Baby Hints & Tips

Moving from a cot to a bed

Car bed(Disclaimer: All information provided should be used in conjunction with safety guidelines such as those from SIDS and Kidsafe. The hints and tips listed are from website users not that of the website owner and a doctor should be consulted before relying on the information found here. Go to Sids and Kids for more information on safe sleeping. Refer to Kidsafe for information on household safety and on car restraints. Take this information into consideration in conjunction with the following practical advice from parents.)

How did you know your child was ready to move from a cot to a bed, and how did you do it?

  • From about 1 1/2 – 2 move the child to a bed – and a standard single bed is no different to using a toddler bed. Mother of Xanthe, 10, Dylan, 5, Alana, 3
  • Wait as long as possible! Take your time, get them used to having the bed around, don’t force the issue, stick with the same routine you had for in the cot. Mother of 3, aged 7, 2.3 years, 5 months
  • With Jack I left him in a cot till he climbed out when he was 2yrs and 3 months. By then he understood he had to stay in his bed and not get out. I never had a problem with it. Mother of Jack 2.5yrs, Emma 6.5 months
  • My daughter went happily as she was excited about the new quilt cover and sheets. My son is not at that point yet. Mother of Ella 12 years, Fraser 8 months
  • Have patience, move them around 24 months. Mother of 3, D-12, J-4, L-16 months
  • Son 1 moved to a king single at 23 months, we had no issues at all apart from a few nights of him getting out lots before he actually went to sleep. Our cot does go to a toddler bed but wanted cot for son 2 as was getting to big in bassinet unfortunately he decided he won’t sleep in cot! Mother of Jake 2 yrs, Harry 9 months
  • I will be using a toddler bed once my daughter is able to sleep through the night in her cot. I don’t plan to put her in a single bed until she is about 3 or 4. Mother of Zeva, 13 months
  • I had no issues moved both of mine into a toddler bed at ten months and James into a single bed at around one and a half. Mother of James, 3 and Alethea, 2
  • We went from a cot to a normal single bed when our first child was about 2 1/2 or nearly 3 (as our 6 months old needed to go into the cot). It was no problem at all… strangely… we did expect it to be, but no. When he came out of his room, we would give him a cuddle and take him back. He would often sit up late playing with toys, but I learnt to lock them all in the cupboard, he still has his bookshelf full of books though, but will quietly read and then go to sleep. Mother of Mitchell 4 years, Lochie 2 years
  • I transferred my daughter to a toddler bed when she was 14 months, I find she sleeps better in her bed than she did in her cot as she was always whacking herself on the bars of her cot and waking herself up. I find with her bed she has more freedom to move around and therefore sleeps all night.. I think the best age to do it is when you think your child is ready as every child is different. Mother of Mya – 18 Months
  • I got my nearly two year old involved in making her bed. I bought a cupcake set (her favourite things) and she had a great time setting it up with her teddies in the right spots. I gave her the choice… Do you want to sleep in your cot or your big girl bed like mummy. Let them make the choice and then help take down the cot. Rachael
  • My son was 18 months when he went into a proper single bed not toddler bed with no rail guards either just a pillow on the floor the first couple of weeks just incase he did fall out of bed and like Aimee said just keep putting them back into bed every time they come out time for bed kiss and cuddle tuck them back in a…nd walk out eventually they will get the hang of it i never had to put a gate or anything on my sons door after the first week he would just go to bed and wont hear a sound from him he fell out of bed once and never again sometimes he wouldnt lay the right way but as long as he looked comfy i would just put a blanket over him and leave him. Melissa
  • Our little boy was 16months old and while trying to “fix” it after he climbed out for the first time, i broke it, so that made the decision to move to a toddler bed for us. We put a gate on his door so that he wouldn’t be running all around the house at 3am. It was time for bed and sure he got straight out of bed and h…ad a wonder around his room, and came singing out for us at the gate. But i just came back in and said its time for bed darling and tucked him back in. after about an hour i came back down to check and he had his blanky over him on his bed upside down with one leg hanging off, but he was in bed.i found constantly hounding them to stay in bed will only cause more drama and unease.as long as they cant escape or get their hands on anything they shouldn’t. Two weeks later i found him asleep on the floor, but that is the only time he hasn’t been found in his bed. hope that helps 🙂 Aimee
  • We had a lot of trouble with y little boy when we tried to ove hi to a bed at the age if two and a bit, after a week of NO sleep we got some info from the sleep nazi and was told boys are not mature enough to handle a bed until the age of 3 and for girls its 2 and half so we’ve him back into a cott and will try again around the time he turns 3, hope that helps with the sleep thing. Sarah
  • Hi we put our first child master 1 we tried converting his cot18mths /2 to a toddler bed but he had trouble getting up then he was in and out and in and out on a- girlfriends recommendation ( she has 3) we went for a matress on the floor, …we also added a safety gate to his door so he couldn’t escape and we didn’t have to shut the doora as he hates this but the gate was ok. when he was confident with the mattress & sleeping happy we bought a bed and rail – we have recently removed the rail ( hes 4 ) but he still manages to fall out some nights so its a soft rug on the floor too We hope to have master 2 in a toddler bed soon as he learns night is for sleeping, and can climb into the bed from the floor as steps can be a pian when they are too short to reach the matress( somthing else to consider if you are converting or buying a new bed- we might even go back to mattress on the floor until he also learns to stay put. Jayleen

