What are some tips for transitioning to a toddler bed? Sleep

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toddler in bed
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You and your child are ready to make the switch from a crib to a "big kid" bed. Check out these tips for making it happen without tears -- or nighttime wanderings.

Talk It Up

"If you haven't switched by the time they're somewhere between the 3s and 4s, when you’re doing potty training, start to at least have a conversation about the bed. Talk it up and tell them what a great quiet place it is. See if your child is interested. There’s really no hard and fast rules about when or how to move to a toddler bed." -- Christina Johns, MD, MEd, FAAP, senior medical advisor, PM Pediatrics, Lake Success, NY

Consistency Is Key

"When we switched my son to a toddler bed, we had about a week of him getting up at bedtime, but we stayed consistent and kept putting him straight back in his bed until he got the point."

Read Books About It

"Instead of a toddler bed, we moved my son into a twin-size bed with a rail. That week we had been traveling, staying at different hotels and families' houses, so when we got home we put him in his 'big boy bed.' We had read the Elmo book about no longer needing to be in a crib, and it was a hit! He had no trouble adjusting!"

Daycare Rituals May Help

"We set up a travel cot in my son's room, very similar to what they have at daycare for naptime. He climbed right into it and laid down! We bought a toddler bed that weekend and never looked back!"

Wait Until She's Ready

"My daughter was almost 3 when we moved her. We've waited pretty late for her milestone-type stuff (potty training, bed, etc.) so we know she's ready. She still has never gotten out of bed."

Make It Exciting

"We bought my girls their big-girl beds [and] cute sheets and comforters, and we put their stuffed animals on the bed. They loved it."

Get a Comfy Mattress

"We skipped the toddler bed and went right into a full-size bed as soon as my son started jumping out of the crib. It has way more room for my son to sleep in. The comfort of a good quality mattress is everything. He sleeps through the entire night!"

Do It in Phases

"My twins slept together in a crib until about 16 or 17 months old, and then I bought another crib mattress and got rid of the crib and put them on opposite sides of the room on the mattresses on the floor until they were about 2, and then I bought them toddler beds. They loved crawling in and out of the beds on the floor. They also slept through the night, so I never had to worry about them leaving their room."

It May Be Easier Than You Think

"I brought the new bed home, and my son was so excited, he wanted the crib to come down and wanted the toddler bed set up. That was it! Easy transition!"

The advice on CafeMom aims to educate, inform, and provide a range of solutions to the issues moms care about. It is not a substitute for consultation with a medical professional or treatment for a specific condition. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem without consulting a qualified professional. Please contact your health-care provider with questions and concerns.