Time for a toddler bed?: He Says/ She Says

She says: “I think it’s time we change her crib to a toddler bed. She’s tall and old enough.”

He says: “I don’t think that would go so well. She will just run out of the room when she doesn’t want to go to sleep.”

She says: “… You have a point.”

What say you?

Do toddlers learn quickly that they need to stay in their room? I’d feel bad shutting the door on her (though with a nightlight she could open it). At night time it won’t be a problem but nap time… That’s a different story. Then again there’s no real rush. It’s not like we’ll have two babies in cribs.

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  1. I shut the door on my kids. And put a child proof knob on the inside of the door. But I’ve shut the door on their room since they were little, so it’s just the way it is.

    I was more concerned with them staying in bed. For the first week, the end up sleeping on the floor (my first on a pile of toys/stuffed animals, my second in front of the door since he doesn’t really have toys in his room).

    I also moved them before 18 months. Young enough to not really realize they CAN get out of bed at first and definitely not old enough to open the door.

    I have also used a gate in the doorway if I wanted the door open for some reason but didn’t want them leaving the room.

  2. Cant. Even. Imagine. My baby girl is 7months & sleeps in our bedroom because I cant stand the thought of her being all the way at the other end of the house. So she hasnt ever really slept in her own room for more than a nap…which means she hasnt ever really slept in her crib (sleeps in pnp). They just grow up way too fast! I will cry my eyes out when the time does comes to put her in HER room in HER crib. Cant imagine how weepy I’ll be when its time for a big girl bed! Good luck to you!

  3. We moved V into a big girl bed sometime after she turned 18 month. Once she saw it she wanted to sleep in it. At first, I would lay in bed with her until she fell asleep. I did that for about 2 weeks. Then I decided it was enough time for her to adjust. I’d read her books, say goodnight and leave. We don’t shut the door but we make sure the lights are out except for whatever room we’re in. The first night I did that was the hardest. She cried and would come out of her room and I’d put her right back on her bed, kiss her and walk away. I did it about 20 times.

    The hardest part was not letting her see how funny it was. I kept laughing but then I would get frustrated when the hubby would acknowledge her and say, “Oh… come to daddy. What’s wrong?” She finally gave up and fell asleep. Now we don’t have any problems. She may cry because she doesn’t want to go to sleep, but she doesn’t leave her bed or the room.

  4. We left ours in their crib until they could climb out and we worried for their safety. My DD was almost 2.5. My son figured it out a lot earlier. He was 20 mos. I do shut the door and put the child lock on the inside too. I have a fear of them getting out in the middle of the night and getting into something. I have good reason… there’s a back story. My DD did better transitioning than my son and he’s my better sleeper (mostly). I think her being older helped.

  5. We transitioned our daughter into her toddler bed around 2 out of necessity. My husband has neck surgery and would not be able to lift her into the crib for 6-8 weeks. I was freaked out that she would not stay in her bed but to my surprise we never had a problem. In fact she would not get out of bed without us coming to get her. She will say “Mama or daddy Where are you, I can’t see you” and that is our cue to go tell her she can get up. It was the funniest thing! She is now 4 1/2 and sometimes STILL calls us to get her up in the morning. Though now she will get to play in her room from time to time and will get up to go potty. For us transitioning from the crib to the toddler bed was the easiest transition of her life!! πŸ™‚

  6. I would keep her in as long as possible. πŸ™‚ we moved at 2 and ended up having to put the child lock on the inside of the door so he wouldn’t get out. Pretty sure before we did that, one night he got up around 50 times before we did that. It took a good 8 months before we could take the lock off during the day. We just now took it off for naps and he is 3 years 4 months.

  7. We knew it was time to convert our 22 month old’s crib to a toddler bed when she could climb out of it on the lowest rung. I don’t shut her door – just crack it and she has a moon to sun nightlight that helps her know when it’s time to get up/go to bed which we’ve been using since she was about 16 months. We have a hard time getting her to fall asleep in her toddler bed unless one of us sings to her but if she falls asleep in our arms/our bed we just move her to her crib. The conversion also coincided with her potty training (we couldn’t keep her in a diaper – she kept taking it off to use her potty) and weaning so I think with all these big changes she wants to cling to us more. We used to be able to put her down in her crib and she fall asleep on her own but now it’s challenging.

    1. That’s one thing that happened to us that I’ve worried about. She jumped out one night and was knocking on her door. It took us forever to realize it was her (until we finally heard the knocking and close crying). I took her fluffy bumpers out and that helped though. Normally she doesn’t cry or stand up at bed time though, so I hope a different look to her bed won’t change things much.

