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Moving from Cot to Bed – Tips to Succeed!

moving from cot to bed
We were getting a bit desperate with my eldest daughter when she was around 21 months old. She was just refusing to sleep in her own cot at night without a monumental meltdown and potential vomming. I’d been told it was a phase and I needed to toughen up but our whole evenings were getting wrecked and she was knackered.  The time had come for moving from cot to bed.
After some discussion and advice we decided…the cot sides were coming off and she was going into her big girl bed. This was both scary and a bit sad. My baby girl was growing up! She used to love her cot. She used to sleep so well in her cot and now moving from cot to bed was happening!
moving from cot to bed
I was crapping myself to be honest. I was giving my girl actual freedom. She could get out of bed, mess around, come in to our room early. Whatever. It felt BIG.

But we decided to go with it. After our weekend away we set to work rearranging her room and transforming the cot into a bed. We decided to show her and explain and she was fascinated. She came up and down the stairs and wanted to see her bed. So in this respect we were quietly confident.

Moving From Cot to Bed – What we Learnt

The reality? As usual a lot flipping harder than ever expected from her initial reaction but nothing as bad as I thought. This is what I have learnt about the move to the big girl bed:

  • You have to build it up a bit. Wow, wow, WOW it’s a new bed! You are such a BIG girl. This kind of talk is a bit nauseating but did the trick. There are books you can buy if you are planning ahead, unlike us who just did it. If I could do it again, I may big it up a little more.
  • You definitely need a bed guard. The positions my eldest could get herself into down the crack between the bed and bed guard would impress a contortionist. You don’t want to be woken up with crying when they fall out of bed.
  • Prepare to go up and down the stairs A LOT the first few nights. My eldest did get up and hover by the top of the stairs. I followed the advice of my Super Aunt (of course she did not ask me to call her that!) and was quite firm and put her back each time and left her, without much talk.
  • You may find this coincides with the phase of them wanting you in the room to sleep. We have had to lie on the floor for a while, pretending to be asleep or had to stroke her back whilst she relaxed. This got less and less but can take a bit more time than normal.
  • You will eat later and have less evening by the time they stop farting around and have gone to sleep. We found this hard but it is getting better now. Possibly eat before bedtime, so you are not hungry if the first few nights take a while.
  • The range of excuses they will find not to go to bed will multiply x 100. There’s a bee in my room. I’ve done a poo. I don’t want to wear my nightie. I want to look out the window. I need another story. More milk. Rub my back….need I continue? Get ready for your responses!
  • Like anything with children routine and consistency are key. I was a Mum who tried to get my girlie to self settle early on (with very limited upset to be honest) but it took a good week for her to be immediately content when I put her down awake. It’s the same thing with a new bed. Do the same thing, say the same things every night and it sticks.
  • It’s kind of really nice and kind of really fricking annoying when they come into your room early in the morning. You are in a deep sleep and some miniature starts tugging at the blanket. It’s quite cute when you wake to see them hovering though and coming in for a cuddle but get ready for them to get up in the morning. You may want to invest in a Gro-clock here!
All in all the whole thing was not that bad. Our ultimate goal was to get her to sleep in her own room again and we achieved that on Day 1. She still asked to sleep in our bed but went to her own with no trouble. As the nights went on her bedtime went from 8.30 to 7.30pm. She tried and tried to stay up but hubby took over at the end and calmly put her back over and over and she gave in.

As a process, it was nothing like I expected!!

You can do it!

Moving from cot to bed tips to succeed


  1. July 21, 2015 / 12:33 pm

    Gwenn is 27 months and we just put her in a "big girl" bed this week. It went really well, although she did fall out last night so maybe we should get a bed guard. x


  2. Talya Stone
    July 21, 2015 / 1:50 pm

    You're so brave! I'm trying to put this off for as long as physically with all things to do with sleep haha! #thetruthabout

  3. Reimer Ruby
    July 21, 2015 / 3:39 pm

    Well done! Hopefully she will eventually learn to love to sleep in her big girls bed! #TwinklyTuesday

  4. July 21, 2015 / 3:55 pm

    Well done!! We put Finley in a bed at about 18 months for the same reasons as you but Noah at 2 is still in a cot as he sleeps well and I dread the day he goes into a bed as to me that means he's no longer my baby #thetruthabout xx

  5. July 21, 2015 / 5:14 pm

    I was so relieved at how easy this transition was for us. I figured that she would be up and out of bed every two seconds. It hasn't always been easy, but it really turns out to be easier than feared. I was putting it off forever too.

  6. July 21, 2015 / 6:51 pm

    We moved my daughter from cot to bed as soon as she turned two. My son is three and still in the cot. I am just so scared, but I am sure it will be fine. #thetruthabout

  7. July 21, 2015 / 7:01 pm

    Hahaha I was about to write pretty much the exact same comment as Elfa has above. P was in a bed by two, poor C is still in a cot at three… but it's a bespoke bunk bed where the top is a cot so we're a little stuck with it at the mo because of space issues…

    Anyhoooooo, sounds like you've done really well. I'm pleased that Gremlin is sleeping in her own room again, and fingers crossed the early morning visits won't last long. All transitions are hard, and yes brace yourself for potty training my dear. The only piece of advice I'll give is wait until she's definitely ready otherwise it will go on forever xx

    July 21, 2015 / 8:48 pm

    Aw bless her! Well done for persisting – it sounds like it's working well! 🙂

  9. July 22, 2015 / 6:33 am

    Well done! Our twins moved into big beds when we moved house, we tied the move in with big beds and it worked well. We have bed guards too otherwise they'd prob end up sleeping on floor! #bestandworst

  10. Mary Smith
    July 22, 2015 / 7:57 am

    yaaayy *high five*!! Why do they make going to bed such a battle? Its the biggest parenting mystery to me and tormenting, I love to sleep – why don't they? haha x

  11. July 22, 2015 / 9:27 am

    *high five* I'm taking note, it won't be long before our toddler will be in his own bed. We always say 'how do we do it' but you were right in just biting the bullet and ploughing through because it's paid off!

