How to transition to toddler bed before age 2

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Like all big parenting decisions, after turning to my husband, I turned to Instagram for yall’s advice. What age do you transition to toddler bed? If you did it before 2, are you still alive and sane? With my older 2, we transitioned them after 2. RJ was 2 and a half, and Elias had just turned 3. I loved having control over their sleep. That sounds so controlling saying that, but it’s the honest truth. We liked knowing that when we laid them down, we wouldn’t have to go back in there until the morning. I knew with a toddler bed, comes a newfound freedom. Freedom to roam their room. Freedom to play with toys in the dark (still amazes me how they manage to do that), and worst of all freedom to walk out of their room whenever they please.

But with a new baby on the way, it was time to kick Joel out of his room. Poor guy, but he’s thriving and they all LOVE being in one room together! I tell myself, I’m building their strong brotherhood bond, that they will thank me for in their 20s. But back on track, we could’ve easily moved his crib into the room and carried on with our business but I’m all about aesthetics and I didn’t like how the crib looked in there with RJ and Elias’ new bunk bed (check out their shared room reveal HERE). So we put him in RJ’s old extendable bed (link here) and called it a day.

We knew going into this it would either make or break us, okay im being dramatic but seriously Joel is such an independent child we honestly didn’t know how he would handle it all. He’s all about breaking rules, and I feel like he wasn’t in a crib long enough (compared to RJ and Elias) to be crib trained. Meaning, when RJ and Elias would wake up in the morning, they would just quietly lay in their beds until someone came and got them…because that’s what they were used to for so long in their cribs. Joel had only been sleeping in a crib for 18 months, and most mornings he’s screaming “MOOOOOMMMMMYYYYYY!” Until either my husband and I rescue him.

So here are some tips for transitioning your child to a toddler bed.

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1. Start with 1 sleep. Whether that’s nap time or bedtime, and ease into the other sleep a week or so later. We started with just bedtime. Reason for that is because during naptime, the room isn’t PITCH BLACK DARK like how it is for bedtime. So we knew he’d get out of bed, play with toys or bother his sleeping brother. He already was a little difficult to put down for naps, we knew it would be a challenge for him to actually nap if he now had the freedom to roam the room. Right now Joel actually naps in my room (in his DockATot on my bed) during nap time. So I didn’t take my own advice for easing into the other sleep time, but right now, it’s what works for us.

Joel sleeping in my bed at nap time.

2. Get them a sleep suit/sack, especially if they are used to sleeping in a sleep sack. Let me start off by saying, we use the ergoPouch. It converts from a sleep suit (looks like an astronaut suit lol) to a sleep sack (what he’s used to sleeping in). We knew going into this transition the sleep sack option would be best. The main reason I started off using it as a sleep sack is because, I knew with him trying to sneak out of bed, if he had a blanket…it would end up on the floor. And his mobility with a sleep sack is almost nonexistent. Meaning, he can barely walk in it. So with the sleep sack, the furthest he ever made it was the foot of his bed and he just sat there because he gave up haha. After we got him used to the toddler bed, and he stopped sneaking out, we made his ergoPouch sleep sack into a sleep suit. This option gives him his legs again, but keeps him nice and warm all night long. These suits are perfect because it has a zipper in the front with a little button flap to prevent them from zipping the suit down and taking it off. I’m not really sure what age we’ll wean him from the sleep suit, but I know not any time soon because he loves it!

3. Give them a comfort item from their crib. For us, it’s his DockATot. He has slept in it since he was 5 months old, so no matter where we go or attempt to put him to sleep, he sleeps very well because he has the comfort of his DockATot. So if your child has a blankie a certain stuffed animal, make sure you still give it to him/her so he/she doesn’t feel out of place.

Sound asleep in his DockATot

4. Speaking of DockATot, if you don’t have one, or are considering upgrading your deluxe to a grand, DO SO! Imagine being a tiny toddler, then being moved from your nice little crib to a big ole bed, it’d be intimidating. Using the DockATot makes them feel secure even in a California king bed. We love using the DockATot in the toddler bed because it also acts like a bumper rail. We know that at night he won’t roll off the bed because he stays within the boundaries of the DockATot. (To save $10 on your own DockATot, CLICK THIS LINK and use promo code “FRIEND-5CTW5PK”

Check out Joel’s “toddler bed” with his DockATot nestled in the middle of it

5. Keep the setting/lighting the same as when they were in the crib. Joel doesn’t sleep with night lights or sound machines. He sleeps in the dark, like black hole dark with only an air purifier running. So when we moved him into a different room, and in a different bed we made sure we kept everything the same. So ultimately when we shut that door and say goodnight, it’s basically his old room and his old bed. Nothing is different in the dark.

6. Get a good camera with cross detection alerts. Not trying to sound like helicopter mom, but I love being able to check in on them throughout the night. We use the Lollipop baby camera, which has an awesome feature that can notify you if your little one sneaks out of the crib. It’s called cross detection alerts. You set up an area through the app that if anything or anyone goes into, you will be notified. So I set the area up between the foot of Joel’s bed and The foot of the bunk bed. So if either of the boys go into that area I’ll get an alert. The other night Joel was quietly playing IN THE DARK with his toys. We would’ve never known because he was so quiet, but Lollipop baby cam notified me. We checked and sure enough there he was playing with his Paw Patrol truck. To read my full review of the Lollipop camera CLICK HERE!

I created a barrier, so if any of the boys go within that barrier, I will get a notification!

7. That leads me to my next tip, put away all toys. Not only to prevent them from playing with them, but also any trips or falls. Forget legos, have you ever stepped on a dinosaur? Those things are weapons! Make sure you put all toys away for your sanity and their safety. Plus I hate a messy room, so a quick cleanup is a part of their nightly routine.

8. Use a nighttime aide. I recently got into essential oils (to read more about WHY I started CLICK HERE), and found out that lavender is LIFE. Prior to using oils, lavender specifically, it would literally take them ONE HOUR to settle down and go to sleep. Since using them, within 20 minutes, they’re all OUT! Basically what I do is while they’re taking their bath, I put 5 drops of lavender or gentle baby into the diffuser, and let it run while we get them dressed. We found them to be much more calm, and at ease with the good nights. They don’t sleep longer or harder, but fall asleep much quicker!

9. And I HATE ending this on number 9 because it’s an odd number and “10 tips to transition to a toddler bed” sound much better than “9 tips”. But this is the most important tip…Expect them to sneak out and test their new found freedom. It’s GOING TO HAPPEN. My oldest who was the most well behaved toddler in the history of well-behaved toddlers would sneak out. I can count on my hand, my husband’s hand and my feet, how many times we’ve gone in his room and found him sound asleep on the floor, or would hear him playing with toys at odd hours of the night.

Hope these tips help you and your little one out. Moving to a toddler bed is a big step, and moving to a toddler bed before age 2 is a huge risky step. Whether you’re moving them because you’re expecting a new one, or you’re little one is climbing out of their crib, we all go through it! One day you’ll forget you ever went through this! Good Luck.

Sleep sack was gifted from ergoPouch, DockATot was gifted from DockATot, and Baby Cam was gifted from Lollipop| but all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.




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