Better question: are you ready for your toddler to transition to a big kid bed?
There is no golden standard for when your toddler should transition to a big kid bed. Should they be 3? Should they outgrow the manufacturers guideline? If they don't climb out, can I keep them in the crib until I'm ready? Should I transition them because I have a baby coming and need the crib?
There always seems to be more questions than answers when it comes to transitions. Bottom line, a lot has to do with what works best for your family. There are, however, some things to consider before transitioning your child to a big kid bed. I share more tips on my Instagram page @therestfulhaus so make sure you follow there as well!
As parents, sometimes it's harder on us for big transitions than it is on our children. Not to play down transitions. Our children feel (they can have VERY big emotions) but if we can lead by example and help guide them through the transitions, we will help them tune in and make big transitions a little bit easier. A big kid bed can be a converted crib(15+months), a toddler bed(15+months) or a twin+ size bed(over 2 only).
If you answer yes to any of these questions, it may be time to start looking for a big kid bed.
#1 - Can your child climb out of the crib?
Whether they are 16 months or 3.5, if your child successfully gets out of their crib, it's time to look for a big kid bed.
Point blank - they can get seriously injured once they can climb out.
#2 - Has your child reached the height or weight limits given by your crib manufacturer?
Cribs have safety standards they must meet within the United States to be labeled and marketed as a crib. Within these standards, each manufacturer has tested their product to make sure children are safe. If your child has reached the limits, it's time to transfer them to a big kid bed.
There is no magical age to transition to a big kid bed.
#3 - Is your child at least 2 and you have a new baby on the way?
This is a tricky one! It is completely valid to not want to buy a new crib for the baby. Why spend more money on something that you already have. However, if your child doesn't seem ready for a big kid bed then you should, at minimum, invest in a pack n play for the baby to sleep in since they can be used for longer than a bassinet. If your child does seem ready, then I recommend that you transition them to a big kid bed at least 6 weeks before baby's arrival for them to have time to adjust. Never make it that they have to give something up for baby. Instead, encourage and support them in their transition to a big kid bed.
#4 - Your child is potty trained overnight.
If your child is potty trained overnight, then it's time to transition to a big bed. You do not need to be waking with your child if they can use the bathroom themselves during the night. I will note, daytime potty training and overnight potty training are completely separate factors. Nighttime training usually happens much later than daytime training.
One more tip: before you transition to a big kid bed, make sure your child's room is child proofed. Anchor furniture to the wall, cover outlets, check window coverings for cords, window locks or child locks, drawer locks, hide wires and make sure there are no breakables within reach. You can either DIY child proof the room or you can hire a service to do it all for you.
Transitions can be HARD for both us parents and our children. Sometimes, when it comes to transitioning from a crib to a big kid bed, we have to sleep train all over again. The old sleep training methods that were used may not work now that they are older. If your child is struggling with a transition out of the crib into a big kid bed and it's been more than 2 weeks, click here to schedule a free sleep assessment call to talk about how your child is struggling and to learn more about how my program can help you!
Wishing you restful sleep,
About Danielle: Danielle is a Certified Pediatric Sleep Coach and founder of The Restful Haus, where she helps families 1:1 with their children ages 0-6 years old. She is a New Jersey native and currently resides in Colorado with her husband and 4 daughters (ranging from 20 months to 7 years old). She enjoys spending time with her family, the Jersey Shore, music, traveling with her husband + kiddos and on the rare occasion, sitting down to read a murder mystery book.