Switching to the toddler bed

For the most part, our new house is put together and feels really home-y, but I still haven’t finished Liv’s room. We’re in this in-between phase between nursery and toddler room, and still haven’t switched her to a toddler or twin bed.

My philosophy has been, “If it ain’t broke, don’t mess with it” regarding her crib. For the most part she seems really happy in there, and knock on wood, we haven’t had any escape incidents. (I typed this yesterday and then last night, she told Tom, “Dada, watch this” and proceeded to climb ONTO THE CHANGING TABLE attached to her crib. If you need a lesson how to jinx yourself, I’m your girl.)

She’ll yell, “HELLO! I’m awake! COME GET ME!” in the morning or when she wakes up from her nap. (It makes me laugh to think she used to coo and sing to herself when she woke up and now is like, “Mama! Where are you?!”) haha)

Her room in our Tucson house:

Room  1 of 1 3

(I may or may not have cried a little to see that wall decal again… and not because it took me 18 years to put it up and to swiftly be removed when we moved out. Her Tucson room was so sweet. I’m hoping to create something beautiful for her here, too.)

Room  1 of 1 7

Her crib turns into a toddler bed, but she’s getting a little too long for her crib. A couple more growth spurts and her feet will touch the other end! I feel like if we’re going to convert it, we might as well make the switcheroo to a twin bed. Quite a few of our friends suggested switching her to a twin bed when we moved, but I felt like she already had a lot of changes to adjust to and didn’t want to add another big one to the mix.

I’m hoping it will be no big deal, but really have no clue what to expect.

Also, the little lady is really into yellow, so a color theme change may need to happen πŸ˜‰

Mama friends: when did you switch your kid to a toddler or twin bed? What did you use to keep them from falling out? Any tips to make the transition easier??

Thank you in advance for your ideas!



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  1. Rebecca on April 22, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    We switched from the crib to a toddler bed a few months ago (Max is a few weeks older than Livi) because he was getting out of his crib. It was fairly easy for him – he did do the ‘peekaboo’ thing with his door for a couple of nights and does get out of his bed quite often to join us in ours (I’m choosing to not battle that right now as he falls asleep and I would rather not battle it out for 2+ hours when I need to sleep). He has only fallen out of bed 2x – we have no guardrails or anything (his bed isn’t high though).

    He still uses a pack and play at daycare and was using one at my parents when we visited – but this weekend he was having non of that and we just used a pull-out sofabed and he was happy as a clam.

  2. JennP on April 22, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    Daybeds are great options for toddlers. They only have one open side, which makes them a little safer. If she rolls a lot and you’re worried about falls, then you can pull the underneath mattress out for a soft landing or attach one of those mesh panels. It’s also an extra sleeping spot for when you have visitors πŸ™‚

  3. Meg @ A Dash of Meg on April 22, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    i remember my parents putting up a little railing πŸ™‚ i loved it so much and my big bed too. I know Liv will make the switch over so easy and smooth! She’s such a sweetie <3

    "HELLO COME GET ME" hahahahaha πŸ™‚

  4. Brittany (Healthy Slice of Life) on April 22, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    We switched H so she wouldn’t feel like the new baby was taking it from her. It went so much more smoothly than I anticipated! We talked it up BIG time for the weeks leading up to it and she kept asking to sleep in her new big girl bed- exciting times!

    Here’s a link to our experience, complete with the bed bumpers we are loving- http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/2014/02/13/transitioning-to-a-big-girl-room-bed-2/

    Even now that she can crawl in and out on her own, she hasn’t tried to leave the room and still waits for me to come get her in the morning. Good luck!! πŸ™‚

  5. meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles on April 22, 2014 at 7:07 pm

    I switched my son from his crib to toddler bed right after he turned two. Once he climbed out of crib, that was it…We then switched from toddler bed to big boy bed when he was two and half (we had moved to a new home)….It was scary (for me) at first but we taught him how to get in and out and used one of those safety railings. He never fell out and it worked out really well because he liked sleeping in a bigger bed making bedtime that much easier.

  6. Jill on April 22, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    We just switched our toddler who is the same age as Liv – I thought a twin bed would be more practical than using a toddler bed for such a short time. Use a pool noodle underneath the fitted sheet to help her from falling out. We made a big deal about how he was getting a big boy bed and how grown up and cool it was. He is very proud of his new bed – it’s so cute. We got the Hemnes day bed from ikea and a “Green” latex mattress from Dreamfoam bedding. Good luck!!

