Ask the Moms: When Did You Transition to a Toddler Bed?

As you know, we’re expecting our 2nd baby in October. (!!!) And, obviously, I’m not going to buy another crib because that would just be ridiculous. We plan to move Lucas to a bed this summer, probably sometime around August, so he will have plenty of time to get used to it before the little one arrives in October.

Our babies usually sleep with us or in our room for the first few months, so by the time the new baby is in the crib Lucas will probably be more around 22-24 months. Or longer, I have no idea for sure, but at any rate, Lucas will eventually be in his own bed and the baby will be in the crib.

Β I have no idea how I’m going to teach him to stay on the bed… but we’ll figure that out later. πŸ™‚
How old were your kids when you moved them out of the crib and into a toddler bed?

Did you use an actual toddler bed or a twin size bed?

We’re most likely going to just use a twin bed, and maybe add some sort of safety feature to it, because I see no point in going from a crib, to a toddler bed, and then to a twin bed. I think it would be easier to just skip a step!

Published by Samantha Mellen

Certified personal trainer & health coach helping women transform their lives through fitness, abundant mindset coaching and internal peace. Mom of two boys, living life in Alaska.

34 thoughts on “Ask the Moms: When Did You Transition to a Toddler Bed?

  1. We decided to buy a set of bunk beds because the 'top' bunk already has railings most the way around and will be a good transition bed. But you can also remove it when they are older. It seems a better investment than a toddler bed then a larger bed.

  2. Harper slept in the bassinet of a pack n play until she was almost 5 months before we moved her to her crib in her own room. We plan on doing the same timeline with baby #2 so when we move him or her to Harper's crib, Harper will be almost 2. We're going to get a toddler sized bed for her (anything bigger won't fit in the room they'll share) and if we need to add one of those mesh railings we will.

  3. My nephew moved to a toddler bed at around 14 months, due to necessity. His toddler bed has a short rail on one side (other is against the wall), and I don't think his mum ever worried too much about him “staying” in the bed. She still put him to sleep, so when she left the room he was fast asleep in bed.

    If they get out of bed when they shouldn't, you can just send them back to bed. It's the same thing you'll be doing when they're 4 or 5 anyway!

    I think my sister's oldest went from crib to twin size bed, but it was several years ago so I'm not certain.

  4. Lily went from her crib to a twin size bed when she 20 months. We bought it when she was 18 months and started letting her play on it and nap in it every once in a while. Unfortunately, she pretty much quit napping when we made the switch. We only switched her because #2 was due in a couple of months and we wanted to make sure Lily was settled in her new room before the baby came. Holly is 16 months now and I don't see us moving her anytime soon. She will also go straight to a twin, but probably not until sometime after she turns 2.

  5. We put our daughter in a full size bed right around her second birthday. We had mesh bed rails up on both sides and had NO problems with her getting out of bed. She's 3 1/2 now and still won't get out of bed without us coming up to get her. πŸ™‚

  6. Not having to deal with a child getting out of bed was (and IS) very important to us so our kids stay in their cribs for a LONG time.

    Our kids are 11 days shy of being two years apart & we opted to get a second crib (both bought used so they weren't that expensive)

    We took the railing off of Sam's bed when he turned 4 and he slept in the converted toddler bed until the day before his 5th birthday. I don't like the idea of a younger child being able to get up and walk around in the middle of the night since our bedrooms are upstairs. You have to consider gates so they don't venture near the stairs in the dark.

    I know I'm probably the only one who's kids are that old, but I'm OK with that. It works for us.

  7. Samantha,

    We had to do the same thing at the SAME age. We put Hannah in a toddler bed at 17-18 months. the bed we used had a headboard. so imagine this with me. we put the bed in the corner and turned the bed so the head board was now the footboard. then we used a good sized rail to block in the 4th side. so she was blocked in on all sides. it was a smooth transition b/c she felt like she was in a big girl bed but we also didn't have to worry about her getting up.

    She stayed that way for awhile. We tried taking the rail off a few times and sometimes she did ok and sometimes she got out of bed. one time she got up at nap time, babbled at her bedroom door til she eventually fell asleep on the floor.

    we made the final switch when we moved. She was 28 months. it was still a toddler bed but no railing. sometimes she would knock on her door after putting her to bed and sometimes she wouldn't. After about 2-3 months, she would go to bed just fine. Now, no knocking or getting out of bed. She'll be 3 in May.

    That, for us, was a great way to transition. Good luck!


