Tips to transition smoothly into a toddler bed

Heather - posted on 02/05/2011 ( 28 moms have responded )

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My son is 22 months, I am expecting a new baby in may. and I feel my first is ready to upgrade the bed. so I would like this transition to be over by may. is this a realistic goal? My son goes down every night at 8. and doesn't cry but he usually lays there and talks and messes around for 45-60 mins before going to bed.he does the same during nap time. he sleeps all night. doesn't wake up crying and he usually wakes in the morning between 7-8. I am wondering if this is going to be a problem. Idk if he will try to get out to play or not i assume so. and he can open doors, so how do i keep him in there so he knows i mean business? He doesn't have many toys in his room, their all in the play room, but he does have books. will this be a problem?

any tips of how i can get him to transition smoothly? what are your experiences? how long did it take for your toddler to start sleeping normal again? and do they sleep more or less? do they still nap?

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Melysa - posted on 02/14/2011

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my 5 were all in a big bed at a reasonably young age my oldest was just over 1 as i was 5 months with no 2 and wanted to get her out of the cot early enough that she would not remember the cot being her bed by the time the new baby needed it (the newborn was always in a bassinette for the first 3 months) we took her shopping for a new special big girl blanket and sheets etc and put her on the trundle for a little while due to her size when we moved house a little while later she went into a proper big bed and we would pull the trundle out at night just in case she rolled out but it did not take her long to get used to it we gave her her doll and she knew that it was bedtime if she did get out we would just take her back to bed, it happened a few times but they grow past it i have 5 between 8y 3&1/2months at the eldest and 22months at the youngest! all 5 used the same cot and all 5 are in big kid beds and they all settled into their beds pretty easy! good luck with the transition!!

Daniela - posted on 02/12/2011

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when i transitioned my oldest from a crib to a toddler bed he was about 18 months old, i had to because he was climbing out and falling from the side rail. i made sure no matter what we always stuck to our routine, his bed time was 8pm so by 6-6:30pm we were done with dinner and playing and got read for bath, bath time was over by 7pm and i would take some time to rub his legs with lotion and get him snuggled in warm jammies then we would read a story and usually read it twice and then give daddy kisses and i always made sure to have him walk himself to his bed and climb in so i could tuck him in and give him big hugs and kisses, i never had a problem at all and to this day he's almost 6 and all i have to do is tell him its almost bed time and he gets his book and we do the same routine. i think the hardest part was in the begining no matter where we were i alway made sure i was home for bath and reading time so that it always stayed the same. i'm getting ready to do this again with my 22 month old and i guess only time will tell if my technique works. GOODLUCK!! :)

Misti - posted on 02/07/2011

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My twins are also 22 months and my third child is due at the end of May. I was wondering about the toddler bed transition myself. A friend of mine suggested leaving the bedroom door open and putting a baby gate across the opening, so they wouldn't get scared, but they also can't roam around the house freely. I think I am going to wait until they are at least 2.



The twins stay on their little cots at daycare during naptime with no problem, so maybe they are ready....not sure.

Michelle - posted on 02/07/2011

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I don't know about anyone else but this worked for us. We took our daughter out to buy her first bed she picked out the tinkerbell toddler bed which matches the murals we painted on her walls. She then picked out tinkerbell bedding. As I am sure you have figured she loves fairies. Anyway we set this all up in her room with the crib still set up and let her play getting in and out of bed. Within about 2 days she asked to nap in her bed so we let her, and that same day she decided she was big and didn't need the crib. We didn't have any issues until just recently. But she only gets out of bed on the nights she is overtired. Anyways this worked for us.

