When To Take Sides Off The Cot Bed

Photo of a dark room with a cot
Photo by Bastien Jaillot on Unsplash

In this post, I wanted to answer some questions a lot of mommies have when their toddlers start climbing out of their cots: at what age do I take the sides of the cot off? I will also teach you some tips on how to deal with problems that may arise. So let's get to business!

When to take the side off the cot bed?

The age your toddler is able to climb out of the cot is around 18-20 months. This will of course, be different for each child. Monitor your child's behavior and if you think they are attempting and are likely to be able to climb out, then you know it is time to change to a toddler's bed or take the sides off. You don't have to wait until they have actually done it but at the same time you should not assume they will do it if they never tried! You might also start preparing for a transition if your child is now too big for the cot.

Basically, you want to keep them in the cot for as long as possible and as long as they are happy. This keeps them contained and saves you a lot of time and effort. If you are still not sure it is always better to err on the side of caution and just leave a mattress or a pillow next to the bed while you make new arrangements.

When they are around 20 months, they might start doing it and that is when you can start thinking of the transition. It will depend on the number of rooms you have and the type of cot. If you have a cot bed with removable sides then things will be easy. A lot of beds are now suitable for a wide range of ages so check a few before you buy a new toddler bed or single bed.

OK, Can I just remove one side if I have a normal cot?

If your cot is not designed to have a side removed then I would not advice you to do it. Some people still do and in fact a lot of the new cots prove to be sturdy and stable but it is not something I would suggest.

After removing one side, things will change. If your toddler sleeps in the same room with you, he will be wanting to sleep in your bed. If he or she has a separate room, they will start wanting to get out of the door and making a fuss.

For the former situation, some parents find it useful to just move the cot next to the bed. However, I can't the feasibility of this unless the cot is specifically designed for this purpose. The heights are probably not going to match and there is likely to be a gap between the mattresses.

So, what now? What to do after removing the side(s)?

Photo of a baby's cot
Our daughter's cot

Transition From Cot to Bed : Common Problems and Tips / Solutions

  • The first thing is to get yourself a bed rail or guard. Children tend to roll over a lot before and during sleep. Please check the measures as they are different for each type.
  • If you can shut the door then that is great. Otherwise, a safety gate might be a good idea. This is especially important if their room is upstairs to prevent them from going near the stair while they are sleepy. It is also important to keep the boundary.

  • My child now leaves the cot as soon as put to sleep! Help! We have been there, and so have a lot of parents as well. You removed the cot bed side and now they are banging on the door and crying their lungs out. Sometimes you have to go their and there is just no way to console them!
    It is a big change for kids and the same sleep training rules apply to sleeping in general.

    Here is the deal:
  • You will need to prepare them for the change days in advance. Make it something they look forward to and try to get them excited about "moving to a big boy's/girl's bed". Even if you do, they might still struggle.
  • Be consistent: every time you attend to them, put them back in their new bed, no playing or interacting. You will do it for as many times as possible until they get the message.
  • Allow them to keep a couple of their favorite toys, books or teddies.

I hope you find these helpful. Please share your experience with us in the comments section below and also if you have any questions or suggestions.


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