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10 Ways to Get Your Toddler to Take a Bath


Every toddler goes through periods of fussiness and fear about the bath. Here are 10 tried-and-true ways to get your toddler in the bath—and keep her there so you can wash without her trying to climb out!

    1. Color the Water

    color my bath

    Maybe the clear water is too boring for some toddlers. Jazz up bath time with some of these fun color tablets. Kids can easily mix hues to turn their bath water into whatever shade they want.

    Color My Bath

    2. Build a Bath

    first builders mega bloks

    Have an aspiring architect/engineer who doesn’t want to bathe? This Mega Bloks bath toy will have him or her happily splashing and building in the tub. For added fun, bring in a dinosaur or two to help your toddler smash their creation, Godzilla-style.

    Mega Bloks Build ‘n Splash

    3. Focus on Specific Fears

    scared little girl in her bed

    Some kids are afraid of the drain – if that’s the case, a drain stopper, like this one specifically made for toddlers, may help. Other kids develop a fear of the rushing water, so covering up the spout with a distracting toy could put your tot’s mind at ease. If your child is afraid of getting soap or water in his eyes, invest in a special bath visor to keep bath-time tear-free.

    4. Give Her a Seat at the Table

    Tubby Table Bathtime Toy

    This innovative bath table might be the distraction your little one needs to make bath time fun again. With cups built to fit a tabletop shape sorter, typical bath tantrums will be replaced with splashing, sorting, pouring, and exploring.

    Tubby Table

    5. Make the Tub Look Like a Club

    kids playing with glo sticks in bath tub

    Turn down the lights and turn up the fun! Crack open a few Glo-Sticks and see how amazing bath time can be from a totally new perspective. Be sure to have a sing-along or pump up The Wiggles to add to the super-cool atmosphere.

    6. Go Water-Free

    an empty bath tub

    Let your child play in the bath without water for a few minutes. Once he’s used to and happy in the environment, try turning the water on. Run the water slowly at first to warm him up to the idea of getting wet. Narrating a story that involves needing to get cleaned up, or about filling a lake or pool, may help smooth the transition.

    7. Get Artsy in the Tub

    Play Visions Crayola Bathtub Crayons

    Painting can be messy, and usually requires a bath when you’re done—so why not combine the two activities with bath paints? Painting the bathroom walls is usually off-limits, but these amazing paints allow your little Picasso to enjoy complete artistic freedom. Clean up is a snap—just rinse with water when bath time is done.

    Crayola Bathtub Paints

    8. Turn Bath Time into Storytime

    several best selling books by Dr. Seuss

    Build positive associations with the bath by making it the place you read your toddler some of his favorite books. Bring a pile of books in to the bathroom with you and just start reading at the first sign of a meltdown. Once your child has calmed down, you can take a break from reading to do the washing, and then return to the books when you’re finished.

    9. Try a Bubble Bath

    Close-up of a faucet pouring water into a bubble bath

    What’s more fun than bubbles? Adding a little extra bath soap to the water and then mixing things up can make bath time a sudsy adventure. For bonus points, bring a bottle of blowing bubbles in with you. If the suds aren’t enough of a distraction, maybe the real bubbles will turn things around.

    10. Get in with Him

    Happy mother with her daughter and soap foam

    When all else fails maybe a little companionship will do the trick. A parent’s job is often to lead by example, so showing your toddler how much fun you think the bath is might be just the inspiration he needs. Plus, getting to dump water on mommy or daddy’s head is enough to make anybody want to jump on in.

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