My Toddler Won’t Take A Bath! 10 Genius Tricks You Must Try!

By Paula McLaren •  Updated: 05/21/21 •  11 min read

Many parents will identify with the statement “my toddler won’t take a bath” and it is very likely that your toddler will decide that they no longer love bath time at some point!

But if you’re here then it looks like it’s already happened!

Well, as annoying as it can be… there are a few reasons why this might be the case, but LUCKILY there are lots you can do about getting your toddler to LOVE bath time again!

So in today’s post, I’m going to share with you my 10 GENIUS TRICKS to navigate your way through this difficult time whilst keeping your sanity intact!

And I’m also going to share 4 Super Fun Bath Time Toys that are GUARANTEED to get your toddler to take a bath in no time!

So, without wasting any more time, let’s get right on into it!

Why Does My Toddler Hate The Bath All Of A Sudden?

Your toddler may have decided that bath time is no longer fun and in some cases, scary.

You need to be aware that your toddler is entering a stage of their development where they are more aware of who they are as an individual and due to their emerging and developing imagination, they start to become more fearful.

These fears can include a fear of the dark, loud noises, dogs, vacuum cleaners, strangers and taking a bath.

So, what is it about bath time that your toddler may find off-putting? Well, they may have a:

While this is normal behaviour, as parents we need to know how to handle the anxiety sympathetically and the independence non-confrontationally.

10 GENIUS Tricks To Try When Your Toddler Won’t Take A Bath

So what can you do to avoid bath time tantrums when your toddler simply refuses to take a bath?

Well, some toddlers will start hating bath time due to a fear that comes from their developing imagination, but just one bad experience can trigger your toddler not wanting to take a bath, or they might just be exerting their independence.

Whatever the reason, trying some or all of the following may help to get bath time back on track and make bath time easier.

1. Stop Baths For A While 

If your toddler is showing signs of resisting bath times then the first thing to try is to just say ‘OK let’s give the bath a miss tonight.’  

If just not wanting to do as they are asked is the issue, then you not being bothered may be all it needs to take the wind out of their sails and when you try again in a couple of days they may just go with the flow.

If this does not work and your toddler is genuinely anxious about taking a bath for some other reason, then try just washing them with a face cloth where necessary.

In all honesty, your toddler does not need to be bathed every day UNLESS they are particularly dirty from an activity or playing outside. 

As much as I like bath time to be part of the bedtime routine if your toddler goes through a phase of not wanting to bath then not doing so every day is OK. Once things are back on track you can go back to daily bathing.

2. Use A Bath Time Visor 

Many toddlers (and adults) don’t like water running in their face. This can become an issue when you are trying to wash your toddler’s hair. 

Therefore, investing in a bath time visor can solve this problem quite easily.

TOP TIP: Having a face cloth for your toddler to wipe their face with can also help. Choose one that is brightly coloured and make it their own special cloth.

3. Prevent Slips

If your toddler has slipped in the bath they may feel unsafe and not want to get in the next time bath time comes around. 

Always ensure that you have a non-slip mat or pads in the bathtub and encourage your toddler to sit when in the bath.

4. Make Bath Time Fun

Bath time should be fun! The more fun it is, the more likely your toddler is going to want to take part.

There are some great toys and activities for bath time available, from crayons that work in the bath, special water colouring, bubbles and lots of fun interactive toys to keep your toddler engaged. Check out my list of 4 Super Fun Bath Toys below ↓ to discover my favourites!

Mix up the activities and let them choose what they would like to play with.

TOP TIP: Giving toddlers a choice makes them feel more in control and more cooperative.

5. Don’t Empty The Bath While Your Toddler Is In The Tub

Many toddlers become afraid that they will get sucked down the plughole with the water. 

I would never empty a bath with a baby or toddler still in it. This is a very common fear that is easily avoided by letting the water out once they are out of the bath. 

Tidy all bath toys away before you let the water out too, as your toddler may become anxious that their favourite bath time playmate will disappear with the bathwater too.

6. Don’t Add Water To The Bath When They Are In The Tub

Another thing to avoid is filling the bathtub while your toddler is in the bath. Some toddlers don’t like being in the bath when the tap is running and it can be dangerous if the water runs hot.

