OT: Need Advice on Transition to Toddler Bed...

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akpufa's picture
Joined: 01/31/08
Posts: 3078
OT: Need Advice on Transition to Toddler Bed...

About 2 weeks ago, I moved my 21 month old into a toddler bed from his crib. I moved my DD at the same age before DS was born and overall it went pretty well other than that she would get out of bed and lay by the door for a few weeks (both rooms have 2 entrances so not a big deal). She didn't really cry and eventually just stayed in her bed.

DS is not taking to it nearly as well; he gets out the second I walk out of the room, lays on his back and kicks the door all while loudly protesting/crying. For the most part, this goes on until he falls asleep. I'm torn on whether to go into his room and continue putting him back into his bed even though he immediately gets back out or to just let him fall asleep on the floor and either leave him or move him to his bed. A baby gate at the door isn't an option because the main door is a double door so it wouldn't stay put. I have always closed his door at nap/bed so that isn't anything new to him, only the freedom of being able to get out of the bed (which has a rail on 90% of it FWIW).

I would just say "This isn't working" and move him back into his crib but on our vacation last week, he learned how to climb out of the pack and play so I know he'll figure out climbing out of the crib in about 5 minutes as it isn't as deep so I basically HAVE to figure this out. I know eventually one way or another he'll get it but I'm just hoping some of you have dealt with a more...determined...toddler and have a few tips or suggestions?? Thanks Smile

Heatherbella's picture
Joined: 02/14/05
Posts: 4169

I would probably put him back in over and over and over until he stayed in. I'd also probably say something like "it's time for bed" or "we sleep in our bed" over and over. It's definitely not the easy way though. Sad

elleon17's picture
Joined: 01/26/09
Posts: 1981

ditto to Heather's post

We had a similar situation with DS (and still do now that he has transitioned out of the toddler bed (old crib) so we can use the crib for the baby.

He was good the 1st 2 weeks (I don't think he realized he could get out), but once he did, that was not fun. We put the kid safety things on his doorknobs, which he took off immediately, smarty pants. Gate did not work well either. PS he was almost 2 1/2 when we transitioned.

I just had to have several nights of back and forth and taking things away. I mean hours sometimes, I have a stubborn little boy.

Couple things that did work for us

1. Letting him read books in bed with a soft light on as long as he stayed in bed. If he got out, the lights went off (this is actually what I still do. Most nights he falls asleep reading)
2. Making a tent over his bed as long as he is a good boy and stays in. Since it was the crib, I just draped a fitted sheet over the top and secured it with chip clips, lol! If he got out of bed, it was gone.

sandraleigh's picture
Joined: 11/23/06
Posts: 2672

I had some trouble with my DS1 when we made the switch. He was 21 months too, I think.

We'd try putting him back in over and over for a while....eventually, we had to start just locking him in there though. He'd cry and scream for about 5 minutes and eventually just give in and climb back in to bed. I feel like he was a bit older when we did that though....he went through good and bad phases.

I hope you can figure out something that works, and quick! That transition can always be a tricky one.

Heatherbella's picture
Joined: 02/14/05
Posts: 4169

We have one of those child proof knob locks on DD's room still. She hasn't figured them out yet Blum 3 Sometimes we take it off if she promises she'll stay in...and that will last a couple days then she'll start coming out before it's time and it goes back on.

I forgot to say, when DD isn't 'ready' for sleep but it's bed time I suggest that she sings in bed...which she does...and falls asleep pretty quickly actually. Smile

akpufa's picture
Joined: 01/31/08
Posts: 3078

"Heatherbella" wrote:

I would probably put him back in over and over and over until he stayed in. I'd also probably say something like "it's time for bed" or "we sleep in our bed" over and over. It's definitely not the easy way though. Sad

I did this with my DD when she started getting out of bed at bedtime to come out to see what we were doing but it only took about 30 minutes. I did the put back, neutral body language thing with DS one day for an hour and a half. It becomes a hilarious game to him and he gets too wound up to sleep...until several hours later he practically falls asleep on his feet. AFA the door knob, the double door has a handle instead of a round knob so he can easily open that - I just lock that one as he does have another door with a regular knob that accesses his room also (we have 2 rooms with a shared bathroom between if that makes sense). ANYWAY, glad to know it's not just my difficult toddler who is struggling to "get it". DD went through phases too but nothing like this. It doesn't help we went on vacation for a week so we're pretty much back to square one.

MJDttc's picture
Joined: 08/12/12
Posts: 1118

We went from co-sleeping all the time to him sleeping in his room some nights, those nights we just had to ignore him and he eventually went back to bed. He has always been a bit of a night owl (my fault) but I think once we started the set bedtime it helped a lot.

grovey2's picture
Joined: 04/08/08
Posts: 938

my co worker is going through trasnitioning her 2 yr old into a big boy bed..... She bascially kept putting him back to bed, when that stopped working, she'd just do the bedtime routine over and (read book, sing songs) and put to bed. Her baby sitter suggested letting him know that if he can't stay in his bed he'd be going in the pack n Play.....(although i doubt that will work if he's climbing out).....wonder if there's something else you can put him in? She also would sit in front of the door quietly, not saying anything and her son would give up and just go lay down.... now that he's in a double bed, they lay down with him and are starting to stop that (she's due in July) and she just keeps putting him to bed everytime he gets up...... Good luck....i'm so not looking forward to transitioning O out of her crib in the next few months.....

Heatherbella's picture
Joined: 02/14/05
Posts: 4169

An hour an a half of putting him back sounds terrible...but I bet after a couple nights of that he'll eventually get it. I'm just not sure I could do that myself. Ugh.