Time for a Big Boy Bed?

Since our son is turning 3 soon, I’ve been wondering if it’s time to get him out of the crib and into a big boy bed.  He’s quite content in his crib and has only crawled out once though.  Looking at this picture below makes me pretty sure it’s time.

I don’t know why he likes to pile his crib so high with stuff.  I often find that green stool in there in the morning (it’s what he uses to crawl in and he’ll somehow get it inside during the night).

I’m also itching to change up his room since it still looks like his baby nursery.  See what I mean . . .

I want to add more color, drapes, and remove the top from his changing table since we don’t need that any more.  I do plan to keep his Alphabet art from Z Gallerie since it’s pretty kid friendly and I like the colors.

And I recently received a print I ordered from Penny Paper Co (you may know it from Aubrey & Lindsay’s Blog).  I might paint the frame, but for now it’s just in a white Ikea frame. 

I started browsing for beds online and saw that Pottery Barn Kids and Land of Nod had some great-looking beds . . .

But then I found all kinds of toddler beds for way less online and I starting PINNING them onto my Nursery/Kid Room board.  Amazon has some cute toddler beds too.  
Of course James got on my lap while I was looking at my computer and I asked which beds HE liked the best because I want to hear his opinion.  Uh-oh, of course he liked the CAR beds! Ug!  But I’m thinking, if I was a 2/almost 3 year old boy, maybe I’d like a car bed too.  
And really, you can only get away with having a car bed when you’re a kid.  Seriously, can you imagine if you went to a guy’s house and he had a car bed??!!  ick. 
So, when is the time to get the baby out of the crib?  And did you go from crib to toddler bed or straight to twin/full/queen??  Would you do the car/cartoon bed? I asked y’all on my Facebook page and have been reading through all of your comments- thank you!
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Meet Megan

Hi! I’m Megan, mom to a thoughtful teenager and spunky young girl. We call Houston home and recently moved into our dream home. I traded my lawyer hat to become a full-time blogger in 2010. I love sharing my passion for affordable fashion, home decor, organization, & fitness to help inspire you to take care of you!


  1. I moved my son out when he was 3…He hs never climbed out either, but I thought he was ready for a big bed. We moved right to the twin size. He also LOVES Cars, so I got him Pottery Barn Madras Quilt (check it out-so cute!)set and just ordered him some cheesy Cars sheets:) Be warned though…some kids will get out of their beds/wake earlier once they are out of the crib! GL!

  2. The good thing about toddler beds is they are low to the ground and already have rails built-in. I had to take my kids out of their cribs around 16-18 months since they were climbers! A toddler bed was a must for them. I made the mistake of buying my older son a big boy bed way too soon. You also get extra floor space for toys.

    But, since your son is almost 3 he could probably handle a big bed. I would recommend a full/double bed over a twin. That way you can lay down with him and read books. It's also nice when he starts having friends spend the night.

  3. My coworker moved his son out of the crib around 15 months old. We will be doing it before he turns 2 because baby #2 will be arriving. Instead of wasting money on a toddler bed, I think we are going to take another's advice and put the mattress on the floor for awhile. Then when he gets older, we will put him in a twin.

  4. We're re-doing our son's big boy room now–he turned 3 earlier this month. It's been more fun picking out stuff and doing projects for his room than any other room in the house! Have fun and good luck finding a bed!

  5. That green stool cracks me up! It makes me so sad to think of converting my Baby Girl's room into a big girl room. I'm just not ready. I think the car beds are really cute. I say go for it. He'll love it so much and then get tired of it in a few years and you can go to a Queen that he can keep forever.

  6. I moved my son when he turned 3, and was climbing out! His crib turned into a full size bed so that is what he moved too. I would suggest investing money in a nice bed now that will last him thru high school. Skip the car bed and opt for a "car" bedspread instead.

  7. How exciting! I loved the transition from nursery to boys room. There is so much you can do, adding a desk or a side table, a teepee, an activity table, etc. For my sons (who are now 3 & 4) we went from crib to twin bed at age 2. Toddler beds are cute but I wanted to put more money toward a nicer twin. I also heard that it's easier to fall out of a toddler bed (they're small, not as much wiggle room). We used a side guardrail for a couple months and the transition was easy. Even though they are in separate rooms, we bought matching beds that can convert to bunk beds… keeping our options open. Good luck!

  8. We moved our oldest well after she was 3. Maybe even closer to 3 1/2. She was like your son, content in her crib and never crawled out. We moved her to a toddler bed for a few months (only because she saw one at Babies R Us and was SO excited) and then moved her to a regular full size bed. If you go the car route you might check Craigslist for a good condition gently loved car bed. Good luck!

