Transitioning from Crib to Bed
Most toddlers make the move from crib to bed anywhere between about 18 months and three years. However, there’s no hard and fast rule for when it has to be—it’s different for every family. Over 90% of 18-month-olds sleep in a crib, but that gradually drops to about 80% at two years and 40% by three years of age.
Many parents make the switch when their toddler is able to climb out of their crib or if they get too big to sleep comfortably in their crib (The top of the crib rail should be above your child’s collarbone). You’ll probably be able to tell when your toddler reaches this stage. Some parents witness attempts , but you can also ask your pediatrician for advice.
Another reason, would be if potty training has progressed so that your ready for nighttime potty training. This requires that the child be able to have independent access to a potty in their bedroom placed near the bed should they need to potty during the night. A crib makes such independent access impossible thus the need to ditch the crib.
Even when a toddler has not begun potty training, it might become necessary to make the switch if your expecting a new baby. If you’re having another baby, it’s a good idea to try to introduce your toddler to their new bed at least six weeks before your due date. This will give your little one time to get used to being in a bed, well before the baby’s arrival. It will also help to dampen the jealousy. After all how would you feel if you got a new sibling who basically kicked you out of your bed upon their arrival? Toddlers with older siblings usually have an easier time making the transition, as they often want to be just like their big brother or sister. Sometimes all it takes is letting them watch their sibling go potty.
If your using a bassinet and it’s easier, you can switch when your new baby is three or four months old instead. Let your toddler become used to the new arrival for a month or so if you want to make the switch after the birth. A new baby in the house is already a time of huge change for your toddler, so a bit of stability will help them cope with the drastic transition.
Every toddler responds to a new bed in their own way. Some will adjust easily to the change, while others will need a bit more help and may show some resistance. Decide when you’re going to make the change and talk to your little one about it a week or two beforehand, so it’s not a big shock. Go ahead and show them what their new bedding will look like or even involve them in picking it out. You could even tell them that you will throw them a “Big Bed” party and invite friends and grandparents. They may be so excited about getting a big bed that they can’t wait to dive into it when the big day finally arrives!
When it’s time to bring in the actual bed, put it in the same place you had the crib, if you can. Put familiar soft toys and anything that comforts your child in the bed too. Your toddler may also find it soothing to bring a familar blanket as a lovey.
Some toddlers go straight into a bed placed in a bed frame, whereas others make the move to a mattress on the floor first to make getting to the potty easier, then when overnight continence is less of an issue make the move to a traditonal framed bed with safety bed rails added to prevent falls.
Once in a bed, your little one is going to be able to get up at night, so make sure to toddler proof their room so that they’re safe:
• Check they can’t get to any electrical cables or sockets.
• Put the bed up against a wall so your toddler is less likely to fall out.
• Clear away small toys or objects from the floor at night.
• Make sure any window blind/curtain cords are secured and out of your child’s reach.
• If your house has more than one level make certain there is a safety gate to block stair access.
• Make certain your child is unable to lock themselves in their bedroom with a doorknob cover or by reversing the locking side so that the lock is now on the outside of the door.
• Your child should never be able to roam your home or leave your house while you are sleeping!
Some toddlers take the move to a bed in their stride, but for others it’s a big step and they may need lots of reassurance from you. You may just need to give your little one a bit of time and patience. They’ll take their cues from you, so try not to get too frustrated if it’s a challenge at first. Stay calm and stick to your normal routine as far as possible. This will help to reassure your child that everything, but the furniture and bedding will stay the same. They’ll still brush their teeth, get their relaxing bath, read a book with mom or dad, and get their lullaby and kiss goodnight.
Try a nightlight if your toddler seems scared of being in the dark. If they get up in the night, take them gently back to bed, reassure them and say good night. You might have to do this a few times until they get the hang of it.
Lastly, make certain to have a chat about when it is okay to get out of the bed. For example: “If you have to go potty get up and sit on the potty, pull your pants back up and then go straight back to bed. Mommy knows when it is time to get up and I will come in the room and get you out of bed when it is time to wake up.” #