and unless we stay in the room with him, he will just keep getting out of bed. We are struggling to say the least! Please help!

Amy Motroni

Monday 23rd of May 2022

Hi Steffany,

Does he get outside a lot during the day? Do you limit screen time before bed? How long has this been going on?

Autumn

Tuesday 3rd of May 2022

My two year old had a regular schedule. He goes to bed at 7:00-7:30. He wake up multiple times a night. He won’t sleep past 5:30 am. This has been going on for 5 months. He gets a warm bath every night. He doesn’t have processed food or sugars. He only drinks water and maybe once or twice a week extremely watered down lemonade. We have a noise machine, a weighted blanket, and a dark room. I’ve tried with a night light. I have exhausted all I know.

Amy Motroni

Tuesday 3rd of May 2022

Hi Autumn,

That sounds so frustrating!

A few questions to help you troubleshoot: What time is his nap? How does he fall asleep initially for bed?

meghan wieber

Thursday 6th of January 2022

Hi, My 2 year old recently started nap striking. It started with having to be rocked to sleep and now it has turned into she will only nap if sleeping on you. As soon as I put her down she wakes up. During naps I have tried cry it out and she is trying to get over the crib she even got a leg over, I tried laying in the crib, i tried putting her in the stroller in her room. I am still offering a nap same time everyday I rarely leave during those nap times. She is sleeping at night, will cry a few mins when i put her down. She usually goes to bed 8-7/8 and was napping 12:45/1-3-3:30. her naps were getting shorter which was fine but she needs a nap. HELP!!! She did have a cold last week and was consistently napping and sleeping at night.

Amy Motroni

Friday 14th of January 2022

Hi Meghan,

I'm sorry you are going through this. It can be really rough not having that nap!

This post may help: https://thepostpartumparty.com/2-year-old-nap-strike/

Thanks, Amy

meghan wieber

Thursday 6th of January 2022

@meghan wieber, also im 8 months pregnant and i work full time so it is really stressing me out :(

Julie Marie Casper

Tuesday 28th of December 2021

Hello! With naptime.....our 2 year old goes to an in-home daycare with 5 other children. They often nap between 2 and 5. Many times, our little is waking up from a 1.5-2 hour nap at 4:30. I feel like this is making bedtime more difficult because we are trying to put him down at the same time as our 5 year old-- around 8. But then, our 2 year old has only had a wake window of about 3.5 hours. Could that be hurting his sleep? I ask too because he is waking up multiple times during the night. I know the 2 year sleep regression is a thing, but I can't help but wonder how his napping at daycare could be effecting it. Do you have suggestions?

Amy Motroni

Saturday 1st of January 2022

Hi Julie, My bet would be that the nap is absolutely interfering with bedtime/night sleep.  2 PM is a pretty late nap. Is there any flexibility with the daycare to do an earlier nap or wake your child up earlier?

Rachel

Friday 29th of October 2021

My two year old wakes up every morning around 9:30 ( he used to wake up earlier) and he goes down for a nap around 2 he will wake up around 3 or not sleep at all but lay in bed a watch a movie .. now my problem is bed time we will lay him down around 8 with his music but he’s started this “monster/ghost” thing about a month ago and now he will want everyone in the house until someone caves to lay down with him (usually me) and at this point idk what to do he will fight his sleep till about 11-11:30 every night if I don’t lay with him

Amy Motroni

Monday 1st of November 2021

Hi Rachel,

It's super common for them to start having fears at this age. I would be very consistent in whatever approach you choose.

If you want to schedule a free call to see how I might be able to help, you can use this link: https://thepostpartumparty.com/discovery-call/

-Amy