19 answers

Transitioning from Crib to Toddler bed...what Age?!

we have a 17 month old who will be almost 24 months when our 2nd baby arrives in september...we will be moving our toddler to another bedroom so the nursery can be used with our infant.

my question is: should my toddler be able to handle a toddler bed or should we use the same crib (or purchase another one that can be converted into a toddler bed?). if anyone has similar aged children, i would love to know what you did & how it worked out!

my toddler is very independent already, so i think she would love the idea of a 'big girl bed' ... but she seems to really like her crib still & has never tried to climb out or resisted going into it (so should we ruin such a great thing?!). we would really like to avoid her getting out of bed during the night & attempting to sleep with us (we're just not family bed folks! tried & didn't like it...) or even falling down the stairs since the bedrooms are on the 2nd floor (we have a gate, but...). it took her about 11 months to finally sleep through the night, so we really have to tread lightly b/c she is very attached to her night & bed routine.

any suggestions or comments of experience?! thanks!
-H.

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We just went through this. My daughter is 28 months and was still sleeping in her crib. She never gave me a hard time about it, never tried climbing out, but I thought it was time. A few months ago, I put up a toddler bed, but did not make her use it. Every once in a while, I would ask my toddler if she was ready to sleep in it. So long as she said no, I didn't push it. Then, just this weekend, I asked her and she said yes and went right to bed in it. This was the first time she slept in it, and she hasn't gone back or asked to sleep in her crib once. She's even taking her naps in her toddler bed. Keep in mind that this took several months, and at first, she did not want anything to do with the toddler bed but now, we can finally take the crib down!

i had the same problem, my daughter never climbed out of the crib, but I had a new one on the way. What I did was for her naps I put her in the "big girl bed" and nights in her cribs. Eventually she switch over herself. As for the gate situation, for a while just put it up on her door so she can play in her room but not get out down the steps.

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My son didn't sleep through the night until he was 11 months old. So, I would just leave her in the crib and move the crib into her new room. K-Mart has a baby sale going on this week with a crib on sale for $99. It looks pretty nice in the ad. You could get a new crib for your new baby. Or you could check on craig's list if anybody is selling a crib that matches your decor. (www.craigslist.org).

My thoughts are to buy another crib/toddler bed....let her stay in the crib as long as she wants. I transitioned mine too soon and it led to him getting out of bed ALOT. Once she communicates well and is ready to go into a bid girl bed, then is the time. I only feel this way because, for the time being, she feels safe and comfy AND you get a bed to yourself. Make it last! Don't rush it until she shows signs of wanting out of the crib. This is the approach I'm taking with my second one (20 months old). Good luck with her and your new little one on the way!

Hi there,

I have 2 children and faced this very same issue. Our son stayed in a crib until he was 2 because my daughter was ready to be born. Usually pediatricians tell you to keep them in a crib as long as you can - especially if they're not trying to climb out. My son handled it well and stayed in his bed and at 7, still does. My daughter, whom we kept in until 3, did not. She's also independent, was up walking around everywhere, and it was very difficult. At 5, she still gets up and moves around. If you can keep her in the crib, I would. But if you must move her, put double gates on her door - she could get out at night and you woulndn't hear her. Freedom at such a young age for her can be very tempting!

Our son loved being in his crib - and slept in it until he was about 3.5 yrs old. My husband re-finished a twin bed for him, so he knew daddy was making a special big boy bed for him - which prepared him - he's not big on changes! We made a big deal out of the big boy bed, and put a railing up at night because he still moved around a lot, like he was used to in the crib. When he was able to get out of the crib by himself, around 3 yrs old - he'd never even tried before - we'd just leave the side down so he wouldn't hurt himself getting out - but he was happy as could be in that crib.
I think it all depends on your daughter - does she really like her crib, and is it a problem for you to let her stay in it? From what I've heard from friends who moved their toddlers into toddler beds was that they'd get up a lot - at night when they should be going to sleep - during the night - early in the a.m..... It worked out well for us having him safe in his crib, and he was happy being there.
Hope this helps!
-- M. :)

