My toddler is terrified of the bath now--looking for advice

Christina - posted on 03/28/2011 ( 16 moms have responded )

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My son is 21 months old. He's always done really well with bath time and his swim classes. He's now completely terrified of the bath. I think it's because he pooped in the tub and it took a while to empty the tub, clean it, and wash him up.

I tried just a sponge bath last night and he hated that too. So here's what I have on my list of things to try:

-We're going to try playing with toys in the tub while my son is fully clothed and at a time that is not the usual bath time(we have the Primo Euro bath so it can sit in our tub or sit on the floor).

-I'm going to try putting on a bathing suit and taking a bath with him.

Anyone have any other suggestions? Thanks!

-Christina

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Natalie - posted on 03/30/2011

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I remember going through this with my son when I was VERY pregnant with number two. The only way I got him over it was to put on an old pair of shorts and one of my husbands shirts and get in the tub with him and he sat on my legs while I cleaned him up. My husband also sat on the potty and distracted. Finally, I got to the point to where I was sitting with my legs in the tub only and then finally I was back out of the tub. My son still goes through phases of liking and not liking baths.

Lisa - posted on 04/08/2011

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We made the mistake of putting our little one in a bath when she had just come in from outside so her feet were cold so obviously the bath felt very hot ( even thought it was luke warm) so after that everytime we tried to put her in up went her legs and she screamed. The only way we got round was by putting her in a empty bath and filling it round her which she loves for some reason now shes back to normal now

Nikki - posted on 04/07/2011

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My daughter went through screaming when it came to bath time. We bought her those non toxic paint sets and I got in with her, let her paint away and it took her mind off the bath part. Good luck

Shawna - posted on 04/07/2011

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My now 8 year old boy went through that stage at about the same age. We had to stay clear of swimming pools and bathtubs for about a whole 6 months. It began in the swimming pool when he had pool toys and it went into the filter. We showed him where they were (in the other hole), but he paniced with the other toys floating in the water that were the other childrens. We left immediately, with all eyes on us in his screaming paniced fit over the toys. After that, He was fearful of the drain and thought his toys were going to go down it. We did showers while he went through it and just tried to bare through it. They were extremely quick showers and it wasn't a very enjoyable experience for him, but he got through it with less screaming than in the bathtub. Just know it is just a stage, and it shouldn't last too long for him! I guess the advice is to reassure him as much as you can until he gets through it!

Angela - posted on 04/04/2011

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We've had exactly the same with our daughter, who's 3 next month. She's always loved her baths and suddenly started screaming a couple of weeks ago whenever we tried to bath her. She'd accidentally pooed in the bath around that time (it hadn't seemed that significant to me, so I can't remember exactly when), and when I was trying to find out why she was so upset at bathtime the other day she said "I'm going to do a poo in the bath". I managed to persuade her that she wouldn't, and she went into the bath for about 5 minutes, then jumped back out saying she'd done a poo (she hadn't, but I couldn't persuade her of that). Good to realise we're not alone with this problem. We'll just have to persevere, I guess.

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Elizabeth - posted on 04/06/2011

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You're still bathing him in a baby tub I take it? Now is a great time to stop that and move him to a real tub..try taking a bath with him. I'm sure that will help and try a bubble bath..He will probably love it.

Christina - posted on 04/01/2011

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I really appreciate all the advice. The past two bathtimes, I've taken a bath with my son. I had him out of the water with just his toes in (barely) and all he did was scream. I think I'm going to get my husband to try next since he did the swim classes with him and that went really well. The only thing we haven't tried is putting the Euro bath on the floor outside the normal bath. We'll see how it goes....

Natalie - posted on 04/01/2011

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My son went through the exact same thing. My husband started by having a bubble bath and just letting him sit on his knee with his feet dangling in water. Each day for a couple of days he would lower his knees and after three days he was back sitting in the water. I must admit it did take a while before he would have a bath by himself but that didnt bother us as my husband loves his bathtime with our son. They have lots of fun now....

Christina - posted on 03/31/2011

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I love all the advice and support! LAst night, I got in the tub with him, but he was still very upset. I have my bathingsuit waiting in the bathroom for our next attempt. I think I'll give him tongiht off, then try again tomorrow. :)

Johanna - posted on 03/30/2011

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My daughter went though a similar stage after slipping a little and getting a big splash in the face. I tried everything I could think of- bubbles, extra toys, playing in the water from outside the tub, singing songs (though didn't think of the playing with no water- good idea!). Nothing worked until one evening my husband put on his bathing suit and climbed in. After two nights of this method, she was back to loving baths!! Good luck :)

Brianna - posted on 03/29/2011

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wow the same thing happened to my daughter! she pooped in the tub and then was terrified after. she would scream everytime i tried to bath her for a week and a half. how i got her to like bathtime again was i took a bath with her we got in very slowly and my hubby was there to not in the tub though but him distracting her with toys as she sat on me and after that she liked bathtime again. good luck

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try a shower. My 2 year old loves taking showers. He can run in and out of the water. I turn the shower head to the side some so it doesnt go out of the tub. Great idea about playing in the tub. hope everything goes well :)

Christina - posted on 03/28/2011

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Thanks, Maureen. We had a successfuly time playhing with toys in the tub today. He usually gets a bath every other night, and on non-bath nights I just wash his face, feet, and business end. I like the new toy idea too. Will have to try that one.

Maureen - posted on 03/28/2011

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Good ideas. My kids went through a stage that they didn't like getting their hair wet. Let him in the tub with his swim suit on and just play. Have him pick out a new toy he wants to try in tub maybe that will excite him. When my kids were this young I didn't give consistant baths. They eventually got over their discomfort and now they love to play and get their hair washed. Good Luck

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