  9. I moved my kids into a regular twin bed a few weeks to a month before potty training them. It seemed like a good time to transition because they would have an easy way to get to the potty should they wake up and need to go in the night. Although it is RARELY needed, it is nice to know that they could get to the bathroom in a rush should they need it. Good luck!

  10. good post I was wondering when my little would start the dreaded…crawling out the crib phase! Look forward to reading everyone comments as well! Ps that first pick cracked me up!

  11. Wow, mine didn't even make it to 3 in the crib. We went right to the bed and they did great! I would say steer away from a toddler or car shaped bed. Invest in something that will last him into the teen years. We did basic striped bedding from PB teen and did a vintage baseball theme (very subtle) and pale grey walls. It will last till they leave for college 🙂

  12. Yep looking at his little collection, its time! I switched both my kids to a queen size bed at 1 year old. If he likes the side rails you can buy the safety 1st temporary rails until he gets used to a regular bed.

  13. My son was in his crib until he was almost 3 because he never climbed out and was content. Then we moved him straight into a queen size because we had an extra in storage from when his nursery was a guest room before he was born. Then we had my daughter and she was more rebellious and climbed out much earlier- so by the time she was 2 we bought her a full sized bed. We bought the fabric side guards from Walmart and they worked great at keeping her from falling out. We put a stepstool at the foot of the bed and she climbed in and out that way. I wouldn't even bother with a toddler bed. They grow so quickly that you would only get 1-2 years out of the thing before he needs the room to move around. Can't wait to see your transformation!

  14. I dread the eventual move to a big girl bed over here { we have quite a while to go since our little lady is only 6 months } but in other ways it will be nice to have her just climb in without me lifting her. I love that your son puts all his toys in his crib! It's like his own little hideout ha ha!

  15. We transitioned E to a big boy bed a few months ago when he was about 26 months old. He had fallen out of his crib trying to climb out and I got scared.

    We started putting the mattress on the floor and just last weekend actually put it on a frame. I know it didn't look the best but it worked to see how he'd do in the bed.

    Here's a link if you want to check it out. Love the pottery barn kids bed. So cute!


  16. We moved all three kids out before 18 months. Our Dr said it is best to get them out of the crib before they start to climb that way you avoid injury. Our oldest went into a toddler bed because of space issues, the others right to a twin. It is fun turning the nursery into a big kid space. We tried to make the space something they could grow into so you don't have to buy more furniture, bedding etc.

  17. My son was 3 as well when we got him a new big boy bed. He was like your son, he never crawled out but it was time. I guess I was sad to see my baby leave that crib KWIM…so I had to get over it LOL. He went with us to pick out the bed, I let him help make the bed with new truck sheets and bed cover and he felt he had ownership of it. He was super excited to sleep in it and showed everyone his bed for months when they would come over. Your son will do great & I know his room will look brilliant.


  18. Tough choice with the car bed thing. You want to be a sweet mommy and give in to his little childhood desires, but you also want to be realistic because he won't want that bed forever…probably not even past 4 years old. Maybe you could get a regular bed and let him pick some really fun sheets (that will be hidden under the comforter during the day). Or even another smaller more disposable piece of "fun" furniture.

  19. We moved our daughter to a big-kid bed when she was about 3.5 and we needed the crib for a new baby. She wasn't a climber though and I swear she'd be happy in there until college if we let her! My husband built her bed using Ana White plans.

    My son is a different animal – he started climbing out a few months shy of his second birthday so we moved him then. We were concerned about him hurting himself. We went with an Ikea "junior" bed and it's perfect for him!

  20. I kept both my girls in their cribs for as long as possible. I say skip the toddler bed and do a regular bed with a side rail. Just make sure that your stairs are still secured. The transition with my first was difficult. She really enjoyed her new found "freedom" and there was lots of midnight pitter -pattering around the house 🙂

  21. We skipped the toddler bed with both of our kids. But my kids started crawling out of their cribs before they were even 2! Crazy town! They were both like little monkeys! We never really had to buy them a bed though – they got hand me downs. My daughter's bed is one of my favorite pieces of furniture in the house – it's a short four poster bed that belonged to her great grandmother. It reminds me of an antique doll house bed. 😉

  22. i could go on and on with this topic – i'm in the process right now! i read your blog all the time, but never have a chance to comment. i had to run to my computer to reply to this (i was reading from my google reader – hehe!).

    our daughter just turned 3 and has never tried climbing out of her crib (all 3 of my kids never attempted that, so bless you for dealing with that challenge). but our daughter has been showing signs of being ready. we are getting ready to move across the country in a few months, so i didn't want to invest in a big girl bed yet not knowing what our new house will look like. and i didn't want to buy a toddler bed because they grow out of them so fast!

