Need Advice on Changing from Crib to Toddler Bed

Updated on May 19, 2010
J.R. asks from Santa Rosa, CA
12 answers

Hi Everyone,
Our twin boys climbed out of their cribs for the first time today during nap time. We knew this was coming soon, but took us be surprise when the both did it together on the same day. One of our cribs converts to a toddler bed, but the other doesn't. So we will be on the hunt for only one new bed. They share the same room and will continue to do so.

We have a few questions for those who have crossed this threshold:
1) When and how did you decide to end crib sleeping?
2) Did anyone do research into toddler beds like they did cribs?
3) Why did you decide to get a toddler bed/twin bed over the other? Space may be an issue for us, but we do have bed rails already.
4) How did you get them to stay in their beds for naps and bedtime? Suggestions can be from parents of singletons and multiples both.


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answers from San Francisco on

Hello J., my daughter in law is a twin and the little 2 yo that I do Day Care for are twins so I asked about this question with them. I was told that the girls ended up sleeping together with a older sister no matter what the parents did so they got a full size bed, the little ones I do care for parents bought them the cutest youth size beds that are just bigger than crib mattress and will work til age 4. They have them side by side and it works great for them. No one seemed to have a need to research beds. They did say that they were tired of the one getting out and crawling into the other boys bed even tough the one twin didn't seem to have any interest in doing so. Nap time has never been a problem but they at age 2 donot nap every day but are willing to go to bed early on a daily basis. Toddler beds are low enough to the ground not to need bed rails. My own granddaughter shose to take all her blankets off the bed each night and make a nest on the floor and sleep there verses the converted youth bed her crib made into. Good Luck

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answers from Chicago on

1) I decided to keep my children in cribs as long as possible and as long as they were happy. I had read so much information from Pediatricians about how healthy it is for the child to stay in the crib until the child actually expressed a desire to sleep in a bed -- and that was enough for me. Plus, I didn't want the major struggles I read about on this board, fighting a toddler to stay in bed. It's much easier to make the transition (without the battles) when the child is older.

My daughter didn't ask about a bed until she turned 3 and that's when we purchased her bed. My son climbed/jumped out of his crib when he was 20 months old, so I purchased a crib tent for him. The tent taught him that he is not to leave his crib without permission. Now, we don't bother zipping it shut anymore (not since he was 2 1/2). He just turned 3 and still loves sleeping in his crib. I am starting to talk to him about getting a "big boy bed"...but until he is really enthusiastic about it, I won't force the change. I no longer try to change things that are working well!

3) No Toddler beds for us -- seems like a waste of money, buying an extra bed. My kids go straight into a twin bed.

4) I have a really cool nightlight in each child's room that glows as a blue moon during the night and then changes to a yellow sunshine in the morning. When the sunshine is "up" my kids know they are allowed to get out of bed. It's a really great nightlight!!

Good luck with whatever you decide!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Hello J., please excuse caps, easier for me to use. I waited until my lad climbed the cot side, that showed me he was ready, for sleeping in a bed. I used bed rails both sides of the bed, even tho one side was against a wall. I covered the bed rails with the cot bumpers. On the wall side i found that if i did not use a rail covered with cot bumper, he slotted his head between the wall and the bed, and on the outer side , he always fell out of bed without the bed rail. Some children r different and r ok in a bed without rails, but mine fidgeted a lot in his sleep. I sometimes had his cousin over to stay and one child slept at bottom end of bed and one at the top for a while. I also started off with a normal adult size divan bed, too.plenty of storage space underneath bed with a divan with sliding doors.
I had to get my child into a strict bed routine, took a while to do, but persevered, and it paid off. Wen he was ill, i allowed him to sleep next to me, and now i can see that is the wrong thing to do. It is then a restart and twice as hard as b4 to get him back into his routine.
A blackout roller blind is good, too. If they think it is night time each time they go to bed, they got ogg to sleep quicker. I also gave my lad a half hr unwind time, and a drink of warm milk, to slow down his brain activity.- i sang lullabys, or read a storey, or put a toy next to bed which lit up , played a tune which eventually switch off, and he drifted off to sleep with it.
Hope this helps u!
With regards from 'k'

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answers from San Francisco on

