17 answers

Moving to a Big Boy Bed

My son is going to be 3 on monday and we would like to finally give him a big boy room, and what comes along with that is a big boy bed. We don't have any problems with him climbing out of his crib(yes he is still in a crib)he never has climbed out so we never moved him to a big boy bed. My question and my concern is how to I get him to stay in a big boy bed. I know as soon as we put him in it he is going to think he can get right out of it. I really am not ready to deal with this problem I know we are going to have so I thought maybe someone has some ideas on what to say or do to keep him from doing this. I know the usual one is just keep taking him back to bed but come on there is only so many times you can do this. Please help I know this may sound silly since he isn't even in the big boy bed yet, but I know my son, and I am going to need help.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Hi C.,
My son is 2 1/2 and we just moved him from his crib to his toddler bed (crib converted to a toddler bed). I had the same fear as you, but he has been really good about it. I put a gate in his doorway so he couldn't wander out in the middle of the night and so far we haven't had any problems with him getting out of bed. Every kid is different though, good luck!

That is about all you can do, keep putting him back in bed. My 3 year old has been in a big boy bed for over a year and still gets out, but not as much. Keep or start a night time routine and don't cave in to their requests (water, story, another song, etc.) after the routine is completed or else you'll be in their room all night!

More Answers

My advice is to get him involved. We went to Potty Barn and picked out the racing cars sheets, and comforter and rug. Brendan thought he was pretty cool. We put his "friends" (the stuffed animals) on his bed and tuck them in at night too. It is hard sometimes, yes they can get out. My son is in a double bed (b/c we had an extra one) so I lie in bed with him each night for a few minutes. Good luck!

That is about all you can do, keep putting him back in bed. My 3 year old has been in a big boy bed for over a year and still gets out, but not as much. Keep or start a night time routine and don't cave in to their requests (water, story, another song, etc.) after the routine is completed or else you'll be in their room all night!

This is a little off the mark, but you should take a look at Ikea for kid's beds... It really does help if they can help to pick it out... We just got our son (who will be 2 in March)a bed there (i think the name was Kura bed). It is a reversible bunk which means it flips 180 degrees so it can be a bunk with a playspace underneath, or a platform bed with a rectangular frame above it... for now we have it set up so the mattress is on the floor (and the sides that will function as the spot for the mattress when we flip it) come up a few inches over the mattress top so he still has a cozy feel without an additional gaurd rail. There is also a canopy that you can buy with it that has stars on it and can be attached to the bed whether it is set up like ours currently is, or on the bunk (kind of like a tent then. I love that he will be able to use it for years and set up a play space under it when we decide he's old enough to use it as a bunk bed, additionally it is much lower to the ground then traditional bunks.
I paid $216 total for the bed frame, mattress, and canopy!

I'm pretty new to this site but not to kids. I had a daycare for 12 years, and my son is 6. I also have an early childhood degree, but the biggest things I have found to be true in my experiences are; 1. Let your son have a say in the new bed he gets. He'll get more excited about the process and want (hopefully) to stay in his big boy bed. My son picked out the fire truck bed and was thrilled that the light on top was a night light. Plus, his dad is a fire fighter so he was "like daddy" also if bed time becomes a hassle, remember to be consistant. Put him to bed. Hugs and kisses, and then from that point in you're going to have to take him back to bed and put him in it. It may take a while, several trips up and down the stairs made me want to quit but eventually he'll get it. My son still tries every trick in the book to stay up, but I am consistant with him, and after 2 or 3 times of putting him back in bed without saying a word he gets it and goes to sleep.
Having a toddler become a big boy is a big step for everyone!Good Luck!


I think Sasha gave excellent advice. We too have had the same problem with a twin size bed. I ended up getting a toddler bed from my sister in law and it worked out great for my three year old. I just did as much as I could to hype it up. We bought her new bedding for it (that she got to pick out!!) and even got one of those net things that go over it to "keep her safe", and to make her feel like a princess. I think the key thing to remember is ROUTINE! I always let her know an hour before bed time that we need to start getting ready for bed and clean up our toys, than about a half hour before to brush our teeth and than she helps me feed the cat, than at bedtime like Sasha I do as much as possible to eliminate any reason to get up. I still have nights that she uses every excuse to stop going to bed, but most nights she knows it is bedtime and will even tell me she is ready to go "take a little snoozer". Make the transition a fun, exciting new adventure for him and it will be a lot less stressful for him. It may take time and a lot of work but in the end he will sleep better and so will you.

If he is already in a bedtime routine and is good about going to bed, then I would give him the benefit of the doubt and hope it will be a smooth transition. If not, here's what I did. I was terrified at the thought of my then 2yr old son just walking out of his room at night. What if he went downstairs? or outside? I put a gate in his doorway. Actually, I have a friend who works with doors and he made him a half door, but a gate would work too. I've known moms who've had to put one gate above another to stop there child from climbing over it. My son would wake up at night and turn on his light and play, so I removed his light-bulb, he did have a nightlight. I switched out all the outlet covers to the childproof ones. I figured if he was unsupervised all night, those push in plastic ones weren't going to be safe enough. If and when he still got up to play, I took the toys out of his room, except for a few to sleep with. I made his room like a giant crib, so the only thing to do was go to sleep. I didn't start out this harsh, but as problems came up, I made it clear to him that bedtime was bedtime and that's it!!!!Good Luck