  8. This is the same question I stressed about when we where having our 2nd. All of our kids are exactly 25 mo apart and each kiddo got the crib until they where about 2 1/2 then a twin bed. by then the next babe needed to have their own room and the big kid was so excited about the big kid bed they could care less who was getting their crib. we had a small bunk bed and we used the top bunk on the floor turned around so there was a rail all the way around. I even put his bumber from his crib on and he didn't even know he could get out of the bed :-)…hope this helps! Love your blog!!

  9. We just moved the crib into Clara's own room. Nightweaning–now that's a totally different issue. Anyway, we used the bassinet with her (a $15 one we picked up at a mennonite garage sale–not kidding) for 5 months, so I am thinking that we have until our second baby is a couple of months old to make that transition. Clara will be 2.5 by then. So, we'll see.

    I think that the crib is a security place for them. I would say that if they start to climb out if of it, you might want to move a baby out sooner, but I would say at least 2 years in a crib is a safe bet. That's my unexperience two cents!

  10. I agree with leaving a toddler in a crib for as long as possible. Two of mine were three when we moved them to a twin bed (I thought a toddler bed was a silly step, too). Another was 2 1/2, but began climbing out of the crib on her own. No problems with any of the transitions.

    My 20 month old still slept in her crib in my room until she got evicted due to the new baby brother. πŸ™‚ I borrowed another crib for her to put in her new room (shared with a big sister) because NO WAY is she ready for a twin bed. And neither am I! So, I'll still have a baby in a crib in my room (or in my bed!) until he's ready to move into his big brother's bunk bed (probably not for another 2 years, at least!)

  11. 13 months on a twin mattress on the floor. She had crawled out of her crib since 11 months so I was less dangerous that way!

    Her bedroom door is close during the night to prevent escaping!!!

  12. I think we'll do a twin bed for Caleb when we get there…probably around 2. We co-sleep now and probably will until he is around 2 (maybe not that long) By then hopefully he'll be ready to sleep in a twin bed on his own. Hopefully! πŸ™‚

    I think we'll do a twin bed without a frame for awhile, until he gets used to it…so it's lower to the ground.

  13. I think I'm agreeing with all of you that leaving them in the crib as long is possible is best. and easier on the parents! πŸ™‚ It's hard to say how long the baby will sleep with us, but I'm guessing AT LEAST 3 months, probably more like 6 or so, so Lucas will be close to or at 2.

  14. I got a toddler bed for my son when he was three. He didn't sleep much in it because he said it was too small. So when his friend got upgraded to bunkbeds, we got his twin and now my son sleeps in a twin.

    I say — get what you can find cheap or free.

  15. We used a twin bed and bought some side rails that are portable… that way we can take them with us when we go and stay at our friends or parents for vacations and holidays. They have worked out great so far.

  16. Just before our son turned 2 we bought him a twin size bed to put in his room so he could see it and lay on it. Than when he was about 27 months we moved him into the twin bed. We just put the boxspring and mattress on the floor so it wasnt really high up. I didnt put anything on the sides and he has never rolled out of it. It took a bit for him to get used to sleeping in his big boy bed, but was excited that he got to sleep on sheets he helped pick out! I never even really thought about getting a toddler bed because i thought it would be better in the long run for him to just adjust to the twin…

  17. My kids are 13 months apart so we had to buy two cribs. At about 18 months my oldest started climbing out of the crib even on its lowest setting, so we converted it into a toddler bed since it had that feature. He is now 2 1/2 and still sleeps in it. We put a gate in front of the door to his room so he doesn't wander the house at night, but he is an early riser and likes to play in his room for a bit before we get up so I don't mind. My daughter is 18 months now and still is in the crib. Until she attempts to escape or until baby #3 comes we will leave her in the crib! (Although we might take Aidan's bed and put it back to a crib and get him a twin.)

  18. I moved my first son into his toddler bed at about 2 years and 3 months. I moved my second son to a twin size bed (the bottom bunk) at 2 1/2. We have a bed rail on it. Everything is going really well. I suppose I would look at it all very differently if we had stairs in our house. Since we are in a one-story house and I don't have rambunctious children, that makes it all a whole lot easier.

  19. we bought a convertible crib for Lauren and will for our boy due in July. We took the crib rails off Lauren's bed not too long before she turned two. We weined from the paci and then switched to a big girl bed when it started getting hard for me to get her in and out with my growing belly. The first several weeks were hard. We had to basically sleep train her all over again but now she does great, you just have to be patient and stick with it.

  20. I am having this same issue right now as I don't know what I'm going to do with him. I am thinking of converting his crib to a toddler day bed style when I start getting to big to put him down into the crib. And getting the same kind of crib for the new baby although we also don't really use the crib until the baby is 4-6 months old.

