The Ferber method for sleep training is a sleep training technique that has been used for decades. It can be called the “gold standard” of baby sleep training techniques. 

But how exactly does it work, and why should you use it to get your baby sleeping well at night? 

In this post, you’ll discover everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the Ferber method for sleep training, along with tips for how to do it right.

What is the Ferber method for sleep training?

The Ferber method is a sleep training technique that has been around for over 30 years. It was developed by Dr. Richard Ferber and parents use it to help children learn how to fall asleep on their own.

Initially, Dr. Richard Ferber developed the method to combat bedwetting. 

The idea behind the technique is that babies will learn how to fall asleep without being rocked or fed, which should lead them into healthier sleeping patterns in general.

As its name suggests, the Ferber method for sleep training is based on something called graduated extinction. 

The technique is based on two key principles: 

  • Gradually increasing the time between visits with your baby until he or she falls asleep without any parental help 
  • Increasing distance from the baby while still remaining in the same room

By following these two principles, a child will eventually learn to fall asleep on her/his own. 

The Ferber method is a gentler option than the cry it out method as it involves periodically checking in on your baby when he’s crying.

As with any sleep method, the Ferber Method for babies takes some patience and can be frustrating when it doesn’t seem to work—but parents who stick with it will eventually see results.

When can you start sleep training your baby using the Ferber method? 

Parents can start sleep training their baby once the child turns four months old or older. 

At that age, babies are developmentally capable of self-soothing and old enough to sleep through the night without needing to eat. 

If you’re having any doubts about whether you should start sleep training your little one, consult with your pediatrician to ensure your child is ready. 

However, keep in mind that the older your baby gets, the harder it becomes to teach him how to fall asleep on his own without relying on being rocked, fed, or soothed by his parents. 

Can you use the Ferber method for naps? 

According to Dr. Ferber, you can use the same strategy for helping your little one fall asleep for his nap. However, make sure your baby’s naps don’t go beyond the recommended amount for his age, which can interfere with night sleep.

Some parents have found it easier to tackle nighttime sleep training before nap training. Once their baby learns how to self-soothe at night, they apply the same method for the day naps. 

What are some tips for using the Ferber method for sleep training?

 Here are some tips to help you sleep train your baby successfully: 

  • Follow a consistent bedtime routine. Bedtime routines help your baby know that bedtime is coming. It’s a great way to get him relaxed and comfortable to sleep all throughout the night.
  • Put your baby down in his crib drowsy but awake if he’s younger than three months and fully awake if he’s older. 
  • On day one, wait three minutes before going into his room to comfort him if he cries. Leave the room for a brief period of time and come back again after five minutes if he’s inconsolable. Check up on him every ten minutes until he falls asleep without you in the room. On the second day, let him cry for five minutes initially, then 10 minutes, and then 12 minutes.
  • When comforting your little one, stick to patting him on the back or talking in a soothing voice. Avoid picking him up, feeding him, or rocking him to sleep. Make sure the comforting process doesn’t last more than a minute or two.
  • You may see some improvement in the first night, but it could take up to two weeks for your baby to adjust.
  • Get in touch with your pediatrician if you have any concerns.

Ferber method chart for sleep training

Dr. Ferber, in his sleep training book Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems, recommends the following check-in chart: 

Day 1:

First check-in: after 3 minutes

Second check-in: after 5 minutes

Third check-in: after 10 minutes

Subsequent check-ins: after 10 minutes

Day 2: 

First check-in: after 5 minutes

Second check-in: after 10 minutes

Third check-in: after 12 minutes

Subsequent check-ins: after 12 minutes

Day 3:

First check-in: after 10 minutes

Second check-in: after 12 minutes

Third check-in: after 15 minutes

Subsequent check-in: after 15 minutes

Day 4: 

First check-in: after 12 minutes

Second check-in: after 15 minutes

Third check-in: after 17 minutes

Subsequent check-ins: after 17 minutes

Day 5: 

First check-in: after 15 minutes

Second check-in: after 17 minutes

Third check-in: after 20 minutes

Subsequent check-ins: after 20 minutes

Day 6: 

First check-in: after 17 minutes

Second check-in: after 20 minutes

Third check-in: after 25 minutes

Subsequent check-ins: after 25 minutes

Day 7: 

First check-in: after 20 minutes

Second check-in: after 25 minutes

Third check-in: after 30 minutes

Subsequent check-ins: after 30 minutes

If you think a different schedule might work better for your child, feel free to make slight changes to the intervals. At the end of the day, the most important thing is staying consistent. Don’t give up and you should see results within a few days.