AGGGHHH, why won’t my toddler sleep through the night already??!!!

Awww shit, there it is, the sound of Holden’s feet getting out of bed and coming down the hallway. Yeah yeah yeah, I know that the pitter-patter of little feet is supposed to be all adorable and shit, but I’ll tell you when it’s NOT adorable. When it’s three in the mother F’ing morning!!! AGGGHHHH, GO BACK TO BEDDDD!!!!

And to make it even worse my hubby is sleeping through it right now and I know since I’m awake I should be the one to bring Holden back to his room, but this totally isn’t fair because I brought him back to bed two hours ago and it’s not my turn again. So screw that.

ME: Honey, he’s up again. Can you put him back to bed?

HUBBY: (asleep) What?

ME: Holden’s awake.

HUBBY: (still asleep) Holden, go back to bed.

HOLDEN: Nooooo, I need someone to take me back.

HUBBY: You got out by yourself, you go back by yourself.

HOLDEN: Noooooo, I need help!!

HUBBY: Holden, go… back… to…. bed.

HOLDEN: WAHHHHHHHH!!!!! I (air suck) need (air suck) someone (air suck) to take me (air suck) back.

Oh, are you F’ing kidding me? I am not going to sit here listening to a fight between the two of them in the middle of the night.

ME: Fine, I’ll take you.

And I do. But W….T….F? I mean this kid is well over three-years-old and he’s still waking us up every night. Wait, no, that’s a lie. He’ll sleep through the night for like a week and just when you think he’s finally a normal sleeper, he starts getting up again. GRRRRRRRRR. And if you think it’s because we didn’t sleep train him, I have three words for you. You. Are. WRONG. We sleep-train the shit out of him like every two months when he starts doing it again. And believe me, we know how to sleep train.

In fact, our first kiddo sleeps like a narcoleptic who was shot with animal tranquilizers. And we did the same exact sleep-training for both of them. I am 200% convinced some kids are born to be awesome sleepers and some are born to suck balls.

And to make it even worse, when he wakes up in the middle of the night, he’s like totally delirious and in a daze so I’m not even sure he knows what he’s doing. But I don’t give a crap. It’s time to pull out the big guns.

(after gallons of coffee the next morning)

ME: I think we should try some positive reinforcement.

HUBBY: How about some negative reinforcement?

ME: Like?

HUBBY: Like if he doesn’t stay in bed, he doesn’t get TV the next day.

ME: No, no, nooooo, we are NOT taking away TV.

I mean I remember when Zoey was little and she went through a super brief phase when she was getting up too early and we told her if she would only get TV the next day if she stayed in bed until at least 6:30AM, and then she would forget and wake up at 6:00 and lose TV and she would be a crabby tired mess all day and so would I and I couldn’t even plop her in front of the boob tube and it SUCKED ASSSSSS.

ME: How about we try some positive reinforcement first and if that doesn’t work, then we can try something negative?

HUBBY: Like what?

ME: Maybe we can duct tape him to his bed. (big ole pause) I’m kidding.

Awww shit, someone’s calling me. Hold on.

ME: Hello?

CPS: You can’t duct tape your kid to their bed at night.

ME: I know, that’s why I said I was just kidding.

CPS: You shouldn’t even say it.

ME: Can I at least fantasize about it?

CPS: You shouldn’t.

ME: Holy crap, if you know what went through my head sometimes.

CPS: Like what?

ME: Nothing.

But I digress. Anyways, since taking away TV or adding duct tape are great plan B’s, we decided to go with plan A – a very cliché sticker chart. Actually I’m the one who decided to go with a sticker chart and I told my husband that’s what we’re doing and then I made it and he didn’t have a choice really because I put so much work into it. See? I even drew a smiley moon on it.


And then I took Holden to Toys R Us to pick out a badass amazing awesome toy he really reallllllly wants (under $25 because the grandparents weren’t buying it), and now this big ole Paw Patrol toy is propped up in the middle of our dining room table (which is a more of a random shit collection table since we never actually eat there).


When he earns five stickers on his sticker chart, he gets it. Yup, all he has to do is sleep through the night five times and they don’t even have to be consecutive.

