On Transitioning To A Toddler Bed

 I've gotten quite a few questions over the last few months about how we went about transferring Wyatt from his crib to his toddler bed - so even though it's been a while since we switched over, I thought I'd give my two cents on the topic here for those of you who are planning on making the big switch soon!  

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Step One: Find a bed.

We got Wyatt a toddler bed, because we already have a full-size bed that he'll use eventually, and I wanted a transition piece that would fit in the same room as the crib (since Wyatt and Gwen share a room).  I think it's a good idea to start them low to the ground in the beginning, whether that means getting a toddler bed or just putting a mattress on the floor.  I also think, for us anyway, it was a good idea to have something with some kind of rail - Wyatt is a wild sleeper.  He always ended up sleeping all over his crib, so I wanted a toddler bed with a little rail to still give him the sense of some kind of boundary.  If we had done a mattress or full-size bed, I would have bought one of those guard rails for the same reason - I've got to rein my crazy sleeper in.

Step Two:  Start with naptime.

I picked a start day, and we tried it at naptime first.  I thought it would be better to make the change at naptime for a few days, so he could get used to it in the daylight, and at a time when it would be easier for me if he hated it.  If we had started with nighttime right away, I might have just lost a bunch of sleep, and that's no fun for anyone, so naptime it was.

Step Three: Stick with the routine.

I tried to keep his routine and environment pretty much the same as it was in the crib.  So we put the same sheets on his toddler bed, moved all his normal covers over to his toddler bed, and I put him down with his favorite blanket and stuffed animals, the same as I would in his crib.  I think all those familiar items made it feel more normal.  When we put him back in the crib at night, I used other blankets, because I wanted the toddler bed to become the new normal.

Step Four: Try it at night.

Wyatt did fine when we tried putting him in the bed at night, I guess because we gave him a few days to get used to it with nap time.  We got a nice, full night of sleep that night!  I was surprised and felt lucky that it went so smoothly.

Step Five:  Know that they will fall out of bed.

And it's not a big deal.  Wyatt didn't fall out during naptime, but he fell out when we started the toddler bed at night.  This is where it comes in handy to start them low to the ground - then it's not far to fall.  He cried, not because he was hurt but because he was startled - I went in there, rocked him for a minute, and put him back down, and he was fine.  It happened a few times.  It happened once again the other day.  It just happens.

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(This photo was taken when I was still pregnant with Gwendolyn, if you couldn't tell by the big 'ole belly.)

And that's all I've got!  Now, let me just say, Wyatt transitioned to his toddler bed super-easily - I was expecting a battle with the first attempt, but he just went straight to sleep.  For trouble-shooting, you might have to consult someone else!  We were blessed it all went so smoothly and he transitioned quickly, because we needed to get the crib ready for Gwen - and Wyatt was perfectly happy in his toddler bed.  We'll see if the transition goes as well for Gwen in a couple years!
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Emily Powell said...

Good tips! Thanks! I plan on keeping G in her crib for a LONG time though! Haha!

Unknown said...

This is so handy for me! We just moved my son Tucker to his toddler bed, and believe it or not, NAPTIME is the hardest time for us! He constantly wants to get up!

Just started following! :)

Natalie said...

We did pretty much this exacat same thing and it was a total fail :/ we could tell she just was not ready yet so we were ok with that and just bought another crib for the baby instead. How old was he when you moved him?

Rachel and John said...

I just started writing up a post on this! Our story is a bit different since we were mostly co-sleeping before we moved him, so he was used to a normal bed already. Thanks for sharing!

Heather @ Simple Wives said...

I love these tips! We are needing to switch to a toddler bed pretty soon since we had an older placement than we thought we would have. Haha! ;-)

Lyndsey said...

How nice y'all's transition went so well! Ours has been a different story to say the least :)

Brittney said...

These are great tips! I would also add that it's okay to find yourself frustrated those first few weeks - we certainly were, mostly because of the sheer number of times we had to return John to bed. But eventually life does return to normal and a 'big kid' bed is such a great gift for a growing toddler:)

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