When Ella started sleeping through the night when she was about 6 1/2 months, we had about 2 solid years of good sleep where she would go to bed for the night and sleep straight through until the morning. When we moved her into a bed, it all went downhill, and has never been consistent since then. We've definitely had good spells but more often than not she would wake up during the night and end up in our bed.
When Steve was working out here and it was just Ella and I most of the time at home, it was really easy to let her sleep with me and became an every night thing. And I actually really liked it because I love having her for my little snuggle bug, plus I could sleep all night if she was in bed with me instead of needing to wake up in the middle of the night when she woke up, because she sleeps straight through when she's in bed with me.
When we moved out here she of course still expected to end up in our bed in the middle of the night and we let her the first few months since we had so many changes and adjustments going on that I didn't want to put her through another big transition.
We decided it was finally time to focus on it now that we're really settled and she has plenty of stability and it's a good time for introducing a change because there's nothing else transition-wise going on right now. She has been asking for a big girl bike (with training wheels instead of a tricycle) for a while so we decided she could earn a bike if she filled up her sleep chart by sleeping in her own bed, all night, for 10 nights.
She got to pick out her stickers for the chart and she picked puffy rainbows that she loved, although she didn't like that she couldn't open them until her first successful night. Her prizes on the chart were an ice cream date after the first night, and then she got to pick out a toy after her third night and seventh night, and then her bike after ten nights. I was hoping that lots of motivation along the way would keep her interested and hopefully outweigh wanting to come in bed with us.
We talked about it for several nights and planned to start on a Friday night so that if it was really rough few nights, at least it was the weekend instead of school & work days the next day. She changed her mind at the last minute and said "one more night" which turned into several more, but she finally was really ready to start (or really wanted to start working toward her prizes!)
The first night she woke up at midnight, 2:30 and then 5:00 am - and all three times she called out for me (because I told her she had to stay in bed) I would go to her room, rub her back for a few minutes and give her a kiss, but she stayed in her bed and was still there in the morning.
She was really proud of herself and so were we. It was a few nights of the same, her waking me up a few times to come to her room, and then I realized she was really counting on the middle of the night back rubbing and kisses because on the third or fourth night she said to me "see you in the middle of the night to rub my back!" So - then we needed to change plans again and I told her she could earn TWO stickers for the night - one for staying in her bed all night long, and one for not calling me to come over during the night. So she earned some extra stickers in her last few nights, but she does still enjoy seeing me at some point during the night (still need to work on that part!).
She loved getting to put her stickers on her chart in the morning and especially on the days it was time to go to the store and pick out her toys. She liked to count down the days until the next 'prize' and stayed pretty excited about it the whole time. Mom and Glenn visited us in the middle of the ten nights because we were behind schedule from when Ella didn't really start, so she had several nights in the middle of sleeping with Mom. But then she picked up again after they left and got to her tenth night last weekend!
Steve took her to pick her new bike this past weekend, and she just loves it! Her sleeping is not perfect and we're not 100% there, but she is in her own bed all night, wakes up around 5:30 each morning, calls for me to come over, and then goes back to sleep once I give her a kiss. Sleeping in her own bed all night long is a major victory and I'm so proud of her for doing it!