Making the Transition to a Toddler Bed


Photo: @littlewoodhaus

Making the Transition to a Toddler Bed

Wondering when and how to transition your little one into a toddler bed? For each family and each child it is different. There’s no right or wrong answer, but we’ve got some “food for thought” that may help you make the decision.

First, think about your child’s current sleep patterns and routine:

  • Does your little one go to sleep easily on his own?
  • Is your little one consistently sleeping through the night without waking up?
  • Does your little one try to climb out of his crib?

If the answers to these questions are ‘no’ then you should probably wait to begin the transition to a toddler bed. You want to ensure that you don’t introduce a toddler bed if you’re already struggling with bedtime. But if the answers are ‘yes’ to these questions, your little one may be ready for the transition!

Consider other transitions that may be coming. You don’t want to put too much on your little one at once. If you’re expecting another baby and the transition to a toddler bed is to make the crib available, time the transition carefully. Give your toddler at least two months (if possible) to adjust to the toddler bed before the new baby arrives. The same goes for other changes like moving or potty training. Introducing too much at once can backfire and cause more struggle than it’s worth.

Once you’ve made the decision to transition, talk about it! Even if you think your little one won’t quite understand, communication is so important. Talk about getting a new bed with your little one and explain how things will change—but make it fun! Be excited about the transition so he knows that it’s not scary or bad. Take him to pick out new blankets, sheets and pillowcases. Make sure he is involved in putting the bed together and has plenty of time to check it out before bedtime.

Be consistent. The first way you can be consistent is by continuing a bedtime routine. If he has a favorite blanky or toys, make sure those are in the bed with him when it’s time to go to sleep. By keeping a familiar bedtime routine, the new bed won’t seem like as big of a deal. You can also be consistent by setting expectations on the first night and following through each evening.

Plan ahead for difficulties. Your toddler will want to test his newfound freedom. Being able to get out of bed at anytime is exciting and your little one may test the limits of getting up. You can prepare by placing pillows and blankets on the floor next to the new bed so that if he crawls out he doesn’t get hurt. Be ready to put him back in bed and remind him that it’s time for sleep—a lot. It’s better to be prepared than to get frustrated when you set your expectations too high.

Each toddler is different, so maintain an open mind and heart when it comes to how your little one will adjust. Compassion will go much further than anger or impatience. This is a big and exciting adjustment for you both, so our last thought is this: cherish these moments. Your sweet baby is growing up! Read him one more story, sing one more song and give him one more hug. As always, we are here to be of support to you. Please contact us anytime