I have a 22 month old and we’re looking to transition from cot to bed. She sleeps in a bag currently but not sure when we put when we put her in a bed. I would love to hear your experiences and any tips/tricks you’d like to share?

  • We moved our son to a bed when he turned 2 & kept him in a sleeping bag. He’s still in it now and he’s 2 & 1/2. We also put rails on the side and end of his bed just in case he rolled out. Sleeping bags are great and my advice is maybe make one change at a time, so your child doesn’t feel too overwhelmed. Good luck 🙂 Carina
  • I’m with Catina, do whatever feels right for you and your child. Just be consistent about putting them straigh back into bed when they get out. We learnt that after our 1st. When we did 2nd we didn’t let him get up from night 1 and now he goes an stays in bed all night. This has been 3 mths now so lets hope it stays that way. Meanwhile the 1st who we let get up still goes to sleep on the couch!! Carmen
  • When we moved our daughter she was 22 months too. She had always been in a sleeping bag and I wasn’t sure about blankets etc. I bought a ‘sleep suit’ from target which is polarfleece all in one and they make them up to size 6 or 7. A lot of the all in ones go up to size 2 and are like a sleeping bag. I was worried about her rolling out of bed with a sleeping bag. It’s very individual. You could even start with a mattress on the floor and keep the sleeping bag. Our daughter is now 2.5y and is ok with a doona, although doesn’t always stay under it. Babyhintsandtips
  • I also had this same problem. My daughter transitioned at 18 months. We kept her in her sleeping bag and she very quickly learned to get out of it. We then put a blanket on her and she would be all over the bed in the beginning. I would just wait til she’s asleep and put it back on. 3 months on she stays with her head on the pillow and under the blanket if she is cold…She will work it out herself, don’t stress about it. Just make sure she is adequately dressed if she ever manages to get out of the blanket. P.S. my daughter never got up at night, she was excellent, the day…well let’s just say she fell asleep on the ground numerous times before she finally realised the bed was more comfy. We also had a rail, but took it off fairly quickly – a) because she seemed to be staying in one spot after a couple of months and b). because she found it harder to get back into bed after she had gotten out Once we took it off she was always found asleep in her bed instead of the floor. It’s fun, just enjoy it…they are cheeky monkeys! Erin
  • My daughter moved into her toddler bed not long after she turned 2. She is still in the sleeping bag… I have monitors and when she wakes up she just calls out to me! It’s been 4 months and she still (touch wood) hasn’t gone walk abouts!!! She will not sleep with her doona on so at least this way I know she is nice and warm through the night. Jodi
  • We had to move our daughter to a bed when we were about to have our second child. We made a very gradual process – First putting the bed up in her room (next to her cot – but, it was very crowded!). We took the sides off her cot and let her sleep like that for a few nights, before moving to her “big girls bed”. We used (and still do use – a year later!) a barrier/bed rail…which we called her ‘teddy wall’ (it has a picture of a teddy on it!lol It worked for her!)
  • It can be a difficult process – but I agree with other comments…You have to be consistent. Once they are in their bed, that’s it…no turning back! J (And my daughter is now almost 3, and she still occasionally wears a sleeping bag). Lucy

I am due with bub no 3 in 3 months which will make a 13 1/2 month gap between my two youngest. I am wondering if I should buy another cot or if I could just get a toddler bed or mattress (or trundle) on the floor for my 13 1/2 month old? Has anyone had similar experiences?