  12. July 22, 2015 / 9:31 am

    Ah it sounds like she's doing brilliantly!! We've just taken the sides off Thea's cot and have similar rigmaroles every night. "Tuck me in!" is her favourite. Every five minutes. We also put a stair gate on her bedroom door to keep her at least in her room! Pretty exhausting this parenting lark, isn't it! Becky xx #bestandworst

  13. Mumma McD
    July 22, 2015 / 11:02 am

    When we transitioned my girl into a big bed she ended up sleeping on the floor the first few nights 🙁 I'd go in each morning and find her curled up next to the door! I'm going to delay the transition with my 2 year old for as long as I can (which probably won't be too much longer as he's a climber and is THIS CLOSE to figuring out how to climb out of the cot!).

  14. Silly Mummy
    July 22, 2015 / 11:16 am

    Just about to move 2 year old into new room with big girl bed, and baby into her old room! I'm a natural worrier & therefore convinced that will miss something dangerous or capable of causing chaos when she is wandering about as she can get out of bed! Still, can't keep her in a cot forever! Glad hasn't turned out too bad for you! #bestandworst

  15. Rob
    July 22, 2015 / 11:39 am

    Great post. We had to switch our 18 month old out of the crib after she figured out how to climb out of it. We bought the lowest bed we could find but unfortunately we couldn't fit the guard rails so we ended up putting her crib mattress on the floor for when she fell out. #bestandworst

  16. Janine Woods - Unhinged Mummy
    July 22, 2015 / 1:42 pm

    I put my little girl into a proper bed at 11 months and she was so good. No problem at all. My son however was so awful that we had to keep putting him back in the cot as he just wasn't ready and didn't end up being in a proper bed until he was well over 2.5. Even now he has to sleep in a double bed as he falls out of a single – even with a bed guard on!

  17. July 22, 2015 / 5:53 pm

    This is so amazing to read. I co-sleep with my son but he is 5 now and I reckon that this summer vacation is the right time to start him to go to bed. Now the only question is am I ready?


  18. July 22, 2015 / 6:04 pm

    They do surprise you constantly, don't they!
    Thanks for hosting #bestandworst
    x Alice

  19. Becky Gills
    July 22, 2015 / 7:06 pm

    Such a big milestone 🙂 Well done, it sounds fairly stress-free. Oliver won't get out of his new big boy bed which is a blessing but does mean we have to collect him everytime he wakes up! I am not looking forward to starting potty training properly!
    Thanks for hosting #Bestandworst
    Becky x

  20. Morna Piper
    July 22, 2015 / 7:47 pm

    Well done you, I think you've handled it really well. It's so difficult when they start eating into your free time isn't it? Have you thought about a groclock to try and make the early morning cuddles a bit later? We have one and Sally (3) waits patiently in bed for Helen (5 and the custodian of the clock) to come and tell her it's getting up time!

  21. July 22, 2015 / 6:50 pm

    A big step! Sounds like it's sorted a few problems though – consistency is definitely good. Though my daughter had a phase recently of being very consistent in her demands that I sleep on her floor. Hmm. No thanks. #bestandworst

  22. July 22, 2015 / 8:10 pm

    I love the excuses. We hear all of those. Nightly!

  23. Jeff Page
    July 23, 2015 / 12:27 am

    Great job making the transition. We had the same troubles with each of our 8 kids, and we're getting ready for generation two with Hectic Grandson. Hang in there, everything is a phase. Of course, the next phase might be worse, so be careful what you wish for LOL



  24. July 23, 2015 / 5:22 am

    Aw, such a big step (anything that involves new furniture or disassembling furniture is a big step, IMO). We're going through the coming into our bed stage, and it IS lovely when she comes in at around 6am say for a snooze and a bit of a cuddle. It's much less lovely when it's 4am and she spends the whole time thrashing around and kicking off the bedclothes.


  25. July 23, 2015 / 5:46 pm

    When we moved our girls to their big girl beds, we went from the cribs to twin size beds. It was surreal to not be able to locate them in the bed, it was so big! It's such a bittersweet milestone. It's hard to think of a big bed sleeper as a baby. Here from #bestandworst. Thanks for hosting!

  26. July 23, 2015 / 9:00 pm

    Such a big thing moving from a cot, I think everyone dreads it, especially the thought of them running out of their room constantly! Ours went easier than we expected too and it was so lovely seeing her in her big bed! Fingers crossed for potty training….I couldn't have done it without the Potette Plus, one of the first things I blogged about. #TwinklyTuesday

  27. Domesticated Momster
    July 24, 2015 / 5:40 am

    OH hoW well I remember the transitioning. It's still in the air with our 3 year old…she has been in a big girl bed since before 2. She insisted no more crib. She also left the high chair around 9 months…wanted nothing to do with it cause she was determined to sit at the table like her siblings 😀 thanks so much for hosting #bestandworst.

  28. July 24, 2015 / 10:47 am

    Well done! Sounds successful! I was so scared taking the sides off Sam's cot but he actually slept better in it as a bed! #bestandworst xx