    • Natasha on April 22, 2014 at 7:44 pm

      We use a pool noodle too now that we have moved on from the safety rail and it works! Especially for an older toddler, the noodle is more of a reminder than an actual barrier.

  7. Natasha on April 22, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    We switched to a twin bed on 3rd bday for my youngest and put a side rail up. My older kids moved to a big bed at a much younger age out of necessity,

  8. Colleen on April 22, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    Haven’t tried this with my little guy yet (still in a crib), but I read that you can put a pool noodle under the bedsheet to make bumpers at the edge of the bed. You might need to size up the sheets, but it sounds cheaper and less ugly than railings!

  9. CM on April 22, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    This was a really difficult transition for us, but mainly because we had twins who shared a room and were only 22 months. They are climbers though, so it became a safety necessity. We had about three weeks of nap refusals and very late bedtimes, but we’ve finally hit our stride. All I could think of the entire time was “This would be so easy if there was only one child in the room!” So, hopefully you will have a much easier time of it πŸ™‚

  10. Jackie on April 22, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    Good luck with the switch!

  11. Carrie on April 22, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    We switched when my daughter was a little over two. She had never tried to escape, but we knew we wanted to potty train and heard that it isn’t good to have too many changes at once so we decided on the bed first. We went with a toddler size, which I’m happy about. She loved it and I never had to really worry about her falling. She’s fallen twice in about a year, but it’s so low to the ground that she’s been fine. I liked the idea of having something more her size because she seemed like such a peanut! She loved it and we never really had any issues.

    One hard thing we encountered was when she realizes she could get out of bed and knock. She had a phase where she did that repeatedly. It wasn’t great. πŸ™‚ Also, the hardest part was that she basically stopped napping. :/ She still goes in there, but doesn’t ever fall asleep. She just plays and it is a battle we have tried to fight and cannot win.

    Go with your gut about the timing. It sound like Livi is ready. She’ll be so excited. πŸ™‚

  12. Cher Rezac on April 22, 2014 at 8:46 pm

    I have 4 daughters. Very close in age, I would definitely recommend switching her to a full or double size bed. If of course you have the space. Its great for keeping them in safely, and great if you need a spot for overnight guests!

  13. Kristen on April 22, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    We’re about to move into a new house and I’m on the fence about moving my 2 yr old (2 months younger than Liv) straight into a twin bed. I plan to get serious about potty training after we’re moved in so I’m just worried about it being too much at once- new house, new bed, and potty training at the same time. I don’t want to overwhelm him.
    When we do make the transition, I plan on letting him be very involved. I want him to pick out some awesome sheets and maybe a new stuffed animal…that only likes sleeping in the big boy bed πŸ˜‰ I’m hoping that will encourage him to want to sleep in it.
    Good luck! Will you let us know how it goes and what you guys end up doing that helped Liv adjust?

  14. Andrea on April 22, 2014 at 9:25 pm

    We moved when my daughter was 2 1/2. We didn’t get her crib put together on the first night so we had her sleep on the mattress on the floor. She did fine. It’s hard when they realize they can get out of bed though. We just sat outside her door and told her we would have to shut the door if she kept getting out. We switched her crib mattress to a full sized mattress and just had it in the floor until she got used to it and now she has a big girl bed and frame. We thought it may be too much for her with the move and all but we just told her it is a new house and now you get your big girl bed. She loved it. What ever you decide I am sure she will adapt just fine. Good luck!

  15. Beth on April 22, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    Sometimes I think you read my mind! My guy is 2 (almost 3) and we’re moving next week. I’ve kept him in his crib so far because it just works – he sleeps good and we’re all happy. But I feel like it’s time to switch soon. Be sure to share lots of good advice when you move her to the twin!

