Making The Switch From Cot To Toddler Bed…

Our little boy Max is 2.5, and 3 months ago, we finally bit the bullet and put him into a toddler bed!

People have told us we’ve put him in a toddler bed quite late, whilst others have said their older toddlers are still in a cot; it has become evident that kids are all individuals in all areas, sleep included. It took us quite a while to make the decision, and lots of people have seemed surprised that he was yet to be put into a toddler bed at his age, but after a few unsettled nights, he got used to his new bed.

Thinking of making the big switcheroo? Here are some things to consider;

  • Will a gate fit on their bedroom door? If your little one has a tendency to escape, a gate will be handy.
  • Will the dimensions of a toddler bed fit in their room? Ours is about the same size as his cot but some are bigger.
  • Where is best to shop for a toddler bed?
  • Do I want to go straight to a normal single bed instead?
  • Is my child even ready?
  • Am I prepared for a few disturbed nights sleep (work, plans etc)?

We decided to do the swap on the night before daddy had a day off work!

Why me & daddy decided that NOW was the time for Max…

Firstly, I will say that it will vary between kids. Some are ready by the age of one, others are still needing the security of a cot when they’re three. For us, 2 and a half has been the magic age.

He’s a really active sleeper and we’re no stranger to thuds in the night from him basically break-dancing in his sleep, but recently, we noticed that he was moving less and sleeping in ‘normal’ positions. Tick box.

Also, within the previous month or so, Max had become OBSESSED with beds; he loves nothing more than climbing into the master bed, or the spare bed, but he didn’t seem to enjoy being closed into his cot as much, which made us think that he was telling us (in his own way as he doesn’t speak much yet) that it was time for his own bed.

Finally, on our wedding night, Max slept peacefully in a bed in my parents hotel room! We decided that it was absolutely worth a try as he was showing the right signs of independence, in our eyes.

Bear in mind, though, that all kids are different! Be prepared for the worst, but hope for the best.

All tucked in, ready to go… excuse the crinkled sheets!

Our first night and how it went…

Ok, not going to lie, for the first 30 minutes I was cursing our decision and cursing my parents for putting pressure on us to make the switch. “Why?!” I chuntered to myself as Max ripped open his bedroom door and pterodactyl screeched over the gate for the tenth time that night. However, pretty quickly, Max fell into a contented sleep in his new toddler bed, and me & daddy breathed a sigh of relief.

Let’s just hope he’s as good tonight…

(P.S. He wasn’t. But we got there.)

How We Did It…

We think the best approach is a gentle approach – it’s a big change for a small person, so you cannot expect them to take to it instantly (depending on their temperament). Comfort and reassurance is paramount for a successful transition, plus we can’t bear to hear our beautiful boy upset, so we did the following;

  • Lots of kisses and cuddles as we put him down to bed.
  • We showed him how to climb in and let him climb in himself so that he’d feel that he was going to bed on his own terms.
  • We used a tablet on low light and low volume to help him relax in bed – a night light could also help.
  • For the first few nights, he kept getting up and out of bed and shouting at the gate, each time we gently led him back and comforted him before leaving again.

The Benefits of Switching to a Toddler Bed…

  • Encourages independence and development of autonomy – ok, so the downside is a potential battle for at least the first few nights if your little one needs to get used to their new bed, but it gives them the power to decide ‘I need to get into bed to sleep now’ and will foster the continued development of their independence and recognition of needing to sleep.
  • You now have a spare cot… time for another baby, maybe?
  • Beds designed specifically for toddlers tend to have sides on to prevent rolling, and higher headboard and footboards than normal child beds, so your toddler will still feel some comfort from being slightly enclosed, but not as enclosed as with a cot.

Three Months Later…

We’re three months in, and after a few difficult nights at the start, Max has taken to his toddler bed wonderfully! Persistence, reassurance and coffee are your friends when making the change, guys. All kids are different, your little one may not be quite ready, they may not take to it, so be prepared, be gentle and remember that it’s a huge change for our little angels.

How did you find making the switch? Did you skip the toddler bed and go straight into a standard bed? Are you yet to make the switch and feeling apprehensive? Tell us in the comments!

Love from Katie. Xx

16 Comments

  • Debbie Reply

    29th January 2019 at 9:51 pm

    It’s been 3 months of rubbish! Went from a baby who had slept through from 2 weeks of age, always went down awake, smiling and asleep within minutes, to a toddler who now can’t make the night without waking, screaming until she comes into us/we go into her.

