The truth is, there isn’t a defined time frame for parents to follow when it comes to transitioning a baby from their cot to a toddler bed. Each little one is unique, but there are some behavioural signs that you can look out for to know that they’re ready to make the big move.
Let’s run through when you’ll know that your little one is ready to move from their cot to a bed, and how you can help make this developmental transition as seamless as possible.
When to switch to a toddler bed
Most little ones are ready to move on from their cot to a toddler bed between 18 months and three-and-a-half years old. You can look for the following signs to know for sure if they’re ready to sleep in their new bed:
- They’re able to climb out of their cot.
- They’re almost toilet trained and need to be able to use the toilet during the night.
- They’re outgrowing their cot.
Transitioning to a toddler bed to make way for a new baby
You may want to move them into a bigger bed if you’re having a new baby who needs the cot.
If this is the case, it’s a good idea to move them into their new bed a few months before the arrival of the baby or when the new baby is a couple of months old. That way, your toddler won’t think that they’re being moved because of their new sibling, and they won’t feel pushed out by the new arrival.
How to choose the right a toddler bed
There are three options to choose from when picking the perfect bed for your toddler:
- Place a cot or single bed mattress on the floor at first to help your little one get used to sleeping without their cot.
- Use a special toddler bed. Cots are sometimes specially designed to convert into toddler beds.
- Use a single bed with a detachable guard rail that will last for a long time.
The following tips will help to make the move from cot to bed safe…
- Pick a firm mattress.
- Keep their new bed away from any walls. This will help reduce the risk of suffocation
- If your little one is under two years old, don’t let them sleep with pillows and don’t use heavy blankets or quilts.
- Keep your toddler’s sleeping area free from any of their soft toys.
- Install a stair gate at the top of the stairs to stop your little one from going downstairs alone during the night.
Top tips for a successful transition from cot to bed
Some little ones will love the idea of moving to a brand-new bed, while others will take a little more time to get used to the idea. To help you out, here are our top tips to help make your little one’s move from a cot to a bed as successful as possible:
- Involve them in the transition and make it exciting: You can chat with your little one about sleeping in their new bed and include them in the process of buying it. It’s also a nice idea to let them choose some new bedding with their favourite TV character on.
- Maintain your bedtime routine: Try to keep your nighttime routine recognisable and position their new bed in the same place as their cot so that it feels familiar.
- Create a peaceful environment: Try to keep their room safe and free of clutter and distractions. Light and sound sleep aids can create a snoozy environment.
- Transition gradually: Some parents find it useful to let their toddler have day naps in their bed and to sleep in their cot at night at first to transition slowly.
- Be patient and consistent: Don’t rush the process of moving from cot to bed and be patient with your little one. If you stay cool, calm, and collected, your little one will stay calm too and will be more likely to settle into their new bed sooner – meaning a silent night for everyone involved!