40 answers

When to Transition to a "Big Girl Bed"?

Hi, there--I'm the mom of a 14-month-old girl who will be getting a baby brother or sister in mid-September (when she will be about 19 months). The new baby will be sleeping in our room with us for a few months, but will need my daughter's crib after that. When should I transition my oldest to a toddler bed? I thought that I could just wait until the new baby really needed it and do it then, but my child care provider mentioned that having a new baby in the house might be stressful enough as it is without her having to give up her bed, too. She recommended doing it this summer before things get hairy around here. Anybody have any good advice for me? And, while we're on the subject, any recommendations on good (safe and well-made) toddler beds? Thanks so much!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

My first was about 26 months when we transitioned from the crib to the toddler bed. We had just moved and baby brother had been born about 2 months before. I have learned they can only handle so much change at one time. If I could do it all over again I would have done it before brother came along. Making a big deal out of it really helped. Her grandmother made her a quilt and to this day it is her 'Nanny Blanket'. Having her assoiate people that she loves with the big transition helped her quite a bit. As far as toddler beds we have actually been happy with the simple $50 one from Wal-Mart. It was the cheapest we found but it also has held up really well.

I will second what she said about doing it before the baby comes.

We took my son at 12 months out of the crib for the baby right before baby came. It was fine. There was enough time for him to equate Christmas with his getting a 'big' bed than with a new baby in the house. ;-)

And it gives you time to train him about staying in bed for naps, etc. Remember once he is out of the crib he can get up anytime! LOL

I think the time is now you should start before the baby is born othewise is going to be stressfull for yuo and for the girl.

More Answers

My oldest child went to a bed at 19 months and did just fine. I've done my other kids at 22 months, 26 months, and 2 1/2 yrs. We just did it when we needed them out of the crib and they all adjusted well!

I never did the toddler bed, but moved them right into a regular bed using a rail that slid in under the mattress. It was such a pain. I had the BEST SUGGESTION given to me by some younger moms with my last child that I'll pass on to you.

Use 2 swim noodles and put them on each side of the mattress underneath the sheet (or even the mattress pad). The makeshift "bumpers" are just enough to train your little one from rolling out. The best part is that the bed is still easy to make.

Good luck!


1 mom found this helpful

My son moved into his big bed at 13 months. He did fine. I went staight to a twin bed and used the money I would have spent on a toddler bed/crib matress on a good twin mattress and waterproof cover instead. You can even put the twin mattress on the floor for a while until you know she won't roll out of it.
I ended up having to put up a baby gate in the doorway so my son wouldn't keep coming out (once he figured out he could get out of his bed easily! I would tuck him in and go back to check on him if he fussed...I could alway hear him with the door open and he could see out. Sometimes he would just play quietly in his room for a bit then I would find him in bed asleep later.

Congrats on the upcoming arrival!

Our son was just over a year old when we transitioned him to a twin bed. He wasn't climbing out & there wasn't a baby on the way; he was just getting too big to sleep comfortably in the crib. (at 3.5 he's outgrowing size 5 clothes!)

We started with the mattress on the floor at first, then added the boxspring underneath on the floor, and then raised it all onto the frame. I think we took about a week between each stage and had pillows on the floor to help cushion any falls. he only fell out once or twice, and then was fine.

be aware that he will wander & play during the night with this new-found freedom. we just let it be- I like to pick my battles (not to mention that I'm a very deep sleeper; unless he was really hurt & my intuition woke me up, I didn't really notice. we discussed with him from the beginning that if he wanted to get up and play, then that was his choice; he still had to get up in the morning and follow his routine. of course, we did make sure there was nothing in his room he could hurt himself on- all shelves are bracketed, etc. you can send a child to bed, but you can't make them sleep.

Hi! This situation can be a little tricky but if you handle it right and are consistent than your daughter will have no problems adjusting. I would definetly recommend getting her a toddler bed before her baby sibling comes and getting her to transition with enough time for her to get used to it. I have a 3 yr. old who took it with flying colors at 17mths. It was almost like she was ready to be in her own big girl bed. I bought her a bed that Walmart sells and got her her favorite disney character sheets, blankets, and pillow case. When I showed her her bed and I made it a big deal and told her prize for being a big girl now. It took about a week for her to get used to it and she would cry at first only before bed time, but once there was a routine, she got excited everytime it was nap or bedtime. B. P.