Want to know what happened? I’ll tell you.

That little crotchmuffin has slept through the night two nights in a row right off the bat. Yeah, Mr. Delirious at 3AM actually isn’t delirious at all. He’s faking it. Move over Eddie Redmayne ‘cause guess who just stole the best actor trophy from you. My little rugrat. Yup, ever since I gave him the sticker chart and the awesome toy incentive, that little douchenugget hasn’t gotten out of bed once.

And here’s what I predict. I predict he’s going to sleep through the night for the next three nights and then on the sixth night AFTER he’s earned his prize, he’ll wake up at about one hour after I fall asleep and he’ll be up because he wants to play with his new Paw Patrol toy.

ME: No, buddy, it’s after midnight.

HOLDEN: I want to play with it NOW!!!!!!

But that’s just a prediction and maybe, just mayyyybe, I’ll be wrong and my sticker chart will totally work and he’ll keep sleeping through the night for the rest of his childhood until he heads off to college and I’ll remember what it’s like to get seven straight hours of sleep again. Bwhahahahahahhahahhaha!!! No, I’m not stupid enough to think this is REALLY going to happen. But hey, it’s worth a try. At least before we break out the duct tape. Or do something really crazy… like unplug the TV.

If you like this, please don’t forget to “like” it!! Thank you! And don’t forget to subscribe to this page so you’re not relying on douchebaggy facebook to show you my stuff. Just kidding, I love you facebook. Except when you don’t show people my shit.

There are 63 comments for this article
  1. Emily at 10:18 am

    Oh my goodness, this is my life with our 3-year-old right now. Right down to the hubby sleeping through it and making me deal with it every time. I ordered this 30-pack of Disney figurines for her birthday a few weeks ago, and it came late so I didn’t give it to her yet, so I just decided what her positive reinforcement will be. After 30 days of staying in her bed all night she should have the hang of it, right? Good luck with yours!

  2. Jennifer R. at 10:19 am

    My night…every frigging night is like this. She’s 3 and I’m pretty sure it’s never going to end. Also, pitter patter of little feet every night at 3 am is maddening, not cute. I thank my 6 year old all the time for being a good sleeper. 🙂

  3. kim at 10:21 am

    One word. Melatonin. Completely harmless…works like a charm!!!

    • Deanna at 10:36 am

      That is simply not true. Melatonin is not recommended for children and is not aproved by the FDA. There are no studies that have proven it to be safe for use in children.

      • Amanda at 1:15 pm

        My pediatrician and the kid’s psychiatrist says it’s safe and to use it. So, there.

      • Sue Ryan at 9:10 pm

        Used it for years. Works like a dream, pun intended, ha!

    • Jen at 10:44 am

      I second this. I had to do the same for my daughter when she was 4.

    • Nikki at 10:58 am

      funny you say that….I asked our Pedi about it she is giving us a sample tonight so I don’t have to buy a bunch before I try it. She gives it to her son as well (she’s our neighbor and a family friend too 🙂

    • enad at 2:47 pm

      from what i understand, there are 2 issues with melatonin: 1) it activates sleepiness and so your kid can fall asleep easily, but it doesn’t KEEP them asleep so when they wake up it’s no different than if they hadn’t taken it. 2) it’s a hormone (albeit natural) and like all hormones it COULD impact brain development. but it’s untested so no one really knows. in any case it’s discouraged for long-term use.

    • LS at 10:50 am

      I have one word for all of you… LAZY! If you sit your kid on front of a TV all day of course they won’t be tired. And the answer is NOT to pump them full of drugs. Turn off the b**b-tube and take them to the park for a few hours! If you live in a cold climate, then take them to one of those indoor play places, and if you can’t leave your house, then make a fun obstacle course out of boxes and toys and have them run around inside the house. If a child isn’t sleeping it’s because they haven’t burned off enough energy (and lord knows kids have an abundance of that!). I always treated my kids like they were puppies… you have to run them hard during the day, so they don’t have the energy to give you a hard time at night. Both slept through the night at 1 month old… yes you heard that right… 1 MONTH. And they’ve slept great ever since (they are now 24 & 25)… and that’s because I sacrificed my “me” time a bit and took them out to PLAY! You can still read a book or check your emails at the park folks. Exercise = Tired Kids… it’s not rocket science.

