Transitioning a toddler is though business. They are stubborn little buggers and they literally don’t understand reason. Cake. They understand cake. You can negotiate just about anything with a toddler expect eating and bedtime. You cannot force a child to eat or sleep. These are decisions you have to help them make for themselves.
I was so scared to try to transition Cora to a big girl bed. She is just over 2 and was still in her crib. We did have one successful overboard experience. Surprisingly she never tried jumping ship again. The push to try the change came after her pediatrician insisted we remove her nightly bottle. The thought of telling her she can’t have a bottle, and then turn around to give one to the baby didn’t feel like a recipe for success. Since the baby was born we have been successful at keeping the jealousy at a minimum. One of our toddler management tools is emphasizing that Cora is the BIG sister. She is a BIG girl now that she is 2. I decided to use the BIG girl tool to try to make the transition and eliminate the bottle.
A two for one, eliminating a bottle and going to a toddler bed, seemed like a crazy undertaking. Sometimes I feel like I enjoy torturing myself. I figured we’d kill two birds with one stone. We moved the toddler bed into her room with the crib. We gave her the choice to sleep in the crib or move to her new BIG girl bed. Naturally she chooses the big girl bed. I explained to her that if she sleeps in her BIG girl bed that means no more bottles. Bottles are for babies and she is a BIG girl. I figured that her agreement didn’t actually mean she understood the decision. Her first sleep was at nap time and it went fine. She is used to sleeping unconfined for naps at daycare so it wasn’t much of a change. For bedtime I was fully prepared for a few nights of battle. Escorting her back to bed and sitting beside a sobbing girl wanting her bottle.
She chose the BIG girl bed. Such a rude awakening… She IS a BIG girl! She stayed in bed and didn’t ask for a bottle until 3 nights in, and when I said no, she could have water, there was no mention again. The power of choice to a toddler is an amazing thing. I know she is smart, and I know she understands more than we think, but I was pleasantly blown away by the simplicity of our upgrade. I am not claiming if you follow our lead you will have the same ease of transition. Good luck toddler moms!