We are having the same issue as I am having a baby boy in about 6 weeks and we have a 2 year old. We switched her to a twin bed pushed up against a wall with a rail on the other side on her second birthday. She LOVES her "big girl bed" and has had no issues with giving up her crib at all. We moved it into "baby brother's room" and she will just say that she doesn't need it anymore because she is a big girl. I would recommend doing it a month or two before the baby is born though so that she doesn't feel like it's being taken away from her. Also, if there is a theme or character she likes, you could let her help pick out her bedding. Make it fun for her and really pump it up.

I agree with one of the other posters that a toddler bed may be a waste of money since they outgrow them so quickly, but they aren't that expensive and your daughter is a little younger than mine, so it may work for you.

Good luck and congrats on the new baby!

I think the time is now you should start before the baby is born othewise is going to be stressfull for yuo and for the girl.

I had the exact situation. My little ones are 20 months apart. When I found out I was having another little girl, my husband and I bought bunk beds. My daughter was intrigued at the new beds and we put her in the twin size right away. I just got a safety-first bed rail from Walmart and put a little step stool on the floor corresponding to the opening in the rail...she got in and out by herself. I think before the baby is the best time so it is her accomplishment (big girl bed) and not the baby's "fault" which can create resentment. After your daughter has been in the big bed for a few weeks and seems settled, talk to her about being a big girl and that babies use cribs so your new baby will sleep in the baby bed. Good luck with everything.

14 to 19 months old is very young to move out of the crib, but I always liked to keep a baby in as long as possible! It's just nice knowing they are safe and "contained", you know? Find a toddler bed that is low and has nice rails on both sides, or try just a mattress on the floor. When my second baby was born I had my 23 month-old start with naps in his big boy bed, and he moved from crib to toddler bed with no problem (except he kept falling out of the bed, so we just put a mattress on the floor for him).
If she's possessive about her crib get her involved in her new pillow or whatever, but she's probably young enough that she really doesn't understand what's happening and doesn't care where she sleeps as long as the rest of your bedtime routine stays the same. Make the transition positive and about her and not "because of the new baby"...this helps with lots of different issues. But if she really can't stay in a bed and doesn't seem safe just get a second crib. Borrow one or shop used on craigslist or whatever you need to do. It may actually make things easier for you (as you have a learning curve moving from one child to two!) if you don't have any other big changes to deal with at the same time. Don't make her be a big girl, instead remember that you will have two babies! Good luck and have fun!

My son and daughter are also 19 months apart, so I felt your so-to-be pain. I transitioned my son to a toddler bed about three months before my daughter was due. I let him pick out the sheets, pillow, etc. I explained that big brothers get to have special beds that are different from the cribs that the babies uses. He did well, but I will say that the toddler bed did not work for us. My son moves/turns a lot a night, so he would slip off the bed and wake up (I had made a landing pad on both sides of pillows and blankets). I got little sleeps so we bought a queen size bed, put rails/guards, two body pillows for the sides and basically created a larger crib. My son has been in that every since. My daughter is about to turn two and I moved her to the big girl bed (a queen also) when she was 20 months and she loved it.

Good luck, just be prepared for a few nights of less sleep....

I agree that you should make the transition BEFORE the baby comes. That way your daughter doesn't associate losing her bed with the new baby. We bought our daughter a twin bed in Feb when she was 20 months. I took her to the store to pick out Cinderella Sheets (she thinks she is Cinderella right now) and we never looked back. The crib is still in her room for her new baby sister...coming any day, but she has never asked to sleep in it since they day. In the months leading up to the transition we talked about getting a "big girl" bed and made it a big deal to have her "help" pick out the bed. In fact, we pushed the bed against the wall, but did not use a bed rail and she has never fallen out of it. We also kept her bedtime routine the same so she hasn't gotten out of her bed at nap or bedtime. The transition will be harder on you then her...she will adjust great! Good Luck!