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Amanda - posted on 02/23/2011

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My son is also 22 Months..I just found out that I am Pregnant again..I was deciding if I should put mine into a toddler bed to but others has told me to wait cause kids at this age do get up & play or roam the house...My suggestion though is I would put a baby gate up in the door way that's what i'm planning on doing with my son is so he can get out and get into everything but I will still hear him also...Hope you best of luck

Ashley - posted on 02/18/2011

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I think I may have been lucky, I was expecting my second when I moved our 15month into a bed, at first I just put the crib mattress on the floor beside the crib for his naps, the next week or so I started to get him to take naps in the regular bed, then in another week or two we had him sleeping at night in the normal bed. We had wall on one side of the bed and had stuffed a comforter between the bed and wall in case he rolled into the corner so that he wouldn't sink into the little gap. We had pillows on the other side all over in case he had fallen out during the night he would land okay.



He fell out of bed about 5 or 6 times within the first week of having him in there, so we moved him onto the floor with the crib mattress. The next night we had checked in on him to make sure he was asleep to find him in the normal bed with his blankie. That was that.



Then when our second was between 13-14 months old, she was climbing out of her crib, we still tried to keep her in but ended up doing the same thing with her because it was too dangerous knowing that she could climb out, we didn't want her to fall the wrong way. She moved into a bed alot easier than her brother, but I think it's just because we have a very stable routine and she was able to watch her brother at bedtime(they share a room).



We did not use a toddler bed,but in the end it doesn't matter what you do or use, but remember to be consistent with the switchover, changing a night routine can be very disruptive. I found that keeping the process gradual, to be very successful.



To your last question, mine still napped during the day, my son stopped when he turned 3, and now only does it if he has been sick or lost some sleep at night, my daughter still naps(22months) and she has no issues with sleeping in her bed, in fact when we switched her she slept alot better than she did in the crib.



Good luck!!

Jane - posted on 02/16/2011

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we have our 22 month old in a bed, she has been for a while. we had to put her in a bed about 3 months ago because we caught her climbing out. she doesn't have many toys in her room either, she puts herself to bed

Brenda - posted on 02/16/2011

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Just got my 22 month old into his "big bed" - as my next one is due in April, and i don't want to give the cot straight from him to his new sissy. Got the tip from a friend - to get a nice duvet with a character or item picture on it he realy likes and make a big fuss about going to the big bed - and sleeping in the new big bed tonight. The same night that I made the big fuss he just pointed to the big bed and wanted to sleep in it, eventhough his cot was still standing in the room. I am thankfull it worked, as it was so easy as putting him in his cot, he didn't climb out or off to play, i kissed him good night and say a prayer with him and walked out - that was it. Nap time goes just as smoothly. I always leave a small book next to his bed and sometimes he"read" himself to sleep. - he is off course still addicted to his dummy's (one in the hand and one in the mouth) i guess that helped! Good luck it is such a big step - one suddenly realises that your little one is not soo small anymore!

Eleanor - posted on 02/16/2011

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We had our sons bed in his room for a month or so, did lots of playing in it, and snuggling in it, and then one night he decided that he wanted to go into it. He was about 19 months I think, we thought he wouldn't stay in it, but he was fine. I think the key is to make it non-scary, and if you do have problems with them getting up, have consistent consequences e.g. putting him back in bed, closing the door. All children are different though, so find what sticks for your son.

Maria - posted on 02/15/2011

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I am due at the end of February and I have a 22 month old and I am waiting until the baby is ready to move into a crib (the baby will be in a bassinets for the beginning) and then put my son into a big boy bed. Just because I am scared that my son will just revert back to getting up whenever he wants to during the night.

Rebecca - posted on 02/14/2011

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I am currently transitioning my 22 month old son to a toddler bed and I not only used the door handle cover but also bout furniture straps afte I read that children have died from pulling out their dresser drawers and when climbing up them the dresser falls. So far my son plays and has fallen asleep on the floor a few times but I don't see the big deal in that

Lizelle - posted on 02/14/2011

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My eldest also takes long to go to sleep and yes it does make the transition to a big bed more difficult. Important things is to stick to your normal bedtime routine. And then once it's bedtime keep putting him back in bed if he does get up. It can get exhausting, but try to remain calm. You can also try sitting in the door to keep an eye on him. I found in the beginning it helps to get them to stay in bed and sleep. I usually would sit and read a good book.

