Updated: Apr 2, 2019
The average dog is as smart as a 2-year old. It's a fact. Dogs are, for the most part, easy to train to follow basic commands, especially if they are puppies. The same goes for babies. Another fact to consider is that It is much easier to build a new habit from scratch than it is to break a bad habit. If you've ever had a dog and crate trained him from the beginning, it was probably pretty easy. Well, the same is true for humans of all ages. I know you've heard the saying, "old habits die hard". This is exactly what I'm talking about. If you create new habits early on with some basic training, you'll benefit right from the start and so will they.
Even though newborns sleep 16-17 hours a day, you can teach them the difference between night and day right away. That's a coincidence. I'm pretty sure my dog still sleeps 16-17 hours a day and she's almost 2 years old! Anyways, back to newborns. When your baby wakes up to eat during the day, talk to them, smile at them, play with them and make all the goo-goo's and ga-ga's you want. (Don't forget to take the pitch of your voice up a notch when you do this.) Now, when they do wake up to eat at 12am and again at 3am, don't do those things! It's as simple as that. Keeping it as dark as possible and quiet as possible during those ever-so-joyous nocturnal bonding times, will help teach them the difference between day and night. There's even more importance to getting this basic night and day thing down. If you are able to do this from the beginning, it's highly likely you'll be able to train them to be good sleepers at each new stage. Hallelujah! A good sleeper definitely equals happy parents.
When you make it a few months down the road, you are going to face the possible need to sleep train and there are lots of different techniques out there, but this will be a whole other post of its own.
Babies and toddlers are pretty easy to train, it just takes consistency and patience. By the time my first daughter was 3 years old, she was able to get her own sippy cup of milk out of the fridge in the morning and play by herself for a little while, and mom and dad got to sleep in a few minutes on the weekends. Now that's a reward totally worth it! And it all started with just this first step of teaching her not to be nocturnal!