I think that it really depends on when she is ready. My son didnt sleep well in a crib so we transitioned him at 12 mths to a big boy bed. We dealt with him getting out a few times, but slept better through the night than he did in a crib. I was expecting my new baby when he was 12.5 mths. By the time the new baby took his crib he loved his new bed and would run in to show it to you. You know your child so do what YOU feel is best. It is a big transition having another, but they do very well..

My first was about 26 months when we transitioned from the crib to the toddler bed. We had just moved and baby brother had been born about 2 months before. I have learned they can only handle so much change at one time. If I could do it all over again I would have done it before brother came along. Making a big deal out of it really helped. Her grandmother made her a quilt and to this day it is her 'Nanny Blanket'. Having her assoiate people that she loves with the big transition helped her quite a bit. As far as toddler beds we have actually been happy with the simple $50 one from Wal-Mart. It was the cheapest we found but it also has held up really well.

I agree the summer should be the time to do it. You can also deal with any issues that come up at night before baby comes. I transitioned my 2 year old in July and baby brother came in Decemeber. It also helped her to see that we were getting ready for the new baby. We went ahead and bought a twin size bed and bought the bed rails for the sides. She started waking up at night again for about 2 weeks and then it stopped. Good Luck and congrats on #2.

It depends on the child. Our oldest son went to a big boy bed at 13 months, the middle was 30 months (his crib converted into a daybed). Our middle had to move to a big boy bed because at the time I was pregnant with #3. Both boys were involved with the decisions of their big boy beds, so they could get excited about it.
I would recommend talking to her to get ideas of what type she wants and get her to help with the bedding so that she will want to sleep in her big girl bed. Have fun and enjoy!

I was in the same situation. We started with an all new room. Switch you know. Our toddler was 15 months and we did this about a month before the new baby was born. At first she LOVED the new found freedom. We used a baby gate at the door and eventually she couldn't see her toys anymore and climbed into bed. We got it at Burlington Coat factory. It has sides 1/2 way on both sides. There are still times one of us lays in the floor next to her, but those are phases. Good luck.

My son was born when my daughter was 22 months. I transitioned her out several months before he was born. I didn't want her to think that I was giving the new baby HER bed TOO. Anyway, it worked for us. I did it again when my 3rd was born. Either way, kids are stronger than we give them credit for. If your daughter gets upset, then so be it. It's all part of life. But, I think it would be nicer if she didn't have that direct association with giving it up. Make her excited about her new room (or just bed) and let her pick out her new blanket or room decorations, etc. Even then, it took adjusting. My daughter wouldn't sleep in her new bedroom at night. We started with naps. Then, I began to move her into her new bed after she fell asleep and she would wake up there. You can also sleep with her for a night or 2, but beware, then they expect it. Then, it wasn't so much of an issue. Of course, no matter what happens, she won't remember the "trauma". That is one nice thing about having them so close in age.

Hey E.,

I actually went through the exact same scenerio 8 years ago. What worked for us was exactly what your childcare provider suggested. About 2 months before I was due we got Madi her big girl bed. The crib was out of sight and completely "out of mind" by the time her sister arrived.

I do have one piece of advice. I would go straight to a single bed and don't waste your money on a toddler bed. Plus, you'd again be looking at another transition when she outgrows the toddler bed.

Best of luck with both your transitions and new baby.

God Bless

We didn't move my daughter to a toddler bed until she was 3. She never tried to climb out of the crib so we saw no need to move her until she requested it. She loved her bed and slept really well. So we thought "why mess with a good thing that's working"? Once they are in a toddler bed, they can get up and out of their room when they want. That wasn't something we were looking forward to. When our daughter was in the crib, she was in for the night. So, we just bought another crib for our son when he was born. When we moved my daughter to a toddler bed, we were able to use the same mattress, so we only had to buy the frame for the toddler bed. We sold our old crib at a yard sale. It was in pretty good shape so we got a decent price. If you plan to have more kids, I would suggest you don't change anything right now. Just get another crib, you'll likely need it in the future anyway.

I would defintely change her to a "big girl bed" before the baby, because once there's a new baby in the house, she might feel a little unnoticed or insecure and taking away her bed would only make things worse. Besides, giving her a big girl bed before hand would get her ready to play the role as "big sister!"

