How to Transition My 2 Year Old to a Big Girl Bed.

Updated on September 05, 2009
K.D. asks from Sacramento, CA
14 answers

My daughter is 2 the end of the month, and we have baby #2 on the way this January. My 2 year old loves her crib and sleeps great - but I don't want her mad at the baby (or us) when come January the baby needs "her" crib.

Should I transition now? And we have a queen and a twin available - is a queen too big for a toddler?

One more thing - do they make plastic sheets for big kid beds? just in case...

Thanks!!

1 mom found this helpful

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S.G.

answers from San Francisco on

They have water proof mattress covers. You can get them at any major department store.

I have been considering transitioning my daughter to a full, but my husband thinks it will spoil her, and it probably will. I'd put her in the twin. You may use the queen as an incentive when the other baby needs a bigger bed.

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M.B.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi K.,

I think sleep is so important to little ones and your daughter will have lots of changes coming with the new baby. I wouldn't take away something that is working and she feels comfortable with. Also, once you transition her to a bigger bed she can get up anytime and may have trouble staying in bed...especially when you are up for nighttime feedings with a newborn.

My kids are 2.5 years apart and I had them both in cribs for 6 months. My advice is is "borrow" a crib for a friend or use a bassinett/pack-n-play for the newborn for a few months. When you do finally make the transition, keep both the crib and bed in your daughter's room for a few weeks and let her choose where she sleeps each day for nap/night and then once she is feeling like a "big girl" and doesn't need the crib anymore you can ask her if her little sibling can sleep in it now. That worked great for us...

Also, invest in a few waterproof mattress pads. They are great!

Good luck!
M.

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S.S.

answers from Sacramento on

HI K.,
I am a SAHM of 7 kids. My first three I transistioned to the bed at 2. It was a lot of work training them to stay in their beds. Later I left the kids in the crib until 3 or more because when they transitioned, they would be really far away from us. Just the layout of the house. I found this was much easier. They were more mature and ready. So when the next baby came, they slept in a cradle and then a pack n play until older sibling was ready to move. Then moved them to the crib. It has worked realy well. No need to be in a hurry. Baby won't feel he got the raw end of the deal. LOL Best wishes.
STac

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K.V.

answers from San Francisco on

I understand that you need the crib soon for the baby but if I were you, I'd be leary of taking your daughter outa the crib esp. since she sleeps so well in it & loves it. This could backfire on you. Is there any way the baby could sleep w/you in a co-sleeper, a pac-n-go or a cradle in your room or even in the same room w/her sister. Or do you have the option to borrow a crib for the baby from a friend? Two is pretty young to move to a big bed like a queen....all that room may scare her. I'd use the twin for her. But as the othe mom said, if you're gonna do it, get it done b4 the new baby arrives as you don't want her to feel she's giving up her crib for the baby. Start off slow. Put the twin mattress on the floor & have her try napping in there or just lounge around on it reading books & ease your way into sleeping there at night. Good luck!

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K.V.

answers from San Francisco on

They definitley make plastic sheets for all sized beds. I have plastic lined matress covers on ALL the beds in my house. They are really nice, kind of padded and the bottom is lined.

I think I would start transitioning soon so that she is used to her big girl bed before the baby comes. Which bed is a personal choice, she is going to look teeny in the queen, but if that is what you choose I'm sure you won't be the first person to ever transition a toddler to such a big bed. :-)

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B.R.

answers from Sacramento on

Either bed would work for your daughter, but since you have the choice of a twin bed, I'd suggest that be the one you use for her, as the queen bed will be more useful for guests if you have anyone visit. Mattress covers for a twin bed are also less expensive. You can buy a good plastic cover that will cover the entire mattress, and zips up, at WalMart or other similar stores for about ten dollars. You might also want to invest in a plastic pad that you can put just under where she sleeps, and put a amall piece of lightweight blanket or sheeting over that, just so you will have less laundry to do on a daily basis in case of a wetting accident.
I would definitely make the change of beds for her as soon as you can. Start talking about how big she's getting and that she's ready for a 'big girl bed'. Give it a few days to a week of talking about it, maybe letting her take a nap in it, and then make the transition. Be sure the message she's getting from you is all positive regarding how big she's getting and not anything at all to do with the new baby needing her crib. Then, later on, when the baby is closer to being born... or even after the baby is born if you have a bassinet for the first few weeks... you can make it another big deal that she can give her 'old bed' that she's no longer using to her new sister or brother.

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D.R.

answers from Bakersfield on

Plastic sheet covers can be purchased in Medical supply stores.

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D.V.

answers from San Francisco on

You could set the bed up for her as her big girl bed and offer it to her gradually. She may surprise you. Once we had the frame for her twin mattress she only wanted her big girl bed. One step ahead sells a mattress protector that lays over the mattress pad
http://www.onestepahead.com/catalog/product.jsp?productId...

Full is the largest size but the way it lays can easily be used on a queen. With a few months you can see if she might want the change and encourage it. You should get some sort of guard through. I think my daughter likes the larger rail becaus eher bed is still kind of a "fort" like the crib.