    And good luck. πŸ˜‰

  16. Michelle on April 22, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    Cole switched from crib to toddler bed right before he turned two because he was able to escape (get out on his own, and of course, I didn’t want him to get hurt). That was nbd. Then a little after he turned 3 we converted the toddler bed to a full because he was as long as the toddler bed. Thought the full was a good idea cause that way there would be lots of room to snuggle when do bedtime stuff and reading books, etc. but that extra room lead to a fatal mistake and I am only sharing to keep you from having to deal with this pain. It was around the time of the switch to a full bed that my baby boy became afraid of thunderstorms, we had a bad week to 10 days of storms every night so I would go and lay with him until the storms were over and he fell back to sleep, then I would go back to bed with my hubs. After a couple nights of being up half the night, I fell asleep in bed with him. Fast forward a couple days, now he’s afraid to go to bed unless I lay down with him. I would wait for him to fall asleep, sneak out and within 45 minutes he was screaming for me so in order for everyone to get a full nights sleep, I would stay in his bed. I didn’t sleep in the same bed as my hubby for a couple months and when I finally decided I wanted to sleep in my own bed it was a very hard habit to break. It’s funny because I would never bring him in our bed when he was little because I didn’t want to start that habit but I ended up sleeping in my son’s bed (that sounds really bad!). Once I convinced him I didn’t need to sleep with him it just took consistency of putting him back in bed when he would get out. It took about a week but now he finally goes to bed when it’s bedtime. This has been a long post and journey for us because it has been almost a year since we switched to a full bed. Just don’t sleep with your kids(again, that sounds bad!). Good Luck!

  17. Fionnuala Darby-Hudgens on April 22, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    We switched with our own Livi when she climbed out! She was 25 months old. I put her crib mattress on the floor while I shopped for a bed for her. (It lasted about 6 weeks, and I was looking for a forever bed. The kind of bed she will take to her first apartment. I hate replacing cheap furniture, and I am totally over Ikea etc…) We bought her a classic double with a white wooden headboard and foot board. πŸ™‚ The transition was EASY! If you have already established good sleeping habits there will be a couple of nights she tests the water, but ultimately will sleep well in a new bed. We used pool noodles under the sheet for just a few months.

  18. Lesley on April 22, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    We moved our daughter out of her crib at 20 months. We needed the crib for baby #2 on the way and wanted to give her some time to adjust. We talked up the big girl bed big time and let her pick out a fun new pillowcase. We started with a twin mattress on the floor with one side against a wall and we put a pool noodle under the mattress pad & fitted sheet on the other side. Everything worked out pretty well! I have also read about trying to reduce the number of large transitions for toddlers to help prevent regression- this gave her several months to adjust to the bed, about 6 months to adjust to a new sibling and then we started potty training. Fun times!

  19. Jess on April 22, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    My girls would never sleep in a crib, literally scream all night. They used to be on a mattress on our floor because they liked being close and that way if they rolled out of bed it was no big deal. Now they share a double, pushed up against the wall and rail on the other side. They love their big girl bedand sleeping together (they’re identical twins) so they are really close. Bed rail was essential for us as one of them kept falling out of bed and hurting herself! I lay down with them to get them to sleep at night so we haven’t had issues with them not staying in bed.

  20. Giselle@myhealthyhappyhome on April 23, 2014 at 12:22 am

    We switched our son to a big boy bed when we moved to our new house at almost 2 1/2. He probably could have stayed in his crib longer but we switched his room decor and bought a different colored bed. Before we moved we talked up his big bed a lot and took him to help pick out the bedding. We went with a full size bed with no box spring so it’s fairly low to the ground. We have no guard rail or barrier to keep him on the bed but it’s pushed up against one wall. He’s never fallen off πŸ™‚ Hope it goes smoothly for you!

  21. Laura B @ FitMamaLove on April 23, 2014 at 12:58 am

    We switched to a twin bed around 2.5 years old…and then switched him back to the crib a couple months later. He did great in it, only getting out a couple of times until his sister was born. After that, it was a mess. He would keep getting out of bed in the middle of the night and not go back to sleep or stay in his bed. We were so sleep deprived from having a newborn that we just couldn’t deal with this. After consulting his pediatrician, we moved him back to the crib. I felt bad because I didn’t want him to associate going back in his crib with his new baby sister, but the doctor said not to worry about it. Moving him back to the crib was the best decision ever and he went back to sleeping well again after that.

    So, my advice is not to rush it. I agree with you–don’t fix what’s not broken! There’s no need to move to a toddler bed if she’s still perfectly safe and happy in hers.

    I also never really understood the reason for a toddler bed. You don’t need them for very long before you switch to a twin, so you might as well go all the way! Although if the crib converts, then that can be a nice transition.

