How To Transition Your Child to a Toddler Bed

how to transition to a toddler bed

The first few years of your child’s life go by so quickly, don’t they? Seems like just yesterday you were bringing them home from the hospital and now here you are wondering how to transition to a toddler bed!

As nervous as you and your little one may feel, changing from a crib to a big girl or big boy bed doesn’t have to be difficult or stressful.

In this article, we discuss the best way to transition to a toddler bed and give you tips for making the process as smooth as possible. Let’s get to it!

Table of contents

How to transition to a toddler bed

how to transition to toddler bed

1) Discuss the transition with your child.

Springing a major change on a toddler out of the blue can be traumatic and make the transition to a toddler bed much more difficult and stressful.

Instead, several weeks or months before the transition, start discussing with your child what’s going to happen.

Show them your “big kid bed” and talk about how everyone in the family — even the dog — sleeps in a bed rather than a crib. You can even read or make up bedtime stories about sleeping in a toddler bed to drum up excitement for the change.

Discussing the transition to a toddler bed with your child before it happens can help prepare them for when things start to look different in their room.

2) Look at beds together.

In addition to talking about what’s to come, take your toddler shopping and look at beds together.

Point out the pretty colors and draw their attention to all the space they’ll have on their new bed. Show them how they’ll be able to get in and out of bed themselves because you’re taking down the rails.

If you go to a store in person, and the store allows it, you can even let them try getting in and out of a toddler bed all by themself.

3) Decide on the type of bed you want.

a transition bed for to transition to toddler bed

To make your little one’s transition to a toddler bed easier, you might consider starting them out in a convertible bed.

Convertible beds, like the Newton Baby collection of convertible cribs, make it easy to change the mattress height within the crib itself to make room for a growing baby and then to reconfigure the sides so that your toddler can get in and out of bed themself.

Staying with the familiarity of the same sleep space — just reconfiguring it to go from newborn to baby to toddler — can help make things easier when it’s time to figure out how to transition to a toddler bed.

4) Get the right mattress.

When you think about how to transition to a toddler bed, don’t forget to consider the mattress. The right mattress can make it much easier for your little one to feel comfortable with their new sleeping arrangements.

Our collection of mattresses are 100% breathable, 100% washable, and are just the right level of comfort, support, and air circulation for a great night’s sleep.

5) Purchase big kid bed sheets.

A big kid bed needs big kid bed sheets — and the softer and more breathable the better.

Our breathable, organic sheets are made from super soft cotton muslin and feature a snug fit for any crib mattress that you might use when you first transition to a toddler bed.

They also come in a variety of colors and prints so you can customize their sleep area to your — and their — liking.

6) Give your toddler some choices.

As you start to plan how to transition to a toddler bed, give your little one a bit of choice in what happens.

If you’re buying a brand new bed frame, pick out two colors that you like and then ask your toddler which one they prefer for their big kid bed.

You can also ask for their input when it comes time to pick out new big girl or big boy sheets, pillowcases, and blankets.

7) Place the new bed where the crib was.

To make the switch from crib to toddler bed as seamless as possible, place the new bed frame where their crib used to be (or as close as possible).

Doing so can help provide a bit of consistency amid the flurry of changes that come with learning how to transition to a toddler bed.

It can also be helpful to stick with your little one’s crib blanket for a while — even if it’s too small — as a way to provide comfort and familiarity in a new sleeping arrangement.

8) Motivate your toddler with rewards.

When it’s time for your toddler’s first night in their big kid bed, implement a reward system to motivate them in the various responsibilities that come with growing up and to get them in the habit of staying in bed.

For example, you might create a chart and give out stickers as positive reinforcement for such things as not getting out of bed during the night and going back to bed without a fuss if they do get up.

You can also give out a sticker for every night they sleep in their new bed even if they get up during the night or complain when you take them back to their room. That way they do see a bit of reward even if the transition isn’t as smooth as you’d like.

Tips for a smooth transition to a toddler bed

dad trying to learn how to transition to toddler bed

Don’t rush.

When considering how to transition to a toddler bed (and when to do it), don’t rush.

There’s nothing wrong with waiting until your toddler hits the three-year mark if they’re sleeping soundly every night and they still fit in their crib.

Remember, it’s all about getting a good night’s sleep — not just making changes because your little one reaches a certain age.

Prepare the room.

If your toddler plays in their room every day, you may have already done this, but it’s a good idea to go over it again when you give them the freedom of sleeping in a big kid bed.

To prepare the room for your little one’s new sleeping arrangements:

  • Anchor tall furniture to the wall
  • Cover all electrical outlets
  • Raise or remove wall decor
  • Check blinds for loose cords

You may also want to install a door alarm that will notify you if your toddler opens the door to their room.

Consider a bed with removable rails.

Some toddlers may go right from a crib to a bed that’s open on all sides. Others may have a hard time adjusting to the new open concept.

To make things easier for them and you, consider a toddler bed with removable rails (either half-size or full-size).

Half-size rails — those that only cover half the length of the bed — are a good option because they provide a bit of safety and security while still allowing your little one to get in and out of bed themselves.

Once you and they feel comfortable in their big girl or big boy bed, you can remove the rails completely.

Maintain a consistent bedtime routine.

Throughout the process of learning how to transition to a toddler bed, do your best to maintain a consistent bedtime routine for you and your child.

Sticking to a predictable set of steps that lead up to bedtime can provide your toddler with a sense of security that can make it easier to get used to the big changes in their life.

Pad the floor around their bed.

Newton X Figgy Play Couch to help transition to toddler bed

The first few nights in a big kid bed can be nerve-wracking — for you and your toddler. But you can both rest easy if you cover the floor around the bed with padding.

For example, the cushions in the Newton X Figgy Play Couch make the perfect floor covering to ensure that, if your toddler does roll out of their big girl or big boy bed, they won’t get hurt.

Test the toddler bed before first use.

Regardless of the type of toddler bed you choose, be sure to inspect and test the frame before use.

Go back through and tighten all of the screws. Then, look for sharp edges and points that you may need to cover. Finally, lift the bed off the floor slightly and give it a good shake.

This will help you determine if the frame will stand up to the wear and tear that only toddlers can dish out.

Have a plan if they get out of bed.

Finally, have a plan for what you’re going to do if your toddler gets out of bed in the middle of the night.

It could be something as simple as walking them back to bed, tucking them in, and leaving the room. At first, you may have to do that several times a night. But with consistency, you’ll be able to train your little one to stay in bed through the night.

A good night’s sleep in any bed

toddler bed with a newton mattress

Learning how to transition to a toddler bed can be an exciting time — for you and your big girl or boy — but it may take some getting used to.

You can expect some speed bumps (and maybe even some tears) along the way, so be patient and give your toddler plenty of time to adjust to their big kid bed.

If you stay consistent with their bedtime routine and ensure your toddler’s safety with Newton Baby Kids’ Twin Mattress or Essential Crib Mattress, your little one will have a good night’s sleep in any bed!

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