Transition from Crib to Toddler Bed: Everything You Need to Know

Share if you enjoyed

Has your toddler recently become a master escape artist? Are you afraid of making the transition from crib to toddler bed?

I know I was! 

A couple months ago we made the leap from crib to toddler bed. Blake basically gave us no choice due to his escape methods and despite our best efforts at containing him.

To be completely honest I am usually pretty excited about most of his “big boy” transitions and eagerly await when I can introduce them.

This was not one of them.

However, this was one of the easiest transitions ever! It was also one of the more emotional transitions for myself. I didn’t think it would be but I teared up because it seems like he is officially a big boy. He’s said goodbye to diapers, pacifiers and now he’s no longer in the crib.

When did my baby turn into a little man?

Pin It For Later
4 ways to know when to move to big kid bed

How to Know if They are Ready to Transition

There are multiple ways to know if your child is ready to transition:

  1. They are climbing out of their crib repeatedly
  2. They have reached the recommended height restrictions for crib safety
  3. You are nighttime potty training and they need to be able to go to the potty freely
  4. They are 3+

For us Blake had reached #1 and #2. He is daytime potty trained but not yet ready for nighttime seeing as how he’s only 2. Believe me if we could have contained him longer we would have. 

Alas, we had to come to terms that our big boy was in fact a big boy.

 *As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This means I may earn a small commission if you purchase through my links at no extra cost to you. Please refer to my disclosure policy

As I do with anything transition related, I began googling and researching easiest methods. I knew he would be even harder to contain once he could easily get out. However, he surprised us and transitioned easily.

To Buy a Toddler Bed or Not Buy

I read and heard a lot about buying a toddler bed specifically for the transition as a way to garner excitement and involve your toddler in the process. While that sounds wonderful and exciting I’m all about saving some money and not having to buy a bed that will only be used for a few years.

When we looked at cribs to add to our baby registry list we made sure that the crib could be easily converted to a toddler bed so that we wouldn’t have to spend the extra money. Both Blake and Raelynn’s cribs can shift to a toddler bed without any extra cost to us and they were both gifts from my Mom so huge win there.

Transitioning from Crib to Toddler Bed

The first thing we did was tell Blake a few nights before the transition that he would soon be in a big boy bed and that he was growing up. Then over the weekend we took the side paneling off his crib and made a HUGE deal about turning it into a big boy bed.

Toddler laying in Toddler bed with stuffed animals.
Testing out and exploring his new toddler bed

We took pictures and videos. Let him play on it and explore it so that he could get used to it.

I was nervous about the transition going well because of Blake and Raelynn sharing a room but Blake is a champ and excelled greatly. I had heard horror stories of kids making bedtime a nightmare and constantly getting up and trying to leave the room. Blake made it so easy for us and listened so well.

We followed our usual bedtime routine and explained to him how things were going to work with his bed. We were very honest with him about our expectations and the consequences should he get out of bed as well. I fully expected we would have to spank him and put him back to bed multiple times that first night.

First Night in a Big Boy Bed

I’m not sure if it was because he was so excited and ready for the transition or if we scared him with the bedtime rules but he did phenomenal.

Toddler going to sleep in toddler bed
First night in the Big Boy bed!

The first night he stayed in bed all night! He didn’t even attempt to get out of bed. Since then he has rarely gotten out of bed at night and if he has all we do is give one warning over the camera. Mornings have been a different story.

When he first transitioned he did wonderfully with staying in bed. He slept like he normally would and didn’t bother Raelynn like we had feared. However, within the past month he has started to get out of bed only in the mornings and steal Raelynn’s pacifiers. 

How We Handle Regressions and Getting Out of Bed

We are very perplexed by this sudden change because not only was he doing a great job staying in bed but he was also weaned from pacifiers a while ago. I believe it is due to his 2 year old molars coming in since the pacifier was always an extra comfort during teething. We broke him of this habit but it seems to be starting back up again.

The way I break his habit of getting up early and getting out of bed is pretty simple and usually only takes a few days for him to learn.

I pay attention to when his early wakings happen and then wake up about 10 minutes before that. If I see him get out of bed I simply go in and tell him,

” It is not time to wake up, stay in bed or you get spankings.”

If he proceeds to get out of bed I spank him and put him back until the desired wake-up time (for us it is 8am). I treat every waking and getting out of bed as a nighttime situation. 

Related: How to Wean Off the Pacifier Before 2!

Toddler Proofing the Room

Another thing we had to do recently was put his room into Fort Knox lock-down mode. Blake has always been a master escape artist and climber. He figured out how to open baby gates by one and how to open doors by 18 months! When he would wake early he would come out of his room and into our bedroom.

I don’t know about you but I like my sleep to be wild toddler free. I also like to sleep in and not be woken up so him entering our room in the mornings was a big problem.

I’m all about being proactive and stopping issues I don’t like when I see them.

So, I went out and bought covers for his door handles, latches for his cabinets and closets, covers for his outlets and locked everything up. He cannot exit his room unless we open the door for him and this keeps him contained in a safe area rather than able to wander the house.

Room Safety Items

Disciplining When Getting Out of the Toddler Bed

For Blake spankings have been the best form of discipline that we have tried. Recently he has responded to other forms thankfully ( I was beginning to fill like a drill sergeant rather than a mom). One big trick we learned for keeping Blake in his bed was stickers as a reward.

He would stay in that bed until I entered the room to come and get him then look up at me all excited and say

My get tickers!!!

It got to the point where we stopped spanking him for getting out of bed because he was more upset about losing his stickers.

Traveling and Toddler Bed Transition

I was nervous about this transition when traveling and that proved a little more challenging but not as terrible as I thought.

We bought him a toddler bed air mattress that he thought was the coolest. He did good sleeping in it the first part of the night but by the middle of the night he was crawling in bed with us. I think if we hadn’t all been sharing a room as a family he would have stayed in his bed. 

Final Thoughts on Transitioning to Toddler Bed

As with any transition I know there will be regressions and rough patches (I think we might be in a regression right now). But Blake surprised me again like he usually does with how well he handled the transition.

I do not regret for a second transitioning him to a toddler bed. He was ready for it. My biggest piece of advice with this transition is hang in there and go at the pace of your child. They will let you know when they are ready to move out of the crib. 

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Antoinette

    What has seemed to be working for us is a lamp with a light that changes color. It’s automated with our cellphones. We explained to our toddler if he awakes when the light is red it’s still too early to wake up and to stay and relax in bed but if the light is green, it’s time to wake up. We have the light set up to change automatically to green at 8am. We also have our children share a room so when our infant would wake up my toddler, not knowing the time, would think he should wake up too. The lamp color has helped a ton. I believe there might be a color alarm you can find on amazon too in case you dont want to get the fancy automated light!

    1. Morgan P

      Thanks so much for sharing this! Wish we would have know this sooner! We actually purchased a sleep to wake alarm clock a couple months ago on the recommendation from someone and it has been a huge success!!! I wish I had known about from the start! I need to update this post to let people know how amazing a little light can be for toddler sleep lol! How old are your kids?

Leave a Reply

I accept the Terms and Conditions and the Privacy Policy