Hi there. I have a 4 year old daughter and a 21 month old daughter. When my 4 year old turned 2 we put her in a twin. Just this past weekend we got my younger daughter a full size bed and she's has done wonderfully in it. No problems whatsoever. I think it is really how you present it. Make it fun. Let your daughter help with putting the bed together and pick out the new sheets/comforter. I think if you involve them they are more acceptable. If worked for my older daughter and for my 21 old. So far so great. Oh, and by the way, we got a regular twin bed for my 4 year old and put it up against the wall and put a safety rail on the other side. She fell out once or twice but no serious injuries. The full size we got last weekend for the 21 month old has the rails on each side with a step up stool we bought also. We got the full size so when we have overnight visitors they'll have somewhere to sleep other than in the living room on the couch. I wouldn't waste money on toddler beds as you'll be buying a regular bed soon enough. Hope this helps.

My suggestion would be to move her SOON. Get her into her big girl bed and take her crib down completely. That way she sees her new big girl bed and no sign of her crib. Then once you need the crib again, set it up at that time. We did that with our son who was almost three by the time his sister was born and he didn't even look back to the crib and by the time we put up the crib again, he didn't even hardly remember it and then he didn't really care. He also didn't feel like he got ousted for the new baby. When he got his big boy bed he was so excited and then it didn't look like he had to give up his bed for the new baby... he got then bed and then she got a bed later. Which for us wwas when she came home becuase our room was too small for us much less another bed. I know that it is a nerve racking transition but I wouldn't have done it any other way. Good luck and congratulations

P.S. I also just used a regular twin bed got sheets of his favorite character (Lightning McQueen) and we didn't really have much trouble at all. But when it comes to keeping her in bed stay consistant. Keep putting her back in bed until she learns that is where she stays. Putting her back in her crib will only be taking steps backward and you don't want to do that. My suggestion would be to talk it over with her daddy and make sure that he is on board as well.

She is too young for a "big girl bed", she is still a baby.
If the new little one is going to be in your room, wait.
If you still move forward with this, get a toddler bed.

I think you're better off making that decision based on when your daughter is ready not just because of a new baby. I kept my 1st in her crib until she was ready to give it up and let my 2nd sleep in a bassenet until the crib was free. That worked great for me especially because I could keep the bassenet in my room with me for easy feedings throughout the night. That also ensured me of no problems with my 1st getting up throughout the night.

I will second what she said about doing it before the baby comes.

We took my son at 12 months out of the crib for the baby right before baby came. It was fine. There was enough time for him to equate Christmas with his getting a 'big' bed than with a new baby in the house. ;-)

And it gives you time to train him about staying in bed for naps, etc. Remember once he is out of the crib he can get up anytime! LOL

E., what I did with my son, was set up his new big boy bed in his room while the crib was still in there. I let him get used to the idea of the bed in there. The first night the new bed was set up, he went right to it, didn't want anything to do with the crib anymore. We still have the crib in his room because I don't know what to do with it. Good luck...

It sounds like a lot of people have had good luck with transitioning the older sibling out of their crib to make room for the new baby.....well, looking back it was the biggest mistake I ever made. If your 14 month old sleeps well in her crib, I would suggest not moving her out of it until she is climbing out--don't do it just so the baby will have a crib. GO BUY AN INEXPENSIVE/NO FRILLS CRIB AT TARGET OR WALMART for the new baby that will be just for the new baby! Let your little girl stay in her crib where she's comfortable.

My boys are 27 months apart and my 4 year old was transitioned into his own big boy bed at 2 and he just won't stay in it all night long every night. He was sleeping fine in his crib before we took him out to make room for the new baby. He never tried to climb out of his crib either. Then I put him in a low to the ground bed from IKEA and of course he can get out of it if he wakes up in the middle of the night. And where do you think he goes? Our bed. He never slept with us as a baby or anything. Both of my boys slept in a bassinet right beside my bed the first 4 months for nursing and then I put them in their cribs with no problems. I think I just transitioned him too early to the big boy bed.

Since you have no way of knowing how your child will respond to the new adjustment of new bed and new baby.....I highly recommend you don't change the 14 month old's sleeping routine. You will be stressed out enough with them being so close in age and you want night time to be easy and as restful as possible for you and your husband, the big sister and the new baby!
Best Wishes....L.