    By that time Xander will be closer to 2.5 and they will both be sharing a room. Hopefully one will not keep the other one up. lol. So not really funny.

    We have a gate at the nursery door mostly to keep the dogs out of the room but it also can keep the baby in and his room is 110% childproofed so if he gets up in the middle of the night and plays its ok.

  21. We moved my daughter out of the crib at 25 months old. She climbed out and fell and I was scared that she would do it again. I had heard that the transition is best and taken the easiest if you put the bed in the same spot as the crib was. My daughters room is small so we just went with the toddler bed. It was great and she got to keep her crib bedding. A little more comfortable since she was used to it. She did great! When we move to a bigger house in the next year were going to get her a twin.

  22. I have a blog post in drafts about my experience with this since just this past week we transitioned Lizzie who will be 3 in June into her own bed.

    Since David was born a year ago, we had a family bed – Lizzie was 22 months when he was born and never slept in a crib, always with us. Finally Josh and I decided that 3 years old was a fine time to move her to her own bed and she is doing great! It is so funny how much room we have in our King size bed with her out of it. And David is 11.5 months old and still co sleeping. He refuses the crib too and I can't handle cry it out.

  23. My babies are 3 & 2….both still in their cribs. They love sleeping in the same room so they can chat with each other, I think they feel more secure. Anyway, I don't know when we will ever take the cribs out, they would never stay in a regular bed, and maybe would keep each other awake, or be mischeivious together! Luckily they are little for their age….so they have plenty of room in their cribs.
    I do think when we switch we will skip the toddler beds and go straight to bunk-beds or even a twin size bed (like a day-bed) with a pull out underneath (called a trundle unit)…I might worry they would fall out of a top bunk…
    Good luck, little Lucas is so cute!!

  24. Our oldest went to a toddler bed when she was about 18 months. She climbed out of her crib. We had a convertible crib that went to a toddler bed and is now a full-size bed. We have the convertible beds because we always wanted a bed big enough that the kids could sleep in them together. Also, Grandma sleeps with them when she babysits over night.

    Miss H, who is 2, is still in her crib and I plan to keep there as long as I can πŸ™‚ She sleeps on a cot at daycare and does just fine, but having two that roam at night does not sound exciting to me!

    I would say that if your crib does not convert or you plan to use it for the new little baby, then go straight to a twin. No reason to spend money on something that is temporary.

  25. We put Logan in a toddler bed around a year and a half. He hated his crib so much all of a sudden. he'd scream anytime we got near it. he slept perfectly in the toddler bed for a couple weeks then we were idiots and redecorated his room, so we had his bed in our room next to our bed for a couple weeks, and he ended up in our bed and it took FOREVER to get him out. He started sleeping in his own room once we got the “big-boy bed” which is a twin. I don't know if the toddler bed was a dumb idea or not, but since we bought it, we'll probably end up using it once jordan starts trying to escape his crib or whatever. i would say skip it and just go for the big bed with some safety add-ons like rails or whatever.

  26. Our oldest started out sleeping in a trundle bed (so that if she DID fall out, it was a short fall to the ground). We put our twins in “big girl” beds when they were about 16 months… they were twin beds with removable railings. So far, so good πŸ™‚

  27. My son started climbing out of his crib at 12 months. We tried everything, and at 15 months, his pediatrician told us that we needed to move him to a bed, because it was a safety issue. We converted his crib to a toddler bed, and the transition went really well. Shortly after he turned 2, we moved him to a twin bed, because we needed the crib for our daughter. My daughter just turned 3, and is still in the crib. She prefers it, and has never climbed out. I'll keep her there until she's ready to move out. We have no immediate plans to TTC, and we're going to buy a new crib when the time comes.

  28. Oh, and if you decide to go with a bed, gating off the door to his room is a great idea. That's what we did when my son made the switch. That way, you don't have to worry about him roaming through the house on his own!

  29. We bought a convertible crib knowing that it transitions to a toddler bed and then to a full size bed later on. My daughter is 20 months and still in a crib and I am proud of it. She started climbing out a couple of months ago so I got a crib tent made of mesh material and swear it is the best invention ever made. She still loves sleep ing her crib and my hubby and I still get alone time in the evenings without having to bed train yet. When she is developmentally ready to understand what staying in her own bed means, we will transition to a toddler bed and remove the front piece and add the toddler rail. Our next child I plan to buy another convertible crib.

  30. We put our daughter in a full size bed right around her second birthday…We had mesh bed rails up on both sides and had NO problems with her getting out of bed. She's 3 1/2 now and still won't get out of bed without us coming up to get her.

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