      • Jo at 3:27 pm

        You do realize that it had nothing to do with your parenting that your kids slept through the night, right? Quit taking credit for their genetics, yo!

      • Meghan at 3:39 pm

        Dr. LS (should we call you that or just straight up Lazy Sh*t?) I’m pretty sure every parent out there knows that fresh air wipes kids out.. (nothing new) Every kid is different, but I’m sure you know this seeing as you Informed all of us the benefits of kids and fresh air.Yes, my kids are amazing sleepers! however I know many parents who struggle with this regardless how much vitamin D their little ones get. 😉 we are all so happy you sacrificed your time to get your kids outside!. again, I’m sure most parents do (just sayin) ps. Dr.! just because a child can’t sleep at night doesn’t mean you haven’t burned them off enough with excersice.It means they legit can’t sleep? ever had that or are you perfect like your kids? ???

      • Monica at 4:31 pm

        Yeah, right. My son goes to school, is on a competitive swim team and trains 10-13 hours a week, and still plays outside an hour or so most days, and isn’t allowed electronics. And he still has sleep issues, including dangerous (gets put of the house, unlocks doors and disables alarms, etc) sleepwalking g at least once a week for 8 years if he doesn’t have melatonin. It’s not laziness on his part or mine, and you shouldn’t be judging when you don’t know what a family may be going through

  4. Kirs Wendland at 10:21 am

    My newly three year old is sleeping through the night and I am dreading night time potty training because that will be the end of it FOREVER!

  5. Cara at 10:28 am

    Wow, this is my house, 3-4 nights a week! Our kids go to daycare one full day and 2 half days a week. They sleep all night before a daycare day (so they can be rested, duh) but a non-daycare night? One is up at 2, the other at 3. And I’m pregnant and exhausted so I bring them in bed with me. My hubby works at 4 am so he’s no help, understandably. I just want sleep!!!!

  6. Tina Ptaszek at 10:28 am

    My life with BOTH my 2 year old and 5 year old. I feel like I am never going to sleep again.

  7. Rachael S at 10:32 am

    Will I get a call from CPS if I say I’m going to try and have my daughter sleep in a crib until she’s 4…?

  8. Cassidi at 10:35 am

    We are living the same life. Except my 3 year old doesn’t get out of bed – he lays there and yells until I come to him. And, of course, in the morning my husband is thrilled at how well the kid slept all night because he slept through it all!

  9. Cassidi at 10:36 am

    Also – I totally want to pin that sticker chart. Why can’t I ever find simple s**t like that on Pinterest??

  10. Christin Harding at 10:39 am

    OK, You’ve GOT to post an update about what happened on night 6!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Life With Teens and Other Wild Things at 10:40 am

    Ugh… I remember those days well, and won’t try to “advise” you- since I don’t know your family or child well enough to offer anything concrete anyway, so it would just be annoying. I’ve always thought that “sleep training” is right up there with “potty training”… akin to bashing ourselves off a brick wall. lol

    All I’ve got is, good luck Mama. About the time he sleeps thru the night regularly, he’ll hit his teen years and become nocturnal anyway. I’m there. (And you have to supervise them almost as closely as a toddler… you’d be amazed at the mischief they get up to left on their own.) :-/

    ((hugs)) from the trenches.

  12. Sara Neely at 10:41 am

    Yep. My six, yes SIX year old still doesn’t sleep through the night! And then my three year old started waking up too. So if each of them wakes up twice that makes FOUR TIMES A NIGHT! Am I doomed to sleep like I have a newborn for the rest of my life!?!? We printed out a calendar for each of them and they each colored their own. They get a sticker if they sleep through the night, and after 3 nights we went to the Dollar Store and they picked anything they wanted. Then it was 5 nights in a row. Now we’re working on 7! It’s been going really well! They’ve each had a set back or two and really didn’t like not getting a sticker that day and having to start back at 1. Good luck!

