Toddler Bed Transition: Round 2

If you're following me on Instagram {and why wouldn't you?} then you saw the revival of the infamous toddler bed last weekend. I was hesitant to allow this change. Ok, fine, I was terrified but Brandon thinks its time for another go.

You may recall our first attempt at the toddler bed ended with Brandon drilling the crib back together at 4 a.m. one morning as Jackson and I both sat back crying crocodile tears.

Well, after four nights of no-fuss bedtimes I mentally begin drafting a victory post in regards to the toddler bed transition. Then it happened; we hit a wall. And now, I'm coming to you hat in hand pleading for mommy advice.

Last night, we went through our usual routine, went to put Jackson to sleep and ended up fighting bloodcurdling screams and demands to go to mommy and daddy's room for a good hour. He treated his entire room with complete disdain and wanted no part of being near it.

I finally gave in, letting J sleep in our bed.

Any parent who's ever let their child share the bed knows how this really ends....

I'd like tonight to involve far fewer roundhouse kicks to the face. In fact, none would be ideal.

I've analyzed Jackson's room over and over since last night and literally nothing is different, aside from the toddler bed. He has (knock on wood) not shown signs of having an ear infection, which is usually his only sleep deterrent. He's done so well this week, I know we need to stay strong with the toddler bed.

Caving in again tonight is not an option.

So share with me mamas, how do I get my toddler back in his bed?!


  1. I am not there yet so I have no advice but will keep my fingers crossed that you do get some good ones! I have heard the colored clocks work well...b/c it tells them when to stay in bed and when to get out...

  2. I don't know if I have ever commented or not, but I've been reading your blog for awhile. I have 26 month old triplet girls, a 13 month old girl and another girl on the way. This is just our experience: Two of my triplets (our identicals) are in toddler beds (the same as you have, their original crib with the toddler side). We made the transition in November and it was PURE.HELL for DAYS!!! I seriously was ready to have my hubby screw on sides at 4am too! I didn't know what to do, but in every transition I've done, I stick firmly to "my plan" no matter how hard and how many tears I shed. Within three days I could see improvements and within a week they went from screaming 4 hours (into the wee hours of the night) to maybe 10 minutes. I went in maybe every hour just to make sure they went killing each other. All they have is their lovies, binkis, and a few stuffed animals and books. It was pure hell, but over a week or two, or month, we taught them the necessary steps to sleep soundly (which we did the same back when they were infants and learning to sleep through the night). They go right to sleep after playing (sometimes a few hours...depends on if we have been outside or not...) and sleep soundly through the night. Rarely do they get up and bang on their door and cry, but if they do, I just go in and put them in their bed and say "it's night -night time". If they get up and cry more than once or twice, I ignore it. I know they are fine and even though it breaks my heart, they need to know that there are boundaries and I am not coming in every five seconds just because. I have never, ever brought them into my bed because I know then the next night they will expect it (unless they are sick)...and we will be back to crying. Even some days for nap, they play the whole time and don't sleep at all, but then I still get them up at regular time and that's just too bad for them if they are really tired. Sorry, if this seems harsh, but my girls all know what to expect and therefore follow rules and transitions really well. Good luck, and trust me it does get easier. I thought many time, my children just must not be like other children...they will never get it!!!!! But they do, and all is better in the world when they do and you can sit back, smile and have confidence in the way you handled it! :)

    1. 4 girls just over 2 years and another on the way? Wow mama!

  3. We are going through a very rough patch with Aubrey. We transitioned her to a toddler bed almost a week ago because she was climbing out of her crib and it was getting to be very dangerous for her, so we transitioned. (I have to add that we also moved her into her own room- which might be part of why we are experiencing SO much struggle.) She's been waking every hour, refusing to lay down, screaming, crying, throwing tantrums- you name it, she's doing it. It got to be so bad that we were not getting any sleep that last night I slept on her floor of her room so that we all could get some decent rest. Tonight, we are re-sleep training her. I know a lot of tears/screaming is going to be had - like the above poster- it may seem harsh, but it worked wonders when she was 6 months old and we're doing it again.

    I wish I had better advice but know that you are not alone- this is a tough one and I just hope we all survive it! Good luck!

  4. I have no advice for you on the bed thing. Our pediatrician has always said to keep Evie in her crib as long as she's not crawling out, then to transition her to a big bed around 3 years or so. He says the older they are the better so that they can kind of get it and participate in the whole thing, like picking out sheets and what not.

    Except maybe he's not ready. Maybe he still needs the security of his crib. I mean think about other major milestones Evie and Jack have gone through. For us very rarely did Evie get those right away. She didn't like cereal at four months so I just tried again two weeks later, then she didn't like it again, so I waited another few weeks and one day she just loved it.

    If the toddler bed isn't working out, and the crib is and he's not crawling out I'd say go back to the crib until he is older and see if he is ready then.

    Sure, some folks have their kids in toddler beds really soon, or by two, heck I have a friend with a son she transitioned at 14 months because he was just ready. All of our kids different. He might not be emotionally ready to let go of his crib, and that's ok I promise he won't be sleeping in a crib in college!

    Hang in there girl and know I got your back!

