The Cry It Out (CIO) Method and Why I Don’t Teach It


Feb 7, 2023

It’s no secret that the Cry It Out (CIO) Method is an extremely polarizing topic.

I have always been known for my straightforward, “no fluff” content and that is something I developed after being a third and a fifth grade teacher.

As an elementary teacher, you have one very small opportunity to capture your students’ attention.

If you don’t get to the point and capture your students’ attention, you’ve lost the pivotal teaching moment!

The same is true in the sleep consulting world.

That’s why at Little Z’s, we have made it our mission to tackle the heart of each sleep topic that we cover.

We don’t beat around the bush.

When it comes to the Cry It Out Method, the “OG,” “no fluff” Becca is back.

In this video and podcast episode, I tell you exactly why I don’t teach the Cry It Out Method in any of my Sleep Training Programs. 

Why I Don’t Teach the Cry It Out (CIO) Method

When I was becoming a sleep consultant, I had a friend at my church ask me, “Becca, how does this work? How does your baby end up sleeping?”

I told her that you basically just let the baby “cry it out.”

Because I knew little to nothing about the philosophies and methods of sleep training, I foolishly told her that you essentially let the baby “cry it out.”

This couldn’t have been further from the truth, but because I didn’t know anything about the world of sleep training or the methods found within it, that was the best “explanation” I could give her.

Now, as a certified and experienced Sleep Consultant who has helped thousands of families make sleep and keep sleep a thing, I can confidently tell you that you won’t ever find the Cry It Out Method in any of my Sleep Training Courses for a few reasons below.

The Cry It Out Method Isn’t a Plan 

Have you ever been a part of a mom’s Facebook group or text thread where moms are gabbing about sleep problems and situations and people are throwing out tips saying “try this,” or “try that” or  “don’t do that…”

These types of groups do not provide you with a clear, solid, step-by-step plan for navigating your child’s sleep.

Rather, they are full of disjointed, random “tips” that may or may not be helpful to you and your tired, sleepless baby.

The same is true for the Cry It Out Method.

The Cry It Out Method is NOT a plan.

And that is the #1 reason why I do not teach the Cry It Out Method.

If I told you I taught the Cry It Out Method, you would likely immediately exit out of this video and move on with the understanding that your “plan,” or lack thereof, is to put your baby in their crib, shut the door, and let them cry until the morning.

However, when it comes to sleep training, it’s absolutely necessary to have a cohesive, step-by-step plan, or else your success will only be momentary. 

That’s why in each of my Sleep Training Courses I cover how to implement a solid bedtime routine, how to put your baby down awake in their crib and how to effectively respond to your baby when they wake.

Having a clear, concrete plan to follow is a part of the rich sleep philosophy I have built here at Little Z’s because I know that the families who support and benefit from our business and use our programs desire a step-by-step plan, too!

The Cry It Out Method is a strategy, not a plan, and a mere strategy is not enough to successfully sleep train. 

The #1 reason why I don’t Teach the Cry It Out Method is because it is not a plan.

The Cry It Out Method is Skewed

One of the biggest blunders with the Cry It Out method is that people tell me they tried it for themselves and it didn’t work.

When I dig a little more into their situation, they explain to me that they rocked, cuddled and sang to their baby after bath, helped her get drowsy, and then put her down into her crib.

They let her cry it out for as long as they could, but she didn’t fall asleep on her own and it didn’t work.

They cried all night long and finally, at midnight, they rocked her to sleep again.

The scenario above is not an accurate depiction of the Cry It Out Method!

In fact, the phrase, “Cry It Out,” is something that people have thrown around and twisted so much that a person’s understanding of it is often incompatible with our sleep philosophy here at Little Z’s.

The true Cry It Out Method is when you put your baby down wide awake into their crib, close the door, and come back to get your baby a full 11-12 hours later, no matter your baby’s reaction.

You don’t respond to the baby and they cry themselves to “extinction.”

After all, the alternative name for the Cry It Out Method is the Extinction Method.

