How to prepare for a toddler in 5 steps.

Nestle NAN
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As a mum to two kids under four, I’ve absolutely loved the toddler phase. While it is not without its challenges (hello 45-minute tantrums) I’ve loved watching my kids become more confident and self-sufficient as their unique little personalities have emerged from the snuggly bliss of babyhood.

As your baby transitions into becoming a toddler, their needs change – as do those of your home. So as you embark on this new phase in your child’s life, here are some things you might want to consider.

 1. Saying sayonara to the cot.

When your little one starts making the great escape out of the cot, it’s time to convert the cot into a toddler bed or move them into a single “big kids” bed. We moved our first child at 22 months and our second at 19 months. That’s pretty early but they were both skilled climbers!

It can take some time for your toddler to get used to the freedom of a bed. My eldest spent two weeks refusing to stay put once we’d tucked him in. On one particularly harrowing night I had to put him back in bed 78 times (yes, I counted). While it was good for my biceps, it certainly tested my patience.

Luckily my second child transitioned with no issues at all. My advice – prepare for the worst case scenario, make sure you engage the help of a partner or relative if you can and remind yourself that the novelty of being a bedtime jack-in-the-box will wear off in less time that you think.


"It’s time to convert the cot into a toddler bed." Image: Supplied.

2. Prepping for the perils of potty training.

Making sure you and your child are mentally and physically prepared for potty training can make the transition a lot easier. Set up a potty or a toilet seat plus step in the bathroom and try not to move it around the house, your toddler needs to get used to going to the bathroom.

When we knew our little one was ready, we went shopping for multipacks of chuck-away undies, some carpet cleaner and some plastic/non-absorbent shoes for the inevitable accidents.  We then said goodbye to nappies and started shadowing our son’s every move.


After about two months, lots of positive reassurance (and the occasional profanity muttered out of ear’s reach), we were accident free. Potty training can be tough on parents, you may feel like you can never relax as you have to watch your little one all the time but remember that before you can say “hand me the stain remover” you’ll be able to cross nappies off your shopping list for good.

3. Ensuring you're travel safe.

As babies my kids travelled in rear-facing capsules. Once they outgrew the capsule, we put them in a rear-facing car seat and when their knees were nearing their chins we turned them around. Not long after our skilled escape artists started taking their arms out of the safety straps no matter how much we tightened them.


Making sure your toddler's car seat is suitable to their size. Image: Supplied.

If you find your toddler is equally enthusiastic about freeing themselves from the safety harness, I recommend buying a safety accredited chest strap that connects over the existing harness. The aptly named Houdini Stop was a lifesaver for us as it meant we could go on car trips without having to pull over several times to slot our toddler’s arms back through the straps.

I also recommend getting car seats professionally fitted to ensure your precious cargo is as safe as possible, it’s well worth the fee and many professional fitters will come to you.

4. Dealing with fussy foodies.

Toddlers have some pretty defined ideas about what they will and will not eat. At 12 months my kids weaned themselves off the boob and at two they went from wolfing down everything I served up to giving me a look of utter disgust every time I presented them with non-camouflaged veggies.


That’s when I had to get creative with meals because steaming and chopping a green bean and popping it next to a lamb cutlet meant the bin/dog ended up full while my kids tummies were empty. Now I pack bolognese sauce with carrots and zucchini and make sweet potato mash with a hidden serve of broccoli.

It can be pretty disheartening when your kids refuse to eat healthy food and it’s natural to be concerned about whether they are getting enough nutrients. If they are having a particularly fussy week, supplement their diet with vitamin-packed toddler milk until they get back on track.


"Toddlers have some pretty defined ideas about what they will and will not eat". Image: Supplied.

5. Taming tantrums.

Tantrums are a normal part of a toddler’s development and some kids master the art of kicking, screaming, throwing themselves on the floor better than others. My two deserve high distinctions for their work. My eldest used to bang his head on the nearest hard object – the floor, door, kitchen bench – if things didn’t go the way he hoped and spent a good year with a blue “egg” on his forehead.

Now my nearly two-year-old has screaming stamina that could rival Jimmy Barnes, he could go for hours. There’s not much you can do to prepare for the onslaught of tantrums, just remember to stay calm, set realistic boundaries and try and distract your little one away from the source of their frustration. When that fails, just count to ten and repeat the age-old parenting mantra, “this too shall pass”.

Most of all enjoy this special time in your child’s life because amidst the poopy undies, epic meltdowns and stealth escape tactics, you’ll get your first “eye wuv ooo” and for a fleeting moment all will be right in the world.

How did you prepare your home for a toddler?