Newton Baby

How To Convert Crib To Toddler Bed: A Step-By-Step Guide

When you become a parent, you don’t realize all the changes that happen during your little one’s first few years, including moving from a crib to a toddler bed. In fact, you might be wondering just how this process works. That’s where we come in.

We’re here to help you through the entire process, from a step-by-step guide to tips on how to make it a smooth transition.

Plus, we’ll give you a great crib mattress option for your little one that can grow with them through the toddler years!

Crib Vs. Convertible Crib

A standalone crib is just your basic, traditional crib that doesn’t come with any extras. A convertible crib (three-in-one or four-in-one cribs) comes with all the bells and whistles, like a changing table, and drawers or shelves.

In addition, with convertible cribs, you can convert them into toddler beds when your little one outgrows their crib.

Obviously, traditional cribs cost less than convertible cribs. You are, however, having to buy extra pieces of furniture, like the changing table and dresser, that you wouldn’t have to buy if you were using a convertible crib.

If you’re using a traditional crib, you will also have to purchase a separate toddler bed in a few years. Remember convertible beds can change into a toddler bed, but don’t try to turn a crib into a toddler bed if it wasn’t intended for that purpose.

With both a traditional crib and convertible crib, you will have to purchase a safe, comfortable mattress. Our Crib Mattress is breathable and firm, making it the perfect complement to whichever crib you choose!

When To Transition Your Child To A Toddler Bed

 Toddler playing next to a converted crib

There’s no right (or wrong!) answer to when it’s time to transition your little one to a toddler bed. However, children are usually ready to sleep in a toddler bed anywhere between 18 months to three and a half years.

But it really depends on the size and temperament of your child. So, even if you have multiple children and one child was ready for a toddler bed at 18 months, this doesn’t mean that your other child will follow suit...and that’s okay!

Here are some giveaways that your little one is ready for a toddler bed:

Note: If your little one is climbing out of the crib, it’s unsafe for them to stay in that sleep space. While they might seem like a gymnast and able to maneuver their body over the side, they could accidentally hurt themselves.

The good news is you can still use the same mattress when you convert their crib to a toddler bed! The Newton Baby Crib Mattress is designed to last through the toddler years and is a safe, hypoallergenic option for your little one.

How To Convert Crib To Toddler Bed

 A crib that can be converted to a toddler bed

Before you take the plunge and turn your child’s crib into a toddler bed, check around your house to see if you already have the conversion pieces stashed away (some three-in-one or four-in-one cribs already come with a conversion kit).

If you don’t already have the pieces to turn your child’s crib into a more comfortable and age-appropriate sleep space, you’ll have to purchase a conversion kit that transforms the crib into the toddler bed. It usually comes with hardware, two bed rails, and four slats.

Remember to always follow the instructions provided with the crib, and parts and instructions may vary with each conversion kit.

Step-By-Step Guide

  1. Buy a universal guardrail kit or conversion kit specific to your little one’s crib (or gather the conversion pieces you already have on hand).
  2. Remove the crib mattress and set it aside.
  3. Remove one side of the crib.
  4. Make sure the mattress is set at the lowest setting.
  5. Attach brackets to the bedrail.
  6. Place the rail wherever you want it to go.
  7. Secure rail to bed.

Considerations After Converting Crib To Toddler Bed

 Nursery with a crib that can be converted into a toddler bed

Be Mindful Of Bed Placement

When setting up your little one’s new bed, be mindful of its placement. Keep the bed away from windows, lamps, cords, and electrical outlets.

You’ll also want to place the headboard against the wall. Be sure to leave enough room on both sides of the bed so your little one doesn’t get caught in between the bed and the wall if they happen to roll off, which leads us to our next point.

Surround Bed With Pillows

Some kids adjust to their new bed right away and others take a little bit of time. Getting used to the open bed rail is part of the adjustment process, so be prepared just in case your little one rolls off the bed.

For example, surround their bed with pillows and blankets on the floor just in case they do fall off. The good news is their bed should be at the lowest setting, so it shouldn’t be that far of a fall to cause injury.

Also, keep an extra set of Organic Cotton Sheets and an Extra Crib Mattress Cover. Toddlerhood is usually when potty training takes place. Accidents happen, so keep these extras on hand just in case you have to do a quick change in the middle of the night.

This is where having a completely washable mattress comes in handy!

Check Screws

Even after you’ve securely placed and tightened every screw, it’s important to do a regular check on your toddler’s bed. Observe the foundation to make sure it’s sturdy by giving it a good shake and lift. Then, check for any loose screws that may need to be tightened.

After all, the toddler bed has to endure all the wear and tear of your toddler, like all those times they jump on the bed!

Tips For A Smooth Transition

 Mom learned how to convert crib to toddler bed

We know that converting a crib to a toddler bed isn't an easy process and neither is the transition for your child. We have a few tips to (hopefully!) help make it a smooth transition.

Keep The Same Bedtime Routine

Whatever you do, don’t change your little one’s bedtime routine…at least for now. Transitioning to a toddler bed is already a big change for your child; don’t throw anything else into the mix until they’ve fully adjusted to their new bed.

Also, hold off the transition if other changes are taking place — parents separating, one parent going back to work, potty training, or anything else that has disrupted their “normal”.

Tip: Give your child one change at a time, and then when they’ve adjusted, you can start easing in another one.

Reevaluate What Needs Baby Proofing

You’re an expert babyproofer by now. You’ve learned the ins and outs of your child’s behaviors, and you know what draws their attention. As always, electrical outlets need to be covered and cords need to be out of their reach.

But now that your toddler has free reign in their room (insert scared-face emoji), it’s time to reevaluate what else needs to be baby-proofed, or better yet, toddler-proofed!

If you know your little one is going to be tempted to play with certain toys, keep them out of their reach or in the closet with a doorknob cover. It may also be time to place a doorknob cover over their bedroom door so they don’t constantly open and close it or go somewhere they shouldn’t.

Now is not the time to throw out or hand down your baby monitor. Save it! It will definitely come in handy when you need to keep an eye on your little one to see if they’re getting out of their bed and playing. You’ll know when it’s time to intervene and redirect your child back to bed.

Let Your Toddler Lead The Way

Unless you absolutely have to transition your little one from their crib to a toddler bed, like if you’re welcoming another baby, don’t force it. Let them lead the way.

They’ll let you know when they’re ready, so keep our list of hints in mind to know when the right time is to transition them to a toddler bed.

Growing Up

 White crib in a nursery

It’s a bittersweet moment moving your little one from a crib to a toddler bed. They’ll give you signs and let you know that they’re ready, and when the time does come, it’s important to know just how to convert a crib to a toddler bed.

Follow our step-by-step guide and always read the instructions provided with the conversion kit or universal guardrail kit. Remember: only do this on cribs that can be turned into a toddler bed.

Consider the bed placement, surround the bed with pillows, and check screws regularly after taking the plunge of turning the crib into a toddler bed.

Also, keep your little one’s routine consistent, reevaluate what needs to be baby-proofed, and let your toddler lead the way. These tips will help make this a smooth transition.

And whether your little one is using a crib or toddler bed, they can still use the same mattress! Our Essential Crib Mattress gives your baby what they need and gives you what you’re looking for — breathability and comfort!

So hold on to your Newton Baby mattress and embrace this time because your little one is growing up!