Pick Up, Put Down Method of Sleep Training Your Baby – Know All About it

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Written by Editorial Team

Editorial Team

Pick Up, Put Down Method of Sleep Training Your Baby

Have you been considering sleep training your little one, but not enthused about letting your baby cry it out or leaving the baby unattended? The Pick Up, Put Down method of sleep training might be a good one to consider. This method was made popular in the book “Secrets of the Baby Whisperer” by Tracy Hogg. According to her, this method should be understood as the “middle of the road” method to sleep training a baby.

A baby who sleeps well is definitely happier, parents who get some rest are not only happier but more effective. The Pick Up, Put Down (PUPD) method is great for parents who don’t mind a slightly slow process. It requires you to come back to your baby several times until it’s settled down. 

In This Article

What is Pick Up, Put Down (PUPD) Sleep Training Method?

The PUPD sleep method is gentler than most other sleep-training techniques because in this, the parent or the caregiver never leaves the baby to cry it out alone. In this method, you would put your baby down once asleep, be it in the crib or the bassinet, or the bed. This training method works on the basis of teaching the baby to self-soothe and then fall asleep on their own.

However, if and when the baby begins to cry, you would pick them up and soothe them, helping them settle and then placing the baby back down. This is repeated whenever the baby fusses or cries. Since the baby is never left to self soothe feeling like it’s abandoned, it’s known to be one of the gentler sleep training methods.

When Can You Do Pick Up, Put Down Sleep Training Method For Your Baby?

When Can You Do Pick Up, Put Down Sleep Training Method For Your Baby

Sleep training, according to sleep therapists, can be started once the baby starts sleeping a few hours at a stretch or between 4 to 8 months of age. A baby’s sleep cycle begins to regularize only around 6 months of age. However, your own judgement about your baby is the most accurate. Every baby is different and has its own personality. It’s also best to speak to your baby’s pediatrician to before starting this method. This way you will be sure that you and your baby are ready to take the plunge.

Remember, some older babies may find this method too stimulating or disruptive. PUPD method is best for younger babies.

How Does Baby Pick Up, Put Down Training Method Work?

Pick Up, Put Down Training Method Work

The PUPD sleep training method is quite simple. You can do it even at 2 am when your fussy and crying baby wakes up from your deep sleep. You will need loads of perseverance and patience and an acceptance that the training could take a while.

Here is how the PUPD Sleep training method works.

1. Create a Bedtime Routine

Start with creating a proper bedtime routine for your baby both in terms of a wind-down routine and timings. For most sleep-training methods, following the familiar and usual bedtime routine is very important as the baby associates sleep time with the routine.

2. Put Your Drowsy But Awake Baby to Sleep

As your baby gets drowsy and is almost ready to sleep, place them in their crib or bassinet. Let them fall completely asleep on their own. Though it may take some time initially, they will learn to doze off to sleep on their own.

[Read : 8 Ways You Can Teach Your Baby To Sleep In A Crib]

3. Shush-Pat

Once your baby quietens and looks settled, then you could exit that area or the room. However, if the baby doesn’t settle and starts to fuss, then after waiting a little bit try shushing and patting the baby to soothe them.

4. Pick Up the Baby

If the baby is not calmed and is still upset or crying, then pick the baby up and offer comfort.

5. Put the Baby Down

Once the baby stops fussing or crying, it’s best to quickly put the baby down even if the baby is fussing while being kept. You could try to place one hand on the baby to reassure of your presence.

6. Redo and comfort

If the baby cries again, try and pause to see if the baby will settle down. If not, then repeat the method until the baby is asleep.

How Long Does PUPD Technique Take to Work?

The PUPD method can take a week to three weeks to work. The time taken to work depends a lot on the baby – its personality, its responses – and on the parents – on how consistent they are. You should be able to maintain consistency in their sleep routine as well as the PUPD method. Any break during the initial weeks can bring the process back to square one and you may need to try again.

