How to Keep Your Toddler in Their Room at Night

Does your child keep opening the door to come to your room now that they’re in a bed? Learn how to keep your toddler in their room at night!

How to Keep Toddler in Room at NightWe finally made the transition from a crib to a toddler bed, one that allowed my son to not only roam the room, but to open the door and leave.

As predicted, without the crib to keep him contained the way he used to be, he’d get each time I tucked him in bed. I ended up spending half the evening walking him back to his room, leaving both of us tired and upset. Over two hours later, I ended up relenting and letting him stay in my bed.

Thankfully, this story has a happy ending, though it took a few changes for him to finally agree to sleep in his bed and stay in his room. No more turning the doorknob the minute I closed the door or crying on the floor keeping everyone awake.

So, how can you keep your child in his room at night? Take a look at these tips below:

1. Have a consistent bedtime routine

Predictability helps ease your child’s anxieties about what comes next and when. By keeping a consistent routine at bedtime and even for naps, he learns that this is simply the way things are. The familiarity makes it much easier to comply than to fight being in his room.

One simple way to stay consistent with your bedtime routine is to start at the same time every night. Then, do the same activities in the same order, such as taking a warm bath, changing into pajamas, and reading two books. You can also offer a special lovey to signal that it’s time to sleep.

Free resource: Do you struggle with getting your child to listen? Join my newsletter and discover one effective word to get her to listen and follow instructions. Grab your PDF below—at no cost to you:

One Effective Word to Get Kids to Listen

2. Stop the stall tactics

Does your toddler insist on getting up for various reasons? Maybe he says he needs to go to the bathroom, drink a glass of water, or that his blanket fell off the floor.

Address his typical stall tactics before settling him into bed. For instance, take him to the bathroom right before bed and explain that this is so that he doesn’t have to get up in the middle of the night. Show him that you’re tucking his blanket under the mattress so that it doesn’t fall off.

And set boundaries by refusing to meet his unreasonable demands and requests. Sure, he can have a bedtime story, but not 10 of them. He can go to the bathroom once or even twice at night (especially if he’s potty training), but any more than that and he has to stay in his room.

3. Prevent your toddler from getting out repeatedly

The last thing you want to do is to pull the door shut on one side while your toddler tries to pull it open on the other. Instead, make sure to close the door so that she can’t roam the house.

You can also reuse your baby gate as a barrier. Place it on the doorway, preventing her from getting out. She can still open the door, but won’t be able to leave.

See if you can try different approaches and “negotiate.” Maybe she can play with a few quiet toys in bed or you can leave the door ajar so she can see the hallway light through the gap.

Lastly, make use of your baby monitor again. The minute you see her make a move to get out of bed, tell her to go back in bed. The sooner you can catch her starting to leave, the more likely she’ll go back to bed. This is especially useful since you don’t have to go into her room, which might rile her up even more.

4. Check in at set times

Keeping kids in the room doesn’t mean you close the door and never check on them. Instead, check in at set times.

Once you close the door, set your timer for 5 minutes, at which point you can go to your toddler’s room and remind her that it’s time to sleep. Repeat the same at 10 and 15 minutes (and every 15 minutes thereafter if needed). She’ll feel reassured that you’re still here while getting the message that she should go to sleep.

Keep your check-ins brief, too. The goal isn’t to calm her down so she stops crying, but for you to make sure all is okay and for her to know you’re here. Keep these check-ins to no more than 30 seconds and just pop your head in to reassure her. You can also use the baby monitor to see what she’s doing between check-ins.

5. Use a toddler alarm clock

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Some toddlers get out of bed not in tears or frustration, but because they don’t know when they can. “Wake up time is at 7am” doesn’t help when your toddler doesn’t know when 7am is.

One tool to help is a toddler alarm clock. Many either light up a particular color or play a tune at a certain time, signaling to her that she can get out of her room. Rather than figuring out the numbers on a digital clock or the hands of an analog one, she sees a clear cue when it’s time to get up.


It’s no fun when your toddler keeps getting out of her bed to come to yours or even roam the house.

