Transitioning from a crib to a bed- Care Plan

By K Health
Medically reviewed
June 17, 2019

Patient Instructions/Care Plan Information

If you have any other questions about transitioning from a crib to a toddler bed, please let me know. Attached is a detailed care plan that includes more information about this transition as well as things you can do help ensure its success. Check back in with us if things aren’t going as planned. Congratulations on this great milestone of development and we wish you great success.


When is the best time to transition?

Hold off until your child is 3 years old, if possible. Try to avoid doing it alongside other major life events such as potty training, beginning school, or the birth of a new baby. This is a big change for children!

What if they start climbing out beforehand?

Consider using a sleep tent but make sure that it’s easy to take on and off; allows for good air circulation; that your child can stand in it, and that you can easily see them. In an emergency, you want to be able to take it off quickly and grab your child!

How do I prepare for the transition?

  • Safety proof the room – close up plugs, and anchor tippable furniture to the wall.
  • Buy your child a bed buddy (such as a bear) that can act as a ‘substitute’ for a parent.
  • Prepare your child in advance 
  • Speak to them and read books about it 
  • Explain the process in detail from bedtime to morning wakeup 
  • Spend time in the room during the day so that they feel comfortable and have a positive association with that space.
  • Use a chart to count down the days to the big day so that they know when to expect it.

Have them ‘help’ with the disassembly of the crib so that they participate in the change process.

What do I do on the big day?

  • Continue the normal bedtime routine and review the rules for sleeping in their new bed.
  • After lights out, let them know you’ll be back to check on them at designated intervals until they fall asleep. Make sure to come back when you promise!
  • Consider spending a night or two on a mattress next to your child’s bed. Do not sleep in their bed with them! 
  • Reward them with praise in the morning for sleeping in their new bed. Do not punish them if they don’t make it. Celebrate even small, partial successes.
  • If your child gets out of bed in the middle of the night, quietly walk them back to bed without conversation or hugs and tell them it’s time to sleep.
K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.