    • Pam at 1:48 pm

      I have those same ages… and they suck at sleeping too! The 6 year old is finally getting better, and now we get to live it again with the three year old. I don’t think there’s many things I wouldn’t do for a full night’s sleep on a regular basis…

  13. Marissa at 10:50 am

    Ha, I could’ve written this … over 3 yr old boy, hates sleep, always has … we started a sticker chart this weekend and if he fills it, he gets a big boy super hero room. We went through 3 nights of sleep no problem … then I wake up this morning and there he is snuggled in bed between hubs and I. I didn’t even wake up. He was upset when he didn’t get a sticker this morning, so I’m hoping he remembers that tonight. We’ll see. So from one sleep deprived toddler momma to another, I hope your sticker chart works! Good luck!

  14. Helen at 11:01 am

    My son will be 12 next Sunday, (yes, I did say 12, not 2! Lol!) and he still occasionally will get up during the night. It happens at least once a week. Fortunately, he usually gets up about an hour or so after he’s gone to bed and my husband and I are still up. He seems to be asleep when he gets up and my son will even have conversations with us while asleep. One time he got up and was trying to put his watch on!! A few rare times my son will get up in the middle of the night to tell us that he can’t sleep. I would tell my son that unless he’s sick and he needs us to help him, if he should happen to get up because he can’t fall asleep it’s no reason to wake everybody else up. I say to him, “you’re a big boy now and you can just lie down quietly and count sheep or something until you fall asleep”.

    The one occasion that stands out is when he called out to us one Saturday at 6:30 in the morning and said that he had a bad dream. I said to him that it was time to get up anyway.

  15. Jenna at 11:10 am

    I highly suggest a little lavender essential oil or “peace and calming” essential oil on the bottoms of his feet at bedtime. My kids (even myself) love it!

  16. Meghan at 11:11 am

    this sounds like my house except it’s my 7 year old.. every night the little b****r will walk into our bedroom and stare at me like she’s ready to attack then she will say ” its too bad I can’t sleep with you” ofcourse she doesn’t wake her dad up ..why would she?!?!?! .why oh why!?!?!?!? that guy slept through me in labor with our first and an earthquake or two (jk but I’m sure he would) gah.

  17. gaduba at 11:22 am

    I have a baby monitor in my kids room… and a baby gate. They don’t get out. But if there is something really wrong I can hear them. My 2 y old sometimes cries and says he needs me and I’ll go give hugs and kisses and tell him to go back to bed. Occasionally I’ll end up taking him to bed with us so he doesn’t wake up his brother. But for the most part I like keeping the baby gate. The kids can play with their toys and wat not wen they get up. And I’ll let u in on a little secret. I have a tv in their room. And a picnic table. Sometimes I’ll make them breakfast let them potty. Turn on a movie and sleep for another hour.

  18. Ashley at 11:32 am

    SO good to know that I’m not the only one dealing with this! My 2.5 year old doesn’t sleep through the night very often and if he does he’s up at 6 am ready to go! Between him and my 3 month old I swear I get like 3 hours of sleep. Blech.

  19. monica at 11:41 am

    I have an 11 year old who slept walked from the time he was 2 until 10. At least once a week.. sometimes more. And we’re not talking wanders to another room. We’re talking gets out into the road, wanders off down the street, climbing trees, putting on rollee blades…one night we had to call the police to help find him, which got CPS involved. And he turned off alarms, climbs things to unlock locks, etc. Melatonin has made it where he hasnt sleptwalked in almost a year. I’d talk to his doctor first,but it’s worth considering

  20. Adriana at 11:51 am

    Hi all, i must say that i have a 16 month old that sleeps through the night (not a great napper, but its ok) and much of the reason why is Troublesome Toots, such a great and helpful website!

  21. Meghan at 11:53 am

    all 3 of my kids were AMAZING sleepers as babies… it’s just my now 7 year old..she cant (and never has) been able to sleep by herself (her and her sis are Irish twins) ..she has to cuddle with someone.

  22. Alyssa from The Sparkly Life at 11:58 am

    oh my god–this reminds me SO much of something I just posted literally today: All about the 3 a.m. struggle when your toddler wakes up in the middle of the night, and part of you is crying because you know these days are numbered and one day he’ll be too old…and part of you just wants to go the hell to sleep!