Make sure to keep her in her room so she doesn’t roam the house while you’re asleep. Have a consistent bedtime routine, and avoid unreasonable stall tactics. Check in on her at set times so she knows you’re here while getting the message that she should go to sleep. And lastly, an alarm clock can send a clear signal when she can get up for the day.

Soon, she can stay in her room all night, without you walking her back for two hours straight.

Get more tips:

Don’t forget: Join my newsletter and grab your PDF below—at no cost to you:

One Effective Word to Get Kids to Listen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. So is the door left locked all night? What do you suggest i do when my LO wakes in the middle of the night and can’t get out and is crying? Thx

    1. Nina Garcia says:

      Hi there! That’s totally up to you. You could sneak in the room once you know she’s fast asleep and remove the lock. You could also use a baby monitor or leave your door open so you can hear her if she cries at night (and at which point you should check in on her).

  2. What if the my LO has to pee? His issue is, he wakes up at 5:30am to pee and then doesn’t want to go back to bed. The bathroom is in the hallway so he has to leave the room. Not sure if it’s worth it to put a potty in his room?

    1. Nina Garcia says:

      Hi there! Waking up at 5:30 can be pretty challenging since it’s close enough to wake up time that it can be hard to fall back asleep (especially if you’re walking out to pee). I wouldn’t discourage him from peeing if he really has to. But one thing I would try is to limit his liquids after dinner, and do one last potty before being tucked in bed. That way, he has less of a need to pee in the morning.

  3. Hello, I cam across your article in desperation. I recently switched my 23month old from crib to big girl bed. The first few nights she did great, was super happy about her bed and everything was great. She didn’t get out of bed, didn’t cry or anything. Went to bed like she did in her crib. Peacefully. Now, about a week later, she’s started freaking out. Crying and screaming like she is dying at bedtime and nap time, seriously freaking out like I’m surprised my neighbors haven’t called the cops bc if I didn’t know any better it’d sound like someone was torturing her. Is this normal? Is it just another sleep regression? Delayed reaction to the big kid bed? I tried the whole picking her up and putting her back in bed a over and over for hours without saying anything until I was just so exhausted I left the room and shut the door. She cried at the door, and I spoke to her over the baby camera every few minutes while I tried to pull myself back together. I went back in and did the same thing, picked her put her back in bed, except this time I stayed sitting on her bed. (was thinking I’d try a version of the chair method that I used for past sleep regressions in her crib). She fell asleep. I left and woke at 12:30am to her screaming crying at her door. I went in and just laid in bed with her and actually fell asleep so I ended up staying the whole night in there with her. I was tired. Today I layed with her for her nap bc I didn’t have the fight in me. I’m stressed about tonight, idk what to do. I have my sisters saying to leave the door cracked so she can come find me at night, to just lay with her till she falls asleep. And I love my daughter I do, but I do not want to have to do that every night. Lay with her till she falls asleep I’m a strong believer in parents having time together. Basically my question ig is what should I do? Should I keep putting her in bed till she stays in bed along with the chair method? Or should I let her get out of bed and just cry at door while I do the cry it out method of checking in every 5-10-15minutes? Or should I keep putting her in bed, walk out and only come back to put her back into bed and also do the checking in every 5-10-15 minutes? Is this even normal? That she’s so scared of sleeping alone in her bed? Am I damaging my relationship with her? Please help. I inky have my sisters to turn tk for parenting advice and their youngest kids still sleep in bed with them and like I said I love my daughter, but I need alone time with my husband so having her sleep with us or us in her bed is a no go. Please help.

    1. Nina Garcia says:

      Big hugs, Aubree <3 I can so relate to the frustration and exhaustion of this experience. I do agree that you should keep putting her in bed but only at the 5-10-15 minute check-ins. That way, you're not going in every time she cries, but you're also reinforcing the idea that it's time to sleep. With consistency, she can hopefully learn that it's okay to be asleep in her big bed.

      I would also talk to her the next day and ask her why she thinks she cries at bedtime. She might reveal a few things you're not aware of, like a new fear of shadows or she wants to spend time with you. If you could get to the root cause, it might help with how you tackle the problem. But you want to do this when she's calm, not when she's crying in the moment.

      Hang in there, mama <3