Transitioning to a Big Kid Bed

Saturday we took the step to transition Abby from her crib to a twin bed.  It was necessary to change because while she still fit in the crib and never (to my knowledge) tried to climb out, she was getting big enough to be too heavy for me to lift over the crib rail and my belly is now too big to comfortably and easily lift her over the crib rail.  

Abby was so incredibly excited when she saw her new bed.  Immediately she wanted to jump on the bed, play with her toys in bed, read books in bed, and pretend that she was sleeping in bed.  The one thing she hasn’t wanted to do is actually sleep in bed.  At least, not alone.

Therein lies the problem.  Each night I have put her to bed she has refused to sleep alone.  If I put her to bed already asleep, she often wakes as I am leaving the room or shutting the door.  If I lay with her until she falls asleep, most of the time she will wake as I get out of bed.  Sometimes it takes two or three attempts to get her to fall asleep and stay asleep.  If I try to put her in bed awake she will get right up and try to follow me out of the room or bang on the door and throw a fit.  She refuses to let Dad lay with her, so each time it is me.

None of the conditions of her room have changed, other than the bed.  I still have her nightlights positioned in the same spots.  I still play white noise to help her sleep.  I still close the door so the noise from the TV or me doing chores does not wake her.  

When she still slept in the crib I could put her in bed wide awake or drowsy and she would lay right down and go to sleep without any problem.

I know that Abby is adjusting to something new and will take time for her to become comfortable with sleeping in her new bed, but it is currently a frustrating situation. 

I spoke with my coworker Sammy about it yesterday.  She said her son had done the exact same thing when he was transitioned from a crib to a bed.  Each time she would put him to bed she would set an alarm and go in two minutes later to put him back in bed.  Gradually she would increase the number of minutes waiting to go back into his room until he learned to stay in bed.  This is basically the same approach I took when I began to place Abby in her crib awake at night.  It sucked for a few nights but eventually got better.  I think I may suck it up and try it again.

Have you ever been in this situation before?  What helped?  What advice would you give?