We kept our oldest in her crib until my little one was about 4 months (they are 18 months apart) The only reason was because we still did not have our oldest room painted yet. My husband and I both had our opinion about how we wanted the room and it took us from the time i found out we were pregnant until the youngest was 3 months. My oldest room still is not finished and the baby is 10 months old now. Anyway my oldest did really well and we went right to a full size bed for her and got her bed rails. It only took her a day to get used to it. I was shocked but you got to remember every child is different. If you want to get the toddler bed you can go to my website i sell Avon and order stuff from there i am not pressuring you on that it is up to you. my site is www.avonrepresentative.com/tsciulli
Good luck in your choice.

I have a 3 and 6 year old. I transitioned both at about 1-yr-old. If she is all about being independant and a "big girl" i reccomend that you involve her in every step. Get her excited about her "big girl bed" take her with you and let her pick out the bed herself then take her with you to pick out her new sheets. It's hard to find sheet sets for toddler beds. I have got all my toddler sheet sets from avon. If you don't know anyone who sells it go online to avon.com and they can hook you up with a representative. All their sets are really nice i have had every kind from princess to backyardigans to dora for my daughter. You can get the sheet sets, kids comforters,throws and others accessories to match. If you are worried about the gate try one that you can open and close easily. Good luck

I have a 17 month old, and I am due in June, making him younger when this little one gets here than your child. We are going to keep him in his crib until we are sure he is ready for a toddler bed, his crib then converts into one. He is very posessive about his bed already, and I dont want him to think we are "giving" it to his little sister, so we are using a bassinet for her, and then purchasing another convertable crib. We want his bed to stay his bed, so there is no confusion, or jealousy. Your child may be ready for her own toddler bed by 24 months old. Each child is different. But there will be a lot of other changes to get used to when baby sibling arrives, so keeping her same bed might be a comfort to her for a while. Hope i helped!

H., it was really easy for me to transition my two to a toddler bed...I was in the same position - another baby due (although mine are 13 1/2 months apart!) and wanting to get the other one on his way. For both of my kids, neither got out of their cribs either - we are both lucky! I have converting cribs, so the first thing I did was go out and get a bed railing. They are about $20. Then, all we did was convert the crib to the toddler bed, with the kids in the room seeing what was going on, we made a big deal over the "new" bed. The railing, especially on the toddler bed, takes up almost the entire free side, which is a natural deterrent to get out. (a word of advice - place it all the way up where they lay their heads so a small space is available down by their feet without the railing, this serves as a small "step-down" spot.) With my son, we only had to go in a few times and lay him back down for a few nights, then it was no problem. To this day, he gets up, plays for a while, then bangs on his door to get us up. My daughter was even easier. It's almost as if she didn't even notice! I think the BIG thing, as in most parenting, is how YOU react. If they see you with trepidation, they will feel that way too. You know your child best, so if you think they may have some anxiety, try getting new pj's, a new stuffed animal to invite to bed, or even having a special dinner and "celebration" for the new bed the night that you'll be converting. When it's fun, children usually don't even notice change.
By the way, we again are lucky that our 2 year old can't open doors yet, however, the crafty 3 year old has been adept for quite some time. My secret? Those child-proof doorknob covers!!! (put on their side) Then they cannot "escape" from their own rooms. Worked like a charm for me, until the 3 year old started hammering his to knock it off, although you can bet, that wakes me and my husband up right away!! Good Luck!

