Nap Transitions: Everything You Need to Know

Find out at what ages nap transitions usually happen and how you can help make the transition go smoothly.

Throughout your baby’s first year there are so many changes. The timing and number of naps are no exception. Here I’ll go over the most common ages for nap transitions, signs it’s time to drop a nap, and how to do it.

Let’s begin with common ages that nap transitions typically occur:

4 naps to 3 naps: between 4-6 Months

3 naps to 2 naps: between 7-9 Months

2 naps to 1 nap: between 14-16 Months

1 nap to 0 naps: between 3-5 Years

Now, keep in mind these are just averages. Every baby is different in when they are ready to drop a nap. My advice is to keep these averages in the back of your mind, while also being on the lookout for readiness signs from your child.

What are the signs that your child is ready to drop a nap?

There are some telltale signs that you’ll notice when it may be time to drop a nap. These may be one or a combination of things:

Fighting the nap

Particularly the last nap of the day tends to be the roughest. You may notice that baby is crying when put down for a nap or just lays in their crib chatting to themselves instead of sleeping. Either way, you won’t be getting a good nap out of them at this point.

Taking short naps

Maybe they fall asleep, but only for 30-45 minutes when they used to nap for 1.5-2 hours.

Waking up early

Waking up at 4:30-5:30 am when they had been sleeping later is another sign that maybe they don’t need that last nap. They may be getting too much daytime sleep and it’s time to adjust to reflect their changing sleep needs.

They don’t seem tired

When naptime rolls around, they just don’t appear tired. This may mean that they’re able to stay awake longer (which happens as they grow) and we need to spread those naps out accordingly.

So, to recap, when deciding if it’s time for a nap transition we can look at it as a formula.

Age range for a nap transition


Readiness Signs


Time for a Nap Transition

But wait, I forgot to mention one other thing.

Developmental progressions (aka sleep regressions) can trick us into thinking it’s time to drop a nap. Remember what I said about fighting naps, short naps, and early wakings being readiness signs.

Well, they’re also signs that kids are going through a developmental progression that affects sleep. But don’t worry!

You can test this by waiting at least 10 days before dropping a nap. That way you’ll know that baby is truly ready.

How do I help them make the transition?

It’s important to note that nap transitions can take a while to become seamless. Generally, the younger the baby, the quicker the transition. Older babies, toddlers, and preschoolers can take longer.

For the 4-3, 3-2, and 2-1 transitions, we’re working on cutting out the last nap of the day.

We’ll accomplish this by slowly spreading out baby’s wake windows. You can do this by pushing their naps back by 15 minutes each day until you’ve reached an ideal time. By doing this, our goal will be that we end up without any time for that last nap to occur before its bedtime.

During this time, you’ll need to be flexible with how you approach the schedule. If you’re able to successfully cut the final nap of the day, then moving up bedtime earlier will be essential.

There will be days when your baby will still require that last nap because the previous nap ended too early. That’s totally expected! In this situation, give your baby the opportunity for a bridge nap or catnap so that they’re able to make it to bedtime.

If your child is struggling with short naps that aren’t a sign of a nap transition, check out my Free Guide to Solve Short Naps!

Was this helpful? Let me know by commenting or sending me an email at I love hearing from you!

Rest well,




  1. […] child may be ready to drop a nap is early morning wakings. If your child is around the age when a nap transition commonly occurs, consider this may be why they’re waking early. Be sure to rule out all other […]

  2. […] windows should always be considered, but are most helpful during the first 6-9 months, or before baby drops to two naps. At that point, I suggest that my clients use a set schedule for naps and […]

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