How to Deal When Your Toddler Hates to Take Baths

How Do You Help a Toddler Who Is Afraid of the Bath?

This is a parenting first for me – suddenly my one year old is terrified of the bath and the shower.  She doesn't even really like being in the water with me and will just cling miserably until we get out.  I've been bathing her in the sink (which she seems fine with) but that's not a great long term solution.

I asked readers about how I could help my toddler be less afraid of bathing, and got great answers. I'm hoping you'll add your bathing suggestions in the comments if you've found a successful way to deal with bathtime fears as well. This post includes affiliate links to recommended products.

How to deal with Toddler Bathtime Fears:

  • Start small– several people suggested using a smaller tub in the big tub to get her used to being in the tub without as much water to worry about.
  • Reduce the slippery factor – You may also want to put in a toddler non-slip mat or stick on non-slip stickers in the bath tub to make sitting in the tub less scary (feeling like you're about slip under water could be a reason for a toddler to be terrified of the bath.)
  • Make the location fun first– You can try blowing bubbles in the bath tub or playing with toys inside a bucket with soapy water before even attempting bathing so that she starts to associate the tub with fun activities.
  • Let your child do most of the work (with help, of course) – Let your toddler turn on the water, check the water level in the bath and so on.
  • Make it unusual- maybe take a bath in the paddling pool outside or have a “bath party.” Find more creative bath time ideas for toddlers and little kids to enjoy in our post here.
  • Make it routine– One mom suggested using a picture schedule to show each part of the night time routine to help your child know what's coming next.  I have found picture schedules to be extremely helpful with young children, but haven't tried one with my one year old yet- maybe I ought to!

Thank you so much to my readers for your help.  I'd love to add to this list of suggestion, or hear variations of the ideas listed.

Have you dealt with having a toddler who's afraid of the bath? Have any suggestions for me and all the other moms with dirt covered tots?

Please leave your suggestions in the comments, or if you have  a blog post that addresses this question, please leave a link to it!

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