How to Make the Move to a Toddler Bed


After years of safely sleeping behind bars it can be difficult to know when it’s the right time to move your little one to a toddler bed. But, whether they’ve attempted to do a Houdini style escape act all by themselves or you think they are getting a little long for their cosy cot, the transition needn’t be a stressful one.

Top tips on how to make the move

1. Slowly does it

Try to keep the toddler bed in the same place as the cot and always put a guardrail up to stop your little one from rolling out. Your tot might also find it comforting to have their old cot blanket until they get used to their new surroundings.

2. Keep the routine

Even for the most excited of toddlers, a new bed could seem a little daunting. Try to stick to their usual bedtime routine to help them feel safe and secure.

3. Make it fun


There are so many fun choices out there to bring a whole new world of magic to sleeptime. Whether your tot is mad about Thomas & Friends or they love all things fairy, there will be a big bed to suit them. Let them have a part in picking their new toddler bed and they will feel like it’s one big exciting adventure. You could even think about throwing a ‘big bed party’.

4. Patience

Whilst your toddler might love their new found freedom, unfortunately your sleep pattern might not! You might find yourself putting them back into their new bed time and time again. Don’t worry, with patience this won’t last long. Keep it consistent, keep it quiet and keep calm. Persistence is the key and you will win in the end!

5. Reward, reward, reward

Praise and rewards will really help to reinforce how proud you are of a successful night’s sleep.

Some children take moving to a toddler bed in their stride while others take longer to adjust. It may take a little time, but they will get there in the end. This is another big milestone in their little lives…and in yours too. Your baby is growing up, but there are so many exciting adventures you have to come with your cheeky little toddler and their new found freedom!

Check out our range of toddler beds here

122 thoughts on “How to Make the Move to a Toddler Bed

  1. Some great advice on this article! I will definately say persistence is the key. Make a bedtime rule poster and sticker chart. Put a routine in place and stick to it. Reward your child for sticking to the rules. Get the child involved in making the rules aswell. :)

  2. My son is two and a half now and we are going to be moving him out of his cot very soon.

    I’m planning on going for the wow factor bed (just like yours) to get him wanting to sleep in it.

    Wish me luck x

  3. Great advice, a bedtime story always worked for us, it was just that bit of their time with you and their favourite tales

  4. Think a good bedtime routine, combined with a comfortable bed is a great way to make the transition to a toddler bed.

  5. Routine can be rewarding and is an important part of growing up I believe it helps create a more balanced and happier child.

  6. I always put a night light on and settled my little ones down by reading them a story….BIG tip….don’t skip a page of their favourite book….they will know,lol ;)

  7. I let them choose there character bedding a cuddly toy, and say its there special bed, I include them in everything so they feel special.

  8. Reward charts work well, we had a sheet where a different levels there were rewards that were bed related! New pjs or new bedding of their choice once they got there on the chart :-)

  9. I always have problems with mine getting out of bed and coming downstairs, my oldest used to do it – luckily he’s now grown out of it but now the next one does it! I just try to be persistant and keep putting them back, and also tiring them out in the day does help

  10. I think the most important thing is to stick with it if kids think they can get away with sleeping in your bed they will it may seem hard but eventually they do stick with it.

  11. Great advice, thanks.We had to put my eldest in a bed at nine months old because each morning when we went into his room he was on the floor, he had no problem climbing over the side of the cot. We took the legs of a divan bed so that it was lower and placed the cot mattress on the floor at the side. Not ideal but it worked.

  12. We had no problems with Melody, she is a very grown up little girl for her age but Flynn is another matter. He is 2 and a quarter but still like a baby in so many ways. This advice will come in handy when we decide it’s time!

