How To Stop Your Toddler Getting Out of Bed

Oi! Toddlerhood brings on a whole new set of challenges. Am I right?! When they start learning new words it is so cute, but then all of a sudden they can USE them. Most of the time that is helpful, but when bedtime rolls around it can turn into a nightmare really quickly. Somehow my son becomes totally parched, needs endless cuddles, a story, a kiss (or 100), the potty, and just ‘one more‘ bed time story. Dealing with bed time excuses is another topic for another day though. For now, I want to share with you how to keep your toddler in their bed. Because, as much as I love my son, there comes a time when I need a break and I need to know that he is safely tucked up in his bed, but boy oh boy do toddlers love to push the boundaries. So, here is what has worked for us:

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Get A Gro Clock

Put yourself in your toddler’s position. They can’t tell the time. They have no idea when 7am is or 11pm, or any time really. This clock is SO helpful when you’re trying to teach your toddler when the right time is to get up. This clock teaches them exactly that. It’ll show them when it is time for sleep and time to be awake. We have a video monitor and my son gets a great big grin on his face when the time changes and he knows its time to get up. It’s cute and this clock has been a wonderful tool for us. I can’t recommend it highly enough. You can introduce it as early as 18 months. 🙂 There are a bunch of options available but the top three are the ones that I would recommend the most. I’ve heard some awesome things about the Gro-egg because it also uses colour to let you know what the temperature of your child’s room is. How cool is that?! Personally, we have the Gro-Clock and we love it because it doubles as a nightlight!

Lock The Door

I know some people feel dubious about this because locking your kid in their room sounds awful. What if there’s a fire and they’re stuck in there? I actually prefer them being locked in, especially in the case of emergency. I would much rather know exactly where they are than go into their room and find that they have wandered out looking for me.

My son still can’t open his bedroom door, but if he could I wouldn’t hesitate to put a lock on it until he is old enough to handle the responsibility of having unsupervised free range in the house.

In truth, he doesn’t get out of his bed until one of us comes to get him and that is where the next point comes in.


Whatever your method is, this is the time to use it.

Don’t feel bad. (easier said than done, I know)

I know it isn’t fun but ultimately putting boundaries in place for your toddler will help them thrive no matter how much they may protest initially.

We transitioned my son out of his crib around 15 months. Initially he didn’t even try get out of his bed but there have been times over the past year where that boundary has been pushed and we’ve had to discipline him for it. It has only taken one or two nights of staying consistent for him to return to staying in bed.

I get that some people aren’t comfortable with the idea of discipline in these cases. In fact I’ve seen all sorts of methods recommended for keeping toddlers contained in cribs until they’re quite a lot older. Whatever works for your family, but my personal opinion is that children are more than capable of understanding boundaries at a young age. The older they get the stronger their will power (and louder their protests!). Do what works for you, but I can attest to the fact that this method works.

Discipline and then keep interaction at a minimum. Our conversation would typically look like this:

I understand you don’t want to stay in your bed, but sleep is very important to keep you healthy and to help you grow so you must stay in your bed.

One little thing to note is that having a solid day time routine can help tremendously in this area.

Stay Consistent

Above all, stay consistent. It is completely unfair to set a standard and then cave in. Your child will end up confused and upset. They will feel insecure when they don’t understand what is expected from them.

Imagine having the rules changed on you all the time.

It isn’t fun.

And as much as toddlers are completely adorable, they’re also very clever. Your child will quickly pick up on the fact that they only have to keep pushing until mama or daddy finally caves and they get their way.

They’re Still Loved

In our home we don’t co-sleep. Not because I’m against it, but simply because it doesn’t work for us. You can read more about that HERE if you’d like. And yes, I teach my children from a young age that sleep time is when mama says, but despite the strong boundaries that we’ve set up, our children are immensely loved and secure in our affection for them. My son knows that if he’s scared or needs something we will be there in a flash.

This is what has worked for us so far and I’m so pleased that my son happily waits in bed until we come get him in the morning. He sleeps with a mountain of stuffed toys so he’s got plenty to entertain himself with while he waits.

Share with me what tactics have worked for you and if you have any questions leave those in the comments too.

Until next time!

How To Stop Your Toddler Getting Out of Bed | Learn how to teach your toddler to stay in bed with these handy parenting tips.

How To Stop Your Toddler Getting Out of Bed | Learn how to teach your toddler to stay in bed with these handy parenting tips.


