12 answers

2 Year Old Won't Take Bath Says She Has to Potty All the Time

My 2 year old (26 months old) daughter has been hating bath time for almost 2 months now. We have been working on potty training, but at her pace, and I backed off for a while, just not asking her as often and put her back into diapers. But, she's shown more of an interest again over the past few weeks on wanting to wear underwear and use the potty now. When it's bath time, she constantly cries and says she needs out to potty. I understand that the water makes her have that sensation (since she's more aware of it now because of the potty training), we have tried what feels like everything. I know it's the feeling of the water that makes her feel like she has to potty, because she's fine playing in the bath without any water, so it's not the bath itself. Plus, she's saying "Out" "Potty" non-stop, while she's crying in the tub. We have taken her out, to let her sit on the potty, sometimes she pees, most the time she doesn't. We have tried distracting her with bath toys, bath crayons, bath paint, etc to no avail. We have tried the shower and she wants out to sit on the potty. We have even gotten in the bathtub with her and tried to make it a swim time - her Daddy in his swimsuit and she's in her swimsuit, nothing has worked so far. She use to love her bath time. Some nights she cries so hard, I just don't know what to do, she has to get clean (even if it's just every other night), yet I don't want to ignore her potty requests. And she's immediately fine once out of the water. Since this has started, we wash her off quickly, it's just not pleasant for any of us. Any other suggestions would be appreciated. Has anyone else experienced this bath issue around potty training time? What did you do that helped your child through it?

More Info: She cries intensely just standing up in the bath tub with water around her feet, she won't sit down, so we mainly use a little water can to wash her and she has been tested for a UTI a few weeks ago and it was negative.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks for all the responses. I knew it was finding the right "art of distraction" and Heather suggested the sucker idea. I'm not big on candy rewards, but since my daughter was so upset just standing in the bath (and her UTI had been negative weeks prior to my request), anything was worth a try and it worked, wonderfully. She sits on the potty prior to bath (which we had been doing), and when she actually gets in her bath, she gets a dum-dum sucker. It has distracted her so much, she plays and sits down in the water and is able to get clean now, while actually having some fun. She is enjoying bath time again; she even sits the sucker down often, so she's not even eating half a tiny sucker, which I'm okay with, because we brush her teeth after bath anyway. The sucker trick is just while she's mastering the potty, but we'll get there.

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I have 3 children and with my youngest one, we had to use the "dum-dum" suckers. When she went potty before the bath tub, we gave her a sucker and then she was allowed to get in the bath with her sucker, by the time her sucker was done; she was clean and it helped us soooo much. :) I took a vase and had it on the back of the toliet filled with them, and she knew that it was potty then bath. Yeah suckers!!

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I have 3 children and with my youngest one, we had to use the "dum-dum" suckers. When she went potty before the bath tub, we gave her a sucker and then she was allowed to get in the bath with her sucker, by the time her sucker was done; she was clean and it helped us soooo much. :) I took a vase and had it on the back of the toliet filled with them, and she knew that it was potty then bath. Yeah suckers!!

The soap you are using might give her a tingly sensation doen there, which makes her feel like pottying. Even if it only happened a few times, she may now reference the bath with that tingly sensation. Maybe let her pick out a new soap and some new toys to make her feel more grown up. There may be a reason that she feels like using the potty when she is sitting in water.She may be referencing the potty with everything in the bathroom,maybe she feels like everytime she is in the bathroom with her pants off, she should potty. Kids are funny that way. My third child (28 months old) always wants to use the potty in the bath tub, I think the warm water relaxes them and makes them want to release, and when they are potty training they want to make you happy and do it in the right place.

Is the water too cold or too hot for her? My son freaked at our friends house one time..I thought it was because the dad was giving the boys a bath since he is only used to me giving him a bath, but when I put my hand into the water it was soo cold! No wonder their kid stays up till 10 pm! That cold water wakes him up!

One thing you might try is a shower bath . . . get one of those hose nozzles so she can play with it and while she plays let it fill up the tub (NOT filled prior to getting in) . . . also is it possible that she might have a minor UTI, when in the bath with a UTI it really enhances the irritation and NEED to pee. Plus all the bubble bath, bath crayons, paints, ect can exacerbate a little irritation in that area . . . with little girls all that stuff just really isn't a good idea at first. On the potty training front my second little girl always needs to go potty at some point while bathing, sometimes it is just a tinkle sometimes it was a BM . . . and if ignored a BM in bathtub, YUCK!! She liked the hose nozzle to her it reminded her of a sprinkler, sometimes she still needs to go but at least she tells me (feel lucky on that) . . . just try the hose thing if you haven't already or straight showers . . . and check out the possibilities of UTI's (if she is having them regularly you may have to have a VCUG to check for Urinary/Kidney reflux). Good luck and just know that it is fairly normal for little girls who are learning their bodies, soon she probably will decide she is a mermaid or fish and won't get out :)

