August 19, 2023

Time to move to a big bed?

Time to move to a big bed?

Transitioning from a cot to a big bed can be a really exciting time for your little one, and a scary one for us parents. Luckily, we've put together some information and tips that will be helpful when you transition your little one to a big bed. 


Red Nose Australia state for safety reasons, when you see your child attempting to climb out of their cot this is an appropriate time to move them to a big bed. This typically happens between 2-3.5 years of age but as early as 18 months old.

You may also consider the move because:

  1. They have a sibling coming and you need the cot
  2. They have grown out of their portacot
  3. They have indicated they want a big bed
  4. They are toilet training and need easy access


Pending on their age, you have three options to consider with their sleeping arrangements.

  1. Toddler bed (from 18 months)
  2. Floor mattress (Recommendation varies greatly but as per AAP no earlier than 12 months)
  3. Adult Bed (an adult mattress is not recommended under the age of 2) 


We suggest deciding which sleeping arrangement suits you, your toddler and your family. Talk to your toddler about the transition to prepare them for it and answer any questions they may have. Try build excitement! 

It can also be helpful to give them a sense of control by letting them be a part of the process of picking the linen. 


Safety is imperative, moving to a big bed and out of a cot also means increased mobility around the room and potentially even the house. For this reason safety is essential and something that needs to be considered before the transition takes places.

  1. Child proof the room and any rooms they may not have access to. Treating the room as you would have their cot and removing any potential risk is crucial. 
  2. Place the bed central to the room and away from any walls. Also ensure that no cords, blinds etc are accessible. 
  3. The recommendation varies greatly but as per Red Nose Australia a blanket and pillow can be introduced between 2 -3.5 years old and once they are in a big bed. 
  4. Transition out of a sleep sack and into a sleep suit or pj's. Due to increased mobility a sleep sack can increase the chances of falls. 


This transition for some toddlers can be monumental, timing is crucial so if you have any other large changes (such as starting day care) you may like to delay the process and allow time to adjust.

Consider starting the transition at night when it is easier for your baby to fall asleep. Alternatively you can consider a gradual approach and start with nap times only.

Maintain your nap and night routine. Toddlers respond best to consistency!

If your toddler is 2.5 years and older, you can consider a reward chart for staying in bed and positive reinforcement.


Children do not develop the part of their brain that is responsible for self control until closer to three and beyond.

For this reason, they are unable to control the urge to stay in bed and act on pure desire therefore you may find a transition to the big bed prematurely may cause some slight sleep disruptions.

These sleep disruptions may look like playing instead of sleeping or frequently getting out of bed. In this situation, simply return them to their bed silently in order to highlight the appropriate behaviour. 

It is important to highlight that from a recent poll of our fellow followers, out of 500 respondents only 40% experienced sleep disruptions from transitioning their babies before the recommended age. Therefore, it may not affect all babies the same!

If you’re still freaking out about the transition, we can help!

  • For small tweaks to strategies have a look at our Quick Chat - 15min  option
  • For parents struggling with several things such as catnapping, frequent night waking, early morning rising or things that simply no longer work, have a look at our Phone + One Week Support option.
  • Not sure what is right for you? Get on the phone to one of our experienced consultants with our FREE 15min Discovery Call