  13. I think its important to make them feel as comfortable as possible with the new surroundings and let them choose the beding design always found this helped with my eldest two about to make the transitition with my little man soon

  14. My son would always come and try and climb into my bed but once you let them its a slippery slope. Try to be persistent and put them back to bed, trying not to make converstation or too much eye contact. This worked eventually ;)

  15. really good idea with a sticker chart. Give your child a sticker if they stay in bed all night, attempt to make the bed in the morning etc…. my child is at the age of moving to a bed and all these comments have help me out loads. thank you everyone xx

  16. my son was a monkey for coming into our bed at night, in the end we made a reward chart which seemed to work with him … with my daughter she was coming in to my bed because she was scared of the dark so we got some magic fairy dust (glitter) sprinkled it around and she was fine after that!
    routine is massively important too , as i found if you give in a few night they think they can get away with it all the time be persistant

  17. Im going to go for a wow bed like your as i think if the child is happy and comfortable and with a bed shaped as a car he will feel very grown up and play at driving etc and also being quite low to the ground it would feel safer and not to scary for him

  18. wow some great advice. I would say also all children are different , my first and second were quite easy to move forward to a big bed but my youngest is going to be very hard patience and deep breaths with a mug of coffee with have to be the key lol

  19. Make a big thing of them becoming a big boy/girl. Let them choose a lovely duvet set with their fave TV characters etc and wherever possible put the bed where the cot was. Most of all don’t rush it…if they are fine in their cot then don’t push it until they are climbing out or really too big for it! You could even buy a special step-stool for their bedroom if the toddler bed is hard to get in to :)

  20. When my son was due to move from his cot to a bed we decorated the bedroom with a new theme and he was so excited with the prospect of a grown up bed, he wanted to sleep on it in the lounge when it was delivered before the bedroom was finished. He had no problems at all with the change.

  21. I have 4 little munchkins :) & I think the key is routine routine routine! Bedtime is usually a breeze in our house (thank god) but I always stick religiously to our planned routine :)
    & moving my youngest to a toddler bed now, I have removed her cot from our room & put her bed in its place & will move it slowly to her own room! X

  22. Fantastic blog my advice would be to get a bed like the above that your child is going to be so excited to sleep in.

  23. I have 3 children ages 9( today) ,5 and 6 months, my older two didn’t take to moving from cot to toddler bed so I’m hoping my youngest will when it comes to her turn next year
    Great advice

  24. Bedtimes are best started after tea with a little playtime then bath then bed and a story! I find it the nicest part of the day for me and my child to have one to one time.

  25. Great advice on this page, I never really had any problems transferring my daughter to a toddler bed as she was so excited to be sleeping in a big bed :)

  26. My lil boi has his tea then a bath with the sleep bath bubbles then cuddle time and bed hios always been real good at going to bed which i was quite shocked about. but best thing to do is have black out curtains in a kids room :)

  27. With my first son (a looooooong time ago), I put him into a single bed when I felt the time was right. It was awful, he was in and out like a yo-yo, seemed to hate it and suffered from bed wetting. With my second son, I got him a character toddler bed (Thomas the tank) and he loved it. He slept brilliantly and we never had any accidents. They are closer to the floor too, which means even if you have a little adventurer, they aren’t going to hurt themselves in a drop. With my little girl I plan to get a toddler bed, they are perfect.

  28. really good advice, every child is different and will adapt in their own time. Patience and reward and a cuddly teddy is the key and eventually they will love sleeping in their ‘big bed’

  29. With my 3 year old, it’s all about routine and patience. He’s suddenly started waking almost routinely at 3am most nights, and getting into my bed. My husband and I are just returning him to his bed, without a word, in the hope he’ll sleep through eventually.
    Fingets crossed!

  30. My daughter still sleeps with me! So this has been a very good read and once her dad finishes the extension we shall be preying she settles into her own bed

  31. Sing them a rhyme at bed time. Eg..

    This is where I rest my head
    In my lovely big boys bed
    It’s cosy and snug and feels just right
    Now I’m happy , I can say night night

  32. Wow wow & wow this bed is amazing , my son alfie we are going to be making the change over soon im very worried as it did not go well for my daughter so well defo give all your advice ago thank you .x

  33. great advice with mine i found the first few nites were fine till they discoverd they could get up n play but def stick with it a sticker chart is another good thing if they understand :)

  34. My son who is 18 months old is going in his big boys bed this weekend. Having 2 older children, i know that persistence pays off! Letting them know how special it was to move in to their own ‘big bed’ worked too. Hoping my son will do as well as my daughters did (“,)

