What To Do When Your Toddler Learns to Escape The Crib

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I was brushing my teeth early one quiet and calm morning when life as a parent changed drastically because my toddlers learned to escape the crib.

Rounding the corner was my son, running full speed with trucks in hand, yelling, “Mommy, mommy!”

I just about threw my toothbrush in the air, partly because I was startled, but mostly because I was thinking, “Oh noooooooooo…..he figured out how to get out of his crib!”

This is a game changer.

For all you Game of Thrones fans out there, I’ve been thinking, “Winter is coming!”

Welp.  It’s here…..we have learned how to escape the crib.

I did what any parent would do in that moment to remain calm, but inside I was freaking out!

Where is the other twin? Oh don’t you worry, he was also escaping his crib, too!

what to do when your toddler learns to escape the crib

Now that both of my toddlers successfully learned how to escape the crib, we had to make some adjustments to our routine to help us get used to the new normal and maintain sanity in our household.

I was anxious about this transition as the boys slept well in their cribs. They were contained. However, this new skill they discovered and the early morning wake up calls, required us to make an adjustment…..FAST!

Once the boys learned to escape the crib on their own, my husband and I needed to rethink our strategy. We knew that we couldn’t fix the issues that their newly found freedom brought on overnight, which meant that we needed an arsenal of tactics.

I called for help from our loyal followers via Instagram stories, and they came through to help this mama out.

As with all things related to parenting, there is NO RIGHT OR WRONG WAY to do this, so I decided to share all of the advice I received, so you have options to try in case your toddlers escape the crib. (Side note: I am still trying new ones as I write this because our problem isn’t totally solved).

Try as you may, then readjust to find what works for you.

Is it time for a cocktail? This mom is exhausted just thinking about my next plan of attack.

5 Strategies to Try When Your Toddlers Learn to Escape the Crib:

Tell Them To Stay Put: (insert eye roll)

This is your first line of defense. I am laughing as I write this, as I am sure you are too because it only worked for me for 1 hot minute…literally. My curious little men decided to listen while I was in the room, but then just escaped again once I turned my back. If you have a kiddo that will listen and obey (even once you are gone)…go on with your bad self!

Rip the Band-Aid Off- Buy Big Beds Immediately: (I’m not quite there yet)

This strategy is for the brave or if you might be expecting a new little one soon and don’t want to purchase another crib. Our readers have voiced that this works well if you lay the mattresses on the floor and slowly transition your toddlers into the giant space of a big bed. 

Use a Clock that Indicates When it’s Time to Get Up: (We use this right now)

This strategy was my second line of defense after I tried the good ol’ fashioned “Just stay in your crib, please, because that’s what we’d love you to do!” tactic.  That didn’t quite register with our toddler twins. We purchased this Mirari OK to Wake! Alarm Clock & Night-Light and decided to roll with it because it was cheap and wouldn’t be a total loss if the boys didn’t like it.  

So far, this little gem of a clock is amazing! We set it for 6:45 a.m. and it’s working wonders.

Now, I won’t lie to you, naps are a completely different beast, which has me thinking that I should set the clock for a nap as well.  More on that later.

I’ve been using this clock for 3 weeks now, and it’s still working. The boys usually sleep until 7 am. Since the crib escaping, they started waking at 5 am. 5 AM PEOPLE!

We had to grind through a few weeks of early morning wake up calls and consistently putting the boys back in their beds to get back to the 6:45 am wake-up time. I set the clock and adjusted it back by 5-10 minutes each day until we got back to our ideal waking hour. I literally had to sit outside their door and remind them to get back into their beds and to wait for the light to turn green. It was a grind, but hey, what in parenting isn’t?

Convert your Crib Into a Toddler Bed: (We did this too)

Having a crib that converts is a great option. Take off the front rail so your kids feel like they are sleeping in a crib.  This way they still have the boundaries that a crib provides but no longer have the rail to leap over. They will be close to the floor in case of a fall but are still confined to the small space that they are used to sleeping in.  This makes for an easier transition.  

The toddler bed, combined with the clock has worked for us.  Let’s just say these strategies are great, but they haven’t been the perfect solution for my boys. My kids kept rolling out and falling on the floor while sleeping.

One night, my husband couldn’t get into the nurser to put my son back in bed because he had rolled out of bed and was sound asleep behind the door. #toddlerlife

One morning while playing in the basement, I realized I still had these baby mesh bumpers.  We didn’t really use bumpers when the boys were infants.  However, these babies have become the perfect solution to keep my boys from falling out on the floor mid-sleep. We put these up and now they still have the freedom to independently get in and out of their beds, but they don’t roll onto the floor in the middle of the night. Problem solved.

The Baby Gate Reminder:

This strategy is working great for us so far.  Although my kids can climb over the baby gates in the rest of our house (we don’t even put them up anymore), for some reason, when we put them up in their bedroom doorway, they won’t jump over it. Why exactly? It is a mystery to me, but I’ll take it.

Now at night, we put up the baby gate as a gentle reminder for the boys to stay in their room until the light on the clock comes on. They can still open and close the door.  If they get up, they are reminded to not escape the room and come barreling into mine. One of my boys actually asks now for me to  “put the doggy gate up”. Gladly son, gladly.  

Learning to escape the crib has been a major transition for my kids. Some kiddos slide right into the next phase with no problem at all.

I have one son that would sleep through everything if his brother would quit climbing into his bed early each morning. That’s twin love for ya!

what to do when your toddler escapes the crib

I will just keep adjusting my strategies daily as new issues arise. Who knows when we will master this.  I am sure by the time we do, there will be something else to tackle

These are the most popular ideas our readers shared to help us out. If you have any more ideas to help parents manage life when their kids learn to escape the crib…I’d love to hear them.

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