Even after sleep training, your little one’s sleep needs continue to shift and evolve as they grow. If your baby is 20 months old, you may be wondering how much sleep they should get or whether your 20-month-old should be napping.
Here we’ll answer all of your questions about your 20-month-old’s sleep, including “How much sleep does a 20-month-old need?” and “When do I move my baby from a crib to bed?”
For answers to any other sleep question, and for help sleep coaching your baby, download the Smart Sleep Coach by Pampers™. In addition to mini-articles explaining everything you need to know about your baby’s sleep – from the science behind baby sleep to how to handle sleep regressions – this groundbreaking app offers 1-click sleep tracking, will customize sleep coaching methods for your unique baby, and includes mini-meditations to help you stay calm and centered in the most frustrating moments – lessons that will serve you, and your baby, for years to come.
A Sample 20-Month-Old’s Sleep Schedule
Every baby is unique, including your own, so keep in mind the clock times listed here are just as an example. When you create your baby’s sleep schedule, you want to focus more on your baby’s wake windows and sleepy cues than the cock.
Wake windows: The amount of time your baby is awake between sleeps.
Sleepy cues: The signs your baby’s tired, such as pulling their ears or yawning.
By using these two factors in tandem, you shape your baby’s natural sleep rhythm to optimize their rest and nourish their development.
Sample Sleep Schedule for 20-Month-Olds with 1 Nap
Can a 20-month-old baby sleep through the night?
Yes. 20-month-olds who’ve been sleep coached can definitely sleep through the night .
If your baby’s still struggling with sleep or you haven’t sleep trained yet, consider downloading the Smart Sleep Coach by Pampers™. Developed by pediatric sleep experts, this easy and effective app was designed to help any parent teach any baby how to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. It’s so effective that most users see results in as little as a week.
How Many Total Hours Should a 20-Month-Old Sleep Each Day?
13 hours over a 24-hour period is a good sleep goal for your 20-month-old.
How much nighttime sleep for a 20-month-old?
Most babies at 20-months need about 11-12 hours of sleep every night.
How much daytime sleep for a 20-month-old?
About 2-3 hours in a single mid-day nap.
Why Do 20-Month-Old’s Still Nap?
Experts recommend maintaining at least one nap a day until your baby is between 3 and 5-years-old. Naps both help firm up your baby’s circadian rhythm and also provide essential NREM sleep.
NREM sleep is one of two types of sleep; the other is REM. While REM builds learning skills, NREM sleep builds long-term memory.
NREM also occurs earlier in your baby’s sleep cycle; since naps are shorter than night sleeps, naps ensure your developing baby gets all the NREM sleep they need to keep hitting their developmental milestones.
What is a 20-month-old’s wake window?
Five hours to 5 hours and 45 minutes is a good wake window for 20-month-olds.
Is there a 20-month-old regression?
Not technically, no, though there may still be some residual disruptions from the 18-month-regression.
That said, a 20-month-old may experience:
Stalling: It’s completely normal for a 20-month-old to try to slow down the bedtime routine – they’re stalling because they want to keep hanging out.
If your baby does this, try to limit their ability to stall by laying out what will happen: “First we’re going to brush your teeth, then we’re going to read,” and so on.
- By spelling out what is going to happen, you leave less room for them to make “helpful suggestions,” like “visit the dog.”
Separation Anxiety: If your 20-month-old experiences separation anxiety, simply reassure them you’re just in the other room and will check on them in a set amount of time. Until then they should relax and try to fall asleep.
- If you say you’re going to check on them, do follow through – sometimes they’ll still be awake and hurt if you forget.
- There are also other ways to minimize your baby’s separation anxiety LINK TK, including peek-a-boo, a classic game that also reinforces the fact that you’ll always return to your baby.
Remember: Now that your baby is over 12-months, they can sleep with Bbankies, stuffed animals, or other comforting toys.
If your baby is experiencing a sleep regression, we have terrific advice on how to cope with and how to minimize sleep regressions.
How to Sleep Coach While Traveling:
Since your baby is now actually your toddler, you may be more mobile and active than you were earlier in their lives. This may include travel.
If you’re staying in the same time zone, maintain your baby’s typical at-home sleep schedule.
Sleep Coaching in a Different Time Zone
Traveling between time zones can complicate sleep coaching but any disruption can be minimized by following this advice on how to sleep coach in a different time zone:
Traveling Into the Next Time Zone:
If you’re only going one time zone east or west, it may be best to keep your baby on their regular schedule – that is, if your baby goes to bed at 7pm at home, put them down at 7pm in their new zone.
Traveling Across Multiple Time Zones:
If you’re traveling across many time zones and the time difference will be more than one hour, prepare your baby by adjusting their sleep times at home ahead of time.
To adjust your baby’s sleep for time zone travel, shift their sleep schedule in 15 minute increments forward or backward for each time zone you’re traveling either east or west.
For example, if you’re moving west four time zones, keep your baby up for an extra 15 minutes four days before your trip; the next day, three days before your trip, shift the time another 15 minutes, and so on until your baby’s sleep schedule matches the new time zone.
If you’re traveling east four time zones, move your baby’s sleep time back 15 minutes four days ahead of your travel.
Note: Your baby may still experience overtiredness or another sleep disruption. These can easily be handled if you watch your baby’s sleep cues and wake windows.
Also, plenty of daylight can help adjust your baby’s circadian rhythm to their new time zone.
And, of course, the Smart Sleep Coach by Pampers™ will be there with you every step of the way, both to help adjust your baby’s schedule and to support you if things get frustrating.
How to “Reset” After a Disruption
An out-of-town guest or particularly lively celebratory weekend may disrupt your baby’s sleep schedule – and that’s alright. Once or twice a month is alright to briefly get off track. You can make getting back on track easier two ways:
Bedtime Routines: Simply picking up your bedtime routine can “click” your baby back into their sleep groove.
Early Bedtime: Though your little one may protest, an earlier-than-usual bedtime after a sleep disruption helps your baby catch up on any missed sleep and will get them back in the groove. Remember, though: it may take a few days for your baby to return to their normal schedule after a sleep disruption.
Should A 20-Month-Old Sleep in a Crib?
This is one of the liveliest debates in the realm of baby sleep.
First, the general rule is that babies should absolutely be moved from their crib into a toddler bed when they’re 3 feet tall or can climb out of their crib, which can lead to injury. So, yes, if your 20-month-old is taller than 3 feet, yes move them.
Some people rely less on height and more on age to move their baby from a crib to their first bed. Some people make the switch around 18-24 months, others wait until closer to 2.5 years, but we think you should wait a little later if possible.
Our resident sleep consultant, Mandy Treeby, advises: “I usually recommend keeping them there until around the age of 3 or 4 when they are better able to comprehend the transition to a big kid bed.”
Again, if you have any other questions about your baby’s sleep or how to sleep train, check out the Smart Sleep Coach by Pampers™. Early users have seen incredible success helping their babies fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer – in fact, the Smart Sleep Coach so effective that most of those users saw results in 1 week!
“Development of infant and toddler sleep patterns: real-world data from a mobile application,” Journal of Sleep Research.
“Bedtime routines child wellbeing & development,” BioMed Central Public Health.
“Relations Between Toddler Sleep Characteristics, Sleep Problems, and Temperament,” Developmental Neuropsychology.
How We Wrote This Article
The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. You can find a full list of sources used for this article below. The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.