From Cot to Big Boy Bed! 10 Tips for an Easy Transition!

My Top 10 Tips for an Easy Transition From Cot to Toddler Bed!

After reading a few bed time posts recently and hearing tales of bed time woes from friends, I thought I’d share with you what has (and hasn’t!) worked for us when moving b from his cot to toddler bed. As much as I’d love to say my boy sleeps 13 hours straight, wakes in a good mood at 8am every morning and never poos his pants,…well you know I’d be lying 😉

B has never been an awful sleeper but he seemed to sleep much better when he was younger and confined to his cot. Once I decided to decorate his room from nursery décor to toddler décor, I also decided to ditch the cot!

B was two and a half when he moved from cot to toddler bed. I didn’t really think he was ready before this. I know some friends who moved their children earlier but in my opinion you do it when you and your child are ready 🙂

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Bath Bottle Book Bed!

We used to have a strict “bath, bottle, book, bed” routine from very early on. This, combined with our Ewan dream sheep, (an essential purchase in my opinion!), seemed to do the trick and would ensure a 7pm to 7am sleep, with minimal interruptions. And more importantly, back to back binge watching of The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, or whatever other box set we were watching 😉

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B’s sleep started going downhill last November at Center Parcs. After that week away, we started having battle of the bed time and we started getting night time wakings. Yay. It steadily got worse and tbh I had no idea where we were going wrong. We hadn’t really changed a lot! Yet he’d become a pickle with going down, and then waking in the night wanting cuddles.

Toddler Bed tantrums

We moved B to his big boy bed just after Christmas last year and honestly, we were dreading it. It was tough going for a month or so. It also came at a time where B was dropping his nap during the day. We found if he had even as much as a 20 minute power nap, that was it – game over for bed time. Anyways I won’t whinge on. Here are some things that helped us make the transition as smooth as possible :/

  1. Bigging up the big boy bed. We made a big deal of it. We made a big deal of how big our big boy now was in his big boy bed. You get the idea.
  2. New bedding! Any excuse ey. Coupled with making a big deal, I purchased a few duvet covers I knew he’d love. Cars, diggers and animals.
  3. Stair gates. We fitted a stair gate to his bedroom door from day one. No ifs, no buts, I didn’t want him having free reign of the house. We live in a townhouse so it just made sense.
  4. Zero faff. Pre-big boy bed we used to have a nightly routine of faffs – I need a drink, I need a tissue, I all of a sudden have an interest in trying the potty. And so it would go on and on. Once he was out of the cot and into the bed, he was well prepped with tissues by his side, drink of water and the potty! I can thankfully say that this stalling stopped pretty soon after the move 🙂
  5. Bed guard. After two nights of him falling out of his bed, we purchased a bed guard. Job done.
  6. Night lights. After a night or two of waking up scared, we purchased and tried various plug-in night lights. Some of them are a bit bright but with the lighter evenings now, I don’t bother switching it on and he tends not to notice unless he wakes in the night.
  7. Bed means bed! We have quite a strict “once you’re in your room for bed, that is it unless you are poorly” bed time policy. I go up if he isn’t settling and some nights at the start that was on and off for hours – this was actually the start of him dropping his nap. Since he stopped napping, he is out like a light most nights by 6.30/7pm. Uninterrupted blogging and Game of Thrones bliss hehe 😉
  8. Wake up time. He has one of these gro-clocks which turns yellow when it’s wake up time. It kind of works. It certainly isn’t a miracle early riser cure. Mornings typically go like this – B wakes around 6ish. He comes to his gate and will call us. One of us pops in (usually dad haha) and tells him it isn’t wake up time. We tell him he can play with his teddies/toys but he isn’t coming out of his room until the sun is up. And right now this works 8/10 times I’d say. We’ve had additional faff recently with potty training but I want to encourage this so I’d rather him be up and using his potty.
  9. Keeping it in perspective. It can be hard with changes like this, especially if the routine was working. I really try and remember though that it won’t be forever, no matter how many evenings are a write-off and mornings start at 6am or earlier :/ It really won’t be forever and getting worked up, stressed or anxious about it all won’t help anything. I’ve basically tried to chill out a bit.
  10. Duvet wars. I’ve stopped worrying  if B doesn’t sleep under the duvet. For nights I was really bothered that he wasn’t tucked up in his duvet. He was so used to his sleeping bags and had claimed he didn’t like the duvet. Great. After a few nights worrying and trying to convince him to get under it, I stopped. I figured if he was cold, he WOULD get under his duvet. I also figured our house is always so bloody hot that he may well want to be out of it because he can!

So there, my ten tips for the cot to toddler bed transition. What worked for you? Any other tips to add?!

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  1. How old was B when you did this? Baby Girl is 21 months old and I\’m wondering if this is something we need to start thinking about. I don\’t feel as though she\’s ready but I\’m not sure if that\’s just me clinging on to her babyness still? These are some great tips that I\’ll be looking back to when we do decide it\’s time x

  2. Great tips. I\’m planning on potty training this weekend and am going back and forth as to whether or not we should turn Baby K\’s cot bed into a bed or if we should wait a bit. I feel he\’s still too small to take the side away at 23 months and I don\’t think he\’ll be waking up to go to the potty in the night (would be amazing if he did!) I think we\’ll have to wing it and see what happens! #BloggerClubUK

    • we did the bed transition when b was 2 and a half, so 30 months. I was of the opinion, if it aint broke, don\’t fix it :/ ! But then come November, B kept calling us up for so many reasons, snotty nose, need a tissue, wants a drink, dropped a teddy etc etc etc. So we decided after Christmas, he can have a bed and get out and have a drink when he wants lol! good luck with the path you choose! xx

  3. Great tips, I\’m glad it\’s starting to get a bit easier for you and he is adapting well 🙂
    Thanks for linking up to #BloggerClubUK 🙂

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