  8. I knew it was time to say bye to the crib when the kids starting jumping out. My first started jumping out at 20 months and the second at 15 months. I tried the toddler bed with the first and didn’t like the look so we got big girl beds for them. I didn’t have any problems with their young age. I just explained to them that they had a new big girl princess bed. They were excited about being big girls. In the mornings they would wake up and play which I didn’t mind. Nap times were harder as they got older with them getting out of the bed. It just took a little discipline. Now they are in bunk beds at age 5 and 3 without any issues. I don’t shut the door to their room because I like to be able to sneak in without them hearing the door open.

  9. We went straight from co-sleeping (in his crib with front off & pushed right up against our bed) to a big boy bed in his own room when he was 2 yrs 3 months. I changed the crib to a toddler bed expecting some nights in our room, but we never used it. When he did come in our room, I would take him back to his bed. He would still wake for milk at night, but gradually got out of that habit. Now he sleeps 9-10 hours straight every night most nights.

    That said, I still lay with him until he goes to sleep and he does still call out for me sometimes when he wakes overnight. The rule when going to sleep is he has to be laying down to go to sleep (not jumping or bouncing or talking), otherwise I leave the room. If he gets out of bed after I leave the room, I shut his door. Since he HATES that, he stays in bed.

    Part of me wishes I would have transitioned earlier, but I don’t know that we would have been as successful at the transition if it was earlier. I don’t think he was ready at 18 mos.

  10. I say leave her in the crib as long as humanly possible. If she’s not endangering herself by trying to climb out, and you don’t need the crib for another babe, don’t bother. Switching to a toddler bed makes naps harder, makes bedtime riskier… My two year old just moved into a big girl bed because we needed the crib for her new baby brother. She does fine at night, but she doesn’t nap anymore, at least not consistently. If we hadn’t needed the crib, I for sure wouldn’t have switched her over, even at 2.

  11. I must be the ONLY paranoid mother posting, LOL! I have never closed my children’s door all the way, and they are 11, 6 & 5. I always hear those stories of parents waking up to finding their children missing after having put them to bed and I don’t want to be one of those… See paranoid, haha!

    Anyways my oldest was in a crib until he learned to crawl out of it, he was 3…

    My middle daughter was in a crib until she about 2, but she also slept in our room until she was like 18 months or so (we lived in a 2 bedroom, and we didn’t think it was a great idea for the 5 year old to be in the room with his baby sister… no sleep…).

    Our youngest was a different story, she was in a crib until she was like 18 months, but to be honest she never slept in her room until she was about 2 1/2… she was our co-sleeper. I was ECSTATIC when she finally slept in her room ALL night, LOL!

    Basically do what works for you and your family. For us it was to keep them in the crib until they figured out how to get out πŸ™‚

  12. now i feel like the neglectful mom…Skyler’s been in her converted bed w/ the safety rail i installed since 14 months lol. she’s 17 mos now & very tall & has been able to climb over the crib bars since she was 12 mos, so i was terrified she’d hurt herself. we live w/ my mom for now so her bed is in my room, but since the beginning when it’s time for her to go to bed, i turn her tv to nick jr. so she has light & entertainment if she’s not sleepy just yet, then i close the door & go do whatever it is i need to do. i check on her periodically of course, but she stays put unless she has a nightmare or something in which case she’ll knock on the door to let me know she’s up. then there are the rare occasions when she just decides she wants to sleep in mommy’s bed & i’ll find her covered up in my bed with the “mote” as she calls it (child loves to control the tv) lol.

  13. We still co-sleep since the Mr works nights about five days a week. However, once we move to a bigger place Moo will move to her own room. It’s going to be bitter sweet because I’ve gotten used to us all being in the same room. We’ll also transition JJ to a toddler bed because he’s getting to the stage where he likes to try to slide over the edge of the bed and our bed is just too high off the ground for him.

    We’re getting saddle style doors for their rooms though. That way I can leave the top open and shut the bottom so they can’t get out. My fear with a closing them in using a traditional door is that they might climb on something and get hurt and I won’t hear it. I’m a heavy sleeper. I think that if you’re not having issues with her sleeping in the crib then why fix something that’s not broken?

  14. We’re planning to start Emma in her first bed around Christmastime, a few months after she turns two. If she were trying to climb out of her crib then we would probably start sooner, but she hasn’t yet. We figured Christmas would be a good time to go all out and redecorate her big girl room, making it fun for her. One thing we did decide is to skip the toddler bed–essentially a crib mattress in a bed frame–and jump right to a twin bed but to start by placing her mattress on the floor. This should help calm our fears of her falling out of bed and hurting herself until she’s fully trained to stay in bed! πŸ™‚

  15. We bought a twin bed for our daughter (22 months) but haven’t used it yet. My son should be born next week, but he’ll be cosleeping with us, either in the bed or bassinet, for probably the next six months so we’re in no hurry to make the switch. I like being able to plop her down and not worry about repeatedly putting her back in bed. Sometimes she naps with me in our bed, but in general she views big beds as giant tumbling pads for jumping and bouncing. I’m guessing the transition will be rough.

