More than two months ago, I wrote about how I thought perhaps it was time to transition Nora out of her crib. She was being a beast to get out of bed in the morning, and one of my theories was that perhaps—in a fit of trying to be more independent—she was frustrated with the fact that she couldn’t get out of her crib by herself.

I should’ve known not to theorize. At Nora’s 2-year appointment, our pediatrician even told us, “Do NOT try to understand why she does things.” In other words, it meant nothing. It was a phase.

And regarding the switch… well, it never happened. I chickened out.

It’s hard to mess with a good thing. It has not escaped me, however, that this is a transition that we do eventually have to make. Just like we broke her of the swaddle before we probably really needed to. Just like we nixed the pacifier at 11 months, cold turkey. But I am torn about how we want to make this particular change.

For one, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if Nora never figures out and/or attempts to climb out of it. She’s a really cautious child—not one to climb, jump, or take many risks. So the “wait until she climbs out” philosophy doesn’t really seem to fit for our family, though I suppose she could surprise me. I know I want to move her—and I would even go so far as saying that I think that if we were to do it right now, the transition would go well. Of course, I don’t know that for sure, but the only thing I’m really worried about is her falling out of bed. She still moves around A LOT in there.

But my biggest point of internal debate is whether we should wait until we’re ready to put her in a BIG bed—a full or a twin. Her crib is convertible to a toddler bed, but I guess I’m thinking, do we really want to make a transition twice? However, the toddler bed seems like a natural step, a change that is more gradual than ripping her from a crib and putting her straight into a big bed. Because honestly, it’s THAT transition that I’m most scared of.

At daycare, Nora apparently naps on a mat on the floor. ON A MAT. ON THE FLOOR. With no restrictions, nothing keeping her in there. I cannot wrap my head around this. NO COMPRENDE. I just cannot see how that is actually successful, but Mary swears that it is. So apparently our girl is a little more adaptable than I give her credit for? And I do give her credit, don’t get me wrong.

Let’s say that we do choose to make this transition in the very near future. Do we give her a pillow? How do we try to “train” her to sleep on one end of the bed without flopping back and forth and sideways and rolling all around? Is it something she just has to learn by literally falling out a few times? And if they do fall out, what do you do? Do they cry, does it take them a long time to go back to sleep?

Another question is… what do you do when you travel? We’re going to California in January and if we make the transition to a toddler bed before then, what do we do there? We’re staying with a friend so we won’t have access to a pack ‘n’ play or anything else unless we rent it.

I’m just… really conflicted. Any advice?


19 Responses to Call Me Chicken

  1. Rebecca says:

    I have absolutely no advice for you, other than to tell you Jackson (21 months) may be in his crib until he leaves for college :) I’m terrified of this transition, so I’m not in a hurry at all. Jackson, like Nora, flails around all night, sleeps sideways and in general does not stay in one place. We have a small pillow in his crib for him, but he doesn’t use it. I have no idea how this works. Keep us posted :)

  2. Hindah says:

    My daughter is 21 months old and we will be moving her into a toddler bed soon because baby 2 is due in Feb., and even though the baby will sleep in our room for a while, I don’t want to take her crib away from her after the baby is born. I understand your reluctance to move her, as I am worried about how bedtime will go once she can get out of bed. Or pediatrician said that as long as her room is child safe that it is ok to put her to bed and if she ends up sleeping on the floor, that’s ok (of course not ideal) as long as she is sleeping. Also, we ordered a great toddler pillow from Amazon; I believe it is called my first pillow. It is toddler size and not too soft.

  3. Erin says:

    This transition was scary for us too, for basically all the reasons you said – and we DID have a deadline of Luke needing the crib. BUT – it went totally fine. As in, zero problems.

    Annie didn’t sleep with a pillow and moved all around before. When we started, she did fall out several times. Usually just once a night, but at least half the nights she’d fall out for a few weeks. Then just once every few weeks… and now never. We’d just go in there and put her back in bed and she’d go right back to sleep. She moved around a lot at first (hence the falling out) and now rarely moves much at all. If we travel, she sleeps in a normal bed – and I usually make a little pillow barrier on the edge for her. She really doesn’t even try to get out of bed, she just stays there waiting for us when she wakes up.

    Almost everyone I’ve talked to said it’s really not as big of a deal as it seems like it will be. I know several that have gone straight to twin beds – we only did a toddler bed because we thought we’d have the kids sharing a room and didn’t have the space – but now I wish we’d just gone to a twin (however, Annie is tiny and will likely fit on a toddler bed for several years).

    I never climbed out of the crib and was in it until I was 3 :) No problems.

