You have decided to make the crib/bed transition, Hooray!
So do you get a toddler bed, or go right to a twin bed?
I think it has to do with whether or not you can fit another bed into your budget. My #1 answer to parents is to buy the conversion kit for your crib if you can. That way it’s the same bed in every way, except missing a side (add a bed rail if it didn’t come with one.)
If you don’t have a conversion kit, I would go ahead and buy a toddler bed. You purchase the frame and put your existing crib mattress in it! I like toddler beds because they usually come with bed rails to limit rolling out, they are low to the ground so your toddler can get in and out on his own (which he will want to do!), and, most importantly, they are toddler sized.
This last point is important because if it’s his size, then it’s clearly his, and not yours. He can take ownership of it, which is what his toddler brain is telling him to do with all things in life right now – Mine, Mine, Mine! Work with this! In addition, if it’s his size it will be a natural confidence booster since he wont need anyone’s help getting in and out. The more positive elements you can introduce along with a transition, the better, in my book!
I love IKEA’s toddler beds because they are relatively inexpensive (as low as $90), they come with bed rails, and they offer a wide variety of bedding from which to choose ).
Your son can stay in a toddler bed until he outgrows it lengthwise, which for my son (90th percentile) we estimate will be around 3, 3.5.
If there isn’t room in your budget for a toddler bed, buy a twin mattress and put in on the floor. If you’re worried about airflow, put it on top of some bed slats from IKEA ). Don’t worry about buying a bed frame until he’s 3 or 4!
No matter what make sure your toddler is excited for this transition and there aren’t any other stresses in his life.