Hi, let's see, with my oldest, he was in a toddler bed by 15 months. My middle one was toddler bedded by 17 months and my youngest guy moved into his by 20 months. None of them climbed out of their cribs, the oldest one got moved b/c we were broke and could not imagine buying another crib for new baby. The middle one loved big brother's bed, and the youngest outgrew his sleeping arrangements and we switched him when we moved into our new house. I have always shut their doors (even as infants) so they didn't know that they could leave. (for added insurance, turn the doorknob around so the lock faces out and if necessary lock it from the outside until she falls asleep...you can still get right inside w/o any worries). There will be transition...my oldest fell asleep on the floor by the door for almost a month but they all get the hang of it.
My youngest loved his crib but it was too small for him (it was not a full-sized crib). He loved the toddler bed b/c it was still very cozy. If you go the twin bed route, put it on the floor (w/o a frame) for a while with a railing which even now he curls up against.
It truly depends on what you want. The getting out of bed will happen no matter when you transition, it's just a matter of when you want to deal with that in addition to a new baby.
Good luck!

We moved Myah to a toddler bed at 22 months, and Kyle was 22 months before he was comfortable with it (we tried earlier). You will just have to try and see how she does at certain points. When we first tried putting Kyle in it (we started with naps), he kept getting out and playing with his toys and I would check on him and he would literally be on the floor sleeping next to a toy...so we waited a couple of weeks and tried again and it took some time, but then he became really comfortable and was ready and once we put him in it, he didn't get out of it at all. Toddler beds are much more affordable than twin beds also (we got ours for around $70 plus from Babies R Us and they use a crib mattress). You'll just have to try it, and also we've never experienced any of our kids trying to get into bed with us during the night. I can only handle that when they are first born, after that everybody is in their own bed!!! Myah did lash out after Kyle was born (she was 2 1/2) and kept getting out of her room at night, so we had to put one of those door handle cover things on it on the inside for her own protection, so she wouldn't get out of her room and get into anything or fall down the stairs, etc. But she was also totally fine with it. Whatever you decide, you'll want to do it prior to the baby being born (like a couple of months) so she doesn't associate the move into the bed with that and it turns into something negative. I think all kids have some negative reaction to new babies...at least from our experience and others I've talked to!

Alternatively, my sister has moved all of her kids into twin beds at 22 months with total success. So, you never know! We just felt like our kids look so little in twin beds at that age! I advise making a big deal out of it "Oh, you're such a BIG girl now!!!" And making her new room up to suit her personality or what you think she likes at this point. Maybe putting her big girl toys in there also and leaving the baby toys in the other room. Doing whatever you can to make it as big girl as possible!

i had the same problem, my daughter never climbed out of the crib, but I had a new one on the way. What I did was for her naps I put her in the "big girl bed" and nights in her cribs. Eventually she switch over herself. As for the gate situation, for a while just put it up on her door so she can play in her room but not get out down the steps.

We just transitioned our son out of his crib. He was 32 months old when we moved him. He loved his crib and never climbed out. We had our daughter in Sept and knew that we would need to move him. So we kept our daughter in a bassinet up until the beginning of Jan. We knew that we didnt want to try to move him until after the holidays or after just having the baby. So a little before we moved him we started talking about having a "big boy bed" and I bought him some fun sheets for the bed. We even took him to the mattress store to pick his own mattress out. We put the bed up against a wall and then got a railing for the other side of the bed. We put him in it and we have had no problems since.

Both of my kids went from a crib to a regular twin bed with a safety rail at 15 months. There was NO transition period at all with them, they LOVED the new bed. I don't think that toddler beds make any sense. I just think it's a way that manufacturers can milk parents for more money! Trust me, skip it and go right for the twin bed. Transitioning can be hard on some kids, mostly ones who have been made to transition to things when they're old enough for them to be affected. So, why add an extra step in there for the toddler bed/twin bed transition too?

It's worth a try before the baby comes. My oldest was in a toddler bed at 17 months and my youngest is still in a crib at 20 months. I am also expecting a baby when he turns 2 and I plan on moving him to a twin bed before the baby comes. He's slept in his brother's bed when he was away at nana's so it's not going to be too big of a shock for him.

