11 answers

Moving My Daughter to a "Big Girl" Bed

My daughter is almost 3 years old and she is still sleeping in a crib. Up until now she has had no problems remaining in a crib, and has always been a great sleeper at naps and during the night. She's has never even tried to climb out so we've considered ourselves lucky.

Our problems started a few weeks ago when she started saying the didn't like sleeping in her bed and had to have the light on to go to sleep at night. Now she has started waking up in the middle of the night screaming that she doesn't like her bed and doesn't want to sleep in it. I'm not sure how much of this is because her crib is getting too uncomfortable now that she's big or how much of it is just started to fear the dark. Anyway, my husband and I realize it's probably time to transition her to a big girl bed.

Selfishly, I have to admit that the thought of moving her to a bed kind of makes me nervous. I'm afraid of how her sleep patterns will change after she has the ability to climb out herself at her leisure. As it is, when I put her crib for a nap she goes right down and sleep solidly for 2 hours.

Here's my questions to the experts who have been through this already:

1) How long will it take her to really adjust to the move to a "big girl" bed?
2) Our crib has the option to convert to a toddler bed by removing the front piece but I'm wondering if it isn't better to just go straight to the full size bed instead. Thoughts?
3) We are starting to potty train - should I wait until she has gotten the potty training thing down before introducing more major change like the new bed?

Thanks for the advice, I think this change is going to be harder for me than her!

What can I do next?

More Answers

My daughter was in her toddler bed for 2 years. When she started climbing we moved her from the crib. At age 4 we just moved her to a twin bed. Moving our little one to a Toddler bed also gave her the change to learn how to make her own bed. Yes, it is not too early to teach her to help around the house.

1) there will be some adjustment for her with her new "freedom". Ability to get toys and play ect. This will play out. There may be a few mornings when you go in to her room and find her asleep on the floor from playing after lights out. Gently remind her at night that playtime is over and it is now bedtime.

2. The Toddler bed is a great "transition" to the twin. This allows her to get used to the idea of not being held in by bars. When she falls out of bed she will not have far to go.

3. This is a great time for her to move to a "big girl" bed. This way she can get to the potty when she feels the urge to go, less chance of wetting the bed.

1 mom found this helpful

Your daughter is definitely ready to move to a big girl bed, and I would just go ahead and move to a regular twin size or other regular bed instead of the toddler bed -- primarily because it's just one less transition to make later.

My son started fussing about going to bed in his crib at age 2. At the time, I had a pull-out couch in his room, so one night I just pulled out the bed and laid him on it instead of his crib and he went right to sleep with no fussing. It was as if he said, "FINALLY! This is what I've been wanting!"

Your daughter may or may not try to leave the bed at first. But at some point, she will discover her new-found freedom and will try it out and come visit you either right after she is put to bed, in the middle of the night or both. When she does that, you calmly bring her back to bed, tell her to stay there and repeat as often as necessary until she stays. With most kids it doesn't take more than a couple of times for them to give up and stay. Both of my kids expored their freedom once moving to a big bed, but they settled in pretty quickly. With my son (my oldest), he probably came to visit us for a few months -- not every night, but fairly often. My daughter, on the other hand, tried it out for a few weeks and then gave up.

I know it's harder for us mommies to move them to the big bed because it does provide us some amount of control -- particularly at nap time -- but, it really will be okay. What I especially love about a big bed is that when they get up in the morning, I don't have to drag myself out of bed to go get them. They just get up all by themselves. And, if it's early, I pull them into my bed and we cuddle for awhile, and I get to be lazy for a few more minutes!

Good luck -- I'm sure it will be fine. :)

1 mom found this helpful

With my older son we bought a daybed and turned it around backwards. He never tried to crawl out. But he wasn't my daring one! Now my younger son (who is two and still in a crib), I am not so sure that would work! Good luck b/c I will be in the same boat before too long.

1 mom found this helpful

It sounds like your daughter is ready to move. I would go ahead even though she is potty training. She may regress slightly but at least you'll be getting sleep again! We transitioned my son to a big boy full size bed in January - he turned 2 on Dec 14. He would get his arm or ankle stuck in the crib slats occasionally and wake up crying. Let your daughter "help" pick out new bedding, even if it's just sheets, give her 2 choices at the store. It will make her even more excited about doing the move. And I wouldn't do a toddler bed, it sounds like she's truly ready for a change and the toddler bed might not be enough. We got a bed rail at Babies R Us for $19 and we haven't looked back, my son actually sleeps better in this bed than he did in his crib. He seems to be less restless. Good luck I know it's hard to think about your "baby" growing up with all the transitions!

