Sleep Methods Explained: Cry It Out

This is the first post in  a series of blog posts describing the most popular sleep methods.   I am going to start with the least gentle and move on towards the more gentle approaches.

I do want to mention when I work with a client, there is more involved than just the method we decide on.  I always discuss  other things like sleep foundations and sleep environment before we start the actual training portion.  Sometimes, a method isn’t even needed because foundations fix the issue!   Want to know more?  Email me for a free introductory call –

When people mention sleep coaching or sleep training, the Cry It Out method is likely the first that comes to mind.   The basic idea is, you put your child in their crib or bed and then let them figure out how to put themselves to sleep without any of your interaction.  So it is likely that they will cry, sometimes a lot.  The idea behind this is once children learn how to fall asleep on their own, they will begin doing it all the time and throughout the night.


  • “Easy” to be consistent with – there are not interactions so parents are not likely to behave in an inconsistent manner
  • Usually changes the behavior quicker than other gentler methods
  • Parents leave the room so don’t have to watch their child crying
  • In some kids, this can work very fast, some in 3 nights time.


  • Child is left on their own to cry themselves to sleep.
  • Some people wonder if the child is just giving up and not really learning how to fall asleep on their own.
  • Children (especially those with reflux) could throw up from a lot of crying, which would cause parents to intervene anyway.  This could lead to the child learning that if they throw up, parents come back.
  • Because parents are not coming back to check on the child, parents will not know if the child has dirtied their diaper and if they do not have a video monitor, they won’t know if the child could have gotten a leg stuck in the crib.  Older children in beds can be causing issues in their rooms or children in cribs can learn to climb out.
  • Many parents find this hard to do with their child and if they start, they may stop.  This can lead to basically teaching the child to cry for a certain amount of time, especially if it is done several times.

What do you think?  Do you have other advantages and disadvantages to list?  Feel free to share them in the comments!

One Thought on “Sleep Methods Explained: Cry It Out

  1. Excellent, well-balanced look at what is definitely one of the hardest things a parent can do. I wish I had known of gentler methods when my son was that age, but we all survived. When/if my son has children, I’ll point him this way so he has better techniques to draw on. 🙂

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