    That 3 a.m. struggle is real, yo.

    Would be honored if you’d check it out. (And thanks so much for this post…loved!)

  23. Courtney at 12:19 pm

    I can’t even take how funny and relatable you are! I love it

  24. Diane at 12:38 pm

    I feel so sorry for the new parents in this day and age when my son did this our pediatrician said reverse lock his door let him scream it out for a few nights. Might kill us the parents but less then a week later no more late night strolls to our room! Kids have their parents trained to well, rewards should not be given for behavior that is expected of them. In other words his bad behavior is getting him a reward!

    But I still think you are one hell of a funny lady!

  25. Heather Garcia at 12:45 pm

    What I don’t get is… if they get up in the middle of the night and come to my bed, why the hell do they not get up a few hours later and go to their own bed!!!

  26. Pam at 1:46 pm

    My kids both are in the “Suck at sleeping (SAS) category” and I’m totally with you. 200% sure this is a natural thing. Quit bragging to me, braggy mcbrag-mom that you did such a great job at sleep training your kid. He was born that way and you lucked out. Mine were programmed to be awake and p**s me off. The only benefit to the SAS kids is that every morning they’re up and at ’em when it’s time to go to school and daycare and they aren’t whiney jerks like some of my friends kids. Take that. Your perfectly sleeping angels like sleep so much they suck at getting up! Mine hate it so much they get up like twice a night AND in the morning and they’re just fine with it. Ha!
    Whoops. Low on sleep again I think.

  27. Nancy at 1:54 pm

    When my twin daughters were 4 we were planning a trip to Disney. Because we knew we would be buying all sorts of stuff for them there, we told them they could earn 1$ for each night they did not get out of bed in the middle of the night. Worked like a charm- they each earned 20-40$ (can’t remember how much) to buy stuff at Disney, and they kicked the waking up at night habit!

  28. enad at 2:51 pm

    so i know i’m in the minority here, but i let my son climb in bed with us at 3 am. he’s 5. we have a king-sized bed sort of for this reason. also he goes right to sleep and i can’t say “no” when he patters over at night and says “mommy, i want to snuggle.” i LOVE snuggling with him! my daughter is 2 and pushes me away when i try to hug her, so i’ll take all the snuggling i can get till he realizes it’s super uncool and never touches me again.

  29. Jo at 3:01 pm

    Is not just me? My first didn’t sttn until a combination of all day pre school (no nap) and a bribe:

    If you sleep all night and don’t wake us up you get chips for breakfast!

    It totally f*ing worked.


    We went though a lot of those mini bags of doritos.

  30. Kerri Munro at 3:21 pm

    Stealing this idea. My almost 3 year old sucks at sleeping. He had yet to sleep through the night in his own room. Gah!!!

  31. greenapples at 3:37 pm

    If it makes you feel any better, I think my husband got up *once* in the night during the first two years of my daughter’s life. Allllllll me.

  32. crazyheartmama at 3:59 pm

    Love your blog. You make me laugh every time. We’re still hit or miss on the sleeping through the night at our house. I’ve finally decided that the more people/dogs/cats/husbands/hermit crabs you add to your household the less likely you are to get a good night’s sleep.

    That’s truth. 🙂

  33. Stephanie at 4:41 pm

    Hi! Love your blog! Anyway, my kids are 11 and 9 and I can honestly say that creating a good routine at night has been our secret to kids who now, put themselves to bed without being told (usually). This is like, the one thing that I think we got right. None of this “go to bed” and then the kids mill around for 1/2 hour. Brush teeth, jammies, story, lights out. The end. Or whatever your routine is. Every night, same time, like clockwork. PS it gets better! There is a part of parenting when you get to eventually sleep.

  34. Jb cardinal at 5:40 pm

    My 14 year old daughter always was (and still is) a great sleeper. My 11 year daughter gave up NAPS before she was 1!!! Guess which one still gets up at night. Pediatrician has told me numerous times over the years that “some kids just need less sleep than others”.
    Is it bedtime yet? I’m exhausted. Ha

  35. noelle at 5:48 pm

    My kids are awesome eaters and terrible sleepers! I think kids can’t be both. My youngest comes in every night (he’s 5) & my oldest(8) sleeps on our floor when he comes in in the middle of the night…at least he’s not waking us anymore. Hopefully, they grow out of it, right!?!