  35. If you can afford it, ‘toddler’ beds which sit close to the ground will provide a safe stepping stone to a full-sized single bed. Cots that convert into small beds are a great idea – although if you have another baby coming, you may need to keep it as a cot anyway, or else buy the new baby a new cot. Some kind of bed guard is also a good idea for safety’s sake – at the very least make sure there’s a good layer of pillows or the mattress from the cot on the floor in case she should fall out, which is very common while they’re getting used to not sleeping behind bars. An alternative is to buy a regular single bed, but to initially just use the mattress on the floor.
    Consider leaving their cot in the room for a while, perhaps even allowing them the choice of old cot or new bed for a little while. However, it’s possible this will prolong a tricky changeover, and you might prefer to try a ‘cold turkey’ approach and take the old cot away all together, perhaps even storing it out of sight, if possible.

  36. my daughter always has problems with my grandson trying to keep him in his bed maybe this the solution a racing car bed :0) x

  37. My little girl settled really quickly into her big girls bed with a strict bedtime routine and I was bragging to everyone how easy it was, anyway she is almost 4 now and tries to come into our bed most nights around 3 am GRRRRRRRR

  38. Great advise! I would have a big fuss of the new bed and just stick to putting the child back each time they get out, also worth getting a babygate for the door

  39. deffo let them know they are getting moved into a big Girl/boy bed then let them choose the bedding or pick something you know they will love.On the first night do a story and keep to same routine and dont give in and let them come into bed with you because once you do it once they will keep trying!

  40. hi, i have problems with my son, he is absolutely fine getting into his bed and falling asleep while watching tv, but he wakes up in the middle of the night and wants to get in my bed.. ive tried so hard to put him back but if im being honest its just much easier to keep him in bed with me, rather than both of our sleep being disturbed as hes 4 and goes to nursery, good advice tho thank you for the great competition i would like to be entered hoping if i win it might make him stay in his bed all night x

  41. I think its all about routine. I’ve never had problems with either of mine sleeping in their beds or when they transferred from the cot to bed stage. We have the same routine each night, bath, book and bed. My youngest always has a 10 minute cuddle in bed too which helps settle him. I think the key is making it clear an hour before bed that it is “wind down” time. Keep things calm and they are soon ready for bed. I laugh at my kids because they often ask to go to bed if it’s getting late, they love bed time (my eldest even had a sleep over the other night at a friends house and complained the other kids were keeping him up!!) :-)

  42. Your child is going to cry but remember that you know they are not hurt, sick or in any danger and it will pass. Don’t give up xx

  43. This is a very interesting blog. Although we have not got to this stage yet (little one is only 14 months old) i have been picking up tips from my friends. One particular tip that i am going to try is to put a clock in my little ones room and let him know what number the small pointer has to be on before he can get up for the day. Obviously hes not chained to the bed for toilet visits etc!

  44. Such awesome advice from other parents. I had a Lot of problems with getting my little guy into a toddler bed. He now falls asleep in my bed then i transplant him into his bed. He’ll usually stay sound asleep until 4-5am then creep into my bed. I see it as he’ll stop it when he’s comfortable with staying in his bed by himself and i don’t mind that he’s a little mummas boy and wants to snuggle on the nights im not a work. He’s 3.3

  45. Firstly make it fun and lots of praise like wow what a big boy you are and tell your child how proud you are of them.
    Secondly if the child is going into a big bed because there’s a new little one coming along, make sure to make it a nice experience so to not create jealousy , for example when the baby arrives or beforehand you could have a present arrive for the big boy going into the big boy bed from the new baby , stuff like a new blanket, doona cover, pillow, stuffed animal or maybe even a special book :-)

  46. Lots of good advice given. When putting a toddler to bed, make sure the house is quiet, turn the television down or off, noise can disturb a toddlers sleep. Ask neighbours if they could kindly cut their grass or trim hedges before the toddler goes to bed, not an easy task but can be achieved if you are tactful and considerate, it is all about give and take with neighbours. Put some thick curtains in the toddlers bedroom to help reduce external noise. A special cuddly toy can help at bed time “Teddy is looking very tired, he wants to go to bed, he loves your cuddles……”

  47. with ours we made the space really magical, for example a bed tent, special light or new gave mine a reason to want to be in their new bed!

  48. I love the tips thanks for sharing! Rewards such as praise works well. Also letting your child take their favourite toy or teddybear to bed is another good idea.