  5. Could it be that maybe the toddler bed is too much like his crib? We transitiioned our son to a toddler bed, and he threw a fit with the first naptime, but then did fine. With our daughter, we went straight from a crib to a twin bed when we moved to a new house. Well except for the fact that we didn't have the twin bed until we were in our new house to two weeks. In the meantime, she and her brother slept on their crib mattresses on the floor. Then they did fine once we got the twin beds in their room - with the exception of wanting to sleep on the floor together every once in a while so that they could hold hands.

  6. This is night one of it for us because T climbed out of his crib and we have hard wood so it's just a disaster waiting to happen. Our ped said for safety he needed to transition. She told us 3 nights to get a new routine down. I will say that if T had not climbed out and were not attempting it all the time we wouldn't even be attempting this transition. So maybe put the crib side back and try again later? We are taking the approach Holly did (hi, Holly!) and telling ourselves that we have to teach him sleep habits. So if that means a few nights of terrible sleep and taking him back to his bed every 20-30 minutes then we'll do it. Sticking with it through the weekend and then we'll see where we are. Transitions are hard man!

  7. So here is my advice:

    Braden pulled a fast one on us at just over 2 years when he randomly started climbing out of his crib. The next night, I knew it was time for the toddler bed. I didn't feel ready for the transition, but clearly he was.

    Braden has been sleep trained (to fall asleep on his own) since he was 6 months old. To do the transition I stayed with him for the first 3 nights or so until he fell asleep, which didn't take long. Then I told him he had to stay in his bed until Mommy came to get him in the morning...and he just listened! Naps were harder, but they eventually got better with the help of a video monitor.

    The bottom line is - if you want this done and you think he's ready - stick to your guns and do it. Don't give in and let him come to your bed, help him learn to sleep in his new bed. That's just my 2 cents though!

    You can read my toddler bed posts here.

  8. I wish I had some hard core, concrete, follow these simple steps advice but I don't...Just be consistent. It takes time! Hang in there and I hope things improve fast!
    Lacey @ CHARM + Sass

  9. Oh no! I have no advice to give, but I do kind of dread the day we have to do this. Good luck! Let us know what worked.

  10. I do think consistence and not giving in is key. They are very sneaky and know how to play with our emotions, so stick to it. Giada did pretty well with her transition, but she was told that when she gets out of her bed or if she throws a fit she will go in time out, and she has many a times. At least for us, this really worked. Especially for her night time routine. She never complains and knows that going to bed in her own room is just what we do.

  11. I would have picked him up and put him to bed once he fell asleep. That way he wakes feeling proud about himself sleeping in his toddler bed. Keep doing it for a few night. It's been a battle for us too. It takes time and eventually when you think its over, something shifts. WE usually have to do a whole hour of routine of placing our little back into bed a gazillion times. Some days it takes 2 mins other days its an hour. We don't allow him to sleep with us anymore, because NO ONE gets any sleep.

  12. The one thing we did in addition to what's been mentioned here already is that we really talked up the whole bed transition thing. We moved The Little Man when he was about 27 months old. He wasn't climbing out of his crib at all, though he'd never been a good sleeper. We just thought it was time. So we spend about two weeks talking about new beds, looking a pictures of "big boy beds" and even visiting Ikea a couple of times so he could try some out.

    By the time we bought a twin bed frame for him (our crib didn't convert to a toddler bed), he was so ready he cried when we couldn't bring it home the day we bought it because it wouldn't fit in the car. When Dad brought it home a couple of days later, we let him "help" us put it together. He eagerly carried tools around for us (dropping them on our feet) and climbed in as soon as I'd put the sheets on (that he'd helped me pick out the week before).

    He "read" a story to to his friends, gave them a tour of the bed ("Here are the big boy sheets, and the big boy pillow and the big boy blankets. And here are the extra soothers in case you need one in the night."), and then slept all night every night until his alarm went off in the morning.

    I think for us it was combination of him being ready and us really talking it up and involving him in the process. He's a routine kid and I knew he'd really need that lead-in time.

    Good luck!!!

  13. Found your blog from Nurse Loves Farmer.

    We transitioned our triplets over around 22-23 months. And honestly I didn't think it was that bad. Naps were a harder transition for us than night, they were exhausted from not napping by that point most days.

    Just stick to your guns. You ARE going to do it. Period. There will be no sleeping in your bed. There will be no coming out of his room. Period. Tears. Screams. Whatever. He won't win. Open a bottle of wine & pretend you can't hear him.

    Give him some options. Do you want to walk to bed, or should I carry you? You can pick one small toy to bring to bed with you, which one would you like? We will read one story, which one would you like to pick? Give him some options on simple things like that so he feels like he is in control of something. You don't have to close your eyes right now, but you can not come out of your bed. If he does, put him back in super nanny style. Say not one word. Don't even look him in the eye. Pick him up. Put him back in bed, kicking & screaming, shut the door & walk away. Be prepared for a week of going to work on 3 hours of sleep... but if you stick to your guns, he will grow tired & "give in."

  14. I needed to read this! my little fella just turned 18 months and I'm toying with the idea of moving him to a big boy bed because he whines over the crib every night.

    I just don't know what to do!

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