  36. Robin at 10:01 pm

    My three kids (all under age 6) were getting up on average of 5 nights a week, sometimes one, sometimes two and I were really unlucky all three. I solved the problem by creating a “bed” out of a doubled up quilt and a pillow and told them they could get up anytime but they were not to wake me or daddy. They can come to my room and go to sleep on their bed. Works like a charm! The boys have only done it a few times, my daughter nearly every night BUT she goes to sleep in “her” bed without waking me up. It’s awesome! Wish I’d done this years sooner!

  37. Tracy at 5:44 am

    Bad news — my daughter still roams at night & she’s 33. The only difference is that except when she’s visiting us, she does nocturnal wandering at her house & not mine, so it’s her husband who doesn’t get any sleep. “…for better or worse, in sleep and in go-the-hell-to-sleep…”

  38. thriftstoremomma at 8:45 am

    OMG I love your blog! What you are saying is exactly how I feel! Our three, nearly four year old daughter has started waking up around 2-3 every. freaking. morning and wants to come to our bed. While I am the sappy kind that loves extra snuggles, the hubby hates it. But does he do anything about it? Oh hell no, that would require him to wake up and take care of it. So she sleeps with us.

  39. Sarah at 8:12 pm

    I almost peed when I read this. Made my hubby read it too! Though I’d love to bask in the glow of your hilarity, I’m just gonna kill that buzz and mention this: Our daughter (a champion sleeper) started doing the SAME THING at the SAME AGE…. I read somewhere (I’m a parenting book nerd) that children all of the sudden waking in the middle of the night could be waking because their bladder is FINALLY ready to stop wetting at night, and they’re waking up to pee… only they don’t actually realize that! They wake up naturally just go to mom and dad. So, after I realized this, I- WITHOUT SAYING A WORD- walked our daughter to the bathroom, sat her on the toilet, waited till she peed (she pretty much did it automatically), walked her back to bed and said “good night.” That’s it! A few weeks later, she began sleeping through the night and STAYING DRY!! It was like a revelation! (She was potty trained right at 2 years, but it took her another 2 years more to stay dry completely at night!). I don’t now if your son is in that same situation, but if he IS, and you hadn’t thought of this (like I hadn’t) then I’ll feel like the magical sleep genie! 😉

  40. Sarah at 8:16 pm

    Just to add… Before this time (mentioned above) we would wake up in the morning to find our daughter asleep on the bathroom floor- pillow, blankie and all! Like a drunken sorority girl after a binge-
    right next to the toilet!!! Gross!! That phase lasted about 2 weeks but haunts me to this day…

  41. Maria Bournas at 7:21 am

    my kids are almost 5 and 3(twins) and they all do this to me! I agree that some are just born sleepers, apparently, I don’t breed those types! Good luck to you!

  42. Jen at 7:41 pm

    So the only problem with your sticker chart is the reward is too big too fast. You’ll be broke by the time the training is done. For potty training I did a sticker chart and every so many stickers earned her 10 m&ms. I actually was going to go the toy route but go figure, my daughter wanted chocolate over a toy. Good luck though! My nephew didn’t reliably sleep through the night until he was 10. No kidding. It wasn’t pretty.

  43. Tamiko at 6:47 pm

    Ha! This is so funny! I love it! that little crotchmuffin–I died! I work with lots of tired mamas of toddlers and this is what they tell happens all. the. time. Then once we start working together, they’re angel starts sleeping the night.

  44. Sarah at 10:15 am

    “In fact, our first kiddo sleeps like a narcoleptic who was shot with animal tranquilizers” I love this. Describes my oldest exactly. Love you BS!

  45. Jessa at 11:11 am

    LS. You ran your one month olds “like puppies”?! Lol. Come on. This is a good comment for sancti-mommy. Do you know what that is?? How awesome for you that your babies slept. And how awesome of you to insult a bunch of people, including the blog writer. Smh.