two girls sitting in a bed

How to Transition to Toddler Bed: Parent's Guide

By: Brooke Hamilton


Eventually, the time will come when your tiny tot isn’t so tiny anymore. You blink, and suddenly they’re stringing together complete sentences, using the potty (sometimes), and gifting you spontaneous hugs and kisses.

Another change that happens when your baby transitions from infancy to toddlerhood involves the transition from crib to toddler bed. This is a huge milestone in your little one’s life—and yours!

If the idea of making the move from crib to toddler bed sounds intimidating, you’re not alone. We’re here to hold your hand and seamlessly walk you through how to transition to a toddler bed so you can navigate this exciting journey with confidence and ease.

Understanding the Right Time to Transition

The first step in transitioning to a toddler bed is deciding when to make the move. Fortunately, no hard and fast rule demands you move them on their second birthday, or even their third, for that matter.

Rather, there are a few questions you can ask yourself to help you make the transition when it’s right for you and your tot.

Are You Planning on Expanding Your Family?

Whether you’re planning on making your toddler a big brother or sister or you’re already pregnant, it’s important to decide whether you want to recycle your toddler’s current crib or purchase another.

If you decide to reuse your current crib, consider transitioning them to their toddler bed a few months before the new baby arrives. This gives them ample time to feel comfortable in their new bed and may help them avoid feelings of displacement when they see the baby sleeping in their old crib.

Does Your Toddler Seem Ready?

More than anything else, is your mini-me showing signs that they’re ready for a big kid bed? While you don’t need to wait for them to check off every item from the following list, generally speaking, toddlers are ready for the transition if you’re nodding yes to one or more of the following signs:

  • They’ve made a break for freedom by climbing out of their crib

  • They’re 36 inches tall (or tall enough to climb out if they want to)

  • They’re between 18 months and three and a half years old

  • Their chest is as tall as the railing in their crib

  • They’re asking to sleep in a ‘big kid’ bed

Preparing Your Toddler for the Transition

While you may get excited about sleeping on a brand-new bed frame and mattress, your toddler is likely not as thrilled at the prospect. If faced with this unanticipated and big change, they’re more likely to resist—or sneak into your room for reassurance multiple times throughout the night.

Fortunately, there are a few proactive measures you can take to help them make the big transition more smoothly from crib to toddler bed, such as:

  • Introducing the idea gradually – Talk to your little one about the toddler bed transition a few weeks before the new bed arrives. Use positive words and feelings of excitement to build their enthusiasm. You can also incorporate age-appropriate books or television shows that highlight instances of other children enjoying their new big kid beds.

  • Involving your toddler in the process – Another way to increase their excitement at the prospect of a toddler bed is by allowing them to be part of the decision-making. After you’ve whittled down the bedding options, consider letting them choose the final design or pattern. Then, once you’ve assembled the bed, ask them if they want to help you make the bed and add all of the finishing touches, such as throw pillows and their favorite stuffed animals.

Choosing the Right Toddler Bed

When figuring out how to transition a toddler to bed, one of the most overlooked aspects involves selecting a bed that is not only safe but also matches your toddler's style (and bedroom decor). To find that perfect bed, here are some crucial factors to consider:

  • Style and design – You can narrow down your options quickly by searching for beds that complement your little one’s current bedroom theme. First, consider whether you prefer a classic or modern bed frame. Then, refine your search further by looking for a bed that coordinates with the bedroom’s color scheme.

  • Ease of assembly – If you’re a maverick at assembling furniture, then the difficulty level of the bed’s assembly is of no consequence for you—the world is your oyster. However, if you don’t want to worry about losing an essential screw or struggling to assemble 30 parts correctly, aim for a toddler bed with easy-to-follow instructions and minimal parts—you’ll thank yourself later.

  • Budget – Determining your budget will help you condense your options. Once you have a budget in mind, you can shortlist your favorite toddler beds based on price points, retailers, and brands.

