Thank you for all of your awesome responses from yesterdays post! I received a variety of comments with all different suggestions, which just goes to show you that no one thing will work for every child and it was a great reminder to stay open minded and try different things with Olivia if my original plan didn't work.
All day yesterday I talked to Olivia about going to bed like a big girl. I explained that Mommy wasn't going to be able to lay down with her but I'd sit in her room and she shouldn't be afraid. During our conversations she did get a bit upset and cry at even the mention of going to sleep but I know it was just nerves from the stressful experience we'd had the past few nights.
After dinner I gave her a bath, got her jammied up, read some books and gave her a drink and brushed her teeth all while still talking about going to bed like a big girl. I knew she was tired and I didn't want to chance her getting overtired so at 7:30 we said our goodnights to everyone, gave hugs and kisses and went into her room. We said our prayers and I had her get into bed herself. I turned on her sound machine, sat beside the bed and turned off the light. She did ask me once to lay down but I gently reminded her that she was going to bed like a big girl. There were no tears shed, she turned over, got comfy and fell right to sleep. I waited about 5 minutes and was able to get up off the floor and walk out of the room with no problems! She woke up earlier than normal at 6:30 but that's simply because she went to sleep so early...and she was probably so much more rested since bedtime wasn't a screaming, crying battle. Night #1 was a success.
My method for putting her to sleep will be to stick with not getting into bed with her but sitting by her bed and gradually moving closer and closer to the door, away from her bed. I need her to be confident enough to go to sleep on her own. I know she can do it.
Now, let's all say a little prayer that this easy bedtime routine continues! ......Amen.