Do it now! You're going to have a few sleep-deprived nights when she figures out that she can get up anytime she wants and it's better to have them now than when you're dealing with a newborn as well.

Also, don't bother with a toddler bed. You can get rails to put on the side of a regular twin bed. Unless you really can't afford a twin now but know you'll be able to later.

Make it a BIG deal for your older daughter. Let her know that she's growing up and this is a privilege. She understands more than you think. Let her look at bedding and pick something out. Maybe get her a new stuffed animal or something and say that it sleeps in the big bed and wants her to sleep with it.

Don't talk about moving to the big bed because of the baby at all! Make it about her, not needing the crib for someone else.

You'll do fine!

We did this by presenting it to our son as a wonderful gift he was getting for being such a big boy now. His own room! his own bed. We built it up for a few weeks to get him excited aboout it and then we all went to Ikea and he got to pick out some cool stuff like an armchair, and new blankets and nightlights for his new room. He loved it! Granted, at night, when he realized he wasn't sleeping with us anymore, he protested. But I lay there with him until he fell asleep, and after about a week, he like the idea of sleeping there. Now he only likes his bed! (But yes, I still put him to bed, read, and stay there until he's asleep. For us it's a cosy moment. I also remember how scared I was of the dark when I was little, right before going to sleep, and I don't think it's necessary for children to feel that.


Start today. Let your daughter take her naps in the big girl bed. Then tomorrow night, put her in the big girl bed.

A few months ago I moved my 22 month old daughter to her big girl room to get ready for baby brother in May. We talked about it before we did it and took her shopping for the bed. I read to her at night and being pregnant i wanted a bed big enough for me to sit on it with her. After shopping at baby stores I found the best deal at the room store. We moved her into a new room so we need new furniture along with the bed. To make the full size bed shorter we got a "bunkie board" (used on bunk beds) instead of a box spring mattress. We do have a rail under the mattress for protection. My concern with toddler beds is the weight limit is 50 lbs and I did not want to buy another again soon. She sleeps on an extra pad that was made for her. SO when it was time to move her in the bed we moved the pad so she knew it was her bed. The first night she slept the whole night though and actually goes to bed better in her big girl bed then she did in the crib.
Good Luck

Absolutely do it before the baby comes. My son was 4 when we had our little girl, so it was easier, but he was still very jealous at having to share his mommy & daddy and time with this new baby. I would take her on a special "new big sister" trip and let her pick a really cute big girl bed and new bedding. You can find quality beds and bedding at Walmart and Target. Then when you start decorating the nursery, let her decorate her "big girl bedroom" a little bit to include her. And absolutely include her in the nursery choices too, so that she feels included. My son also really loved his tshirt that says "I'm the big brother" plus we got him a gift for being such a good big brother. It sounds like it's spoiling, but it's hard for kids this age to understand why a new baby gets so much attention when they are used to getting all of it.
Good luck! And congratulations!!!

My two oldest are 16 1/2 months apart. We switched my daughter (the oldest) to her "big girl" bed (a twin) at about 14 months. She was very independant and didnt want to be in the crib anymore. What really helped is we let her pick out her bedding, her pillows, her sheets...basically everything that would make her room pretty. We even placed some of her favorite toys in there for her to feel comfortable. Just make sure you are consistant and 'make' her sleep in her bed. She was so young, we held off on taking away anything else too soon, like her bottle at night and mommy or daddy rocking her. Once my son arrived and she saw him using her crib (we got new bedding that was just for him) she was super excited and she was proud of herself for sleeping in her big girl bed. She saw that the crib was for the baby and not the big girl anymore.

Definatley start now. I wouldn't waste money on a toddler bed...they out grow them so fast anyway and there are rails you can buy to fit a twin bed it you are worried about her falling out.

I took my son from a crib straight to a full size bed at around 15 months. I never put rails on it...I just put a few pillows on the floor in case he fell out. This way I think he learned the boundries of the bed and he has NEVER fallen out to this day.

