The Hard Line
Don't give you child any other option but going back to bed, and eventually she'll give up and realize she may as well just stay there. Do your bedtime routine, tuck her child in and leave the room. When she gets up and comes out of the room the first time, bring her back to bed and then leave again. The second and all subsequent times, you don't say anything, but just keep walking or carrying her back to bed. It will take a lot of time and energy (and persistence!) to make it work, but it does work (often without tears even) if you're consistent. - Amanda.
The Gentle Route
I started off putting my daughter in her own bed and sitting beside the bed with her; I would read her a story until she fell asleep, or just sit there and hold her hand. Then I'd leave once she was asleep. I did this for about three weeks. By then, I could tell she was getting more comfortable in her bed, so I would still tuck her in and read a story, but I started leaving before she was fully asleep. Sometimes she would get up, but I'd put her right back in her bed. She eventually got the hang of it, and after about a month all I had to do was go in and tuck her in. - Stacie Z.
We took our son to pick out his own toddler bed and told him he would have to sleep in it. But we put his bed in our room so he wouldn't completely feel like we were kicking him out. - Cynthia C.
The Expert Opinion
The moms have it right - bedtime routines and consistency are key to good sleep. Dr. Jodi Mindell, author of "Sleeping Through the Night: How Infants, Toddlers, and Their Parents Can Get a Good Night's Sleep," says clear expectations for your toddler decrease behavioral problems. "If you want your toddler to sleep in his own bed, then you need to be very clear about this expectation and follow through every time. Having him fall asleep in the parents' bed and moving him won't do it. You need to have the child fall asleep in his own bed. If he refuses to stay, it's all about being consistent and just returning him to his bed over and over and over again." But be careful not to move your toddler from the crib to the bed too soon - Dr. Mindell suggests waiting until your child is closer to 3 years old, when he should have the understanding and control to stay in his own bed.
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