When to Transition Your Baby From A Crib To A Toddler Bed

There are many milestones when it comes to raising your child. Each milestone comes with its own sets of challenges. Switching from a crib into a toddler bed can cause any parent stress. Many different people have their own methods that work, and children are all different.  

We here at 123 Baby Box want to give you the best advantage when it comes to raising your child. So we have this handy guide to help you transition your baby from a crib to a toddler bed. 

At what age should you begin to transition to a toddler bed?

Some studies show that by the age of three, more than half of children are ready to make the bit switch over to sleeping in a toddler bed. Many children show signs of being ready much sooner.

Once your child reaches their first birthday, you can begin the process. Ensure that you move the mattress in the crib as low as your crib allows. Be sure to remove any toys and the bumpers. The top rail should be higher than your child's shoulders. Having a soft rug, carpeting, or even a plush pet bed can help break any stumble if your little one attempts an escape. 

Once your toddler seems to be trying to escape or has even attempted to climb out over the rail, it is time to switch them over. If your toddler isn't quite so adventurous, they may not climb over. Gauge the transition by their height. Toddlers between eighteen and twenty-four months old and roughly thirty-five inches tall can begin the transition to a toddler's bed. 

If you start the process early, your child will be in a toddler bed well before the age of three years old. 

Related: 20 Different Games to play with your toddler

Child laying in bed


Signs that your toddler is ready for a toddler bed

Transitioning from a crib to a toddler bed isn't like other developmental milestones. Sometimes it won't come naturally to your child. That's nothing to worry about. In fact, it may even benefit you to make the change before your little one decides to scale the railing of their crib. 

On the other hand, if you are not ready and your toddler is comfortable in their crib, you may allow them to continue sleeping there beyond the age of two years old. But a forewarning, the longer your child stays in the crib, the more attached they tend to become to it. Once they are emotionally attached, you may find it harder to switch them over to their new toddler bed. 

Related: How to get your baby to sleep through the night.

How to transition your toddler

Toddlers, especially tired ones, are fussy about any type of change to their world. Remind yourself to be gentle and that it's going to be rough for everyone involved. This process may take a few tries before your toddler gets used to their new sleeping arrangements. 

The best way to help your toddler adjust is to make a routine with the new bed. Allow for quiet time and make it a place for naps during the day. This allows for flexibility and the least amount of sleep lost by all parties involved. 

There are some things that you can do to help your toddler. Things like sleep cues, white noise, and bedtime routines can be a great help to your toddler. Aromatherapy can also help. Fill their room with lavender or honey scent to help them relax. 

Some quick tips to make the big switch easier:

  • Read or create stories about sleeping in a bed. 
  • Let your little one help pick out new sheets, maybe with their favorite character.
  • During the day, praise them about how good they are doing in their new bed. 
  • Make a habit of going potty before bed!

Choose the best toddler bed. 

Happy Baby in a crib with teddy bears

When you first start out switching your toddler over to their new bed, some parents find it easier to just have the crib mattress on the floor. Getting them their own bed a better option to help them get used to being outside of their crib, and kids are naturally drawn to them with all the fun shapes, and they often will hold the same crib mattress. 

Establish a bedtime routine.

Offering your child an established and predictable bedtime routine might be the key to making this transition smoother than ever. This can be many different things, but the point is to repeat the same process before bed every night. 

Things like brushing their teeth or hair, taking a bath, or reading a story are all great ways to establish a routine. Building a sleep routine can help them feel at home and relaxed while offering them a new skill to master. 

Related: How to get your toddler to sleep

Tips on keeping your toddler in bed

Getting your toddler to sleep is hard enough, but keeping your toddler in their bed all night can be an even more challenging task without the walls of the crib. The first thing you can do is to childproof the room. Remember to check electrical outlets, corners of furniture, and curtain cords

While you might not always be able to keep them in their bed, you can utilize a baby gate to help contain your little one in their room. This will prevent your toddler from roaming the entire house. Some children may try to climb the gate. There are doorknob covers on the market to help keep them in their room until morning. 

What if you need the crib for another child?

Children can sometimes struggle with the changes that come with welcoming a new baby into the household. This can be even more difficult if your little one is attached to their crib. However, if you are expecting a new baby, you will need that crib. 

The best way to handle this is to talk about the changes and allow your little one to help prepare for the new baby and how they need to sleep in their own big kid bed. 


Every child is different, and there is no wrong way to transition your toddler into their new bed. Try to stay positive, even if there are some shared tears. We would recommend keeping the crib up just in case your little one isn't quite ready to switch over. 

Are you looking for exciting new ways to put a smile on your baby’s face? 123 Baby Box is a monthly subscription box that handpicks items for your baby. For an exciting surprise every month, sign up for 123 Baby Box today.

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