Cupids Health

Toddler Bath Fear Tips

When it comes to toddlers having a fear of the bath and not wanting to bathe, it can seem to happen overnight. One day they are having fun splashing in the warm water and are crying when they have to get out and the next, they want nothing to do with getting into the bathtub as a result of a fear that has developed. While the fear of bathing in the tub does eventually pass, getting to that stage takes some assistance on the part of parents to help their toddlers overcome their fear of baths.

Bath time for many households is part of the nighttime routine to help soothe little ones to help them drift off into sleep. That does not happen when the bathroom suddenly becomes an anxiety-ridden place because toddlers are afraid of taking a bath. Instead, the fear levels go through the roof, the toddlers’ hearts start racing, and the only thing that gets them to calm down is the promise that they do not have to bathe. However, because bathing is necessary for good hygiene for toddlers, parents need to work with toddlers to become comfortable with baths again so that they no longer fear being in the bathtub to scrub themselves clean.

RELATED: How Babies Can Benefit From Bath Time

Here are ways to help toddlers overcome their fear of baths.

Uncover Fear Of The Bath


via Pexels/Henley Design Studio

Because the fear of baths does not develop but suddenly comes on, parents need to communicate with their toddlers the best that they can to determine what part of the bath experience is causing them anxiety.

According to, there could be a multitude of reasons why toddlers are suddenly afraid of bathing. It could be slipping under the water, especially if that experience did actually happen, getting water in the eyes, or even the fear of being sucked down the drain. While the fears may seem small to parents, for toddlers who are still figuring out the world around them, their fears seem large scary. And until they can be unfounded by showing examples or gradually building up the confidence to get back into the bath, those fears are going to remain.

Let Toddler Help Prepare The Bath


via Pexels/Sasha Kim

Some toddlers have a fear of the sound that the water coming out of the faucet makes because it is loud and there is a cascade that seems to come out of nowhere. To help make the process of turning on the waterless scary for little ones, letting them help prepare the bath by being the ones to turn on the water may help to ease the fear of the bath.

According to AT Parenting Survival, it could be that toddlers who have a problem with the bath being turned on have sensory issues. If this is the case, parents will see that their children are covering their ears when the water is turned on because it is too loud for them. If this appears to be the case even after having them turn the water on and help prepare the bath, an option may be to run the bath and then invite toddlers to get in after the water has been run to prevent the sensory overload on the ears.

Make Sure Water Isn’t Too Hot Or Cold


via Pexels/Karolina Grabowska

While most parents know to check the water prior to putting their toddlers in to make sure that it is not too warm or too cold, what some forget is that toddlers’ skin is more sensitive than that of adults. As such, the fear of water could come because the toddlers’ bodies physically feel uncomfortable in the water they are being offered.

According to The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, while the bathwater should be around 98 F (37 to 38 C) for toddlers, that temperature should be adjusted accordingly depending upon the toddler. Just because that general temperature is fine for most, it may feel scalding to others. Just make sure to not make it too cold because the opposite effect could happen as well where the toddlers who have sensitive skin get a chill if the water is too cold.

Include Bath Toys & Bubbles

include bubbles and bath toys when toddlers are afraid of bath (1)

via Pixabay/amyelizabethquinn

Sometimes, when toddlers are afraid of the bathtub, all they need is some incentive to get in. As such, providing them with bath toys and bubbles might just be enough to entice little ones to get into the bath without a fight.

According to Parenting FirstCry, it is hard for toddlers to resist seeing bright, colorful toys float around in the water and not play with them. And for those who love to play in bubbles when parents are washing dishes or when blowing them outside, adding bubbles to the tub as well might make the bathtub look like too much fun to not be a part of.

Take A Bath Yourself


via Pexels/Sora Shimazaki

When toddlers see their parents participate in an activity that looks like fun, they too want to be involved. As such, get into a bath, have a blast, and invite the little ones to come in.

According to KidSit, a great way to get toddlers into the bathtub is to make it look like too much fun to say no to. Not only do the toddlers see that their parents are having fun, but they will also have the security of having a trusted adult in the bathtub with them. And with a few times of taking a bath together, toddlers may begin to realize that there is nothing to be afraid of when taking a bath at all.

Do Not Force Tub Bathing


via Pexels/cottonbro

Sometimes, regardless of what is offered to toddlers, they just are not ready to get themselves into a bath. If the fear is just too great, there is no need to push it. Provide toddlers with the option of a shower, or if that is a no-go, get them clean using washcloths and warm water.

The fear will dissipate. And it depends on how long that will take based on the toddler. But in the end, the desire will again return to bathe in a tub and the struggles will start again about having to get out because the little ones are having too much fun.

Source:, AT Parenting Survival, The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, Parenting FirstCry, KidSit

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