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Toddler refusing to have a bath!

(35 Posts)
Freewanderer Wed 10-Jun-20 18:54:13

Am just wondering if there is anyone who has had this problem and if so, what they did to solve the problem? Toddler is 19 months, has been refusing to even be lifted into an empty bath now for several weeks. I’m not sure what’s happened/what she’s frightened of?
We have tried just an empty bath, new toys, putting her 4 month old brother in... etc. Even tried getting in ourselves too!
Any suggestions or thoughts would be much appreciated.

OP’s posts: |
EasynowPatrick Wed 10-Jun-20 18:56:44

Is she showering instead?

Freewanderer Wed 10-Jun-20 18:59:48

No. Sorry, forgot to mention, she has refused to go anywhere near the shower. We did try.
We are having to sponge her down. She allows that with protests

OP’s posts: |
NuffSaidSam Wed 10-Jun-20 19:01:33

I would just push through. Keep the water shallow and warm, but not too hot. Don't worry about hair washing. But I wouldn't let it become as issue.

user1471457757 Wed 10-Jun-20 19:03:59

Could you try bath crayons to get her in?

Ijustreallywantacat Wed 10-Jun-20 19:04:08

I would just plonk her in and let her tantrum to be honest. Keep calm and carry on. She'll realise you aren't hurting her eventually. Big praise when shes quiet or not protesting.

ShyTown Wed 10-Jun-20 19:04:54

Been there! We ended up using an inflatable mini paddling pool in the shape of a whale intended for a much smaller baby in the kitchen. We sat her in it empty and threw in a small amount of water and she was ok with it, then we edged it closer to the bathroom until it was on the floor of the bathroom, then put it in the empty tub, eventually ditched it altogether and she loves the bath again. Toddlers, honestly!

Onesailwait Wed 10-Jun-20 19:05:12

Are you trying just at bedtime?. My youngest used to hate a bath at bedtime so we started doing it during the day and framed it more as just for fun rather than washing. She would wear her swimsuit in sometimes and take in her little paw patrol figures. If their really not into it don't make it an issue. I'm an adult & i hate baths

MonaChopsis Wed 10-Jun-20 19:05:40

Tell her one morning she's not allowed to have a bath today... Chances are she'll be demanding one within minutes 😉

EasynowPatrick Wed 10-Jun-20 19:06:40

Sorry for all the questions don’t want to weigh in! When you say refuses do you mean she protests so you stop or you can’t physically get her in? If the former I’d get in a shallow bath and have your partner pass her to you regardless of the protestations. She will realise it’s safe and doesn’t need a performance.

CottonSock Wed 10-Jun-20 19:06:47

Happened to us..we visited her best friend and they had a bath together. It worked, no issues since.

BlackKittyKat Wed 10-Jun-20 19:07:43

I sympathise. We had this and it was impossible to get our DD in the bath. It was like she was petrified and she would hysterically claw her way out, climbing up you to get out.

We got round it by putting one of those large rubber buckets in the bath and she sat in that. We didn't wash hair and slowly built the trust back up.

We filled a bath with water and bubbles and got DD to make us cappuccinos with her tea set using the bubble bath. She then gradually decided she wanted to get in and it stopped being an issue.

She still doesn't like having her hair washed but we manage.

It's tough but it is just a phase.

SandieCheeks Wed 10-Jun-20 19:07:58

The more you fuss about it the more you’re telling her that baths are a big deal.
I would just get her in and wash her quickly.

BumbleNova Wed 10-Jun-20 19:08:50

Yup! Our 19 month old did exactly the same.

Bizarrely what worked for us was a new bathmat and the Crayola coloured bath things. He absolutely loves choosing a couple and watching the water change color.

Canalhouse Wed 10-Jun-20 19:13:02

Have you tried getting her to bath one of her soft toys or dolls? If not get a container, let her pour warm water in it, add bubbles , give her a flannel and let her give teddy a good wash in his bath. If she enjoys doing that try a very shallow bath and seeing if she will wash him in the bath with her. What is her speech /understanding like ? If it’s good you could make teddy not want a bath and see if she will help him to have one. Sometimes a toy can help them do something they don’t want to do . Might be worth a shot.