We delayed ending crib sleeping with each of our five children as long as possible. The oldest to get out of a crib was 3 1/2 and the youngest had just turned 2. With the one who got out at two in hindsight I wish I had bought a crib tent and kept her in the crib as her sleep was greatly distrubed upon mvoing to a big bed because she got up so many times at night. We used toddler beds fro our first two and then realized they were a waste because we still had to buy a bigger bed. After that we bought bunk beds but used them as twin beds side by side until at least one child was 6, that is our rule for sleeping on the top bunk. Getting them to stay in their beds required persistance and consistancy.
When I read your post I also thought about my dad, he and his brother were 13 months apart and they shared a full size bed for most of thier childhood and my grandmother had just made a bolster, basically a bed length pillow to go down the middle so they each had their own space.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Just be aware that a LOT of the rails cannot be used on toddler beds. This was a surprise to me. But they can be used on twins. Looking back, I should have skipped the toddler bed and went straight to the twin.

If possible, try to keep them in the crib until they are 3. Maybe the climbing out was a fluke? Can you lower the mattresses?

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answers from Stockton on

Hi J..
My baby never really liked her crib. (I traveled with her too much). At 8 mo. she refused to sleep in there any longer (and yes we tried everything to get her too). We moved our baby to a big girl bed at 1. Most people thought we were crazy, and continued to tell us after the fact. I looked at bed after bed. Our baby is tall for her age and I didn't want a small toddler bed that I was going to have to replace anyway. Her crib converted, but it seemed to high still and I was worried she might fall out while tossing and turning.
I found a great bed at IKEA. It's called an extendable bed. Its the width if a twin size bed, but it has three different lengths. Was easy to put together, and heavy duty. So much so that I can even lay on it with my baby while I put her to bed. It also has the built in head rails and foot rails, as well as low to the ground. At the last length it completes and is then a twin size bed.
My baby loves her bed. She stays in it as long as she's asleep. When she wakes from her naps she comes and finds me, and in the middle of the night if she happens to wake up she comes to our room. Good luck =)

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answers from Minneapolis on

I have twins as well. My son (2 1/2 at the time) crawled out the night before his new baby brother was coming home so... we put up his bed right away, next to the crib. We left the crib rail down so he could climb onto the bed if he chose to. (We bought full size beds for each kid so... a) we can lay with them; b) if necessary, company can use them, and c) we figure they will take them with them when they move out of the house). The crib came down about a week later. His mattress was so think that rails didn't work so we put swim noodles under the mattress pad and that was enough to keep him from falling out. We only had one night of problems with him trying to get out. My husband and I tag teamed it for about 30-40 minutes of waiting outside the door for when my son came out. We would pick him back up and put him quickly back into bed without saying anything. He kept doing it until he finally realized that we weren't going to give up.

My daughter started getting out of her crib a few weeks later. We did the same type of transition for her as well. Luckily the bed rails worked on her bed though because she's a crazy sleeper... even in a full size bed! Knock on wood but we've never had any problems with her coming out of bed.

Now... my two year old could be another story!! He is far more "wild" than his brother and sister. Luckily he hasn't figured out how to crawl out yet but once he does, I'm tempted to buy a crib tent to buy me some more time before he has the ability to come and go as he pleases. While I don't think anyone should use crib tents for too long, I do know of some people have kept their kids in cribs, using tents, until the age of 3 1/2+

Oh, and for nap time, I just pretty much had to say they had to stay in their room for one hour. They didn't necessarily have to sleep but they had to be quiet. And, the rule was (and still is) if they are extra crabby because they didn't take a nap then they have to go to bed early.

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answers from Sacramento on

I used a toddler bed for my first and part of the time for my second. Both my kids grew out of the toddler bed so fast that I think I wasted my money buying it in the first place. I would suggest skipping the toddler bed and simply getting a twin mattress. What I did with my son is bought a metal bed frame and a piece of plywood. I cut the plywood to fit the frame and then put the mattress on top of that. It made the bed no higher than a toddler bed and he was up off the floor (we originally had the mattress on the floor). It works great for him. As for when, for my daughter I switched her at 19 months because my son was coming and was going to need the crib. For my son, it was about the same age because he was starting to show signs of figuring out how to climb out and I decided I'd rather be safe than sorry (I knew a family who's 2 year old climbed out of his crib and went head first injuring his neck in the process). As to how to keep them there, you just have to be consistant and keep walking them back in to bed each time they get up. It takes a few weeks for them to get it, but they eventually get it.

