Transitioning From Cot To Bed

If you read my post about the traumatic trip to IKEA, you’ll know the silver lining was that we transitioned our son from cot to bed. He’s taken incredibly well to his bed and surprisingly sleeps much better, than in his cot. Occasionally while in his cot he’d invade our bed, or ask strange things in the night like “where’s his yellow truck”. What yellow truck? He regularly woke but would still think he was dreaming, we’ve had some odd questions in the night.

Since his transition into his bed, he’s only woke once. I actually quite miss those strange questions, but I don’t miss hauling my sleepy butt cheeks into his room each night to explain he doesn’t own a red swan, so I can’t find it for him.

Cot to bed

The transition itself from his cot to bed went incredibly smoothly, so I want to share a few tips so hopefully your little babe will settle into their grown-up bed without any anxiety or sleepless nights.


Prepare Them

You’re probably thinking ‘duh’, as if you’d just switch their beds over without explaining what is happening. I dread to think what a toddler would do in that situation, it’d be a little like an ambush and in their world everything is a big deal and preparation for big changes need a little introduction first.

To prepare our son, we started talking about Big Boy Beds months before he actually got one. As the time grew closer to it actually happening, we talked about it more regularly.

“Would you like a Big Boys Bed like mummy and daddy?”

“My wants a big bed”

“It’ll be all yours, a special bed, just for you”

That was the conversation we had almost daily, so he knew it was coming and he got more excited each time. If a little impatient too.

Not Too Much Fuss

Although you’ll be preparing them and chatting to them about it regularly, you don’t want to make it seem like too much of a big deal. You want them to be ready for the change and know it’s happening, but when you emphasize something too often it can easily turn into a negative thing in a toddlers mind.

A child may feel a little pressured and anxious about this change. So try not to make them feel like they have to like it and they must adapt to it well. The best way to do this is to keep chats about their new bed casual.

We also kept his old bed in his wardrobe just in case he really didn’t like the change and we let him know it’s there if he changes his mind, but it will only be there for a month. We dismantled it of course, otherwise it wouldn’t fit.

Get Them Involved

Toddlers are not decision makers, their decisions probably revolve around Fireman Sam and some kind of unhealthy food, so the ultimate decision is on you. But let them test out some beds in the shop, or look at pictures of the beds online so they can visualize what they’re getting and picture themselves using it.

If there’s a specific bed you like for them, you can sway their choice to this bed by just talking about it more. Toddlers are fickle little things, so we must make the most of this.

Involving them during the building process is also great, frustrating, but great for them. They can see it gradually being put together instead of suddenly appearing in their bedroom. If the bed is ready made, then you’re lucky, but you can involve them in making the bed with their favourite bedsheets and placing their teddies just-so. Because this bed is their teddies’ new bed too, right?

I would love to say our son was involved with the decision making, but unfortunately if you read my previous post, you’ll know we didn’t get much of a chance to involve him in the actual choosing of the bed. We did browse online with him the night before and he seemingly liked every bed we saw, which is handy that he’s easily pleased.

Make it Appealing

Choose new bedding that you know will grab their attention and make them want to snuggle into. For us we chose a bedding covered in vehicles. Lorries, diggers, tractors, this bedspread had them all, and in bright appealing colours.

Making the bed more attractive encourages them to like it. You can always pop the plain white sheets on next week if that’s your preference, but make it personal to them initially with things on or in it you know they’ll love. This doesn’t just have to be bedding, but teddies, the bed itself may have an attractive design.

Are They Tired

Keep their routine exactly the same at night but make sure they’re ready for bed. Keep the room dark using blackout curtains or a VELUX blind. Ensuring the little person is tired means they’re more likely to fall asleep easier in their new bed, than if they still have a little energy to expel. An energetic child means they may explore their new bed after Lights Out, and realise they can now get out and play if they wanted to.

As you lay them to down to sleep, give them something to look forward to in the morning.

“If you sleep well tonight, you can have strawberries for breakfast and we’ll go to the farm”

Don’t Sweat

Their first night may not go to plan, but that’s ok. Keep encouraging them that they’re doing really well and they’re in a grown-up bed now which is ‘so cool’. Their first night from cot to bed might go brilliantly well and a week later you see them staring at you in the middle of the night. That’s ok too, remember they’re still very young and with plenty of positive encouragement, a little bribery in the form of things you’ll do in the morning, after they’ve slept, and stories you’ll read the next night, they will get there.

