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Toddler transitioning from crib to a bed

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Aaron Paker Aaron Paker 5 years, 12 months ago.

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    My wife and I are strongly considering transitioning our toddler son from his crib to a bed. He’s a fairly stable sleeper (doesn’t toss and turn a lot), but he is our first child, so we’re not sure if he’s displaying all the signs that he is ready. Are there specific things we need to be sure of before making this change? And, are there ways to make the transition a smooth one?

    Also, does anyone have suggestions for the type of bed (toddler bed vs. regular sized)? I’d rather make a long-term investment…but not at the risk of safety. Advice would be much appreciated.


    My daughter was excited to move (about age 2), but then after the first night or two she wanted to go back to her crib.  We kept both in the room and let her choose for a while and she went back and forth.  Then one day I "had to use the crib" to get her big toys up so I could vacuum better and forgot to take them out before bed.  She went right to the toddler bed, and I just kept "forgetting" for a week or two and then she was fully transitioned.  We used a toddler bed because someone gave us a freebie, but at 3 she is now in a regular bed with a safety rail that just tucks in under the mattress (she is a flopper).  You can also invest in a toddler bed that can be transformed into a regular bed frame (check ahead of time because you usually need to buy the conversion kit).  We started the transition because she was big enough that she was trying to climb in and out of the crib herself and we didn’t want her falling out and because she was getting heavy enough that lowering her all the way down when she was out cold was hard on the back.

    Profile photo of Mary

    With our 2nd coming, we knew we had to transition our daughter to a bed and out of the crib, but gave ourselves plenty of time and no pressure.  The bedroom was set-up by December (and we even let our daughter help paint her new room).  She didn’t fully start sleeping there though until March.  She played in her new room and tried to nap in her new room (without much success).  I do think the first time she actually slept in her new room was for a nap though.

    Based on what worked for us and many of our friends, I would say let your child transition at his own pace, but make sure you provide him with things that may help motivate him to make the move.  For our daughter, we bought her a Mobi Tykelight (this thing rocks!  She was only allowed to sleep with it in her big girl bed.  And we moved some of her stuffed animals to her big girl bed to entice her and then we let her make the moves.  There were several nights where we moved all the additional stuff from the crib to the bed (upon her request), only to move it all back after about 15-minutes.  But that was okay with us, we weren’t in any real rush as we knew it would eventually happen.

    As for toddler bed vs. normal size bed – unless you have a toddler bed given to you, I wouldn’t spend money on one.  My daughter went from crib to double bed no problem and I know many other children that never used a toddler bed and were fine.  We could fit a double bed in her room so we went that route for a few reasons:

    1.  It gives us a bed for when guests come over (we’ve had to use it twice and our daughter gets so excited to give up her bed for a sleeping bag).

    2.  It allows us to lay down with her each night, comfortably, when reading stories

    3.  It gives more room in the event she rolls

    The bed is against a wall and those beautiful pillows I bought nice shams for are now shoved in between the bed and the wall to prevent her from falling down the crack, but again, some things you just have to let go.

    If you are an emotional person, prepare yourself. I think I cried the first night she slept in a big bed.  But now, I look forward to moving my son into his big bed soon too!


    Our son transitioned out of his crib into a twin size bed because we too wanted to just make one move.  In regards to the height and safety, we placed the bed against the wall and added safety rails by Safety 1st.  We used a step stool and had to teach our little one the "rules" on staying safe.  We never had an accident and he just loved being in a "big boy" bed just like his cousins. I believe that as long as your child can understand consequences to his actions (ie, falling out of bed if he jumps around), then he’s ready.  Good Luck


    Our first child was not a mover, so he went straight from a crib to a twin bed with a rail. We removed the rail recently though because he never really needed it. Like Mary, we did it because we were having our second. I will say that once he moved to a bed, he stopped napping well before he was ready. We either had to put him in a pack and play, or skip naps, which was miserable. As a new parent, sometimes I was anxious to rush things like moving to a bed, but in hindsight, wished I waited a bit longer because it really impacted our lives on the weekends!

    Our second (just turned two) just moved from a crib to a toddler bed, in his brother’s room (we want them to share).  We had to move him because he started climbing out of his crib at night, but knew we was nervous about "big" beds.  We were able to get a great Ikea toddler bed at a consignment shop for almost half price! Check out yard sales or consignment stores if you want to go the toddler bed route. Since you can use a crib mattress, you’ll really just buying the bedframe. Good luck.


    Our son is 2 and sleeps on his crib mattress on the floor. It seemed like a good halfway step to make the transition from crib to bed. He is an active sleeper and does fall off sometimes, but it is only 6 inches to fall so he doesn’t get hurt. He has made a lot of progress toward learning not to fall off of the bed, originally he fell off almost every night, but now he probably only falls once every week or two (it has been 4 months).

    I would recommend transitioning as soon as you think that you and your child can handle it. Several parents that I know who waited until 2 1/2 or 3 to transition out of the crib had a lot of power issues with the child not wanting to stay in the the bed. When we transitioned at 20 months we did not encounter any power struggles. By the time we started getting to the age of independence, sleeping on a bed that he can get into and out of himself was already routine and not a source of conflict. And, because it was still his familiar mattress with the same sheets and blankets, he did not even exhibit any transition anxiety.


    My son is only 14 months, but I have already began to think about this and was wondering when was the appropriate time to begin transitioning. My son’s crib converts to a toddler bed that replaces one of the crib sides with a foot high rail. He is a very active sleeper, and at this point I don’t see this changing much over the next 6 months. So, I do have reservations about making this transition and wonder what’s the average age of a child that moves from the crib to a bed?


    We have had our daughter in a crib in our room since we brought her home from the hospital.  We moved her to a toddler bed when she turned two.  We were at Once Uon A Child (a local consignment shop for children’s stuff) and she saw a "big girl" bed shaped like a princess castle.  That’s all it took for us!

    She’s still in our room in her castle bed, and her crib is still there too.  She slept in her new bed every night for about two months without any issues.  We had a week or so recently where she decided to get up and run around the room in the middle of the night, but we just put her back in her crib for the rest of the night.  She has stopped getting up, so now we’re thinking about moving her bed down to her room.  I’ll have to keep you posted on how she does!  lol


    My son is 2 and we recently moved him to a toddler bed because he was crawling out of the crib. He has always slept well, but now will not stay in the toddler bed! We have the same routine every night, but after we lay him down and shut the door (because he would knock over the baby gate and escape), he turns on his lamp and plays. So far, we have let him, but he falls asleep on the floor and frequently wakes during the night. We’re not sure what to do, if anything?

    Profile photo of Mary

    You may want to try rewarding him for staying in bed.  For example, with our daughter, we sometimes agree to let her take a favorite stuffed animal (or pillow pet) into school for rest time if she stays in her bed.

    On the flip side, we’ve been known to take something away too if she gets out of bed (she gets a warning that if she gets out of bed we will take an animal away).  She sleeps with about 20 (yes, seriously) stuffed animals, dolls, lovies, etc… so sometimes she has to lose a few or loose the favorite before she stops getting out but eventually it works.

    We read stories in bed every night too and she gets tucked in and a song read so she’s nice and comfy (although she does still get out of the cozy bed sometimes).  Each nigth before we leave we go over the rules too – like when it’s okay to get out of bed (potty) and what will happen if she gets out of bed when she shouldn’t.

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