My son is 17mos. At bedtime after all lights are dimmed and stories are read I give him a warms sippy of milk. after he finishes he takes a pacifier and needs me to cuddle with him. I've been following the Ferber method for the initial lay down, but at about 11-11:30 he up like clock work for a drink. My husband and I tried to ween him off but the only thing that helped was us laying with him in his room. But of course we don't get any sleep. I'm not worried about the pacifier yet. I just want him to sleep through the night. I know adding a sippy of milk in the crib is bad for teeth but is it bad if there is a sippy of water that he can hydrate himself on his own through the night?
Well the good news is you are doing quite well.
I strongly suggest reading previous answers to parents who have posted similar bedtime questions. I advocate strongly for routines, not schedules. Children do not understand time based schedules because they cannot tell time and do not have a sense of time until they are around 8 years of age.
Routines however cue children into what is expected of them and by others next. If you want him to sleep better include a bedtime massage. Think about how good you sleep after a great massage. Children generally respond to the same comfort that we respond to and we can share it with them.
Also, check your environment to see if there is a noise at the troublesome time of the night. Sometimes we don't realize something as small as the heater/AC kicking in can startle a child.
M Kay Keller