The true Cry It Out Method is a very quick and effective method that takes only a couple nights of implementation before your baby learns to sleep all night long.

If someone said they tried the Cry It Out Method for one to two nights and it didn’t work for them, it’s likely because they didn’t truly follow the Cry It Out Method.

The Cry It Out Method is Conditional

If you have been around Little Z’s long enough, you know how much value and importance we place in routines and expectations.

That’s because the routines and expectations found within our sleep training programs allow your child to develop a sleep foundation that is solid and long-lasting. 

In my programs you will never hear me say to place your baby down in their crib, say goodnight, close the door and see them in the morning.

That is never a strategy we recommend or use because we know that my families crave and desire a step-by-step plan for sleeping through the night, handling night wakings, responding to early morning wakings, and dealing with sickness.

The Cry It Out Method only works for a small part of a child’s journey, primarily the later baby years.

You cannot use the Cry It Out method with a newborn because it’s not developmentally appropriate.

The Cry It Out Method also won’t work with a toddler or a preschooler who is in an open bed because they can simply get up out of their bed and come find you.

It simply doesn’t have longevity and it’s not something you can fall back on, time and time again.

It also will not help you when your child faces sleep disruptions like vaccines, teething, travel days, or schedule changes.

<<< Feeling like you need help with your baby’s constantly evolving sleep schedule? Check out our Complete Schedule Guide HERE and help your child keep sleep a thing from 0-3 years of age! <<<

One of our most popular videos here at Little Z’s is one where I talk about and explain the four main methods of sleep training. Check out my Baby Sleep Training Methods EXPLAINED video HERE.

Picture the four methods of sleep training on a spectrum from the most extreme to the least extreme.

On the most extreme end of the spectrum is the Cry It Out Method.

In the middle of the spectrum is the Leave and Check Method and the Chair (Stay in the Room) Method.

On the least extreme end of the spectrum is the Pick-Up-Put-Down Method.

Here at Little Z’s, we practice and implement the two middle strategies, the Leave and Check method and the Chair Method. 

In my programs you will learn how and when to implement each of these strategies and you will see results within a few days of implementing the program with fidelity. 

Choose a Method That’s Right for Your Family

If the Cry It Out Method worked for you, then that’s great!

I’m thrilled for you because the whole point of sleep training, no matter what method you use, is that you and your little one achieve the sleep that you both need.

Every method of sleep training SHOULD have the same end goal: A happy, healthy and well rested family!

As a pediatric sleep consultant and sleep educator, it’s incredibly important to me that you know what sleep training methods are available and that you choose the one that YOU feel most confident and comfortable with as a parent.

If you’ve have had a conversation about the Cry It Out Method with a friend, then I encourage you to share this video and blog with them so that we can all deepen our level of understanding when it comes to knowing WHAT the Cry It Out Method is and HOW it relates to sleep training as a whole. 

How Much Crying To Expect In Sleep Training

When you make change at any time with a child, you can expect a level of protest.

In this popular blog post here at Little Z’s I share with you what to expect in your child’s sleep training journey as well as how much protest you may find comes from your child.


The Cry It Out Method is a valid sleep training method that can be used to teach your child to sleep through the night. Here at Little Z’s, we do NOT teach the Cry It Out Method because:

  • The Cry it out Method is not a plan. Sleep training requires a clear, step-by-step plan in order for you and your child to be successful. 
  • The Cry It Out Method is skewed. The phrase “Cry It Out” has become twisted and skewed making the method incompatible with my sleep training programs. 
  • The Cry It Out Method is Conditional. This method may work initially when it comes to training your child to sleep through the night, but it’s not a means to an end and it will not help you solve future sleep disturbances like vaccines, sickness, traveling, and schedule changes! 


The following articles are here to support our process, and explain how sleep training is the most beneficial skill that you can teach your baby:

Helping Babies Learn to Cope with Stress & Sleep Well

AAP 5 Year Follow Up of Benefits & Harm to Sleep Training

Sleep Linked to Better Cognitive Development


The Cry It Out Method

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