1 mom found this helpful

This sounds exactly like my 4-year old daughter and me last year. She was just about three and more than ready for a big girl bed, but mommy wasn't. We started by converting her bed to the toddler stage and she never even blinked. I think because it still had the same boards and designs on it probably helped. Within three months, it was apparent that she was still not really comfortable because the bed was too narrow. She flips and flops a lot in her sleep, so she started waking herself up when she bumped against the bed. I suspect that's what's happening with your daughter now.

After three or four months in the toddler bed, we bought a double bed. We made a big deal about being a big girl, bought coloful bedding, etc. She was so proud of it. No whining, crying, or trouble.

I have a feeling your daughter is trying to tell you she really, physically needs a bigger bed.

1 mom found this helpful

My son was a co-sleeper with me and my husband. We decided to get him a twin bed when he was three and still potty training. He is four now and sleeps in his own bed. It only took about a week with the use of rewards and love. He still wears GoodNights but gets up to use the restroom at night. I say do it as soon as possible. We have a really good routing: bathtime, three (and only three) books, and lights out. Sometimes, I lay down with him for a max of 10 mins then I leave. If she get out of bed, just walk her back and don't say anything. It is a reward if you talk to her. She WILL surprise you!!

1 mom found this helpful

My son was almost 3, as well, when we moved him from a crib to a big boy bed. We were lucky, too, in that he had never tried to climb out, and was a pretty good sleeper. But, we needed the crib for a new baby girl that would be coming soon.

As for how long it will take for them to adjust... it's probably a little different for every child. For Joshua, he was nervous about sleeping in it for the first couple of nights because he was used to the confined security of the crib. But, after a few nights, he realized that he could get out of bed and start playing with his toys! At that point, he stopped being nervous about sleeping in it. However, we did have to start dealing with the issue of him getting out of bed when he wasn't supposed to. And we still do deal with that some, but I think that's just part of parenting! We just do the best we can!

With the potty training, it would probably be a good idea for her to be in a bed that she can get in/out of anyway. That way, if she happens to feel so inclined to start using the potty more, she can get out of bed if need be to do so, instead of the only option to be her diaper or pull up until someone comes to get her.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

My two year old was doing great in his crib and never tried to climb out. We just transitioned him to a full size bed 2 weeks ago as we are expecting #2 in a few more months. I didn't want him to associate the crib as being his bed when the baby came. We just bought a full size mattress and put it on the floor. He has done great and loves it. He does get out a few times after I first put him down but after about 20 min he is out like a light. I was very nervous how he was going to adjust and he has pleasantly surprised me. Our crib offered the conversion but I figured why have to transition more than one time. Good Luck! I cried taking his crib out of his room, I wasn't ready for my baby to become a big boy! :)

1 mom found this helpful

i think a toddler bed would be good, but if she doesn't like her bed i would just buy a new one all together (you can get one pretty cheap!) a toddler bed will be an awsome transition to help you potty train. big girls sleep in big girl beds and go in the potty. my kids loved their bed from the first night and had no trouble transitioning! good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

1) How long will it take her to really adjust to the move to a "big girl" bed? We had to move our son when he was 20 months, because he was climbing out and falling off the sides. We put him in a toddler bed and it took him about 2 weeks to start staying in his bed. He realized he could get out easier and he had to learn not to. It was pretty trying for a couple of weeks, but he adjusted and now he is in a twin size bed.

2) Our crib has the option to convert to a toddler bed by removing the front piece but I'm wondering if it isn't better to just go straight to the full size bed instead. Thoughts? You could try the conversion, if it doesn't work then try a bigger bed. It kind of depends on the child, if they adjust to the converted toddler bed, then great, if not try something else.

3) We are starting to potty train - should I wait until she has gotten the potty training thing down before introducing more major change like the new bed? Not necessarally, our little guy potty trained, gave up the binky, and changed to a twin bed in just a matter of weeks. We told him he was a big boy and he wanted a big boy bicycle, so he was more than willing to be "big".

Remember, keep your cool about it all, and she'll do great!

1 mom found this helpful

wait on the potty training if you can. it can be a very stressful time for a child. if your child wants to go during the day fine use a diaper at night. if it's dry in the morning go to the bathroom first thing if it's wet don't stress over it when your child is ready to start using the potty full time you will know. as for waking in the middle of the night screaming i had one that did that too. the best we could do was calm our child down as best we could and make them feel safe by staying with them. i will also say this is only from experience from my own children all children are different i also agree with some of the other responses it does sound like she wants a different bed

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