When Do Toddlers Stop Napping: Signs to Watch For

toddler getting ready for a nap

Toddlers are notoriously energetic. With all that energy, you might notice your little one is not as sleepy as they used to be around mid-afternoon. That has you wondering: when do toddlers stop napping?

In this article, we’ll tell you the signs that it’s time for your child to drop their nap. We’ll also offer tips on transitioning their nap time to quiet time for independent play.

Table of contents

Why do toddlers need naps?

For toddlers, like all of us, sleep is essential. Toddlers need about 11-14 hours of sleep per day, which includes their nighttime sleep as well as one to three naps.

While they nap, they’re developing their memory, executive attention, motor skills, muscle coordination, and growth. Naps also help them regulate their emotions and maintain a healthy weight.

Typical toddler nap time

Toddler napping

Although most toddlers between two and four years old take one nap a day, this can vary by child, so don’t worry if your little one is still on a two- or three-nap-a-day schedule. The number and duration of naps decrease as they get older and daily sleep requirements change.

Generally, a toddler’s last nap of the day will be about four and a half to six hours before bedtime so that it doesn’t interfere with their nighttime rest.

Two-year-old nap schedule

Two-year-olds need a total of 11 to 14 hours of sleep, including naps, each day. Here’s a sample schedule for your toddler:

7:00 am: Wake up

Before their nap, your toddler can eat breakfast, play, take a walk outside, and eat lunch.

1:00 pm - 3:00 pm: Nap

The duration of this nap can vary, but keep in mind that your child’s nap should end at least four and a half hours before they go to bed in order to avoid any evening sleep troubles.

7:30: Bedtime

Wind down with your bedtime routine and it’s off to dreamland until the morning. Keep in mind that sleep regressions are common at two years old, thanks to all of the developmental milestones your toddler is meeting.

Be careful not to confuse a sleep regression with the end of nap time, or you may end up with an overtired and cranky toddler!

Three-year-old nap schedule

Three to five-year-olds should sleep 10 to 13 hours a day, including naps. But if they exceed that, don’t wake them up, as their body is telling them that they need it.

Here’s what that might look like.

7:00 am: Wake up

After waking up, go about your daily routine of mealtime and fun before it’s time for a brief nap.

1:00 pm - 2:30 pm: Nap

At three years old, your toddler might need a slightly shorter nap than when they were two.

8:00 pm: Bedtime

Keep your nightly routine consistent and calming so your toddler can get a good night's sleep.

Four-year-old nap schedule

Like three-year-olds, four-year-olds need 10 to 13 hours of sleep every day. By this age, many children have stopped napping, as they’re able to get their full sleep at night.

However, if your child still wants the nap and you’re not seeing the signs to stop, don’t rush it. Here’s an example of how you might handle naps for a four year old.

7:00 am: Wake up

Your toddler is up and at ‘em — learning, playing, and testing out all of their new skills. After lunch, though, they may still feel the need for a brief respite to recharge for the afternoon.

1:30 pm - 2:30 pm: Nap

Again, as they get older, their naps may get a little shorter because they’re able to get the rest they need during the night.

8:00 pm: Bedtime

Get them ready to nod off with a nice bedtime story, some quiet music, and reflection on a great day spent and a brand new one waiting in the morning.

When do toddlers stop napping: Signs to watch for

When do toddlers stop napping: Signs to watch for

All good things must come to an end, so if you’re asking yourself when toddlers stop napping, the good news is there are some signs to look for to help you know if it’s time.

Naps make nighttime sleep difficult.

If your little one is taking their naps but then not falling or staying at bedtime, it could be a sign that the days of napping are over. But before you decide to ditch naps altogether, cut down to one shorter nap a day and reassess.

It takes over 30 minutes for your toddler to fall asleep at bedtime.

If your toddler is struggling to fall asleep at their normal bedtime for a prolonged period, they may have slept too much during the day.

It takes over 30 minutes for your toddler to fall asleep at naptime.

Similarly, if your little one doesn’t want to nap, they may be telling you they’re ready to face the day nap-free.

Your toddler wakes up before 6:00 am.

If your toddler is hooting and hollering before the rooster rouses, you might need to lose the nap.

Your toddler wakes up at night and doesn’t go back to sleep.

Another sign that your toddler is ready to shed the nap is if they wake up in the wee hours and decide they’re done sleeping and are ready to play.

Your toddler entertains themself during nap time.

If you peek in on your toddler during their nap and catch them independently playing in their bed, it may be time to trade in naptime for quiet time.

The answer to, “When do toddlers stop napping?” is typically about three to four years old. But don’t worry if they show the signs earlier or later than that — as we said, every child is different.

Transitioning from naps to quiet time

Now that we’ve talked about when toddlers typically stop napping, it’s time to discuss the transition to quiet time (when your toddler can play independently in their room).

Try shortening the nap first.

Before you transition completely, try shortening your child’s nap first so you don’t accidentally deprive them of much-needed sleep.

Build a quiet time routine.

Start with 10-15 minutes of independent play and try to build up to an hour or more.

Be mindful of safety concerns.

Since your toddler will be playing in their room on their own, it’s important that you’ve made sure the room is a safe space and that all childproofing has been done.

Set up their space with independent play options.

Make sure there are safe toy options for your toddler to play with during quiet time. Always check the recommended age for toys — anything labeled three years and up can have small parts that pose a choking hazard.

Toddler bedtime sleep tips

Now that your toddler has stopped napping, they’ll have to get the most out of the nighttime hours. Here are some tips to optimize their shuteye.

Make sure your toddler’s room is quiet.

Your toddler goes to bed before you do, so be extra careful to keep their room, and the house, quiet. If they hear activity outside their door, they may get a case of FOMO and get out of bed to see what’s going on.

A sound machine will help if outside noise is getting in the way of their sleep.

Keep their room cool.

Turn down the thermostat to make your toddler’s room sleep-ready. Setting the temperature between 65-72 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal.

Make sure the blinds are drawn.

With blackout shades or curtains, it will be easier for your little one to get to sleep and stay that way until morning.

Remove any devices.

Remove any tablets or other devices that might prove too tempting in the middle of the night.

Ensure they have a comfortable mattress.

Kid reading a book

Of course, it will be difficult for your toddler to get the proper rest if they don’t have the right mattress. If they are in a toddler bed, Newton’s Essential Crib Mattress is a great option as it’s breathable and washable, with a comfy-cozy eyelet removable cover.

Top it off with a toddler pillow and one of our Breathable, Organic Cotton Sheets that’s soft to the touch and allows for superior airflow, keeping your toddler cool and comfortable.

If your little one has already transitioned to a twin bed, try our Kids’ Twin Mattress, which is also breathable and washable, making it a particularly good choice for allergy sufferers. The organic cotton surface and firm support for growing bones mean a restful night’s sleep.

Practice a consistent bedtime routine.

When your little one is a toddler, it’s more important than ever to stick to the bedtime routine. At this point, they can get in and out of bed on their own, so your consistency matters.

Bye-bye naps, hello night

when do toddlers stop napping

Now you know the answer to, “When do toddlers stop napping?” as well as the signs to watch for. Of course, once your child drops their nap, nighttime sleep is even more important.

With the Newton Baby breathable Essential Crib Mattress, your toddler can sleep soundly through the night in maximum comfort.

Newton Baby is here for you when your toddler needs the best sleep they can get. Nighty night!

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