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Younger toddler transition to a toddler bed - tell me your story!

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

My 23 month old DD forced our hand to convert her to a toddler bed (well, it's her crib with the front railing down and a guard) by climbing out of her crib at will. We're 1 1/2 weeks into the process and feel like we're drowning in exhaustion and wonder if it will ever get any better.


Our current issues:


1. She is still so young that we can't just tell her "lay in bed and go to sleep" like one could with an older two year old or three year old. She knows she needs to lay down but can't really control her desires to not be in the bed.


2. Her naps went from 2-3 hours to 1/2 - 1 hour.


3. She used to sleep through the night, now she is up 2-3 times a night. She gets out of her bed and runs crying at the gate, waits for us to come out and put her back to bed. She won't go back to bed on her own yet, we've tried... for 3 hours at a pop.


4. In order to actually be able to get her down we have to sit next to her bed until she is sound asleep. This process can take sometimes up to 2 hours! I'm 7 months pregnant. Can't keep doing this.


5. She used to sleep from 8pm until 8 or 9 am. Consistently. Now she wakes up no later than 7am, usually more like 6 - 6:30 am.


All of these changes happened in one day. I seriously kid you not.


Some additional info: we stopped breastfeeding at 15 month which was perfect for her and me, she doesnt have a "lovey" or anything nor does she understand the concept of one, she still uses a binky and I am perfectly happy about that, her bedtime routine is solid, consistent and appropriate, we will not let her sleep in our room (except on an as-needed basis) and I -think- she may be starting second molars.


So, can you all tell me your stories about this transition, particularly those of you who had to transition a younger child. How did you do it? When will we be able to stop having to sit with her until she's asleep an hour+ later? How long until they "get it" and we can start to hold her more accountable for falling asleep on her own? When do they stop getting up in the middle of the night like this? When will nap time be easy?




We're so tired. Plus I'm a working mother who used to be able to get all my work done during nap time and from 8pm (her bedtime) till 10pm (our bedtime). All of that has gone away so I am struggling to get ANY time to do anything, much less be 7 months pregnant and just relax.

post #2 of 6
We transitioned to a toddler bed as soon as our son could climb out of the crib, around 18 months or so. It was tough, I'm not going to lie. We put him in the toddler bed and he just kept climbing out and crying and flopping around and on and on. A strong consistent bedtime routine including a bath and massage helped. We just kept it up. Back in the bed, "I love you, good night", over and over. It was very difficult. But now he sleeps in his toddler bed. The only time he doesn't sleep there is when he has a nightmare - then he comes and sleeps in our bed. It's going to be rough, especially as a single mom. But just stick to a plan and stay consistent.
Edited by marsupial-mom - 8/9/12 at 8:31am
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

marsupial-mom, how long did it take for him to finally be good about it? Did he wake up a lot at night and if so, what did you do about it?

post #4 of 6

That is a tough, tough transition.


We had to move DS to a toddler bed (same as you, just his crib with the different side) at 21 months because he was climbing out of his crib.  He was not sleeping through the night at the time, but usually slept through 'till about 5 or 6 am when we'd bring him into our bed for more cuddles and he'd fall asleep there until about 7:30am.  He did not need us in the room to fall asleep.  We'd rock and nurse for 5-10 mins, then I'd lay him down in his bed and he'd be fine to put himself to sleep.


Fast forward to the toddler bed:  Day 1 went great.  I thought we were going to luck out.  Day 2, the disaster began and it lasted a full month.  The ONLY way he would fall asleep was with me in his room at the least, and that was a struggle.  I often had to lay on his bed.  It was taking 1.5 hours most nights for him to fall asleep.  I was getting pretty grumpy about the situation as I felt I had no time to myself.  By the time he went to bed, I had time to shower, prepare lunches for the next day, tidy a bit, and sit on the couch for maybe 15 mins before it was bedtime myself.  We also had issues of him not going back to sleep at night, same as you.  We did fight it for a few weeks, but then NONE of us was getting enough sleep.  Eventually I gave in and let him crawl into bed with us when he woke up, sometimes as early as midnight, sometimes as late as 4 or 5 am. 


After a month and a half, I decided to try again and over the course of 10, was able to get him to put himself to bed after our usual bedtime routine again.  I went from laying in his bed, to sitting beside his bed, to sitting in the rocking chair, to sitting outside his door, to keeping his door open and "checking in" to almost closing his door over the course of about 10 days.  Now bedtime is mostly on track, and he's sleeping better at night too.  If he wakes up I often just need to take him pee, tuck him back in, and rub his back for a minute.


It was a difficult, slow, and tiring transition and it surprised me because we didn't even change beds!  Same bed (just now a bed instead of a crib) same bedding, same room, everything.  That's how it went for us.  The only thing that seemed to work was time.


Good luck!

post #5 of 6

Have you thought about restoring the crib with a crib tent if you're just not ready to deal with the climbing out? My son, who's the same age, still sleeps in a sleep sack, which seems to impede the climbing and we are a LONG WAY from a big boy bed. If I were pregnant, I absolutely would want to delay this process!

post #6 of 6
Originally Posted by graciegal View Post

marsupial-mom, how long did it take for him to finally be good about it? Did he wake up a lot at night and if so, what did you do about it?

If I remember correctly it took a few weeks. We had lots of talks about the new bed and sleeping like a big boy. If he woke at night we put him back in his bed for the most part, and tried to calm him by singing or reading. A good nightlight helped a lot - it made his room fun and cool, our room boring.
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