Well I have had a similar experiance and we handled it in a little unorthidox way . First I told our daughter that she could wear big girl panties when she went for a week in the day with out accident and thats all we worked on. at bath time I told her it was ok to pee in the tub (just stand and wash and rinse after if this happend) at the end also she didn't complain as much with cooler water . Once we crossed this mile stone we worked on the night time with the same method . I also had to set an alarm clock at this point to get up every 2 hrs to take her to the rest room because if she had an accident she would wake up screaming as if someone was beating her. and it took forever to calm her backdown to sleep so I found it easier with the alarm . well Hope this is of some help ps also It may be a good Idea to have the doctor check her out , Uti 's and other complications may contribute to this problem. NOT saying that this is the problem but our daugter was diagnosed with a Wilm's tumor when she was 21/2 and once it was removed she was much faster in progressing with the potty training but the said that her case was probably the only case that that area would see in 20 years just saying you never know so it doesn't hurt to get it checked out . They found her's with an ultrasound.

Hi J.,

have you tried bathing her in the sink in the kitchen or maybe getting a child her age to come over and they could play in the tub... i have four daughters (god has a sense of humor) they all went thru some wacky stages it will pass!!!!

Do you put bubble bath in the water? Most bubble bath soap causes irritation. I used the baby soap for bubbles with my daughter instead. S.

Have you tried sitting her on the potty while you are running the water for the bath? Always makes me want to go potty even if I dont need to. I know this sound gross but what if she just went pee pee in the tub water? Its such a tiny amount of urine and with antibacterial soaps there really isnt any harm. Does she have a baby doll to take a bath with her? Will she stand in the tub while you wash her down instead of sit? If she is a tiny girl like mine are you might try putting her in the kitchen sink and giving her play dishes to wash. It always amazes me the fears that children can conjure up in thier minds. Just when I think Iv seen and heard everything my three little girls come up with something that throws me for a loop.
Good luck to you

My granddaughter (2 yrs. old) just recently went thru this. It was really hard on her parent to see her so upset at what used to be a really pleasant time for her. It lasted about 2-2-1/2 months. The swim thing gradually did it for her. How about letting her give a doll a bath or there is a small elmo that has simulated dirt on him and when it gets wet, the "dirt" comes off. Also, if possible, you might try another bathtub and some new bath toys and a book about bathtime (just prior to bath time). There is an elmo singalong at Babies R Us (I think it is #2. It has Elmo in the bathtub, singing about how much he loves baths. Sounds like she is really ready for potty training. A long time ago, I used a book called Potty Training in less than a day, (or maybe less than 3 days). It had some really great ideas. You may find it at the library or on Amazon.com. It made it really fun for her and really pretty easy. I wish you well; trauma during bath time is no fun. Possibly, if you can get her potty trained, the bath issue will resolve. 2 yr. olds are a quirky bunch, but such darlings!

As soon as I started potty training my two children (daughter is 4 & son is 27 months)I would take their clothes & diaper off & put them on the potty while the water was running. Usually the sound of the water made them go, so it was never an issue once in the tub. She may be just seeing if she can get her way which as you know kids do once they can. I would follow the same routine every single time: take off clothes & diaper, start running water, put her on potty & say Yea! if she goes, then bath. She may protest, but if you are consistent, eventually she will learn the routine. I've also had to make going to the potty before bedtime a regular thing for my 4 year old since the few times she said she doesn't have to go she has wet her bed.

PS. I had to throw away all our bath crayons, cute fun soaps & bubbles b/c it seemed like they were always irritating my daughter, not to the point of a UTI though. So I would recommend going back to a baby wash since they are more gentle than those fun kids soaps, etc.

Hope this helps a little.

Before putting her in the tub, tell her it's time to use the potty and have her do that first. Then tell her now it's bath time. If she needs out again, don't make a big deal of it, let her out, but make sure she goes back in. You might also check to make sure the water is a comfortable temperature for her. She'll adapt, it just takes time and patience on your part. Good luck!

No i havent' experienced that, but have you thought that maybe something about is scaring her now like aq nightmare or something that she may have had in the past that scatred her so bad about water or bath time that she doesn't want it anymore, and she knows that potty time will get her out of the water asap so she uses that as an excuse to get out of the water. I surely hope not, but that could be the case.

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