2. Your toddler is asking for a big girl or big boy bed.
Some little ones never crawl out of the crib, but they do eventually want to sleep in a more adult-style bed. Your toddler may have seen a friend or sibling with a toddler bed, or she may have just decided the crib feels like a baby bed. When she asks, it’s time to start thinking about the transition. We don’t typically see this until at least 3 years old.
3. Your child is simply too big for the crib.
Maybe the crib size is keeping him from getting comfortable or maybe he’s getting too heavy to lift in and out of the crib for nights and naps. Many children reach this point at around 3 – 3 ½ years old. It simply isn’t practical for them to remain in a crib any longer.
If you haven’t seen any of these signs yet, please delay your toddler’s move to the toddler bed ESPECIALLY if sleep isn’t going well in the crib.
You have a new baby who needs the crib.
This can create the impression for your toddler that he is being “pushed aside” for the baby. It can also just create more stress for everyone. Times of big necessary transitions – like going from one baby to two (or three or four) – are usually not great times to add any unnecessary transitions.
Instead, consider buying/borrowing a crib or using a bassinet, portable crib, or play yard for your new baby until your toddler is ready. (If you haven’t yet taken my newborn class, know that it can help set your new baby up to be a great sleeper with no crying involved.)
You think it might magically fix sleep.
If sleep is a mess, transitioning to the toddler bed often causes sleep to become more difficult.
Many times, what you’re seeing is your little one simply exercising their voice. I’ve got a little trick for you if your toddler is fighting bedtime. Hint: It does NOT include a toddler bed.
Others are telling you your little one SHOULD be out of the crib.
My youngest son was safely sleeping in the crib until he was almost 3 and a half…Other people teased me about whether he would take the crib with him to college. I just smiled and knew that our whole family was sleeping well because I didn’t rush him when he wasn’t ready.