NickMarlow Wed 10-Jun-20 19:20:52

We had this for about a year from age 2 and a half. She completely panicked and tried to climb out and it got worse and worse.

We had a long time when she would just about cope with standing in a shallow bath and being washed down.
Then she would cope with sitting on my knee in the bath as long as it was shallow enough.
Then I got too pregnant for that and she eventually accepted sitting on a plastic stool.
And then she finally cracked toilet training, and wanted to be in the bath with her baby sister, at about the same time, and we've had no issues since. I do think part of it was that when she got wet, she thought she was wetting herself.She was very late to toilet train.

I would start with a no nonsense just get on with it approach and see if that sorts it. If not, a step by step approach did work for us, it just took forever.

She has NO memory of this now, loves baths, swimming pools, splashing in the paddling pool... it will get better!

OnlyFoolsnMothers Wed 10-Jun-20 19:23:52

We had this- bloody dramas- switched to quick showers- and eventually enticed back to baths with loads of bubbles and letting LO add the bubble bath to the running water.

FelicityPike Wed 10-Jun-20 19:40:04


I would just plonk her in and let her tantrum to be honest. Keep calm and carry on. She'll realise you aren't hurting her eventually. Big praise when shes quiet or not protesting.

Yep, did this too. Thought my neighbours were going to be phoning Social Services on us, my DD can scream!

charley39 Wed 10-Jun-20 19:40:39

We had this probably around the same age aswell actually. It was a nightmare but as others have said we just kept persevering but only ever gave him one bath a week, max two as it just wasn’t worth the stress. What worked for us was we went away on holiday around that time and so tried him in the bath there and he made no fuss. From then on he went back to liking the bath.
No idea what started it off, just one of those phases I guess.

charley39 Wed 10-Jun-20 19:42:31

Forgot to add we also tried the shower approach by just trying to rinse him down with the shower head. For a long time he would only stand in the bath or crouch but would not let his bum touch the water which again was frustrating to try and get him clean. After a few months of that he is now splashing about and laying down in the water no problems

spookybitches Wed 10-Jun-20 19:46:41

My 3 year old goes through phases of this ever since he was about 18 months onwards. He's actually going through it at the moment 🙄 It normally lasts a week or two. I just pretend to play with his bath toys and pretend I'm having an amazing time, laughing to myself etc. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Just keep it consistent, keep trying and she'll eventually get in again.

Freewanderer Wed 10-Jun-20 19:49:16

Thanks ever so much for all the advice.
@EasynowPatrick, she basically goes ballistic when u try and lift her in and tries to scramble back up the sides. She looks petrified. If she protested less, I’d probably try and make her, but it’s not really fair I don’t think.
The crayons r a good idea. I’ll get some. And getting her to wash teddy. Thank u.
@Onesailwait, yes we have tried in the morning too. Toddlers can be so difficult! Tried lifting her into the bath when I was in there. Again, scrambling to get out.
@BlackKittyKat - what sort of container did u use? I’ve tried to put her in her paddling pool (a giant snail) but she refuses to go in there now.
Def will try getting her to add bubbles. Good suggestion.
How do we survive??😂

OP’s posts: |
ShipshapeShore Wed 10-Jun-20 19:50:36

I had a period of flannel washing DD at around the same age when she refused baths and showers. One day she was playing with some toys in a long shallowish plastic box at my Mum's and she said "would you like me to put some water and bubbles in there and you can get in with the toys?" She loved that idea and after that she'd go in the bath happily again! Magic Grandma!

AnnaSW1 Wed 10-Jun-20 19:53:01

Massive bubbles work for us. We had the nice organic stuff but it didn't make mega bubbles. We now use old fashioned matey and it makes mounds of bubbles. They are in there like a flash!

KellyHall Wed 10-Jun-20 19:58:09

Fill the bath with bubbles and toys and let her play whilst standing next to the bath, at some point something she's enjoying will float out of reach and might tempt her back in. For some reason she's decided she's terrified of it so I agree that forcing her isn't a good idea.

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