When to Transition to Toddler Bed: The Perfect Time to Do It (and How to Do It)

Are you getting ready to kick your toddler out of the crib? Before you make the big move from baby’s crib to the big kid bed, you need to have a firm understanding of how and when to transition to toddler bed.

Are you getting ready to kick your toddler out of the crib? Before you make the big move from baby’s crib to the big kid bed, you need to have a firm understanding of how and when to transition to a toddler bed.

Why am I emphasizing you must know how and when to transition from a crib to a toddler bed?

Well, because sleep is important.

And, if you switch your child from the crib to the toddler bed before he or she is ready, neither of you will be getting as much sleep as you need.

As parents of little ones, it is very easy to start looking forward to the next big milestone, such as the transition to a toddler bed. We are excited to watch our little ones grow up, but this is really one of those times where you are going to want them to stay put for a bit longer.

Trust me.

If you are not ready for a kid who can come and go from his bedroom whenever he pleases, then it may be worth holding off for a bit.

Let’s take a look at not only when to transition to toddler bed, but the right way to do it.

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When to Transition to Toddler Bed

Are you getting ready to kick your toddler out of the crib? Before you make the big move from baby’s crib to the big kid bed, you need to have a firm understanding of how and when to transition to toddler bed.

Some parents rush the big kid bed for more necessary reasons, such as the arrival of a sibling. While this is understandable, you still want to use discretion when it comes to transitioning to a toddler bed.

For example, experts recommend that you begin the transition six to eight weeks before the arrival of your newest little one. This is because you’ll want to avoid big changes (such as switching from the crib to the toddler bed) when there are other major transitions happening.

So, when to transition to toddler bed? While researching, I found everything from 18 months to 2.5 years old, as well as 2 years to 3.5 years old.

This is one of those milestones that is extremely varied. Two years old seems to be around the time most parents choose to make the switch.

Pediatricians agree that the time has come when your little one is busting out of the crib.

According to Mark Widome, MD, “The one overriding concern is safety. As a general rule, parents should move a baby from a crib to a bed before he is able to climb out of it on his own and possibly hurt himself.”

Wait Until the Time is Right

Are you getting ready to kick your toddler out of the crib? Before you make the big move from baby’s crib to the big kid bed, you need to have a firm understanding of how and when to transition to toddler bed.

With that being said, do not rush out to make the transition the first time your baby breaks free of the crib by climbing over.

While this is certainly a concern, many babies do this as a fluke one time before they are trying crawling out regularly. However, if it becomes a repeated event, then, yes, it is time to transition to the toddler bed.

Another way to tell if it is time is by listening to your child. If your little one starts making comments about being a big girl or boy, or your toddler starts asking for a big bed, then it is most likely time to make the switch.

Knowing when to transition to toddler bed is the first step – now it’s time for the how!

Make It Special

Are you getting ready to kick your toddler out of the crib? Before you make the big move from baby’s crib to the big kid bed, you need to have a firm understanding of how and when to transition to toddler bed.

The transition from a crib to a toddler bed is a special milestone, so make it special for your child.

Talk about it openly with your child – and show excitement about the big switch yourself. Your child will feed off your energy. Introduce the idea by reading books about the switch.

When you feel the time is right, let your child help you pick out some special toddler room supplies, such as bedding with her favorite characters.

Once the toddler bed is ready, have a special reveal and take pictures. This will make your child feel proud of her big girl status and ease the transition.

Keep as Much the Same as Possible

Are you getting ready to kick your toddler out of the crib? Before you make the big move from baby’s crib to the big kid bed, you need to have a firm understanding of how and when to transition to toddler bed.

While it is tempting to do a redesign to match the nursery décor to the new toddler bedding, you should hold off.

In the beginning, you want to keep the room as much the same as possible. In other words, keep the room layout the same. Place the toddler bed in the same space the crib occupied. Keep dressers and toy boxes in the same places.

And, do not remove any of the toys or sentimental items that your child finds comforting. For example, put the same stuffed animals in the bed as were in the crib.

Toddler-Proof the Room

Are you getting ready to kick your toddler out of the crib? Before you make the big move from baby’s crib to the big kid bed, you need to have a firm understanding of how and when to transition to toddler bed.

Before you hit “go” on the big transition, you must toddler-proof the room.

Your little one will now have the freedom to explore every nook and cranny of his room. So, if outlets were not covered and blind cords were not tied up before, now is the time to do it.

Safety is paramount during this transition. As we’ve discussed, most parents make the transition to the toddler bed for safety concerns from the child crawling out of the crib.

You should be prepared for new safety challenges. For instance, you should use bed rails in the beginning to help protect from falls.

Stick to the Bedtime Routine

Are you getting ready to kick your toddler out of the crib? Before you make the big move from baby’s crib to the big kid bed, you need to have a firm understanding of how and when to transition to toddler bed.

Just because your baby is now in a big kid bed does not mean he is a big kid. He still needs help developing good sleep habits. This means you must stick to your regular bedtime routine (whatever that may be).

Not only does it reinforce the sleep habits you are teaching, but it also helps your child feel the same security as before in his crib.

Keep in mind: it is highly likely that the first few nights with the new toddler bed that your little guy will try to test his new boundaries. Be prepared to repeat this bedtime routine a few more times than usual as he discovers his ability to get out of bed and out of his door with ease. The best way to deal with this part of the transition is to stay consistent.

Check Your Emotions

Are you getting ready to kick your toddler out of the crib? Before you make the big move from baby’s crib to the big kid bed, you need to have a firm understanding of how and when to transition to toddler bed.

Try to not become a blubbering mess when you move the crib out of the room. And, try not to lose your mind when your kid leaves her room multiple times in the beginning.

It is a transition that will not happen overnight, so be patient.

Celebrate the Milestone

Are you getting ready to kick your toddler out of the crib? Before you make the big move from baby’s crib to the big kid bed, you need to have a firm understanding of how and when to transition to toddler bed.

Knowing how and when to transition to toddler bed can be overwhelming. Remember these tips, and take it one day at a time.

When your kid learns how to sleep in a big kid bed, it is a big deal, so celebrate the milestone! You deserve to sit back, enjoy the moment, and be proud of yourselves and your little one.

What has been your biggest struggle with the transition to a toddler bed? Share with us in the comments!

Are you getting ready to kick your toddler out of the crib? Before you make the big move from baby’s crib to the big kid bed, you need to have a firm understanding of how and when to transition to toddler bed. Are you getting ready to kick your toddler out of the crib? Before you make the big move from baby’s crib to the big kid bed, you need to have a firm understanding of how and when to transition to toddler bed.

About Eric and Tiffany Matthews

We're Eric and Tiffany, the parents behind Cynical Parent. We're just normal parents who are navigating parenthood with both eyes wide open (probably because there's a kid yelling nearby). And of course, we're pretty cynical. Don't believe everything you read or hear, whether it's on the internet, or from a close family or friend (or even from us!). Every child is different, and what works for one may not work for another. Sometimes you just need to try and see for yourself. :)

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