We want to convert our son's cot into a bed this weekend (starting Friday evening). We think it's time to transition because he often tries to climb out (but fails yet), and during daytime playing he manages to climb in by leaning a pillow against the outside of the cot - but he cannot climb out again because the mattress is very low.
Our biggest problem is that our son is very likely to NOT stay in his bed because he is extremely energetic (compared to other toddlers we know) despite our best efforts to have a calming bedtime routine. We've tried earlier to take out the removable spokes from the cot but had to put them back in because he wouldn't stay in his cot. This time, we're considering to put up a gate in his room's door just to keep his freedom limited, but that might not be the best solution.
What is the best way to train staying in bed, when there are no bars to keep him in bed?
We're hoping that he will stay in bed once he does fall asleep, although he moves a lot in his sleep so some nights he'll probably end up on the play mattress in front of the bed (less than 15cm lower, so no safety risk). Our focus now is on getting him to stay in the bed for long enough to fall asleep in the first place.
(There's only one earlier question along the same lines, but not as specific as I hope this one is.)
This really hasn't gone so well yet. He never gets out of bed during the night, but falling asleep alone is a big problem -- he requires one of us to be present in his room until he sleeps. Even though we provide no interaction, just presence, it's still problematic for us because it usually takes 30 minutes and often more, up to an hour. This is not a good use of our very limited evening time.
We have just started a new attempt, following HedgeMage's advice here ("put him to bed again without interaction, and again, again"), but without much luck so far. It takes him more than an hour of this to exhaust himself to the point of sleep. My wife is not convinced of this method, but I'm advocating that we do this for a week before giving up.
I hope to be able to post a success story soon, but stay tuned...