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!

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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!

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