It's also a good idea to move his comfort object (if he has one with him). And it also helps to have him pick out his own bedding for his new bed.

Good luck. You'll have good and bad evenings, but he'll soon get use to the new bed. With both of mine the new bed didn't make any difference to the amount they slept. It did help make mornings easier, since I didn't have a grumpy toddler that was frustrated with being stuck in bed.

Jeanna - posted on 02/13/2011

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my dd transitioned to a toddler bed in September. Our experience went smoothly, kept the rest of our routine the same. I let her have books to look at and a sippy cup of water. I put a pillow on the floor next to her bed because our toddler bed only has rails at the top half of the bed adn she tends to move around. She still naps and her sleep pattern is the same. She is my third and they have all three been the same. I start off the first few nights in a chair nearby and gradually move the chair toward the door until im just outside the door. if she tried to get out i just calmly directed her back to her bed, only took a few nights. she still crys out and waits for me to come get her from her bed when she wakes up. Good luck!

Lisa - posted on 02/12/2011

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I have a 22 month old and we are expecting baby #2 beginning of June. We painted the nursery today and we are going to get his new room ready with his new firetruck bed,bedding,etc. tomorrow. I am hoping to put my older one in the "new" room with a "transportation" theme and have the new baby take over the nursery. I am planning on using a baby gate across the doorway at night. I am hoping to have this transition done by the time the new baby gets here so my older one doesn't feel "pushed out". I feel better reading these posts as I am attempting to do the same thing. Thanks for the advice!

Jessica - posted on 02/12/2011

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I put my daughter in a Toddler bed at 20 months. I took her to the store and let her pick her bed (the best she could..this one or that one) and got her excited about it. I put her in it and she stayed the first night but the next night she kept getting out. I kept putting her back in and after about 3 times she stayed. One after noon she got tired and put herself to bed!! I say go ahead and do it. Just leave the crib up in case he doesn't adjust well

Ashley - posted on 02/11/2011

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we put a tv in his room so he can lay down on his big boy bed and watch a movie as he drifts off to sleep

Ashley - posted on 02/11/2011

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My son which is now 22 months old been sleeping in his toddler bed since he was 8 or 9 months old. he hated his crib. He always slept fine in his bed. He shares a bedroom with his 5 month old brother and he dont ever climb in the bed. My son still takes nap and sleeps longer in his toddler bed. To Transition him take one of the sides of the crib down to get him use to it then after a few months depending on how he does take the other side down. or depending on how big the side rails are for the toddler bed go and get the bed rails to put on the rest of the bed so then he cant fall out for sure. we got a baby gate with the door in the middle to put in the door way of the boys room just in case the oldest one got up he wouldnt be able to leave his room. since he also knows how to open doors.

Teresa - posted on 02/11/2011

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Well my son does get up and plays, but then puts himself back to during nap. At bedtime if I can hear him playing I'll just go in and remind it is bed and tuck back in. I really only had to do it a couple of night then he understood. In the mornings he gets up and play until I come in and let him out, or he'll knock on the door telling me he has to go potty. Right now I have a safety knob on his door keeping him in, because he would climb over the baby gate. When he gets fully potty trained we'll have to reevaluate that, because he'll need to go to the bathroom. It works for us right now. I can tell on days he plays more because he sleeps in the next morning.
I hope this was helpful.

Siobhan - posted on 02/09/2011

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Im in the process of putting my 22 month old son into a bed, when i do i am going to put a stair gate ova his bedroom door and see how it goes.

Lindsay - posted on 02/09/2011

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My son is 22 months, and about a month ago I got the big boy spongebob bed and of course he loved it! But not so much to sleep in, I kept the crib up just in case I needed to put him back in there haha! So the first night I sat outside his door and everything was great... For the first 15 min or so, I I decided to get in the shower, and sure enough, I hear "hi mama!" so yes, I had company in the shower that night and I still don't know how he got his door open. I have the knob guards as well, so I just moved the mattress back to the crib and every night we try but no luck yet... I'm confident he will do fine when he's ready.

