I was with a group of Moms recently and the subject of transferring a toddler from a crib to a bed came up. My older son will be three this September and he has been in a full size bed since last June. Most of his friends are still in cribs or just transferred. (Some easily and others… not so much.)
The only thing I can say for sure is that we got lucky. While I read many articles and talked to several of my friends with older kids, transferring my big guy was not at all what I thought, or heard it would be. At 20 months my son climbed out of his crib; we watched the whole thing unravel on the monitor. He pulled himself up with his hands, swung one foot over the railing, then the second foot, hung there for a second, and dropped. It was a piece of cake for him. I thought, in that moment, my little boy, whom we had worked so hard to sleep train, would never sleep through the night again.
My husband spent the next week sitting at my son’s door at bedtime, monitor in hand, yelling “tushy down,” every time he saw him start to get up. We knew we had to get him out of the crib, but how? After that week of yelling by the door, my son climbed into our bed one morning and said, “mommy, I want big bed like you.” Done. One of my friends had suggested we make him a part of the bed picking and buying process, so we took a family trip to Sleepys and let him try a bunch out. He had a blast jumping on all the beds.
The day his mattress was scheduled for delivery my husband spent the afternoon converting his crib into a full size bed. We kept our son out until after the delivery men had left and I had made the bed with the sheets he had picked out the week before. When he finally came in and saw the bed, he was so excited. That night we followed the same bedtime routine as we did when he was in his crib, and he fell asleep.
Like I said, we got lucky. He got out a couple of times, but we would just tuck him back in and that was it. So when people ask me about how we did it, I tell them to listen to their kid. He told us he was ready. That being said, I think that as long as a kid is happy in their crib, keep them there! Kids tend to tell you when they aren’t happy; mine does. The rest, at least for me, was just dumb luck.