    soooo, i discovered this awesome crib rail…


    i didn't do this with our boys, but wish i had done that. i installed it myself on friday and she slept like a champ all weekend in her "big girl bed" – she calls it that. i'm kinda looking at this as a training step to a real big girl bed. we talked about how she needs to stay in it all night and not get out until the morning. the last 3 nights she has done just that, but my boys may not have followed those rules. they are fun, wild boys! 🙂

    anyway, i wanted to share quickly in case you were on the fence about moving him. this way you can test the waters, the crib is still "familiar territory" for him, and it will give you a little more time to look around and make a decision on a big boy bed and all the fun decor. 🙂

    hope this helps you! it has worked so well for us!

    1. Thank you so much Samantha- it helps to read other people's stories! And thanks for taking the time to leave a comment- I'm going to check out that link! 🙂

  23. I moved my son into a toddler bed (i found it on clearance at target a well over a year before we needed it) when he was 3, before that I had just taken one side of the crib off. He wasn't climbing out of it he was just running out of room in there for him and all his animal friends he sleeps with. He's now 4 1/2 and we recently bought him a full size bed and we are all loving it!

  24. LOL the car beds are hilarious! I've actually seen some boat beds that little kids love, and look more modern than the typical car bed…does he like boats? 😉


  25. We kept Ava in her crib until just a few weeks before the baby arrived. I wish we would have started sooner transitioning her now that I look back on it. It took her a few weeks to get used to staying in the bed. We put her straight into a twin bed from her crib which she's doing well now in.

  26. girrrrrrl, I kept both my kids in the crib for a crazy long time. They loved it, felt safe, and slept really well. Once we moved to the big bed, they started 'getting up for water' and waking up waaaay earlier in the morning. Every kid is diff, but S actually still misses her crib! 🙂

  27. I just posted about this. We changed to a bed last week at almost 3 1/2 years. I think older is better…I gave him rules and he understands them. HE doesn't come out into our room and he still takes naps. We will go to big bed in a year or so…everone rushes to have their kids grow up!

  28. I have to say both my kids were into twin beds at about 18 months. Your little one will do just fine and I would say from the picture it is time for him to have the feeling of independence that comes with having a "big boy bed." Just establish the rules and understanding of why you don't want him getting out of bed and walking around the house…especially at night. All we ever said was "call Mommy or Daddy when you need us and we'll be here (to their room) really quick. No need to get out of bed." It worked both times! Good luck! And I suggest going with Land of Nod…love them!

  29. My son stayed in his crib until he was 3 1/2 and never tried to crawl out at all. I usually just left the rail down once he was big though, so he wouldn't hurt himself if he did. I commented on your FB page, the Thomas bed you have pictured is my son's toddler bed! He loves it. He is 5 and still sleeps in it, and we are thinking it is time for a big boy bed this summer. He says he wants to keep his Thomas bed for when he has a son of his own! So sweet! Those couple of years you allow him to have a car bed will go so fast, but he will never forget having it, trust me!

  30. You are so lucky your son is still in the crib. If he seems happy with the crib I would keep him in there as long as you can. Less worry for you. My daughter climbed out of her crib for the first time right before her second birthday. I was so not ready for it that soon!

    My husband and I struggled with deciding what to do. We kept her in the crib for a little longer because we weren't ready for her to be out. But from the research I've found since then, some say it is better to get them out of the crib as soon as they start climbing out in order to prevent any type of injury.

    Our crib turned into a day bed so we took of the front rail and bought the side guard (which she hated, so we ended up taking it off). I figured if she were to roll out of bed in her sleep at least she'd be close to the floor in the day bed instead of climbing out of the crib and having such a far drop to the floor.

    Orginally we were going to buy a toddler bed, but in some of the posts I read people said it's not much bigger than the crib so they felt it was a waste of money and went with the twin bed instead.

    Eventually my daughter didn't want to sleep in the day bed anymore and she starting sleeping on the floor next to her crib. We ended up putting the crib mattress on the floor. She loved sleeping on that at first and then she started sleeping on the floor again. We then realized it was finally time to bit the bullet and get her a big girl bed.

    Orginally we were going to purchase a full instead of a twin so that we could lay in bed with her at bedtime and read to her, but we ended up going with a queen mattress since it is the same price as the full. Both my husband and I are pretty tall and my daughter is tall for her age so with the queen it gives her an extra 5 inches in length and width in case she rolls around in her sleep.