I would go ahead and put the "big girl" bed up in her room with the crib so that she can get on it and get the feel for it but she will still have the crib if she hates it right now. My son was a little scared at first, I never forced him to sleep in the big bed, but always gave him the choice. Sometimes he choose the crib, sometimes the big bed. In about a month he was in the big bed every night. Since you have a few months I think it would work for you.

Good luck in whatever you decide works for you!

We have just done this with our two year old twins and I think we should have waited a lot longer! Their cots/cribs changed into the toddler beds so now we have gone there is no going back! They are sleeping throught the night now ( three weeks later) but I have lost their afternoon naps as it is just too easy to wander and destroy their room from a bed (-:
I think if you could put it off then do it, if you can't then do it so it is NOT associated with the new baby - there will be enough adjustment in that without giving her bed up to the intruder!
Good lUck,

I'm about to transition my son before our baby arrives in September, and friends gave me the following advice if it helps:
-Make up the bed, show her every night at bedtime, and give her the choice of the crib or the bed for a while. Even if she doesn't choose to sleep in it on her own, it'll introduce it to her slowly.
-Choose fun, interesting bedding that she'll enjoy looking at and sleeping on.
-Consider putting the mattress on the floor at first to limit falls and scares, then slowly raise the bed to full height. (I opted for bed rails since we have hard wood floors.)
-One friend suggested removing all book baskets and toys and putting up a gate in teh doorway to limit nighttime wandering and playing. Another suggested leaving a few toys in the room so the baby knows to stay in there and not expect parents to come in each time she gets out of bed.
-A friend suggested buying lots of extra sheets and layering the bedding in this order: (on the very bottom) a thin mattress pad, then a fitted sheet, then another mattress pad and fitted sheet, then the regular sheet. She said that when potty training rolls around and your daughter has an accident in the bed, it'll be easier to just rip off the top sheet, fitted sheet, and pad and be left with an instantly clean bed rather than changing everything out in the middle of the night. You can worry about laundry later.
-Another friend said that if your daughter loves her crib and feels safe there, just bite the bullet and buy a new crib so she doesn't feel outed. (I chose to move my son to save $.)-
-We're using a regular queen-sized bed just because we need to get it out of the nursery room anyways, and I found some very safe and nice, extra-long rails at onestepahead.com.
Hope all this helps! Good luck.

Do it well in advance of the new baby's arrival. You will have a hard enough time transitioning her to begin with, without adding the stresses of "giving up her bed" for the new baby. She will likely see that as you and your husband favoring the new child over her.

Also, expect what ever progress you have made to hit some bumps after the birth of your new child. Your daughter may try to revert to the crib because she feels the need to compete with the baby. Just make sure to be firm but comforting and consistent. She will settle into the new routine quickly enough..

Good Luck

I'm in the exact same boat and your care giver gave you good advice. I have to get my little guy in that toddler bed soon! I also have heard to take the crib down and get it out of site until the new baby arrives. The sooner you begin the better which is me really telling myself that! LOLOL

I used the metal pipe kind (3, in fact) and it was very sturdy, but I'm sure there's lots of good beds out there.

What I did was have nap time in the toddler bed and bed time in the crib until she was comfortable sleeping naps in the toddler bed. Then I did bed time in the toddler bed. I read a story and sang a song and then said "it's time to go to sleep now in your big girl bed" and put them down. Transitioning for the three girls was a breeze. Now, keeping them in bed might be a problem- they are very excited they can get out of the bed anytime they want. haha

S., mom to four girls

HI my oldest daughter now 7 was monkey she was evicted from her bed at 14 months also becasue she kept climbing out and we were worried that she would hurt herself. The way we did the tranisition is that daddy made her bed for her, she loved that her daddy made it and it mad ethe transition easier. Also if hubby is not a craftsman, have her pick out her toddler bed, she is girl, Iknow that fisherprice/little tikes maeks girly pink transition beds, walmart carries a few that are right around 100 dollars, the only thing is you will have to buy another crib mattress, becasue the toddler beds use the crib mattress.

We were in the same situation last summer. I read do not make more than one change each three months for her age so we moved her 3 months before the baby came. My dd is so tall, we just moved her to a twin bed, and purchased a bed rail from Babies R US. There was no reason for us to move her into a toddler bed for a very very short time. 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.