  4. Lucci says:

    We haven’t made the transition with our 26-month-old yet, so I am no expert. But, one thing we have done lately both for the cold that is our house in MN winters and to get him used to sleeping at one end of the bed is to put some larger blankets in the crib and tuck them into one end and even up some of the sides. He knows which end is up now and has gotten more and more used to it. He still can’t really grasp the idea of pulling the covers up himself when they come off in the middle of the night (sometimes he cries a little and we go in and put them back on and then he’s fine). We haven’t gotten a pillow yet, but I was thinking that might be the next step before converting to the toddler bed version of the crib.
    I have also learned that daycare is a magical place where totally abnormal sleeping behaviors occur!!! We have had the worst time getting our child to nap at home on the weekends or days off and apparently he sleeps juuuuust fine every single day at daycare. I honestly have no idea how this can be true, but it’s the same for us where our daycare provider tells us he sleeps and it’s never been a problem. It’s magical.

  5. Tara says:

    Our little guy (he’s 2.5) was never one to attempt climbing out of the crib either. He’s tall though, and it just seemed like he needed more space than the crib could provide. We also had a baby on the way, so in August we created his “big boy room.” Best. Decision. Ever.
    He loves it and does really well. We went with a twin bed and a bed rail. He also sleeps on a cot at daycare, which I do think helped in the transition…he is not supposed to leave his cot if he gets up before naptime is over at daycare, and this rule must apply for him at home too-he has not tried to escape his bed and go wandering around the house alone. I bet Nora would be really excited to help you create her “big girl room” and will also make the transition well. She’s adorable :)

  6. Rachel Gray says:

    Connor turned 2 on August 23 and about 2 weeks later we converted his crib into a toddler bed. He jumps, climbs, and scales everything so we sort of had to do it (I caught him sliding down his floor-length curtains one day…no joke).

    He was similar to Nora, he flipped and flopped all over the crib – I was most nervous about that. The first night he did fall out of the toddler bed. But since then (we’re about 3 months in) he’s only fallen out one other time. The two times he fell out, I would go get him, put him back in bed, and stay with him until he was back asleep (just took a few minutes) to reassure him everything is okay.

    He actually sleeps in one direction now…which I NEVER thought would happen. He’s been using a pillow for a while (even in the crib) – we just use a regular pillow. When we’re traveling, he just uses a pack and play so I don’t have much advice other than to rent one! Best of luck! :)

  7. Rachel Gray says:

    PS – I sort of wish we had just gone straight from the crib to a full-size bed!

  8. Catherine says:

    I actually recently asked our pediatrician, and they say a lot of studies say waiting until closer to age three is perhaps better. She didn’t go into much detail. Actually, if you talk to a lot of adults our parents age, it was the norm for toddlers to stay in the bed until age three. My pedi said she thinks it became a thing where parents just started rushing their kids into toddler beds, so it became the “thing” to do. Like others have said, I haven’t heard of really any of my friends have a difficult time with the transition, and if anything, had an EASIER time when they waited until 2.5 or closer to 3.

    I think we will be transitioning my son this summer and he will be a little older than 2.5.

  9. I debate this same thing with myself literally every single day. An added curveball for us is that we will be moving across the country sometime between January and April. So do I do it RIGHT NOW, get him settled before we move (and then have to move yet another piece of furniture)? Do I land in our new home (or my in-laws house temporarily) and present him with a new bed? That seems like too much change all at once for a 2-year-old to handle. Or do I stick with the crib until we’re settled in our new home, which could be several months from now, when Ryan is pushing age 3. He’s a big kid, so he’s really starting to look a little silly crammed into the crib. But he also rolls a ton (rocking back and forth is how he soothes himself to sleep), so he is all over the darn thing.


    My mother-in-law says I’m over-thinking it and that he is way more adaptable than I give him credit for. That if he’s tired enough, he’ll sleep wherever we need to put him that night. She might be right.

  10. rockess says:

    We ended up waiting until he was just over 3, and only made the switch because he asked for it. We had started talking up the big boy bed thing, and one night while I was out with my girlfriend, Three asked my husband to switch his crib to a toddler bed and that was that. We went out and bought him a pillow the next day which practically made his year. He slept in the toddler bed until we moved a month or so later and then went right into a twin with no issues. Well, he fell out once. But after that he was good. I stressed about the transition too, but waiting until he was ready and wanted to move worked for us. Of course we had no need for the crib for another baby or any worries he was trying to climb out which helped us delay the move as well. Once he had switched to a big boy bed he either sleeps in a bed when we travel to hotels or the couch when we crash at friend’s houses. We have been lucky that he will pretty much sleep wherever.

  11. Anna in Ohio says:

    We haven’t transitioned our 23-month-old yet, and I have no plans to in the near future. However, I absolutely recommend you check out That’s where we got Logan’s pillow, and I’ve seen inflatable bed rails there, too, which would be great for travelling. (Basically it’s an inflatable tube that you put under the sheet on the edges of the bed to keep your kid from rolling out…check it out!)

