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My almost 3-year-old is still currently using her crib every night. Now that she's fully potty trained (day & night), we are considering transitioning her to a toddler bed, but I am wondering if maybe we should go straight to a twin/day bed because we are all pretty above average from a height perspective and would love to skip (if possible) the transition of a toddler bed to a big kid's bed so soon. Not sure if it's relevant, but my daughter isn't necessarily attached to her crib. She only uses it at night and prefers to nap on my bed or the couch.

My questions are:

  • Has anyone transitioned straight to an adult bed and skipped the toddler ones?
  • If you had a toddler bed, how long did it last before you had to transition?
  • Did you need bed rails?
  • How did you give your toddler the big kid talk about switching beds?
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  • When my first son was 3 he hd a almost adult single bed. His friend was visiting and they had decided that the best "plan" was to jump from the window sill onto the bed doing a forward somersault as part of the manouver, well it was raining outside... As for the transition - he was involved in replacing the cot - which bed, how big, what color, what bed linen design? Snoopy, rockets, stars, dinosaur etc Not a problem really. As always they will be ready when they are ready - there is no absolute calendar available "one fits all" like they should do this by this age...
    – Solar Mike
    Jul 16 '20 at 22:00
  • I was so excited when my first was ready for a big kid bed! With subsequent kids I prayed they stayed in the closest thing to a cage you can legally put your child in. You don’t realize how priceless it is to be able to sleep without fear that the little ninja is out of bed at 2 am, smearing tooth paste on the toilet seat.
    – Jax
    Dec 30 '20 at 18:59
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What you'll find is that it varies dramatically by the child and their sleep habits. Some children are sound sleepers who rarely move; some are rollers and will go all over, making adult-height beds challenging due to them falling off easily.

Both of my children were in "regular" beds by 3 or so. However, one of them is no longer - he now mostly sleeps on the floor, but that's by choice - he has a bed, he just likes the floor. My oldest is mostly a sound sleeper who stays in roughly one place; he rarely is out of his bed. My youngest, though (at 7) is a roller. He will go from one end of the room to the other, and if he does start on a bed odds are he's stretched out horizontally on it, and will slowly slide down to the floor then start moving on that. For him, we needed to make accommodations; we let him use the trundle bed, which makes rolling off much less of a concern, especially at 3 or 4. (He still uses it, mostly, though sometimes on an adult bed now.)

My suggestion is that if she's fine sleeping on your bed, she may be able to sleep on an adult twin bed; but make sure it's in one corner of the room, with two sides on the wall, and arrange things so she tends to be on that side of it. If you find her falling off, then you may need rails, but some kids are fine without - it just depends.

To test it, you could try using the crib mattress on the floor for a few days, and see if she's able to stay on it during the night. If she mostly is, then she might be a good candidate. You can also use the crib mattress below the bed when you do try that - a soft landing space if she falls off, or just wants something closer to the ground. Kids are soft and flexible and generally okay sleeping on the floor, after all.

As far as "the talk", the biggest challenge for us was convincing them to stay in bed, and understanding that we have to be tolerant of them walking about some - they're no longer confined to a small space. Having to learn to accept that and not jumping on them every time they're out of bed was hard, but once we learned to let them settle down by having that freedom, it was fine.

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  • +1 for the mattress on the floor to start, often times cost is a factor and parents don't want to have to pay for multiple beds they won't use
    – Hatman
    Jul 14 '20 at 18:39
  • Only one of my kids (1st) ever used a toddler bed. Waste of money IMO, along w/Dreft. I will add: 1) that you can always just put the twin mattress on the floor and then get a frame later. 2) be careful putting the bed up against the wall-they can get stuck in there, depending on how close you can actually get it. 3) to help them “learn” the edge of the bed you can use a pool noodle or a rolled up towel under the fitted sheet to create a “bumper” that is tough to roll over. This is helpful if you go w/mattress on the floor and can’t get rails to work sans bed frame.
    – Jax
    Dec 30 '20 at 18:54
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My almost-3yo transitioned straight from crib to adult bed in one go at about 31 months. Her bedroom also acts as a guest room in a pinch so there is a twin bed in there that was always going to become hers. She started asking to sleep in it, and I said yes, and so she would eventually would just climb out of her crib and climb onto it and play on it, and she slept on it for a couple of naptimes.

She would fall asleep on the floor overnight (we have a baby gate just outside her room) and one day she expressed concerns to me about falling off the big girl bed. So I installed a half-length railing on the exposed length to give her some security.

She's very sticker motivated and so we just said she could have a sticker in the morning if she slept in her big girl bed, and that dealt with any issues with sleeping on the floor. She's just recently started asking for the crib to be removed from her room, so that's probably going to go next, although I will keep it around for a bit longer just to be sure.

As for the big kid talk, we've also been potty training her so have been pushing the 'big kid' propaganda for several weeks by this point.

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