  • Transition features – Many toddler beds convert from a toddler bed to a twin bed or full-size bed, making them an excellent economical and long-term sleep solution. Some also offer adjustable mattress heights, so you can lower the mattress as your toddler grows.

Bed rails – You’ve probably seen your toddler finagle themselves into a few precarious positions as they sleep soundly in their cribs. While you may have questioned how they could possibly be comfortable, you didn’t have to worry about them falling out of the crib. When they move to a toddler bed, you want the same peace of mind. A bed with built-in bed rails on the sides will keep them from accidentally tumbling out of bed at night as they perform sleep acrobatics.

Making the Transition Smooth: Tips for Success

You introduced the idea to your little one, picked out a bed frame, and let them choose the bedding. What’s next?

Putting your plan into action and letting them sleep in their big kid bed.

Below, we’ve included a few tips on how to get your toddler to stay in their own bed during the transition.

Maintain Your Normal Bedtime Routine

While your toddler may be excited about their new bed, they’re probably a little nervous, too. You can ease their nerves by continuing with your usual bedtime routine as if nothing has changed.

For example, if your routine consists of brushing their teeth, reading a few books in their bedroom, and singing a lullaby when they get in bed, keep it up! Maintaining their normal routine can help them feel more relaxed as they adjust to their new bed.

Incorporate Comforting Objects

Nothing makes littles more comfortable in a new environment than snuggling objects they have loved for a long time! These objects provide a sense of security and comfort, which can make the new bed feel more enticing and inviting.

Let your child choose a few of their favorite items below to help make their new setup all the more soothing:

  • Stuffed animals

  • Blankets

  • Special pillows

Set Clear Expectations

On night one, let your little one know your sleep rules and expectations for their toddler bed. For example, you can say that you expect them to stay in their beds until morning (even though you know this likely will not happen) and to call for you if they need anything. This will help them learn how to stay in their bed at night.

While these expectations might—okay, will—take time to master, they help set more structure to your current routine.

Provide Comfort and Reassurance

This transition is a big deal for a two or three-year-old, so be sure to offer as much reassurance as they need. Give them words of encouragement each time they show enthusiasm for sleeping in their bed. And don’t forget, there’s no such thing as handing out too many cuddles during this big transition. Hugs and kisses can provide additional support when your little one needs a reassuring presence.

Offer Praise and Reward

Positive reinforcements are key in helping your tot embrace their new bed. Each time they stay in their bed all night or follow the bedtime rules, treat them to a little positive praise. You can choose from tangible or intangible rewards, such as:

  • Providing verbal praise , like “I’m so proud of you! You’re such a big kid!”

  •  Create a sticker chart  and give them a sticker each time they do a good job.

  • Giving them a small treat , like an M&M or a piece of their favorite candy

Be Patient

Don’t be surprised if you wake up in the middle of the night and see their little eyes staring at you from the side of your bed. Try to be understanding and offer support as they adjust to the new normal of their toddler bed.

Transition to a Toddler Bed in Style with Posh Peanut

When the time comes to think about how to transition from crib to toddler bed, there are plenty of ways you can help your little one find comfort in their new bed—from discussing the idea well in advance to letting them be part of the whole process.

At Posh Peanut, we’re here to help make the transition as smooth as butter with our home and nursery collection. We offer colorful crib sheets that truly are as soft as a baby’s butt, as well as bedding to match your toddler’s budding personality. So, you can easily make your toddler part of the transition and find comfort in knowing they’re sleeping on breathable fabric that’s gentle on their sensitive skin.

We also have equally as comfortable toddler pajamas ! This collection can help you navigate how to dress your toddler for sleep so they stay cozy all night long.

Explore our collection today to make your little one's journey from crib to toddler bed a comfortable and delightful one.


1. Sleep Foundation. When to Transition From Crib to A Toddler Bed.

2. Very Well Family. Choosing a Toddler Bed.