  12. Lynn says:

    Heather – my almost 5 year old was moved into a big girl bed at around 2. We just bit the bullet & did it. We bought a side rail for side that wasn’t against the wall because like Nora she moved all over the bed. I never once had her fall out of the bed. Our now almost 3 year old was moved into her big girl bed at 2 years 2 months. Again we did the exact same thing…bit the bullet. Both girls did great & I’ve never had a problem with bedtime or them getting out of the bed, etc. I was a little afraid but more sad because it was signifying they were growing up & it was yet another stage. Both also were put in a convertible toddler bed & the older one moved right into a twin size about a year ago…she did just fine. I also prep my girls before any big change that is going to take place. We build it up & make it sound like it is a big deal. Good luck & I think you guys you will do just fine..

  13. Allison says:

    When my sister was transitioned out her crib into a big girl bed, my dad and step mom went straight from crib to a twin size bed. They put these ( up on either side and gave her a stool at the end of the bed so she could climb down by herself and as far as I know, never had any problems!

  14. Brittanny says:

    I love your blog. I have read many over the past few years but now i really only reads yours. I never post I guess I’m too afraid but I really wanted to give you some advice. My daughter was born the day after yours. We transitioned her into a toddler bed over the summer. It was something we had to do because we were having another baby in September and needed the crib. Now peyton is exactly just like Nora. Slept all over her crib she tossed and turned so many times. I put her to bed at one end the next morning she was at the other. Since she moved into her toddler bed she has never fallen out, never tossed and turned like she used to she’s pretty good at staying at the top of the bed. She has a few times shimmied off the bed where she was sleeping half on the bed half on the floor. You know head on bed knees on floor. Lol she’s a strange kid but has always climbed right back in and no injuries. I tried to make the transition a big deal. I went out and bought her a toddler bed set and a new pillow. It was a Minnie set she loves it. At first she cried the first few nights but I laid with her for like 10-20 min to show her there was nothing to be scared of. Few days was all it took. I think Nora would be the same. Also we went to Rhode island in April and she slept on a pull out then and did fine. She’s also slept on an air mattress and did fine and the couch lol. She sleeps everywhere. I hope this helps!!!!

  15. Nicole says:

    Leave her in the crib as long as you can! We put Avery in a big bed before the baby came (Avery was 2 1/2)…but we also had to because she climbed/fell out of her crib twice in a week so we HAD to move her. We went right to a full size bed (converted the crib) with bedrails on each side-added a pillow and comforter/sheet set (none of which she had in her crib). I will say it started a lot of sleep issues for her though-climbing out of bed at bedtime, overnight, etc. We gated her in her room because the first morning she just waltzed into our room at the other end of the hallway first thing in the morning….shes not the kid that will stay in bed on her own. She’s only fallen out of bed twice in the past year. But really, keep her in the crib as long as you can!! I wish we could have!

  16. Jacki says:

    When our crib converts, there’s a small railing that replaces the front of the crib. Enough to keep kiddos from rolling out, but with small openings on the ends so they can climb out. Does yours have this option? You might also be able to buy other bed rails that can be used on the toddler bed as well as the big bed.
    Good luck!

  17. We moved my son into a queen bed shortly after his 2nd birthday. We needed the crib for my youngest, who was born about a month later. We just did it cold turkey and it worked well. Sure, he sleeps the wrong way and flips all around, but he’s only ever fallen out once, and when it happened, I just hugged him, put him back in bed, and laid with him until he calmed down. The biggest challenge was getting him to stay in bed, but child licks on the doors and taping the light switch “off” helped with that.

    In terms of travel, I don’t know. I guess he’ll just sleep with us cuz he climbs out of the pack & play…

  18. Jean says:

    We converted the crib to toddler bed when my son was 18-months. This was primarily because I’d hurt my back and couldn’t lift him out or lower him into the crib without being able to bend properly. We added a mesh side rail so he doesn’t fall out. Once in a while he’ll climb out of bed and run to our room. I always know he’s on his way because 1) I hear him on the monitor and 2) he slams the door when he leaves his room so you can’t help be know! Most of the time he just sits there and calls for mommy when he wakes up. I’ve never left him in the crib so he never really had a desire to “escape.” It was an easy transition for us. When we visited family out of state I pre-ordered a twin bed rail and he slept in a twin with one side against the wall. They sell some inflatable rails that might work for travel– haven’t tried those though.

  19. Jean says:

    Oh, and I bought him a little camping pillow at Target which seems to work well. His day care nap pillow is one of those square pillows from a craft store with a homemade pillow case.

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