    Knackered lol

    • Bump, Baby & You Reply

      30th January 2019 at 11:55 am

      Aaaah bless you Debbie! Fingers crossed that she starts to settle asap for you! xx

    • Julie Reply

      3rd February 2019 at 2:48 pm

      Debbie we have had exactly the same thing our nice bedtime routine had gone and now we have 2-3 hrs of hell trying to get our LG to bed!

  • Kerry Reply

    30th January 2019 at 4:24 pm

    My son is 17months old and I’m toying with the idea of turning my son’s cot into the bed but not sure if it’s to early … Recently he’s been so unsettled in his cot but will sleep great in a bed although he does wriggle around alot .. he gets annoyed that he can’t climb into bed himself .. but I worry he will just be in and out of bed all the time and just distrupt is once great routine even more

    • Bump, Baby & You Reply

      31st January 2019 at 9:49 am

      Hi Kerry! This was one of my worries too. It can take a little time of consistently putting them back in for them to stop getting up, we’ve also put a gate on the bedroom door to avoid any late night wandering xx

  • Amie Reply

    30th January 2019 at 5:01 pm

    I’m considering getting my one and a half year old a toodler bed as she’s very independent already I think she’s getting too big now for her travel cot (what she sleeps in now) I’m just not sure tho mite wait till she’s two in July? Staying that she does go to her bed at half 8 everynight n sleeps right through am just bit worried that if we move her to soon her routine mite be all over the place??

    • Bump, Baby & You Reply

      31st January 2019 at 9:52 am

      Hi Amie! It does sound promising – the thing with the routine is that it is likely to knock their routine a little, it’s a big change, but with consistency it’ll go back to normal soon xx

  • Laura Reply

    30th January 2019 at 9:38 pm

    We are planning on switching our 23mth old to a toddler bed this weekend with my 1st 18mths and was ready for a bed 2nd on the other hand doesn’t seem ready. He sleeps on a mat at nursery but that’s different to his big bed.
    He loves my bed and my spot…so I think he will be fine. Will get a routine going so bottle book bed. And keep to it. Wish me luck.

    • Bump, Baby & You Reply

      31st January 2019 at 9:52 am

      Good luck Laura! Sounds like a fab plan! xx

  • Vicky Reply

    3rd February 2019 at 8:25 pm

    I want to get my 2 year old in her toddler bed. But she currently shares a room with her 6 year old sister. I’m worried that if the 2 year old starts wondering in the night, that she’ll disturb the 6 year old, especially because she has school the next day. Any ideas??

  • Hayley Reply

    3rd February 2019 at 8:33 pm

    Our 2.5 year old likes to throw a few dance moves in his sleep so we’ve gone straight for a normal single bed. We haven’t put it together yet though, that’s next weekend’s job. I’m absolutely dreading the transition 😞

  • C K Reply

    3rd February 2019 at 9:35 pm

    I switched my daughter from her cot to a toddler bed 2 days ago.. She’s 15 months old and she loves her bed.. loves her sleep so is happy to just lay there until she falls asleep… She’s never been a baby to try an escape from anything so was a easy move for us:) (so far)

  • Beth Reply

    21st February 2019 at 8:59 am

    My daughter has been in a toddler bed. Since she was 18 months old after a caravan holiday where she was in a normal bed with sides decided to give it a whirl and never looked back the dummy went the month after. She takes between 10 – 20 mins to settle she’s done really well 😊 she wakes up about 6.30/7 and toddles into our room

  • Liz Reply

    21st February 2019 at 1:05 pm

    We transitioned our LG whos 2 years and 4 months into her toddler bed just short of 2 weeks ago. She previously slept through 7-7 in her cot, quite content to lay there for a while before shouting to get up. Now we seem to be getting her to sleep a bit easier on an evening but she’s waking up every night at least once, with mornings now starting anything from 4am-6:30am! That’s been really tough. Hoping it’s just a settling in period and she goes back to her sleepy head ways soon.

  • Hannah Reply

    3rd April 2019 at 9:31 pm

    We’re looking at moving our 15 month old into a bed. We’ve got a holiday coming up in 5 months time where she’ll be in a bed, and didn’t know if to do it first or try it on holiday.

    She sleeps on a mattress at nursery and sleeps through 630-7 most nights so I don’t want to ruin this.

    What do you think?

    • Bump, Baby & You Reply

      4th April 2019 at 9:27 am

      Hey Hannah! It sounds promising – the first few nights are likely to be disrupted as she gets used to the bed, but she will get back into her sleep pattern again, so don’t worry too much about that. I’d try it before going on holiday to be honest, because if you try it when on holiday you’d run the risk of disturbed sleep which won’t be fun when you’re trying to enjoy the holiday 🙂 xx

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