Heather - posted on 02/09/2011

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thanks everyone! We have a 4 in 1 crib, so we brought in the rail to make it into a toddler bed, as soon as Owen saw it he got REALLY excited! He ran to his room saying "fixin bed, big boy" and we let him help switch the rails out. we also took him a let him pick out new bedding, he picked cars of course and a cat pillow pet lol.

he cried for a bout 2 mins the first day we put him down for a nap, and banged on his door (we put a door handle cover on so he cant open the door.) He hasn't taking a nap yet, he just plays with the books i leave in there. I am ok with that, cuz he is still getting "quiet time" and it gives me an hour to myself. At bedtime hes so tired from not napping he falls right asleep. the last few nights he lays down adn i read to him and hes is half aslepp by the time i leave. Hes too tired to complain about the bed, so i hope he can get used to it. and I feel the new bedding helped him out a lot. I would definitely recommend that for parents who have the 4 in 1 cribs.

i am aware its only been a few days, but so far so good, we will just take it one day at a time a see how it goes!

Sierra - posted on 02/08/2011

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Have the "big boy" talk. Explain that he's a big boy and big boys sleep in a big boy bed. Buy some cheap stickers and let him pick out a new one to add to his collection every night he sleeps in the big boy bed, and display this collection on the fridge. Also, for my daughter (we moved her to a toddler bed at 20 months) I put two king sized pillows next to her so she can still get down if she wants to, but it gives her the feeling of security that the rails had. My daughter slept really well at night (same as in crib) but it did take her a few weeks to stay in the bed during nap time but she does pretty well most of the time now. Treat it as an adventure and an accomplishment; the biggest thing is if you show any hesitation the kid will pick up on that and be hesitant himself. Good luck!!

Sue - posted on 02/08/2011

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try removing the bars off the front of the cot first. I'm planning on trying this with my son when he works out how to climb out!

Angela - posted on 02/08/2011

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My son is also 22 months, and my daughter is due in late May. I'm personally planning to wait until she gets here to try to transition him to a toddler bed/potty train/etc. because I have known people who have set up routines that get totally disrupted when the new baby shows up. We're hoping to use the new baby as leverage by convincing him that "babies use cribs," etc., and that "big boys" use a bed, potty, etc. Hope that tactic works for us!!!

Stacy - posted on 02/07/2011

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we just moved my son to a toddler bed and he is doing great he will get out of bed some nights and we go in and tell him its night night time go to sleep and he goes right back to bed. I thought toys would district him but they were never an issue. He's 22 months now and he's been in his toddler bed 2 weeks. good luck. ;)

Jessie - posted on 02/07/2011

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My son just turned 22 months and we also just moved him into a toddler bed. He's having a little bit of a hard time transitioning cause he's not very big into change. In order to keep him in the room I put on the of the door handle covers over it. You can buy them at target, walmart, toys r us. This makes it so he can't open the door. The first to days were rough and he was mad that he couldn't open the door but he seems like he doesn't even notice that anymore and now he is starting to get use to his new bed.

Heather - posted on 02/06/2011

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Idk if that will be a problem. considering they each have their own rooms and they arent close. and the bed i have for my first is a 4 in 1 so it will always be his bed only. I already have a crib set up in my nursery and Owen knows its for jaden. he tells me all the time.

Megan - posted on 02/06/2011

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Well, I don't have a personal experience, but my sister-in-law who has 5 children said to wait. My husband really wanted to put our little one in a toddler bed before our next one gets here and she said she regretted pushing her kids into a toddler bed. For the two that she did put in a toddler bed, they were on a great routine before the baby got there, than as soon as baby was here they wouldn't stay in their bed and constantly tried to get into the baby's crib. I'm not sure what is the best way of doing it, but I know from her experience, I'm waiting to put him in a toddler bed until he's good and ready. Until he's out of his crib, because I'm cheap and don't want to buy another big crib, I got a one year crib for this next one to sleep in. Good luck!

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