  49. Try to stuck to the same times when going to bed and don’t be drawn in with the “just one more time mummy”. By doing just that your child is in control not you.

  50. Good advice, one of mine hated being behind bars in his cot and used to throw himself out so went into a bed very early and with a good routine and a bedtime story settled very well and was then always good at night, fun bed covers like Thomas the Tank Engine helped too.

  51. I am so nervous about moving my now 2yr old to a bed from a cot, even though he has no problem getting in and out of a cot, I just worry, but having a low to the floor toddler bed sounds a better idea than a single normal size bed. Great advice thanks, think when my little man makes the move I will buy him new bedding to feel more grown up.

  52. If your children are quite close in age and you want the eldest in a bed before the new baby arrives, make decorating the bedroom a big adventure, buy the bed covers they want (within reason!!) and then offer stars/treats for every night they stay in bed with the promise of a big prize after so many stars.

    The most important thing is that the child feels safe, but also “grown up”.

  53. I found that giving my eldest daughter the simple choice of which duvet cover to have when I changed the bed over and a light lavender spritz on the pillow was enough to settle her. Hope my youngest is as easy

  54. we allowed our son to choose his own bedding and also rewarded him for staying in his bed with a sticker chart and he loved it :-)

  55. My little boy had a car bed and I had no problems whatsoever with transferring him. It also gave me peace of mind as the edges where slightly raised so no fear of falling out.

  56. i let my daughter choose her own duvet cover. she chose one with her favorite charactor peppa pig. i had a routine i would follow, bathtime and then an hour to wind down. then i would sit on the bed and read her a bedtime story. :)

  57. If you are able to set the new bed up on their room so they get used to seeing it. Keep to the same night time routine that you have always had and let them pick their teddies to go in it. If possible they could also bed involved in picking new bedding for it. Make it fun.

  58. a nice relaxing bath with a massage with oil and a nice bed time story is what worked with my first 2 but my boy im not sure yet

  59. Very good advice, my daughter is 2 ½ now and will soon into a bigger bed, she has trouble sleeping at night, but the best thing for her is if she get a good night story or a song before she go to sleep.

  60. My top tip is to always start with a bedrail but not to change anything else about their bedtime routine. Too much change at the beginning can be very daunting for our little ones and could instigate problems with their sleep.

  61. My boy is nearly 3 and hes in his own bed nearly a year I think routine is key to achieving this move to big bed and STICK WITH IT IT GETS EASIER TRUST ME and finally u can relax in peace good luck all

  62. Keep to the same routine, bath, story and lights dimmed. All children like to feel grown-up, and “a grown-up bed now”, can be used to advantage. My 3 couldn’t wait for their own new bed.

  63. Mine all made the transition very easily as I put them down for their day time naps in their new bed & made a big fuss of them having a big grown up bed for a while before putting them to bed in it at night. They already thought of it as their bed & wanted to make the transition when the time came – also sharing a room with siblings helped a lot too as they didn’t feel alone.

  64. Its a start to sleeping by your self. My nephew just trys to get out of cot all the time. Would be better off with a bed like this which is a novelty that i think will make him stay in bed longer. I wish. XXX

  65. My son hasnt moved into one yet so thaks for all your advice! – I was thinking about getting my son one of these car beds to make it more inviting for him – reading his special mickey book before bed and making it realluy relaxing – well see how it goes – wish me luck :) x

  66. i taught all my kids from cot to bed tell them there big boys now if its a girl shes a big girl but there will be nights when you have to reinforce this rule dont let anybody tell you diffrent keep going dont give in at the end of the day your teaching your kids to be more independant they will soon like there own space i would love to win this for my grandson i have not got a bed for him it would be brillant

  67. Make their new bed cosy with all their favourites teddies, a night light and maybe some soft music after reading a story, then stick with it, if you give in just once and allow them in your bed it takes days or weeks to get them back out of it again! Experience with 3 and the my third has been the hardest :-)

  68. relaxing bath before bed and a nice short story in bed! NO TV in the bedrooms! other wise they’ll get into bad habbits at a early age!

