How to make the cot-to-bed transition easier for kids

Moving from cot to bed is no small moment. Without making the transition nice and slow, you can expect tears, tantrums, and terrible sleep… and that’s just Mum and Dad!

So, when your child is ready for a big kids’ bed, we’re here to help you make the transition easier for everyone involved. With these top tips, tricks, and toddler beds, you and your kids can simply breeze through the big switch…

Vox Vintage Baby Cot Bed

Adjustable Vintage Cot by Vox

Wait until your child is ready

When it comes to moving from cot to bed, your timing is crucial. Because if your little one isn’t ready for a big bed yet, switching can be a risky move – as they might feel overwhelmed or even unsafe.

Here’s how you know the time is ripe for switching to a big bed:

Your child is getting too big

Kids all grow at different rates – so there’s no one-size-fits-all age for getting too big for the cot. However, most little ones will grow out of a standard-sized cot between the age of 2 to 3 years old.

As a rule of thumb, the height of the top rail (at the mattress’s lowest setting) shouldn’t be lower than the shoulder height of your child. If it is, your child could clamber over the top – so that’s a sure sign they’re ready for a bigger bed.

Your child has starting climbing out

If your youngster has started to show an interest in escaping their cot, you know it’s time to make the switch. As they could tumble from the top rail, it’s safer to upgrade for a bed that’s lower to the ground. This means you won’t need to worry about any dangerous falls from height.

Your child is potty training

When it’s time for your youngster to master the art of the potty, it’s a good idea to move them into a bed. This means it’s easier for toddlers to clamber out of bed at night and safely make their own way to the potty.

Your child has asked to move

Has your child shown an interest in moving to a bigger bed? Whether they’re jealous of their sibling’s bigger bed or just ready to change, asking to switch beds is a good sign your child is emotionally ready to take the step.

Avoid night time drama with a toddler bed

Cabane Toddler Floor Bed

A toddler bed is essentially a smaller single bed. And since they’re designed with toddlers in mind, they can be a safer step for youngsters getting used to their first big bed. Here’s why…

They’re smaller

As toddler beds are smaller than a standard single bed, toddlers enjoy a much cosier fit. Since the mattress will be a similar size to their trusty old cot, they’ll feel much more at home – because they won’t need to adjust to heaps of extra space.

If your little one has too much space to wriggle around, they might feel daunted. Plus, a smaller toddler bed helps you free up more space for all those stacks of toys…

They’re lower to the ground

More often than not, toddler beds have mattresses that are low to the floor. This means you won’t need to worry about any bumps in the night as your youngster adjusts to a bed without bars.

Casami Toddler House Bed

Make the transition simpler with a cot bed

A cot bed bridges the gap between a cot and a toddler bed. Your child can use it as a cot as a baby, and when they’re ready to make the switch, you can simply take off the bars and transform it into a toddler bed.

Here’s why a cot bed is perfect for helping your child through the cot-to-bed transition…

You can always switch back to a cot

If your little one has taken the plunge, a cot bed gives you the option to switch back if they decide they’re not ready.

This takes the pressure off both you and your little one – you can even test using a toddler bed for a night or two as a trial run. If it goes well, you can just keep the bars off! And if not, there’s no need to worry…

With the Obaby Maya cot bed (below), you won’t need to stress if your little one wants to switch back to the safety of their cot. You can easily add the bars back onto their cot bed. Plus, once kids have outgrown their toddler bed, you can even transform this nifty bed into a daybed – so your child will never outgrow this one!

Obaby Maya Cot Bed

They feel comforting and familiar

The leap from cot to bed can feel daunting for kids. But with a cot bed, you can make the transition feel less of a jump by keeping their sleeping quarters (more or less) the same.

As you’re just taking the bars off a bed they’re already familiar with, kids won’t feel as daunted when the time comes to change. Their bed will be the same size, shape, and height – so they’ll feel right at home from night one.

Boori Eton Convertible Plus Cot Bed

They prevent bumps and falls

More often than not, cot beds have safety rails around the mattress. So, even if your little one is tossing and turning while they adjust to their bed, they’ll stay safely onboard.

The cot bed from Oliver Furniture (below) has removable central safety rails and an adjustable base. So kids can wave goodbye to bumps in the night – and tearful trips to Mum and Dad’s room!

Oliver Furniture Wood Mini+ 4 in 1 Cot Bed in White & Oak

They save you money

Instead of forking out for a cot, toddler bed, and a single bed, save yourself the money – and get a cot bed! With a cot bed, you won’t need to rush to the shops as soon as your child outgrows their cot. You can simply whip off the bars, keep calm, and carry on.

With the 4 in 1 combination bed from Lifetime Kids (below), you get heaps more bang for your buck. In this nifty bed, there are four different settings to grow around your child – it’ll be there for your kids from the potty phase until adolescence and beyond.

Lifetime Wildlife 4 in 1 Combination Bed

Find the right bedding for toddlers

So, you’ve found a toddler or cot bed to help ease the transition for your kids. Now, you need to make sure their bedding helps them drift off into a dry and hassle-free nights’ sleep…

Prepare for accidents with a mattress protector

Accidents happen. And when your little one moves to their big bed, they might be in the middle of potty training – so you’ll need to protect their nice new mattress from any permanent marks.

With a mattress protector, you won’t need to worry about any long-lasting marks. You can simply whip off the protector and throw it in the wash. No mess, no worries!

Panda London Bamboo Mattress Protector

Stick to fitted and absorbent sheets

Compared to flat sheets, fitted sheets are much easier to pop on the mattress. So if your youngster has an accident during the potty training phase, you save heaps of time when it comes to changing their sheets.

Plus, fitted sheets will mean your little one won’t get caught up in tangled sheets if they’re tossing and turning. As the corners grip to the edges, they’re less likely to come unstuck.

And with the Panda London sheets (below), kids can enjoy a much drier night’s sleep. Thanks to material that wicks moisture and odour, a little accident won’t be the end of the world (or a decent night’s sleep).

Panda London Bamboo Set of 2 Fitted Cot Bed Sheets

Browse our kids’ beds and bedding today

To take the drama and hassle out of the big switch, discover our range of cot beds. There’ll be no need for tears with these safe and secure sleeping options!

Got a question about our kids’ beds? Give us a call on +44 (0) 1305 231231 or send us an email.


With more than 8 years’ experience in providing advice and support to parents looking for their perfect kids bed, mother of 2, Nathalie Davis is passionate about helping children develop. In her role as Director of Product Procurement at Cuckooland, Nathalie has helped thousands of parents improve their children’s sleep and sleeping habits through the beds and mattresses she sources and the articles she writes. In her spare time she teaches her Golden Retriever to be a responsible vegetarian and is often spotted sifting through clothes at her local Charity Shops.

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