Dear C.
I also was fortunate just like you to keep my son in his crib until he was 3. I loved it, I was content I knew he was safe and it was one less thing I would have to worry about. It was my husband who one day while I was out and about called me to let me know the crib was no longer and that he has put him in his big boy bed. I wanted to scream. Thanks goodness for my husband who decided to take the plunge. Our son was so excited.It took our son roughly a week to get the hang of it and yes it was a long week. I referred to a book called my child's sleep problems by dr. Richard Ferber it was great it talks all about how to introduce the bed and make the transition. We started a routine and we put a gate outside his door so even if he does get out of bed we know he is stll safe in his room. I also recommend at first not putting toys in the room just some books as they are to understand this is the room to go to sleep in not play. It will be tough and yes you will just have to listen to the cries, but before you know it he will love it. I would go back and do this any day of the week as it was a breeze compared to us potty training which isn't going so well. Just know there is light at the end of the tunnel. good luck. Sincerely, M. Banier

hi my name is T.!!! well the only thing i can say on this subjet is i just did the switch with my son to a big boy bed to and he wont be 3 years old till september of this year. what i did is put one of those kid rail for a bed so he dont fall out of bed during the night,also a small night light for him to be comfortable with for him to know what he can see during the night.i have had no problems with him at all,sometimes he gets up but i put him back to bed and tell him he is a good boy for being in a big boy bed....but he has gotten better at it as nights go by....it takes a few weeks for them to realize what is goin on and they get use to it all 3 of my kids did at i had really no major issues with them at this....so when you do the transition just be patient....

Hi C.,
I am writing to say that, unfortunately, I don't have any advice as my son just turned two, BUT I am in the same boat. We are really dreading putting him into a big boy bed because he doesn't sit still for 1 minute... so he's not going to stay in his bed (probably won't stay in his room). I know that we are going to have to do it soon but not looking forward to it!

Making bedtime a major event when it comes to any new bed is helpfull. Once He gets into a routine all will be great. For instance my 5 yr old loves to have special mommy time at night so I start by turning him into my little buritto baby tucking the blankets in tight around him saying snug as a bug in a rug, then I sing him our song Your are my sunshine. As I walk away turning out the light I tell him I am in the next room if he needs me and I will be the first person he sees in the morning and that I love him with all of my heart and soul.

We bought one of those rails that you can get to make sure they dont roll out of bed and a body pillow. It was a great way to ease our daughter into a big bed. It gave her the comfort and coziness that she felt with the crib, but made her feel safe in the big girl bed. The other thing we did was tell her that if she got up before we did, she could play with her toys but she couldnt come out of her room. Lots of times, she'd wake up in the middle of the night and we'd hear her singing then she'd go back to sleep. In the mornings (on the weekends generally since we both worked) when she'd wake earlier than we did, she'd get out of bed play with her toys and eventually come get us when she was really hungry. Worked out well, she learned independence and the ability to entertain herself and we werent awakened at the crack of dawn.
Sorry lol, back to your original question, the rail on one side and pillow or stuffed animals on the other worked really well for us. Good Luck, I'm sure he'll do fine.

With my son, he kept finding reasons he just HAD to get up. So I started covering each of his excuses as part of his bedtime ritual. He just HAS to have a drink of water. No problem, sippy cup on the bedside table. A few bedtime stories, of his choice, was also helpful. And then he claimed monsters were outside his window(on the second floor.lol) So, after getting everything else ready, but before final tuck in, I opened the blinds, looked every direction, said no monsters here, and tucked him in.

It helps to just be flexible enough to come up with an answer to whatever he tries. Also, make sure he's ready for it. We tried to change our son over to a big boy bed when he was two and a half. He was able to climb out of the crib, so we were worried. He loved the big bed....as a playspace. He would bounce on it, and all sorts of stuff, but NOT sleep. So we got frustrated, and took a side off the crib and put him back. He was good as gold. So then we ended up having to buy a toddler bed anyway. He just wasn't ready for THAT much space. It's just something to keep in mind.

Another thing you might consider is to put a baby gate at the bedroom door, if you are worried about nighttime wandering. Our son's room was at the top of the stairs, and had it's own entrance to the bathroom, so we were concerned about safety. But, we've heard from other parents that seeing the gate there seems to help keep the child in bed, too. We assume this is because the child knows that he can't go anywhere other than the bedroom, so he figures he might as well just stay in bed.

Well you'll have to work with him untill he get's used to it! Your going to have to keep putting him back in bed! If you lay down with him, he might expect you to do that every night! So the only way to get him to know that he has to saty in bed is to keep putting him back to bed,and yes it will be a lot of work but that's what happends to us Mothers! Being a Mother is a lot of work as you well know! But he'll get used to it after a while! OR try having him watch movies and maybe he'll fall asleep watching them! My daughter does all the time and she's only 22 months old! Also have your husband help you so that you don't get to frustrated and tirred!

Hi C.,
I think everyone is giving good advice. I used a toddler bed to start out and let my son pick out some new sheets and a new stuffed animal to sleep with and he was so thrilled. For the first couple of months we didn't have any problems but then he started getting out of be for any reason. We did as Sasha did and made sure he had some water and he used the potty right before bed ect. Then if he still got up we put him back in his bed. We had to do it quite a few times before he learned. If you have to do this remember to stay calm and don't talk to him. Just put him back in his bed and leave. If he doesn't get any response from you when he gets up he will stay in bed. It may take a couple of nights be he will learn. Just remember to stay calm. That was the hardest part for me. My son is has been in a toddler bed for almost 2 years now and he doesn't get up at all. Good luck

I would start him out at nap time in a big boy bed so he starts to get familiar with a new bed and make sure that they have bed rails for safety. Yes you probably will have to put him back to bed a few times, maybe several, but he will get the hang of it and stay. Welcome to motherhood never a dull moment.

Hi C.,
My son is 2 1/2 and we just moved him from his crib to his toddler bed (crib converted to a toddler bed). I had the same fear as you, but he has been really good about it. I put a gate in his doorway so he couldn't wander out in the middle of the night and so far we haven't had any problems with him getting out of bed. Every kid is different though, good luck!

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.