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answers from Sacramento on

Since you mention that space can be a problem, my suggestion is that you get a twin sized daybed with a trundle. This way, when the crib/turned toddler bed is outgrown you will still have two beds for your boys, and the trundle can be put under the daybed during the day to give them more space in their room. Another nice thing about this arrangement is that both boys could sleep together on the daybed with the trundle pulled part way out to be a cushion if they fall out of bed. You mention having rails... but consider this: if they are already climbing out of the crib, what's to stop them from climbing over the rails? That would create a harder fall than if they simply rolled out of bed. Another option with the trundle bed would be to tie it so it won't come up to full height, and let both boys sleep on it. The distance from the bed to the floor is so small in that case that them falling out shouldn't even be a worry. You could simply put the parts of the daybed away until you feel they are ready for the higher beds.

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answers from Dallas on

When my daughter was 21 months old, she kept climbing/falling out of bed. It scared me, so that's when we switched. It was NOT easy for us. She is a very very very active/strong willed child and will still not nap (at 2 1/2) unless we sit in her room to make sure she stays in bed. Bedtime is ok, but sometimes she gets out to play.
I love her toddler bed. It's just the basic plastic white bed, but it's small, and already has the rail on it. I got it for $20 on Craiglist and so it didn't matter if she's gonna outgrow it in a couple of years. I already had the mattress from her crib, so that saved us money too. Also she could continue to use the bedding that she was so used to. HTH! Good luck!

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answers from New York on

haha, this must be a crib to bed night! there was a similar post a little bit ago about this!

1) When and how did you decide to end crib sleeping?
>18 months - he was climbing out of his crib

2) Did anyone do research into toddler beds like they did cribs?

3) Why did you decide to get a toddler bed/twin bed over the other? Space may be an issue for us, but we do have bed rails already.
>We didn't want to waste the money on a toddler bed, and didn't want to put a twin bed on the floor. We took the face off of the front of the crib and bought a bed rail at walmart. I call it a toddler bed now, because if I bought the $89 toddler bed conversion kit that is exactly what it was - a piece of wood that matched the crib that was a bed rail. I'm WAAAAAY too cheap to spend that kind of money on something that I can get for $18!

4) How did you get them to stay in their beds for naps and bedtime?
>Make it fun, make sure they feel safe. We concentrated more on the night time sleeping because we knew once that was established the naps would follow. It took about 4 nights of us staying in the room until he stopped crying and was OK with us leaving, and going in to comfort him when he woke in the middle of the night.

Good luck!!!

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answers from Sacramento on

1) DS was 18 mths when we moved him to a twin-sized bed. He wasn't sleeping well in a crib & it was a huge pain when we traveled (which was often). When I asked the ped. about when to move him out of the crib he said "earlier is easier." And I couldn't agree more! At 18 mths, DS hadn't yet tried to climb out of the crib & he didn't "know" that he could escape his bed to play around or anything yet. I figured the toddler bed would be moot since it would be yet another adjustment once he got bigger. So I bought the longest bedrail I could find & then I scooted the rocker to the foot of the bed, so essentially he was nearly confined like a crib, but could get out if he needed to. Slept SO much better ever since.

2) didn't need to do research

3) see question #1

4) With DS #1 it just wasn't that much of an issue - he complied quite easily until around 2.5. We could hear him at the foot of the door & most often he would fall asleep there. But I really didn't care, as long as he wasn't destroying his room or coming out of the room. We would just pick him up & put him in his bed when we went to bed. It never really became a huge issue because we didn't make it a huge issue. Things will be different, though, now that DS #1 is sharing a room with DS #2, who is still currently in a crib. I think things will definitely be more challenging on the "playing" front & DS #2 seems the type that he will be out of the bed more often than not. But, you deal with it, knowing it's a phase & not forever.

There was one night with DS #1 that he just would not stay in his bed. It was like 2am & I had recently seen an episode of Super Nanny who dealt with the same issue, only with 2 kids! So for 90 minutes (no joke), I crouched on the floor of his room & every time he got out of bed, I'd put him (not throw him!) into bed. There was screaming, crying, yelling, all from him. But I remained silent, wouldn't give him eye contact while I was crouching, but stayed consistent. I had no idea it would take that long, it was exhausting & frustrating.

But it worked. It was just one bad night & he never tried to push the boundary with the bed like that again.

Good luck!

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