Hi! I'm Christine...a stay-at-home mum to two tiny humans. My constant focus is having my home run as smoothly as possible. Keeping two kids alive, and maintaining my sanity is also a priority. Most Saturday nights, you can find me hunkered down watching Grey's Anatomy, and hopefully nibbling on some chocolate. :)

  • Jenny Rodriguez


  • Jenny Rodriguez

    This article is so helpful! I never knew that these types of clocks existed. I’m going to incorporate some of these tips with my 2.5 year old. Thanks for sharing!

    • Christine Keys

      No worries, and I hope they help! 🙂

  • These tips are spot on! We have the first clock, and love it. I’m sure we will get another one when we transition our twins out of their cribs… although they are 18 months now, and I don’t plan on transitioning them any time soon!

    • Christine Keys

      They’re so good! Jack always says, “Sun, wake up!” when he sees it in the morning. 🙂

  • That sounds like a tough age! We babysat my nephews a couple of weeks ago and we did have to keep walking the toddler back into bed! haha

    • Christine Keys

      Oh yeah…they love to test how far they can push, ha!

  • T-Nicole Johnson

    I found this post really helpful. I believe that consistency is key and having electronics to assist with the process I’m sure makes it a lot easier.

    • Christine Keys

      For sure! 🙂

  • Jaclyn Saumell

    I helped babysit for a family friend recently and he did not want to go to sleep, at first. That gro clock definitely looks like it could come in handy.

  • I bet my friends with kids that age will find your post really helpful. Will share it with them 🙂


    • Christine Keys

      Thank you!

  • Megan Acuna

    Those clocks are too cute!!!

    • Christine Keys

      Right? My son loves his!

  • Great advice. I love those clocks too, so cute! You gotta set limits and discipline your kiddos, especially when it comes to safety and the possibly of them wandering the house unsupervised!

    • Christine Keys

      For sure! 🙂

  • Nicole Banuelos

    Those clocks are awesome, I’m going to check them out now!

    • Christine Keys

      I LOVE having ours!

  • Torché Nash

    Of course! I completely agree with you on every aspect of this article! I had two, one year apart, so bedtime has always been a thing of consistency for us. I have to try the clock idea though, I’ve been thinking about it for some time now! Thanks for the suggestion.

    • Christine Keys

      No worries! 🙂

  • So…we lock the door, too! I get lots of mixed looks and feedback when I share that with moms! I actually got the idea from a pediatric hospital nurse. It works like a charm. They are safe. They know they are loved. This isn’t about that. They are trying to be disobedient and have to learn that they don’t have that option. With our boys we told them they have to earn their door unlocked. We have to be able to trust that they will hold up their end of the deal in staying in the bed. It worked well with our first and with our second, more squirrely boy, we are on track! I also like the clock idea. That would be great, especially in the summer when “the sun is awake, Momma!” much earlier. 🙂

    • Christine Keys

      I love that! It totally teaches them responsibility. 🙂 It starts with the small stuff, right? One day they’ll be adults out in the world and teaching them how to handle the small things like this will make such a huge difference when it comes to the big, adult stuff one day. 🙂

  • I have never seen such a clock before – what a brilliant idea! Thanks for sharing 😀

    • Christine Keys

      They’re great! You’re welcome. 🙂

  • Angela Nicholas

    Oh my gosh…this article was so timely! As I started reading, one of my little ones came charging in my room to point out her stuffed animal had a boo-boo. Had to kiss the boo-boo and then be firm. The clock is a great idea!

    • Christine Keys

      Haha! It can be hard when they’re so stinkin’ cute.

  • I have to say, my youngest is 6 and she still gets out of bed. we always did well with consistency and discipline. when we lived in our old apt, the door knob you had to turn really hard and my son couldnt get himself out. worked well!

    • Christine Keys

      Yes, locked doors all the way! 🙂

  • Shannon Marie

    Yes yes yes! We have one of those clocks and it’s a life saver. We turned the door knob around when we moved our girls to their “big girl” beds and shamelessly locked them in until my oldest became nighttime potty trained (she needs to be able to get out to use the bathroom at night. So, we only lock my littlest in now. Great tips!

    • Christine Keys

      Thank you! 🙂

  • Cynthia Nicoletti

    Discipline of course is the most important. They make lovely items to help in the process.

    • Christine Keys

      Yep, boundaries are super important! 🙂

  • Ann

    You are right discipline is the most important. My husband and I bought our daughter a hello kitty clock and the light which is the stars and the moon. It was a life savers for sure, because she didn’t want to get off her bed when it’s dark because she enjoyed seeing all the stars.

    • Christine Keys

      That sounds like a fun clock! 🙂

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