Winning strategies for toddler bath time battles

If you suffer bath time battles at home, try these tips to get your toddler clean.


A common problem many parents face is when their toddler, who may have previously loved splashing in his bath as a baby, may refuse to be washed at all. We know how stressful this can be, so have this advice on how you can get the upper hand when it comes to those bath time battles.

Two common toddler bath time battles and how to deal with them

 “I’m not getting into the bath!”

If your toddler vanishes quick as a flash as soon as he hears the taps running, you may be able to win him over by encouraging him to help get the bath ready and praising him for it.

Fast solutions for bath time battles

  • Offer him some kitchen utensils to bring into the bath with him (a wooden spoon, funnel, plastic jug, balloon whisk). Let him choose from a selection so that he feels he’s in charge.
  • When he’s in the water, make bath time fun by playing a CD of nursery rhymes for him to sing along to.
  • Treat him to some bubble bath, which changes the colour of the water, and let him pour it into the water himself (measure it into the lid or a small cup first so that he doesn’t pour the entire bottle at once).
  • If he’s afraid of the water, run the bath to a few centimetres.
  • See if he’ll compromise by sitting in an empty bath and letting you rinse him with the hand shower.
  • If he seems afraid of the plughole, reassure him that you won’t pull it out until he’s out of the bath. Try covering it with a bath toy or face cloth to draw his attention away from it.

“Don’t touch my head with water!”

Sometime after his first birthday, your baby will probably start objecting to getting water on his face or in his eyes. This can make hair washing a real struggle.

Fast solutions for bath time battles

  • Give him a dry face cloth or sponge to hold over his face while you rinse. Or buy a shampoo shield, available from major baby outlets.
  • Let him choose his own character shampoo – he’ll need a mild shampoo that won’t sting his eyes.
  • Encourage him to lather the shampoo himself.
  • Role-play with a bath toy. Get your child to wash its hair while you get to grips with his.
  • Use a hand shower to rinse his hair.
  • Take him swimming so he gets used to the feel of water on his face, and rinse his hair in the shower afterwards.
  • Don’t overdo it. Your child’s hair usually won’t need washing more than a couple of times a week.

Make bath time more fun with our hygiene reward chart. Click here to download yours.

Toddler bath time battles reward chart

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