Making the Toddler Bed Transition

The baby bed does have an expiration date on it. Whether it is because there is another baby on the way, your kiddo is climbing out or because your pediatrician is fussing at you for waiting, the transition is inevitable.

We decided to transition our daughter around 18 months. She was hinting towards climbing out but never successfully did it. We decided that we would just go for it as a way to stop the climbing attempts before she hurt herself.

Annelise testing out her toddler bed

We decided to do it on a Saturday for several reasons. One being that if it went awful, we did not have work the next day. In the morning, my hubby and I went in to her room and started taking the front of the crib off. We let her help, pretending to turn the screwdriver and talked about how exciting this was and that she was such a big girl. She was excited because we were excited.

After, the front was off, we set up her bed with her favorite dolls, which I call “her people,” put a big girl pillow (a travel size pillow I found on Etsy) and a big girl blanket. We fussed over it and let her lay in the bed to try it out.

Then the three of us played in her room for the remainder of the morning to get her comfortable with it. Then we strategically headed out to the grocery store. We timed the appropriately with naptime. I wanted to build her confidence in sleeping in it and wanted to skip the drama of trying to put her to sleep in it the first time. As we had planned, she fell asleep in the car on the way home. We put her in her bed and tucked her in.

When she woke up, she actually played in her bed for about 30 minutes before she called for us. She was so excited and proud of herself. She kept pointing to her bed and saying, “My bed.”

Annelise playing in her new toddler bed

The long story short, we never looked back. The transition was pretty seamless. Of course as always, there are bad nights when she is sick or has a bad dream, but the bed itself has never been the problem.

Fast forward to Hurricane Isaac: we were living with my brother-in-law, and Annelise got attached to a full size bed. I totally understand this because baby mattresses are quite hard and not comfortable. So when we returned home we got her a full size big girl bed! We did the same steps as we did with the toddler bed and again success.

Here are my tips:

  • Make it a family event when you are not in a rush and can focus
  • Get “special” things for the new bed whether it is a new pillow, blanket or doll
  • Start off with sleeping in the new bed for a nap and not bedtime
  • Put them in the new bed already sleeping for the first time to help build confidence
  • Celebrate the success of making it through nap time
  • At bedtime, don’t make a fuss of the new bed. Pretend it is business as usual

Have you yet made this transition? What advice would you share?


  1. I love that you let your little one choose special pillows and bedding! Also, starting with a nap time is a great idea! We did both of those things when we transitioned. There’s some other cool things we tried too. I wrote a post about them at
    Our little guy just turned two and now he’s sleeping through the night in his own bed! It’s great 🙂


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