  22. Devin on April 23, 2014 at 9:04 am

    Our daughter started napping in a twin sized bed around 2 years old. We did the night time switch from her crib to a twin sized bed around 29 months. She was potty training and although she was wearing a pull-up for bedtime, she was waking at 5 a.m. to use the potty and having to call us to come get it out of her crib.

  23. ColetteM on April 23, 2014 at 9:35 am

    I’m a mom of 3 girls and we switched or girls directly to a twin size bed right before they turned 2 so we could start potty training. At first, we just put the mattress straight on the floor. Then after a week or two, we raised it up on a bed frame. That way when they rolled off it was only a couple inches. By the time we put the bed on a frame, they were used to the new bed and it wasn’t a problem. Just my 2 cents…

    • Fitnessista on April 23, 2014 at 11:02 am

      that’s a great idea– thank you!

  24. Julia on April 23, 2014 at 9:52 am

    Hi Gina!

    My oldest son (4 yo) went into a toddler bed at two when my middle son was born. About six months ago my in laws gifted us a full size bed – my oldest loves it and so do we! It’s nice to be able to cuddle with sick kiddos, lay in bed to read to all the kids, and have a spare bed. (Space permitting).

    The only tough part of the whole transition has been my big boy getting out of bed because he realized he could – sometimes he’d get up and play with his toys when we had a smaller house with no separate playroom. Now we have a separate playroom and he stays up babbling with his brother for about 20 minutes every night. But thats our worst case transition scenario, I hope it is a super easy transition for Livi!

  25. Alli on April 23, 2014 at 10:35 am

    For my son, we needed to use the crib for our new baby, and so we switched him from a crib to a twin mattress placed on the floor. This way, if he rolled out or tried to get up it was not very far off the ground. At around age 4 we switched him to a full size regular bed.

  26. Christine on April 23, 2014 at 10:41 am

    My oldest, who was a great sleeper at the time, decided he hated his crib at about 17 months. Totally out of the blue. He would SCREAM when we put him down for the night or a nap, but when we pulled the mattress out & put it on the floor he went right to sleep (like he used to in his crib). So we went to IKEA and got one of their expanding beds. It was perfect – it wasn’t too high and didn’t have to be too big (the mattress comes in 3 parts and the head/foot boards slide together or apart. The support for the mattress is wooden slats which also move closer together if necessary). We loved it – all 3 of our boys used it in 4 different houses, and I was sad when we finally passed it on to our nephew to use.

    And our oldest was so funny – he’d sit in the bed (which he was fully capable of climbing out of because it was only about 18 inches high) and yell “Mom! I’m awake!” until I’d come get him. Yeah, his younger brothers didn’t do that. LOL!

    • Fitnessista on April 23, 2014 at 11:02 am

      haha i love it! that’s one thing we’re wondering about, too: liv deciding she doesn’t want to stay in her room since she can get out of bed

  27. Elizabeth on April 23, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    When the new baby arrived for the family I babysit for, they had to switch the older one into a big bed. She just put the mattress on the floor for about a month, until she really felt confident that she wasn’t going to fall out. It worked nicely, aside from the general annoyance of “the new baby stole all my stuff”….

  28. Diana on April 23, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    Your husbands name is Tom? I’ve never seen you use his name in a post before! My husbands name is Tom and we are both Air Force too! πŸ™‚

  29. SUE on April 23, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    My daughter turned 2 in February and we have a convertible crib like you do. We switched her over about a month before her second birthday because she was climbing out of the crib (more like falling out, when I heard the ‘bang’ from her falling out for the second time – and her screaming hysterically – I declared we were making the switch).

    She did really well with it, the first night or two we rubbed her back to make sure she went to sleep and didn’t get out and in the mornings she would wake up and yell for us (but luckily not get out!).

    The past few weeks have been a little more difficult because she has been getting out and opening her door or banging on it really loudly, nevermind the fact that she’s been getting up WAY earlier. So we’ve just been trying to talk to her about it and tell her when she wakes up, she can play in her room until me or her Dad go in there. After a couple days, she’s started staying in her room and playing quietly and we get to sleep in a little more!

    • Fitnessista on April 23, 2014 at 6:07 pm

      ahhhh! the thought of her falling out scares me so much. i’m glad to know she’s staying in her room and playing in the morning! gives me hope πŸ˜‰

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