The first few nights of introducing this method to your baby are extremely long. You may need to continue picking and placing the baby every 10-20 minutes. However, within a week you’ll begin to see changes and some responses.

Advantages of Pick Up, Put Down Sleep Training Method

advantage of PUPD

Here are some of the advantages of PUPD sleep training method for babies.

1. Gentle on the Baby

One of the biggest advantages of this method is that it gives the baby time and space to adapt to a new way of sleeping gently.
For babies, knowing that the parent is always available to reassure them is a huge mental comfort. A relaxed calm baby is more open to learning new things.

2. Well-Structured Method

A parent can be in the same room as the baby the whole time – a thing that’s of comfort to most parents as well. This is a well-structured method, unlike a similar other method called Sleep Fading training method, which is also more rigid than this one.

[Read : Room Sharing With Your Baby]

3. Apt For Younger Babies

If your baby is too young and you want to start sleep training them, PUPD may be a good place to start with. Since it is gentle on the baby and gives them time to adjust and adapt, it is less stressful for young babies.

Disadvantages of Pick Up, Put Down Sleep Training Method

While Tracy Hoggs called it the “middle of the road” method, many people criticize this approach, calling it confusing for the babies and frustrating for both parents and the babies. Here are some of the disadvantages of the PUPD sleep training method.

1. Draining For Parents

This is an extremely draining method. It could take a toll on the parents in the beginning. In the initial days, when the baby wakes up — it could even take more than two hours to settle the baby. According to therapists, it could involve more than 100 pick ups to soothe and settle the babies.

2. Can be Confusing

For some parents, it’s very confusing to decide when to pick the baby up and soothe, them and when not to. It is also confusing to figure out the point when the baby is settled enough to be placed back.

3. Difficult in Households With More Than One Child

For parents with more than one kid, it’s hard to keep up with this method as it requires the parent constantly — something that’s not possible in multi-children households.

Top 5 Tips to Introduce Pick Up, Put Down to Your Baby

Tips to Introduce PUPD sleep training method

If you are trying out the PUPD sleep training method for your baby, here are some tips to make the process easier for you.

  1. One of the most important tips is to ensure that your baby is on a good sleep routine and is going to bed daily at a similar time and age appropriately.
  2. The parent or the caregiver planning to attempt the training should be well-rested. This method is physically demanding.
  3. Do the pre-sleep routine before you begin the method.
  4. Make sure that you have some help while doing this method. It is a taxing method and that could often lead to parents not being consistent.
  5. If your baby is unwell or is recovering from an illness, no sleep-training method should be tried out on your munchkin.

To sum up, the Pick Up, Put Down sleep training method is a good “gentle” way of sleep training. While it may be physically extremely demanding, it’s also one method in which neither you nor your baby will be in any anguish. It’s not a cry-proof approach, but when the baby fusses or cries, it has a parent close by and gets picked up, giving both the reassurance they needed. Depending on what works for you, your baby and your family, a sleep-training method should be selected. The one you select should be the one you can do consistently. That’s the only way to success with any sleep training.


1. Does the Pick Up, Put Down Sleep Training Approach Work?

The success of this method depends largely on your comfort with the method and the baby’s personality. But with consistency, patience and confidence, it could work and teach your baby how to sleep on its own in a gentle way.

2. How Long Does Pick Up, Put Down Take to Work?

While it may be difficult to estimate an exact time frame, most studies suggest that 3 weeks may be an ideal time frame. Remember that each baby is different, so is their constitution and behavior. Sometimes if the baby falls ill, you may have to do away with the training and start over. So, all these effects have a bearing on the time taken.

3. What if the PUPD Method Does Not Work?

If even after a week, you see no progress or change in how your baby soothes itself, then it might be a good idea to look at other sleep-training methods. Or you can give the trial a rest for a couple of weeks, set a proper sleep schedule and routine for your baby and try again.

Read Also: Ferber Method of Sleep Training Babies by Dr. Srikanta J T

Editorial Team,

With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.Read more.

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