My daughter was just over a year when we moved her. She did wonderfully. She had never tried to crawl out of her crib or seemed to mind it but the day care she went to slept on cots after a year so we made the switch all at once. I don't regret it at all. Especially now that number two is due and we don't have to worry about regression or blaming the baby for taking her bed.
She still loves cribs and I wouldn't be surprised if she would still sleep in one (she is 2 and half now) but she also loves her Tinkerbell bed. We re-did her room with tons of tinkerbell things including the bedding. We didn't go straight to the regular twin bed though, we wait for that until she turned two. She slept in a trundle bed. It's low to the ground as it is made to go under a day bed frame. She loved her bed and we haven't had any issues with her climbing out or going to sleep.

Good luck with the transition!

My daughter was 21 months old when I had my son in September. We had the same concerns about putting her in a bed and really didn't want to purchase another crib. She loved her crib and never tried to climb out of either. My son sleeps in a co-sleeper in our bedroom which is on the main floor. The kids rooms are on the second floor. I moved my daughter out of the nursery and into her new room with a full bed. I also moved the crib into her new room and she slept in her crib until she turned 2 in January. I purchased bed rails for her "big girl bed" and made a huge deal about them when I put them on the bed. The same day I went to put her down for a nap in the crib and she screamed and cried "bed rails mommy". So, I put her in her bed for her nap and she did great. That night I went to put her in her crib and she again screamed "bed rails mommy" so I put her in her bed and she slept all night with no problems and has never asked to go back in to her crib! I do have a gate at the top and bottom of our stairs and also a gate to her bedroom door. She has only climbed out of bed twice at night when she had bad dreams. Otherwise, she wakes up in the morning and sits at the end of the bed and calls for me. It has been a great transition and I'm hoping it will go smoothly when I move the crib out of her room next month and into my son's room.

We just went through this. My daughter is 28 months and was still sleeping in her crib. She never gave me a hard time about it, never tried climbing out, but I thought it was time. A few months ago, I put up a toddler bed, but did not make her use it. Every once in a while, I would ask my toddler if she was ready to sleep in it. So long as she said no, I didn't push it. Then, just this weekend, I asked her and she said yes and went right to bed in it. This was the first time she slept in it, and she hasn't gone back or asked to sleep in her crib once. She's even taking her naps in her toddler bed. Keep in mind that this took several months, and at first, she did not want anything to do with the toddler bed but now, we can finally take the crib down!

She is a little young but you could start getting her ready. Don't make this about the baby. Make it about how big she is and now she gets a big girl room since she isn't a baby. You could start this about 2 months before your new baby is born but if she is ready start sooner. Make it fun for her. Let her pick out sheets, and cute pillows, etc. Make sure and get a bed with a rail so she won't fall out. Tell her about big girls that stay in their beds all night. If possible bring up the topic around other big girls and their mommies, even 3 -5 yr olds, ask if they sleep in big girl beds. Have a friendly nightlight and you might even consider a small fish tank for a dresser. You can put the light on a timer and let her tell the fish goodnight and when the fishies wake up in the morning then she can get up too. Make it a fun time and if she has as much personality as you say she will eat it up!

Have fun!

H.,

I think your little one will be just fine in a "big girl bed". My daughter was 16 months old when we got her a new bed (we went straight to a twin size bed to save some money in the long run). She absolutely loved sleeping in the new bed. Will it take some getting used to? Absolutely, but I don't think you will have any problems with it. My daughter never went down the stairs at night, she would come straight into our bedroom (we leave the door open) and I don't want her getting used to sleeping in bed with us, so usually when she comes into our room, I walk her straight back into her bed. Some people might suggest putting a protective cover on the door knob, so she won't be able to open the door (my daughter figured that thing out as soon as we put it on). I hope this helps. I wish you the best of luck :)

Take care,
Trisha

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