When can I move my toddler to a big boy bed?

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It’s always a very exciting time for parents and toddlers to transition from a cot to a “big boy bed”. Obviously, the toddler likes his new bed and for some reason, parents just can’t wait to move the “baby” (who is not a baby anymore) into a big bed.

Most parents do this transition early and then they end up with a child running around in the house in the middle of the night. This situation can be very unsafe especially if the child gets up and the parents don’t know.

There are usually a few reasons why parents want to move their child into a big bed:

  • Sibling on the way, parents needs the cot for the new baby
  • The toddler managed to climb out of the cot and fell (safety)
  • The toddler asks for a big boy bed

In my opinion, a toddler should not move out of his cot before the age of 2.5 years – 3 years. Mentally and psychologically your toddler needs to be ready to move to a toddler bed. He needs to understand the concept “It’s sleepy time” now and he needs to stay in his bed. He needs to understand that he is not allowed to get up in the middle of the night (unless he wants to go to the toilet if he is already toilet trained) and if he does get up, there will be a consequence.

If your child does not understand that, he is not ready to move to a toddler bed. You will end up in a situation where your child keeps getting up in the middle of the night and you will have to get up to take him back. At the end of the day, you’re going to be so tired that you’re going to put your toddler in your bed so you can just get some sleep. Co-sleeping then will start other problems.

If you face the following problems, try to fix the problem, rather than moving your toddler to a toddler bed prematurely.

  • New baby on the way. I need the cot. It is absolutely not worth it. There are so many sites where
    parents need to get rid of old baby stock. You can get another cot for a very good price or even for free. Transitioning to a toddler bed can take time and patience. Don’t rush your toddler just because you want to kick him out of his cot.
  • Your toddler is climbing out of the cot. The best thing that does work is to put your toddler back in a sleeping bag. He will be unable to lift his legs high enough to climb out. If you have a cot where the bar of the cot is higher than the front, turn the cot around. Now the cot will be too high for him to get out.
  • Start a reward chart. Encourage positive behaviour; he gets a star if he doesn’t get out of the cot. When the chart is full he can get something special, like ice cream or he can pick a toy when you go shopping.
  • Do consequences. If he gets out of the cot, give him one warning. If he still tries to get out, take away his favourite toy/or something else he likes.
  • Get inventive. Think of creative ways to ways to stop him from getting out.

So the bottom of the story, don’t move your toddler out of his cot before 2.5 years or when he understands the concept that he has to stay in his cot for the whole night. He is not allowed to get out of bed unless he wants to go to the toilet.

Hope these tips help if you are in the process of doing this.

Good luck 😉