  • I’d go cot depending on age and whether or not your youngest is a climber. I took my first out of the cot when he started climbing out at 2ish, he went to a mattress on the floor with a slide in plastic guard rail thing til he got used to it then at nearly three set up the bed which he has to use a step to get up. And he loves it. Still have the guard rail on and not sure when i’ll take it off but he still needs it for now i think. Beds open up a world of freedom that is sometimes hard to comprehend. 🙂 all the best. x Katie
  • My two lil’ guys are about 15 months apart. For the first three months my baby slept in a bassinet in our bedroom. Shortly after we brought baby home we started having our oldest sleep in his own lil’ toddler bed. This way the new baby wasn’t stealing his bed, instead he was a big boy in his own big boy bed. The only “problem” with this was that my lil’ early riser could get himself out of bed and around the house without my “permission”. 😛 Beverley
  • My age gap us bigger (22 months) but here’s my two bits worth anyway. I would suggest either a cheap toddler bed eg from ikea, I think you want to be close to the ground at that age or a cot that converts to a toddler bed. Most things I have read say move them a few months before. So you sort out any issues before bubs comes and so there is no resentment that bub has their bed. Which would mean moving fairly soon. I think just do what you feel most comfortable with. The good thing with the cot converting to a toddler bed is you have both options. The problem with the mattress on the floor is will your child stay there. I guess that’s when a gate on the door can help. Another alternative would be use (borrow or buy) a bassinet for the first few months then buy yourself a bit of time Good luck Tanya
  • I would go another cot – or co-sleep with bub until your oldest is out of cot 😉 Melissa
  • My first son is now 3 and my 2nd is 6months. i’ve had my 6month in a bassinette in my room till now. 2 days ago i started transitioning him to a cot in his own room. I have been putting him down to sleep there during the day. Fingers crossed it means a longer nights sleep for me in the future! Lol That worked for me and the bass cost me 70 dollars from target. 🙂 Katie
  • Mine are 16 moths apart i had a porta cot so i used that for new born but got my daughter a big proper bed at 19 months and she was fine and i didn’t use a side rail she only ever fell out once . Sheridan
  • I am due with our second soon, our son will be 19months old when bub is born. I have had the same dilemma with having a second cot or not. My husband builds cots so he is making another for the new born as I find having them in our room in the bassinet makes it impossible to sleep!! I think the bassinet option to buy u more time is great if u still can’t make up your mind. Good luck!! Elisha
  • I had my third baby yesterday and there is 13 months between her and her sister im just using bassinet in my room for now and about to move my 13 month old into a mattress on floor and putting cot away for awhile that way she doesn’t see it as baby’s taking her bed 🙂 Niccole
  • I have 14 months between mine and my second was in a cradle for 5 months … i brought a cot for her but by the time she went into it … My first was ready for a toddler bed. When we made our choice we thought if the cot changed to a toddler bed it wasn’t a waste. My youngest want to sleep in the toddler bed a lot earlier than my son so we took the sides off and gave her a go, she loved it … i think she was about 17months and he would have been about 19-20months when he went into a toddler bed. Trace
  • I wouldn’t bother spending the money on another cot, I would suggest either a toddler bed (as they are fairly low to the ground) Or if you want to put him/her in a single bed – get a guard rail. You can get the ones that are that are the full length of the bed. If one side is up against a wall & the guard rail on the other side she should be fine! I had my eldest in a single bed like this at 15 months!! She was about 20 months old before she realised she could crawl to the end of the bed to get out! If your worried about him/her getting out of bed all the time @ coming out – put a safety gate on their bedroom door! J Hope it helps! Tamara
  • I’d go for either a toddler bed or the trundle. A trundle can later be used as a spare and roll under the single bed, but a toddler bed can be useful for years as well and may feel more secure for your toddler at such a young age. I put my daughter into a toddler bed because at the time, we didn’t have space for the single, and I felt she would feel more secure, she is still using it at 4 yrs of age. I did need to get a thicker cot mattress, cause the thin one gets uncomfortable once they get bigger – more weight. A 2nd cot would only be useful for another 6-12 months at most.ge. I put my daughter into a toddler bed because at the time, we didn’t have space for the single, and I felt she would feel more secure, she is still using it at 4 yrs of age. I did need to get a thicker cot mattress, cause the thin one gets uncomfortable once they get bigger – more weight. A 2nd cot would only be useful for another 6-12 months at most. Kylie
For more tips on moving your toddler from a cot to a bed, visit the Raising Children Network

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