Like every parent, I've been dreading the transition from 2 naps to 1 because, let's face it, having some extra time to myself or being able to get stuff done is so crucial to any mom who is trying to hold on to her sanity. So, when Stella started showing signs that she was ready, I secretly cried inside a little. Not only did it mean she was growing and developing even more, but it meant I got less time to do the things I needed to do, or so I thought.
Since this is my first rodeo, I didn't know what was going on at first. Of course, I did some research to see if it was what I thought, and it was. Every kid is different and they go through the transition at their own time, but it's usually between 13-18 months. I knew Stella was ready because she started refusing to take her naps. For her morning nap, she wasn't ready for it and wanted to keep playing. For her second nap, she would scream if I tried to put her in her crib. She also wasn't fussy if she stayed awake for a longer period of time after her first nap. I just played it by ear and took it day by day until it regulated. She now naps between 12-3.
There are other signs, of course. According to HappiestBaby, those include:
baby continues to refuse his afternoon nap but takes his morning nap
baby is not refusing any naps (which could be a sign of regression)
If your toddler is refusing his regularly scheduled naps and falling asleep later, then it may be a sign he’s ready to drop naps
Your baby was taking equal length naps, but his naps now vary in time.
Your baby spends more time awake than usual without any fussiness. Typically around 4-5 hours straight.
Once I figured out she was just transitioning and not being a cranky toddler who just didn't want to sleep, it made things much easier. We play it by ear and it all depends on her wake time and how long she took her first nap. Based on that data, we either skip the 2nd nap or put her down for it. Her nap is now 3 hours rather than 1-1.5. Which actually gives me more time to start things AND finish them! Woohoo!
As I always say, it's so important to pay attention and listen to your child's cues. Let them take the lead and show you what they need. As parents/adults, we tend to think we know it all, but parenting is a lesson in trust. Trust them, listen, and act.