Signs Your Little One is Ready for Their First Big Bed

If you have a little one in your life, you’ll know there’s always something around the corner to look out for. From their very first haircut to the first big tooth, there’s always an event to remind us that those baby days belong in the past (sob).

As your tot develops, you’ll no doubt be keeping an eye out for signs they’re ready for a big bed. Lots of parents ask me; ‘when is the time to say goodbye to the cot’ – but the truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Every child is totally different, so it could be any time from the age of 18 months up to 3 years old.

To work out when to ditch the cot, you’ll have to pay close attention to your little one’s emotional and physical development. To help you out, I’m here to guide you through the telltale signs your kids are ready for their first bed (and how you can make the transition as drama-free as possible).

Vox 4 You 3 in 1 Baby & Toddler Cot Bed in White & Oak

Signs it’s time to say goodbye to the cot

If they’re climbing out of the cot

If your youngster has started to climb out of their cot, you’ll know they’re ready for a big bed. As soon as they’re able to make a bid for freedom, it’s a clear sign the cot’s no longer serving its intended purpose. And if your little one does manage to leave their cot, it could be a health hazard – as they could trip and fall whilst getting out.

If they’re growing too big

How big your little one is getting is another important thing to consider. It could be that they’re a tad too heavy to easily lift in and out of the cot – or perhaps they’re no longer able to comfortably stretch out.

Either way, it should be clear once your child is getting too big for their much-loved cot. With the standard 120 x 60cm mattress dimensions, kids typically outgrow their cot once they reach the age of three – though of course, this doesn’t take individual growth spurts into consideration.

If they’re potty training

Ah, potty training. The constant cycle of encouraging your little one to meet their target, whether it’s first thing in the morning or the dead of night.

When it comes to needing the toilet in the early hours, a cot can sometimes be an obstacle in the way. It’s much easier for little ones to clamber in and out of a bed compared to a cot – and could make all the difference between a dry night and an extra set of washing.

If they’ve asked for a big bed

If your kiddie has an older sibling with a big bed, the green monster may come to visit. Sometimes, there’s no guesswork involved when you decide to ditch the cot – they might just come right out and ask you!

When your kids ask the question, you’ll know that they’re emotionally ready to take the step. So if your little one is badgering you for their first big bed, there’s little stopping you from taking the plunge.

Vox Concept Baby Cot Bed

How to switch from a cot to a bed

So, the time has come for you to say farewell to your youngster’s cot. If you’re anything like me, you might shed a tear or two – but once you discover the wonderful world of kids beds, you’ll see that the transition can actually be quite fun!

Once your little one has outgrown their cot, you could either choose a toddler bed or a kids single bed. There is no right or wrong option – some kids are happy to jump straight from cot to bed, while others might prefer a halfway house in between. To help you decide, here’s the lowdown on each one:

Toddler beds

Toddler beds are great for easing between a cot and big bed. As they’re low to the ground and a similar size to cots, they can make the transition seem less daunting for everyone involved.

Many models feature additional enclosed guards – so there’ll be no nasty bumps in the night. And since the mattress is so close to the floor, there’s no need for tears if your little one does manage to roll out of bed.

One of the best features of a toddler bed is the potential to convert into a full-size single bed. Lots of toddler beds have an extension kit, meaning you can adjust the bed around your child’s growth. I’m a huge fan of any adaptable furniture in general, as it’s a sustainable option that lasts and it’ll help you save for other important things… a new pair of boots, anyone?!

Oliver Furniture Luxury Wood Toddler Bed in White

Single kids beds

To skip the stage of using a toddler bed, your little one could make the leap from a cot straight to a single bed. While that might sound daunting, it doesn’t need to be at all.

Many kids’ beds feature similar guards as toddler beds, or you can choose to attach a rail to keep your little ones safe. Plus, many of our kids’ single beds are designed to be as low to the ground as possible – so you won’t need to worry about any bumps as they get used to their new sleeping quarters.

Choosing a single bed also means you’ll have plenty of creative options to choose from. As your child outgrows their cot, they’re experiencing a huge developmental stage in their life. From a teepee bed to a campervan, there’s plenty of models that’ll help stimulate your kid’s active imagination.

If your tot is making the switch later on (around three years old or later), a single bed should give them ample room to grow into as they get older – without being overwhelmingly large.

Teepee Tent Bed
Kids Teepee Cabin Bed by Woood

Cots that convert

If you fancy getting your ducks in a row well in advance, you could consider a cot that converts into a toddler bed. This is an option well worth looking into, as you’ll have a ready-made solution the second your child outgrows their cot. Plus, if your little one tries their new big bed and isn’t sure, it’s easy to convert the bed back into a cot!

Leander Linea Baby Cot in Solid Oak

So, I hope I’ve provided you with everything you need to know to switch to a big kids bed. Head over to our complete selection of kids beds to find the perfect sleeping quarters for your little one. With any luck, the only tears should be yours!

For more helpful hints and advice, give us a call on +44 (0) 1305 23123, or you can send us an email if you prefer.


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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