For as long as you’re optimistic about the transition from cot to bed, they’ll feel positive about it.

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Let me know if you have any more tips and how your little babes took to their new bed, sound off in the comments below.

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cot to bed cot to bed cot to bed

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  1. May 4, 2016 / 6:42 am

    Really good post hun and a lost of things we did too. Our girl’s cot transformed into a bed and we chatted about it for ages so she was ready. She had a new duvet cover and all went well. I think she did take longer to get to sleep but she had been screaming in her cot for days so we knew it was time!! Thanks for sharing with #bestandworst x

    • firstooth
      May 4, 2016 / 8:01 am

      It’s always a sigh of relief when they take to it well. I remember reading about your girl transitioning and I always think the change is welcomed by them once they become toddlers. I say this now and I bet my second creates chaos! X

  2. May 4, 2016 / 6:49 am

    A really useful post. A common-sense approach and as you say not too much fuss. My three year old twins transitions really well and I am now planning toddler bed to bunk bed transition. #bestandworst

  3. May 4, 2016 / 7:51 am

    Hi, I have a two year old who I want to transition from his crib to a big boy bed. But my husband’s afraid he will climb out and play.
    Thank you for sharing these great tips!

    • firstooth
      May 4, 2016 / 8:00 am

      Perhaps try it out for a couple of nights with a bed guard on and see how he fares. If he climbs out then you can either persist with it and teach him to stay or pop him back in his crib for another month. Most kids don’t realise they can get out of their bed for quite some time because they’re so used to the confinement of their cots and cribs. Good luck!

  4. May 4, 2016 / 11:02 am

    Thanks for these tips – really useful as we are considering switching to a bed soon and I have to admit I’m dreading it – any change to routine tends to upset my little boy so I think it will take a lot of persuading! Having said that, he sometimes surprises me, particularly if it’s about using a ‘big boy’ thing – he loves to be a grown up! #bloggerclubuk

    • firstooth
      May 4, 2016 / 5:55 pm

      Good luck! He may surprise you, fingers crossed. But if not he will get there in his own time. It’s nerve wracking for us so I understand how you feel!

  5. May 4, 2016 / 5:02 pm

    What a wonderful post. I was particularly interested in this as we are transitioning our daughter to a toddler sleigh bed slowly but surely. #bestandworst

    • firstooth
      May 4, 2016 / 5:53 pm

      The sleigh beds are gorgeous. Good luck I will keep my fingers crossed for a smooth transition

  6. May 4, 2016 / 7:11 pm

    So good to hear that you had a smooth and pain free transition.

  7. May 4, 2016 / 7:14 pm

    The first night in the big boy bed was a bit tragic, he refused to stay in it and fell asleep on the nursery floor. Since then it”s been a breeze and he loves being able to get out of bed and get us in the morning #bestandworst

    • firstooth
      May 4, 2016 / 9:19 pm

      Oh no!! Thank goodness that was the only bad night. I bet he had you worried there!

  8. May 4, 2016 / 8:50 pm

    This was interesting to read…we’ve just done our front bedroom out for our son (see post Comic Book Bedroom) and I want him to move into it, his big boy bed and out of the box room and his cot. It’s not been very successful so far, as much as he likes to play in his room, he doesn’t want to sleep. Currently we’re doing story time and getting dressed etc in there but he still sleeps in his cot in the small room. He’s never had a big room and this is a double bedroom so i wonder if it’s a little intimidating for him. Hopefully he’ll eventually see the appeal of the new bedroom! #BloggerClubUK

    • firstooth
      May 4, 2016 / 9:19 pm

      Toddlers tend to feel secure and safe with things and people they recognise. You’re doing the right thing by introducing it gradually. I’d probably spend a couple of nights sleeping in the room with him, but on the floor and only until he falls asleep. It’s a fab room and it won’t be long before he’s chomping at the bit to spend all his time in there bless him

  9. May 5, 2016 / 11:02 am

    Great tips – Pickle made the transition quite easily – but somehow we have ended up co-sleeping! I do rather like it though 🙂 Kaz x

  10. May 6, 2016 / 4:32 pm

    These are fantastic tips, especially the one about letting them feel like they helped make the decision. I’m glad the transition went well for you
    Thanks for linking up to #BloggerClubUK 🙂

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