  16. I transitioned my son at 13 months to the converted crib toddler bed (now before I sound like a horrible parent, our crib was one of the ones in the major drop-side crib recall and I got paranoid), and he just kept getting out and sleeping on the twin bed we had in his room since birth, so we just took the crib down a couple months later. For a while, he couldn’t turn the door knob, so we just shut the door and left the monitor on. That ship sailed right around age 2. So we took the knob off and flipped it around so the lock was on the outside. Bonus: he can’t lock himself inside his room.

    But eventually he stopped trying. There were some nights we found him asleep on the floor, but they were few and far between. Now he’s past 3 and he stays in his room until it’s “bright sunny out”. We have a potty chair in there for him, a radio on all the time instead of a noise machine, and a TV (up on the wall) that he knows how to use the remote for if he really gets bored. There are books and a few quiet imagination toys too (some dinosaurs and a pirate ship). We’ve never looked back.

  17. We have kept all of ours in the crib as long as possible. Our oldest we switched into a toddler bed around 21 months right after our 2nd was born. Our 2nd was almost 2.5 when we switched him over… he could have climbed out long before that but he liked his crib space but once he didn’t learn how to climb back in once he learned how to climb out so nap time was spent in front of his door. Our almost 2 year old is still sort of in her crib. She knows how to climb out(and does everyday)but she will stay in her crib till after her nap is over and then climbs out. It’s more of a lack of space for the extra crib side… she climbs out of her crib onto her brothers bunk bed (scary..yes but she has never called…knock on wood) and would and could just climb up the ladder anyway so we just let it be. We do close their door (all 3 are in one room) because our little monkey girl likes to try and go adventuring at night if she wakes up.

  18. Move her into a toddler bed with a railing around it. She is old and tall enough for it. The earlier you make the change the easier it will be. It will be rough for the first couple of days but it gets easier. She can’t stay in a crib forever!

  19. We just put our 15 month old in a toddler bed. It gives him more freedom and he doesn’t wake up in a death scream anymore. If you are worried about her coming out but want the door open, you can put a baby gate across the door. If you put it on the side that the door isn’t on, you can still open and close the door.

  20. We’re going with the “leave her in as humanly possible” approach. A couple of my friends recently moved their 2 y.o.’s and it was hell. I’m guessing it will be that at any point, but what I have read is that children under the age of 3 cannot understand invisible boundaries. So I’m sticking to that theory, or yes, until she starts climbing out. In the meantime we are doing up the attic so she can have a big girl bed there, so we’ll be prepared when the time comes and she’ll also be excited about it.

  21. My theory has always been why the rush? My daughter was in her crib until 3, and we evicted her because we just felt it was time. She was perfectly content and even asked for her crib back after the novelty of her big girl bed wore off. She *could* climb out of her crib, but she never did. She’s also still rear-facing in the car and, again, she’s perfectly content. She knows nothing else. We take the slower route with her on all of this for her safety. We live in a two-story home, so we didn’t want to risk her wandering at night. At 3, we felt more than comfortable with leaving her in the room alone. Putting a childproof knob on the inside of her door has always been a non-starter for us. God forbid there’s an emergency and she’s trapped in her room. I just think it’s better to advance kids when they’re developmentally and cognitively ready. If you have a crib with a higher back than the front, turn her crib around, which will make it harder for her to climb out. Good luck with your decision. Ultimately, as you know, you have to do what feels right to you. Just answering your “what say you?” question. πŸ™‚ Good luck TTC!

    1. I appreciate your comment and how sweet you are about knowing it’s different for everyone. Yea we aren’t rushing just yet. Still gotta figure out how to put it together. I think it could be exciting for her, and I’m not sure if there’s such thing as waiting “too long” either. So we’ll see! πŸ™‚

  22. I found your blog on the Top Baby Blog’s Website and it’s great! Your little girl is adorable!! You have a very nice style of writing. I read this entry and thought it won’t be too long before I’m thinking of the same thing with my daughter. Good luck with everything!

  23. I have to compliment for you for your cute baby. Anyway, I think that this is one of those issues that seems to be less but also important when it comes to child development. The conversation you posted is very much like any parent’s discussion. Dis you experienct with a toddler bed?

  24. In my situation, it was our kid who told us that she wants her own bed. We provided her with one and let her choose what she wants. Makes me think that she is going to do more in the future.

  25. Take the bumpers out of her crib…it will give her more room : ) And she’s at the age now where hitting her head isn’t a concern as it was when she was a baby! Your little girl is a doll! And congrats on baby #2 on the way!

  26. Wow, incredible blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?

    you made blogging look easy. The overall look
    of your site is wonderful, as well as the content!

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