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C.D.

answers from San Francisco on

We transitioned our 2 year old after our 2nd baby was born with out any issues, we waited until baby was 3 months old so it was not right away, It might be good to do the switch before baby if you need the crib right away. Our son was happy to have a big boy bed. Bed Bath and Beyond has a variety of waterproof mattress covers that are not too plastic
I would try the twin bed-it is smaller and more like the size of her crib- we bought a breathable bed rail at Toys r us and put the new bed in the same spot as the crib so there was not too much change at once
good luck and congrats on your new baby

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N.F.

answers from Modesto on

i went threw the same things with my daughter i had the bigger beds as well but chose to move her to a toddler bed becuase she could use her same matress and bedding made it less tramatic because it was more familer same smell and feel also i didn't have to worry about her falling off or climbing off and getting hurt they also come in so many differnt characters so sure to find your daughters favorite but yes they make waterproof protectors for the bigger beds waterproof mattres pads are an option they also sell the regular plastic covers at walmart for any size bed good luck

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T.C.

answers from San Francisco on

We transitioned our 2 and 1/2 year old into a twin bed by putting the twin mattress on the floor until she was big enough to get onto the twin bed by herself. She really loved this because she could get into it so easily on her own and we didn't need to worry about her falling out at night. If you put your child in a bed on a frame, you need to buy side rails so that they don't fall out at night. I also would start the transition soon so that she does not make the connection between the new baby and the crib she loves so much. We made it seem like a campout and left the crib in the room for awhile without making a big deal of it. It took a couple of weeks and eventually she transitioned completely. You could also start out by putting her down for naps on her new bed and telling her how much fun you had when your mom finally let you sleep in a bigger bed!!! Make it all about her and leave the subject of the new baby completely out of the scenario. Believe it or not, this takes the pressure off of you and doesn't allow any guilt or resentment to build up.

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A.T.

answers from Stockton on

Do it now! Make it a milestone event. Go with Twin size so you can get her all the cute character bedding sets she'll want. Dora for now Hannah Montana when she's 7....
Go to a linen specialty shop and ask for a waterproof/allergy proof mattress COVER - it should zip over the mattress like a giant zip-lock bag so you can rotate the mattress for even wear without having to remake the entire bed.
Then get a comfy 100% cotton mattress pad plus an extra for accidents - also prevents the waterproof cover underneath from making her too sweaty.
Babies R Us and OneStepAhead.com both sell adjustable safety bed rails so you don't worry about little Miss rolling out of bed.
My son was SO PROUD when he got his Big Boy furniture - he told everyone he met and tried to drag any visitors up to his room to see it.
You may want to paint the crib so it looks new and be less of a reminder to your daughter.
There are waterproof mattress pads too - but they are 100% synthetic - don't breathe and too hot for California in my opinion - unless you live in Pacifica or Daly City.
I worked in a linen store through college - so I'm a convert to 100% cotton wherever you can manage it. ;)

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R.B.

answers from San Francisco on

I would transition now to make January easier. I don't remember completely how we did it (it's been years). I think with my son we went shopping for his bed so that was exciting for him. I think my daughter was shopping for big girl sheets - Princess or something at the Disney store.

Yes, they DO make plastic mattress protectors for queen (and twin beds). I bought one while pregnant in case my water broke in bed. Good thing I did, because it must have been a premonition. My water broke at 3:30 am all over the bed!

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D.S.

answers from San Francisco on

Good Morning K.: It is 3:27 am and I just got home and thought I'd check the commputer before going to sleep. As the mother of 5 children let me just say that even considering a queen size bed is amazing to me.
You have a litle one that hasn't figured out how to climb out of the crib? or at least stays in it and feels secure put the child in a twin bed!
When we had one using the crib and another on the way my husband would take the crib down and put it away for at least 3 months before the new baby would come -- the new one slept with us or ina bassinet for the first several months so it was a long while before the crib went back up again. This gave the older child time to adjust and enjoy the big kid bed. We made a big deal out this. My children were the adventureous type and if they weren't climbing into their cribs by 18 months then someone always ruined it for me and taught them. I have a great picture of my husband sitting in the crib and our child standing there watching-- the nut was teaching her how to get in and out because he couldn't wait. We always made a fancy quilt and new curtains which can be purchased much easier today than then and let our child help withthe big adventure. Then made it so that nap time came late the 1st day they went into the bed and they were happy when they woke up and found themselves in the big bed.
Hope you have a easy time of it and congradulations on the new baby. Enjoy the adventure of parenthood, there is nothing like it and I know it is never dull.
ps my granddaughter is 2 and her parents took her bed apart and the 1st week she just was so happy to be in the bed and the new found freedom she found that she tore up her bedroom everynight for a week. Just thought you might find that helpful as well. Yes, they make plastic bed covers that will fit any size bed. Try walmart or Sears I am sure that you will find them there. I also know that they canbe purchased by catalogSSears or JCPenny's or at a medical supply store Nana G

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