  69. ive always gave mine a lavender bath as carried it on from the johnson bath n bedtime this seams to relax my god child then a book before sleep

  70. If kids are tired enough they will go to sleep. No need to spend silly money on a fancy bed. Hundreds of pounds for a kids bed is just crazy.

  71. Routine , routine is the key for a smooth change from cot to bed , have a reasonable set bedtime dim lights read half story having cuddles sitting on chair in bedroom then read the rest while little one is tucked up in bed

  72. First begin with nap time. A shorter amount of time in the new bed should help with the transition. Once they sleep successfully in the bed at nap time, start the overnight.

  73. I sold the move of my eldest boy to a new, more grown up room as an upgrade – it worked for me and resulted in no sibling rivalry – phew!

  74. my daughter refused to sleep in a cot from 18 months and straight into a normal sized bed as she wouldn’t sleep in the toddler bed, my youngest is now 14 moths and i think it will be a while before she goes out of the cot.

  75. Make it fun is great advice – when my eldest moved to his toddler bed we let him help build it!! He slept all night in it x

  76. keep the room at a nice consistant temperature . over heating or being overly cold can affect sleep and incontinance

    i shared this article on fb ,,

  77. Make half an hour before bedtime as relaxing as possible by reading a story, having a bath, or generally chilling out. Great advice in the article too :)

  78. I would love to win this bed for my baby grandson Harley , he will be moving into a toddler bed latter in the year to make way for new baby going into his cot, bless him. His mummy has already seen a “cars bed” she likes , so this would be fab x

  79. We used a bed bar so she didn’t fall out the bed. Got to choose new jammies, her fave teddy etc.
    Don’t get rid of dummy at same time as this is the little ones comforter. X

  80. Id start by making sure they are comfy so sleep with cot sides down (as long as child still safe) then slowly move to a bed with bed guards then remove them :)

  81. My top tip is to be patient and persevere! We have 3 children aged 5, 4 and 2 and all three are in bed and asleep by 7pm every night. Our 2 year old has just made the transition and the first 4 nights, in spite of lovely new bedding, a good bedtime routine and all her old comforts, she insisted on running around the bedroom, calling down to us and disturbing her siblings. Through being consistent and not giving in, we had her into a proper routine within 4 nights. I literally stood in the doorway where she couldn’t see me and kept laying her back down about 20 times when she tried to ‘escape’ lol! :)

  82. My son is nearly 2 and really good with sleeping in his cot and sleeps in my bed during the day sometimes without any problems i have been looking at getting him his own proper bed as hes really long and getting to big for his cot :) i will be getting him a sticker chart and for every night he sleeps in his own bed all night long come weekend if he has collected 5 stars he will get a treat. but hopefully he will just love it as he is amazed and obsessed with cars and he loves bedtime and i have already been looking at a cars bed for him :) would be brill to win one for him i know he would love it sooo much :) xxx liked and shared your comp and page on facebook to—- Emily May

  83. If possible have the new bed in their room for awhile for them to get used to it and allow them to play in it.

    Have covers that dont slip off so they feel cosy still – I had ones where duvet was attached to sheet.

    Wow factor bed – my little girl had a princess 4 poster was very reasonable as in mdf – spent more money on mattress to make sure that was comfy.

    If they wont stay in try just holding their hand without looking at them whilst they fall asleep then gradually move further out of the room each night.

    Have a night light available for them,

  84. We bought a cot that converted into a toddler bed. It was an easy progression to take one side off then the other so that my son felt at home with the idea of a big boy bed.

  85. i didnt have any real problems getting my son into a proper big boy bed i think the key is not to rush it and wait until you are sure that they are ready. i also would reccommed a guard so that the dont fall out. i noticed a big change in my sons sleeping when he went into a bed he was sleeping much longer which was great fro him but even better for mum and dad!! i will be doing it soon with my 2 year old so im hoping he is as easy!!

  86. Definitely routine, some favourite toys and familiar bed covers etc. Not too make too much of a big deal of it at first then lots of praise the next day

  87. They aren’t young for long. Enjoy every precious minute you get to spend with them cuddled up next to you. They will be ready soon enough to move into their own bed.

  88. I told my daughter that there were children without a cot and she had to move to her bed so that we could give them her cot and they could go to sleep, and she did that with ease. x

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