7. Give Warnings That Bath Time Is Coming Up

A lot of objections over bath time arise purely because your toddler would rather be doing other things. 

Bath time can also be a signal that bedtime is on the way and if you are having issues with settling your toddler to sleep, they may start to refuse to take a bath.

Give a warning when bath time is coming up. Don’t just sweep in and expect your toddler to stop what they are doing and come quietly to bathe. It simply won’t happen.

Toddlers need time to adjust to transitions and a lot of struggles with toddlers resisting can be avoided by navigating transitions slowly and with a bit of forward planning.

8. Encourage Your Toddler To Help

Part of the transition process could be to get your toddler engaged in getting the bath ready. 

Ask them to choose a pair of pyjamas to wear and a book that they would like to read after the bath. 

Let them pour in the bubbles and watch them grow as you fill the bath together and let them choose what they would like to play with.

9. Try Co-Bathing 

Another great way to get your toddler to have a bath is to take a bath with them. Having a bath with you is not only fun for them, but they will feel safer if they are experiencing any fears.

If you don’t want to get in the bath then encourage siblings to bath together.

10. Try A Shower

If none of the above work, you could try giving them a shower. Get your toddler to stand in the shower or bath and take the showerhead down to their level and see if they prefer being washed that way. 

Obviously, a toddler that dislikes water in their face will not want to stand under a proper shower but some will find this way of washing fun.

TOP TIP: Get creative when it’s time for a bath. Your toddler’s curiosity will often outweigh their desire NOT to have a bath!

4 Super Fun Bath Toys To Encourage Your Toddler To Take A Bath! 

Bath toys are a brilliant way to encourage and engage your toddler in bath time so here are a few of my favourites!

1. Crayola Colour Bath Drops

What is it? Fragrance-free water colouring tablets.

Why do I recommend it? Make bath time more fun by changing the colour of the bathwater. Let your toddler choose a colour and drop it in. This is a fantastic toy to get your toddler engaged with bathtime.

If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

2. Lebze Washable Jumbo Crayons

What is it? Non-toxic, vibrant and easy to wash off bath crayons.

Why do I recommend it? I love the vibrant colours of this water crayon set. These lovely crayons are bound to spark your toddler’s interest and get them eager to get in the tub.

If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

3. Washcloth Mitts

What is it? Soft, novelty washcloth mitts for toddlers.

Why do I recommend it? Having novelty washcloth mitts for your little one to wipe away any drips on their face will help with hair washing and also encourage them to wash.

If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

4. Skip Hop Stack & Fill Bath Buckets

What is it? Colourful interactive buckets designed for little hands.

Why do I recommend it? Whether your toddler is reluctant to bathe or not, these little buckets are great fun and will definitely keep your little one occupied in the bath.

If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

TOP TIP: A tub of good old fashioned bubbles that you can blow while your toddler is in the bath will always make bath time fun.

There are endless places to buy bath toys for your 3-year-old. Amazon is the first place most people think of buying things like these, however, you can pick up loads of bath toys at garage sales, charity shops, online second-hand stores too.

My Toddler Won’t Take A Bath Recap

I would treat your toddler not wanting to take a bath as a passing phase that rarely lasts. 

Out of all the things that your toddler can object to, not wanting to bathe is one that you can more easily navigate and choose to not do for a while.

As is often the case with parenting, I will always say ‘choose your battles’ and insisting on a daily bath is not one I would probably pick.

So when dealing with a toddler who won’t take a bath, keep the following in mind:

If you have any further questions about “my toddler won’t take a bath” or if you have any ideas for further blog posts, then be sure to drop me an email at [email protected]! I love to hear from you and hear your suggestions!

Also, if you’re looking for one of my recommended products, be sure to head over to the Parenting Toolbox! It is packed with loads of my hand-picked products for you and your little one.

So, until next time, with love and support, Happy Parenting!

Paula McLaren

Paul Mclaren - Norland Nurse NNEB RSH is the founder of Teething to Tantrums and has been in the child care industry as a Norland Nanny since 1982. Since then, her mission has been to help parents become the best they can possibly be. And each year, she continues to help more families understand their child's development, the trials and joys of parenting and of course, how to care for their little ones.

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