    We bought bed rails for each side and this time she doesn't seem to mind them. I bought her a pink tufted headboard which is so beautiful and goes in her room perfectly, but I also looked at Land of Nod and they have great beds! You can't go wrong. Good luck with whatever you decide 🙂

  31. We used a toddler bed for all our kids but this last one. He didn't like it and wouldn't sleep in it. So he went to a twin (about 2.5). A toddler bed is great for space and money issues and if you'll have more than one kiddo using it or very youngs toddlers (our oldest was 18 months…HATED her crib). Otherwise I recommend a bigger one. We bought our girls PB Catalina beds. LOVE them!!! Have had them over 2 years now and they have held up so well. They also have two height settings if you want it lower to the ground for younger kids. I also recommend the special sheets over the actual bed. I figure my kids get all the character toys, books, clothes (sometimes), that they don't need the furniture too:). Although I always loved the PB boat bed.

  32. I LOVE your blog. I need you to come to GA and tour my house!
    Well, my husband and I suffer from "what not to do". Asher, our 3 year old son. mostly sleeps in the bed with us. I know, I know…
    BUT…we did get him a full bed, with a nice brown tufted headboard and just did some "fun" sheets–I let him pick them out! And…he loves it!!!!
    We opted for a "real bed", so his room could, if needed, also serve as a "guest bed"!
    I can't wait to see what you choose. I know it will be fab!

  33. I love the alphabet art! The toddler beds are cute, but not functional for long. One thing that has worked for us was a bigger bed with a temporary rail on the side.That way when nightmares hit we can sit in her bed instead of having her crawl into ours. It lets at leaset one of us have a good nights sleep and keeps our bedroom just for us. Pick what works for your family and let us know how it goes!

  34. We converted our son's crib when he was 2,5 during potty training. This makes it easier for us when he has to go to the bathroom at night. Our son would probably choose a Thomas the train bed but I don't like them either. I want to have an IKEA bed ODDA with storage for him soon. The toddler bed is not really big enough for him. He fell out of the toddler bed in the first night but then we bought a rail and it helped.

  35. My 4 year old climbed out of his crib when he was 2 and broke his arm! Obviously after that we put him the big boy car bed that his older brother had used. Not my favorite design choice but little boys just love those car beds! Now I can't get him out of it and he's almost 5. He did have a bit of a hard time with the transition, getting up and playing and stuff, but he is also a stubborn, willful little monkey. My oldest son was such a rule-follower that he actually called to us to come get him out of the toddler bed in the morning even though he could get out easily himself. I guess it depends on their personality. Whatever you do, best of luck! Can't wait to see the new room 🙂

  36. My oldest learned to get out of her crib at about 20 m. She would fold herself in half and go head first onto a wooden floor, so we took the mattress out and put her on the floor until we could get a toddler bed made; we were overseas and had a local build a bed that fit a European sized crib mattress. All three of our children used that bed…we just sold it last summer before returning to the States. Although we had planned on going straight to a twin bed, this little bed was great: if they fell out, they were only about 6" from the floor; we were able to use the crib bedding longer and they learned how to make their own beds; and it left a lot of floor space for playing. When it was time for each to move to a twin bed, there were no problems falling out; they had already developed that "sense" of where the edge of the bed was.

  37. No kids so I can't really weigh in on toddler vs. regular bed but I would say a word of caution with the PB furniture. I bought adult wood furniture from there and I will say I was NOT impressed at all with the quality of the construction. I'm an adult and like to think I take pretty good care of my things (and lived with the dresser for 5 years before I moved) and the finish really didn't stand up to normal wear and tear. Just a word of caution as I cannot imagine what it would look like had it been subjected to normal kid behavior.

    I was a total PB lover before the furniture but am doubtful I'd make a major purchase there again. It seemed like too high a markup without corresponding quality.

  38. Hi, Megan! It is hard to believe that the boys are three. We moved Reid over Christmas because his crib was breaking. It was his sister's crib originally for 3 years and then he jumped in it like a trampoline from the time he could walk so part of the bottom started to fall out. Yikes! Anyway, I stressed for a month about what to get. I looked at car beds and some really cool themed ones that I knew he would like. We ended up going with an inexpensive twin bed from Wayfair. It has a trundle for spend the nights or holidays but it doesn't take up too much space. I DID buy the fun sheets (construction zone) and a Cars themed fleece blanket for him to be excited about. I got his duvet from Land of Nod. I figured we covered all of the bases that way. He loves the big boy bed. The other nice thing is we didn't do a rail – I just pull out the trundle a little ways in case he falls out. I haven't bothered to do that in the last month or so but did while he was getting used to it. I considered the PB Kids beds but I thought we might switch to a full size in just a few years. However, I'd rather him have the room to play right now. Good luck! We are still making the transition to a big boy room overall. Happy-sad!

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