Baby + Toddler Transitions

I was thinking yesterday how the timeline I had kids has to be one of the most challenging. Capri and Walker are about 2 years apart, and they couldn’t be in more different phases of life. So far, I think this is the most challenging phase of parenting we have gone through. It’s just that they each have such different needs, different attention spans, and are equally needy of US. Gone are the days of just leaving them in the playroom to chill and hang out. They both want us to be in there just for the sake of us being there?? I think in another year the age gap will close a bit in terms of playing together and we can hopefully let them do more independent play. This is probably a whole conversation for another time, but I had to mention it since I’ve been having a lot of discussions lately about how demanding parenting is right now.

So let’s talk about transitions. Walker hasn’t really experienced many transitions yet (he’s still in his crib, still wears a sleep sack, still uses a Paci, etc.), but we have been through quite a few with Capri. Most of them did happen much earlier in their life since that is when we feel babies are most adaptable. Things like sleep routines, eating schedules, etc. were all things we established early on once they were ready for all of it, of course.

+ Bassinet > Crib – We did this at 4 months for both kids. They started off in a Dock-A-Tot inside the bassinet and at 4 months moved the Dock-A-Tot into the crib. Once they started showing signs of rolling over, the Dock-A-Tot was removed entirely. We always start transitions during the daytime naps since we are awake and can keep an eye on what’s going on. It usually takes 2-3 times of us trying something new before it sticks and they are completely fine with it.

+ Formula > Milk – The kids drink regular whole Vitamin D milk. When they turned one we would start doing half formula and half milk and gradually reduce the amount of formula until it was fully just milk. At first, Walker was spitting up a lot (he was a VERRRRRY spitty baby), but after 2 or 3 times drinking the milk it stopped. I think he just has a more sensitive stomach when it comes to trying new things and takes him a few tries.

+ Bottle > Sippy Cup – Capri was super easy about swapping the bottle for a sippy cup. At the time she was really into dinosaurs so we got her sippy cups that looked like dinos and told her she was drinking dino milk. I don’t know, it worked. With Walker, we had to buy the Dr. Brown’s transition sippy cups because he wasn’t drinking the milk out of a regular sippy cup. So far he is happy with the transition cups and we’re hoping we can get him to a regular sippy cup soon.

+ Getting rid of the pacifier – This one was pretty tough for Capri. First off, she had the Wubbanub and she became dependent on certain stuffed animals being in her crib so that was mistake #1. Walker uses the Bibs pacis, which seem to be more generic so I don’t think we will have as hard of a time with him getting rid of them. We waited until Capri was over 2 to attempt to take them away. There was so much happening around that time with Walker being born and us trying to potty train her that we didn’t want to overwhelm her with change. Plus, the paci was comforting to her so we didn’t feel it urgent to get rid of it immediately.

We tried to poke holes in the pacis but that did nothing. What ended up working was gradually taking them away one by one until she was only left with 1 or 2. We then told her pacis were only for sleeping so she had to leave them in the crib. The final straw was taking them away entirely, which only happened after many days / weeks of me asking her if we should send them away to Gastone (her current favorite Disney character at the time). She would always say “yes” but once I tried to take them out of the crib she would lose it. Then one day I got her on a good day and she said she was ready to mail them. I immediately put them in an envelope and walked them to the mailbox with her.

That night she cried when she realized they were gone but I had to stay strong and not give them back. I told her Gastone has them now so we can’t get them back and just gave her a lot of love. She eventually calmed down and fell asleep without it. I think we had a couple nights like this in a row before she pretty much forgot about them. I was incredibly nervous about Walker having a paci around her, which is also why I opted for a different brand for him, but she was luckily not interested in them at all.

+ Crib > Big Girl Bed – Just like the paci, I didn’t want to overwhelm Capri with too many changes at once. So with this, I waited until we were in the main house in San Diego before transitioning her. She was always very happy in the crib and never tried to climb out so we got lucky, but I also worried that she would be difficult about changing beds. I realize our situation is unique, but essentially what we did was get the big girl bed set up in her new room and got her excited about it by allowing her to show her family around before we actually moved in. She was very excited about her new “castle bed” and obviously I did what I could to make it appealing to her with fun bedding and things hanging from the top.

The first night we moved into the main house from the guest house (where she was still in her crib) we brought her up, did the usual nighttime routine and left. Not sure if this is typical of most kids, but that was it. She didn’t cry, try to get out, nothing. We have these little bumpers under her sheets on either side to prevent her from falling out, and we also have a baby gate at her door so she can’t wander around at night. Aside from that, we didn’t do anything special. She is a very good little sleeper. She has developed some fears recently so we have a couple nightlights, her sound machine still turns on at night, and she wants her door open. We will see how Walker does, but thankfully he is also a great sleeper!

+ Diaper > Potty Training – Well, this one was interesting. I read a book called Potty Training in 3 Days and really committed to the process. After 2 days of Capri peeing herself in her underwear and holding her poop, we decided to give “bare butt” a shot. A lot of people told us to try that so we just went for it. Going bare butt was definitely a lot more effective. She felt uncomfortable peeing on the floor so she would squat down and look at us kind of upset so we knew she had to go. It took MANY trips to the toilet before she would actually go. Obviously a reward system was in place so she got M&M’s every time she successfully went.

We got her to a point 3-4 days later where she could actually wear underwear and not just pee in them. We would ask repeatedly if she had to go to ensure no accidents happened. All in all, it took about 1 week for her to be pee-trained to go in the toilet. The real challenge came with poop. She absolutely REFUSED to poop in the toilet so we ended up having her ask for a pull-up when she had to poop. Not ideal, but better than her holding it or going in her pants. We also let her sleep with the pull-up on because we heard it takes a while to be fully trained overnight.

Within 2 weeks Capri was waking up with a dry pull-up after every sleep, but we still had her sleep in them just in case. To this day, she has yet to have an accident in her bed. I think because we reallllly took our time with this part and waited until she was 100% there. As for poop, she asked for a pull-up for months. We only got her to poop in the toilet about 5 months ago (she was over 3 years old at this point) after countless bribes, charts, presents, etc. Now she is FULLY potty trained, no pull-ups or anything. It was definitely a process, but I feel the way we did it was not stressful, tedious, or daunting to her, which was a priority for me.

I think those are the major ones that we have gone through so far. Obviously we have to do this all over again with Walker and I pray he is as easy as Capri. Maybe we will be pleasantly surprised with him, since he doesn’t seem to be as stubborn as she was about some things. If you want me to cover any other transitions just leave a comment below and I’ll add to this. Also happy to answer any questions about my experience with all of this! Good luck to anyone currently going through this, just try to be patient, don’t force it, and have the wine ready!

P.S. I get a lot of questions on kid stuff in general and I have a million blog posts covering just about every stage! I also have just about every kid product linked in those blog posts or on my Storefront.