A lot of my (younger) mommy friends have been complaining that their toddlers have a significant backslide in sleep between the ages of two and three.
This throws them for a loop.
First of all, they’ve had at least a year of blissful, uninterrupted sleep from when their little one finally slept through the night after infancy.
Secondly, a lot of these moms have introduced a new sibling to the mix, so their older baby getting enough sleep is crucial.
Ironically, the older child may backslide because of a new sibling. Whether it be due to a little unconscious jealousy, insecurity, disruption in their routine or being woken by the new baby, your toddler might start waking up during the night, too.
One friend’s son was having bad dreams. Nothing she did would get him to settle back down into his own bed. Against everything she said she would never do, she put him in her bed for a few nights, and then he was fine to go back to his own bed after the brief phase of night terrors passed.
Another friend’s son woke up around 2am to get a drink of water one night. Then, he did it the next night, and the next and the next and the next. The doctor finally advised taking him out of his routine entirely. My friends sent him to his grandmother’s house for the weekend, and when he came home, the pattern had been broken.
There’s not a lot of reason for your toddler to wake up at night. They may wake up because they have a wet or dirty diaper, and they are starting to be aware and uncomfortable (in this case, it’s probably time for potty training). They may actually need a drink. (You can leave a sippy cup of water near their bed for easy access. Don’t leave milk or juice as it could spoil, and it pools in the teeth overnight, which is bad for dental development.)
They might just need some comfort and to be tucked back in. If sleep disruptions persist, consult your pediatrician.