I've been weaning our 19 mo old. He used to wake up 4-7 times a night! I finally decided to try to extend the nursing times at night. I had already weaned him during the day back in Oct/Nov.
He was a poor eater, so I needed to night wean him to get him to be hungry enough for solids during the day as we were in a vicious cycle.
So, I would not nurse him the first time he woke up crying at night (usually about 2-3 hours after bedtime) to get him to go longer stretches (we co-sleep). I would watch him on the baby monitor if I was still up and go in and just cuddle him and pat his back or belly if he woke crying. I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly he fell asleep. I was quickly able to get him to go 4-5 hour stretches, then 6-7 hours.
After a couple of weeks, we were down to nursing only to sleep at his naptime and bedtime and early in the morning, albeit 3am or so, and upon waking up for the day. When I felt comfortable enough that he was eating enough food at dinner to satiate him for the night, I started going 10 hour stretches. It took maybe a week to get him to sleep through that 3am wake up, which then stretched to 5/6am.
The whole process was much easier than I had anticipated. I had thought he would be up crying for hours and dreaded going through this. It was quite easy in the big scheme of things.
Now, after about a month, we are down to only nursing once a day at bedtime and I am going to stop that in a couple of weeks when he officially turns 20 mo.
I am still challenged to get him to sleep for his one daily nap easily (compared to when I nursed him down), as he will want to play and I end up having to lay with him for up to an hour while he bounces around before he finally conks out. It's getting much better and the time shorter. I think part of the issue is that I'm not timing his naps well due to errands, toddler classes, etc. that are all in the mornings, and not being home when he shows signs of tiredness.
For bedtime, after I nurse DS, I slip out of bed and DH takes over the patting/cuddling. DH and I had been sleeping separately, but I recently discovered through this weaning process that DH is a baby whisperer. He can get DS to fall asleep within minutes. I think it's because he doesn't have boobs really so DS can't nurse and doesn't have that expectation. Then, once I'm ready for bed, DH and I switch places and DH retreats to his room, since he keeps an erratic night schedule and wakes up when it's still dark outside to start his day. That's another story...
DS still tries to nurse first thing in the am, but I can usually distract him with a toy and I also just started keeping a sippy cup with water in it by the bed as a substitute. When I offered it to him this morning, he guzzled water. So, I think part of his distress was that he was thirsty, especially since many toddlers sleep with their mouths open which dries their mouths out.
Always a learning process...I hope you find what works for you. Best of luck!