71 answers

How to Bathe a 1 Year-old

Hi Mammas. My son just turned 13 months and he's already outgrown his infant tub. He's still too small to put into our tub to bathe so I was wondering what we could do until he's big enough for the big tub. Any ideas? I've seen those inflatable tub bumpers but that looks like a lot of work for bathtime every night. What do other moms do?

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So What Happened?™

Thank you to everyone who responded to my query. I got a TON of great advice from so many people. I appreciate the comments that fell into the "lighten up and let him get into the big boy tub" category. Maybe it's my age or just the fact that he's my only child but I know that I have a tendancy to be a little overcautious when it comes to his safety. I've talked to my husband about all the advice I got and we've decided to put him in the big tub with one or both of us there with him at all times so he can learn how to bathe like we do. I just can't believe he's growing up so quickly! Thanks again for all your help.

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It takes more time, but I have always gotten in the tub with my daughter. I tried using the little baby tub but HATED it. Now that I have two kids, I bathe the smaller one in the sink and set her in the swing while I bathe my older girl.

No bathing suit necessary... my girls use my boobies for nutrition anyway.

We had an inflatable duck bath that we got at Target. Altough at about a year, he was starting to use the big bath with a squishy nonslip mat on the bottom. If he is able to sit up alone with no chance of falling over, he is big enough for a big bath.

I bathe my 7 month old in the big tub, and have since he was about 2 months. When he was smaller and I was more worried, I would throw on a bathing suit and jump in with him.

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I got in the tub with the kids!

1 mom found this helpful

use one of those non slip rubber things on the bottom of the tub. Kids LOVE the big tub-more splashing. plus, you can get in there too. and you only need a few inches of water.

try getting him a bath chair.. i ahve one if you want it.. he just sits in it and that way you can fill up the tub and he can sit up and look around

After our daughter (now 14 months) outgrew the infant tub, I bought this great bath seat at Babies R Us made by Safety First. It attaches very securely to the side of the tub and your baby just sits in it. My daughter loved it. They recommend, however, that you stop using it once your child can stand up by himself. We kind of ignored that and used it until our daughter started wanting to climb out of it. I also felt hesitant at first about just putting her in the tub, but when we did, she loved it. The trick is to make sure you have a rubber mat in there so your son doesn't slip. And of course watch him like a hawk!

I have been putting my daughter in the big tub for months.. she is almost 10 months now. I just put a little water in the tub and she sits happily and splashes and plays with her toys while I bathe her. Sometimes she will crawl around in the water but I am always right there and its not too deep.

You could also get one of those big inflatable duck tubs that go inside the big tub. I used one for my first daughter, I just always kept it inflated and stuck it in a closet or somewhere else so I didn't have to blow it up each time.

Hi B....I'm a first time 40+ mom to a 16-month old little boy. I bought a great mini bath tub at IKEA. It has rubber on the bottom and inside so both it and the baby won't slip. I use it inside the regular tub and then store it in my baby's closet. I think it cost about $7 or $8 dollars. The first few times you need to be particularly careful as your son will still be getting used to all this extra space and freedom; so he may be a little unsteady, but they will quickly adapt and become more secure with the new tub experience. At first, I had my son sit the "short" way in the tub so he had support at his back and feet. As he became more comfortable, he shifted the "traditional" direction on his own. He LOVES this little tub (he's been using it about 4-5 months now.) I've even pulled it out during the day and let him crawl in and out of it on the soft play mat and thrown about 50 plastic balls and stuffed animals in it for a mini ball pit. Best wishes!

They have a yellow blow up ducky tub at Walmart for like $10. It fits right into a regular tub and has a drain in the bottom of it. I used it a lot with my first child but my second child I just sat in the tub and then sat on the side of the tub (with my feet in the water and my hands on him). My second child didn't tend to tip over all the time like my first. With the duck tub, I left it blown up but drained it every night and then tipped it up to dry. It worked really well. If you don't have a tub where you can leeave it, that would be a problem.


Hi B.. I would suggest one of those bath rings that they sit up in. I have used one for my daughter until recently (she is 16 months now). I think the one I used was by safety First or Baby First?? I know that there are a ton of different models out there that work the same, basically. You just put it in the big tub (there are suction "feet" on the bottom of it) and place baby in it. then shut the little gate. My daughter loved it! And when she seemed ready, I took her out of it and just put one of those non-slip bath mats in the big tub and she sits on that now. Hope that helps!! Take care and God bless-


I have a little girl the same age as ur boy. Best way is to get a bath seat that attaches to ur big tub. U can usually find them in stores like target or walmart. Wish u the best :)

The First Years makes an excellent bath seat! I paid $25 for mine. It clamps dierctly to the side of the tub for stability and it's super easy to keep clean & move out of the way for when you need to get in the shower. I found it at Babies R Us but I don't know if they still carry them. Try Amazon!

We had an inflatable duck bath that we got at Target. Altough at about a year, he was starting to use the big bath with a squishy nonslip mat on the bottom. If he is able to sit up alone with no chance of falling over, he is big enough for a big bath.

I put mine in the tub with very low water or used the kitchen sink. My kids loved both.

I used a blow up tub that fit into the regular bath tub. It was shaped like a duck (Munchink brand) and about $10 at Target. The duck quacks too - pretty cute.
Good luck!

Hi B.-

They have something called a bath ring that works great. I think I bought mine at Target or Toys R US, but they're everywhere.


Oh gosh, I wouldn't waste any money on any special tub. I have a 6, 4 and 1 year old and they all take a bath together. The baby has been sitting in there with him for months now. I would just sit him in there on his own, with you right there of course. Enjoy your little one. They all love bath time!

I have used the kitchen sink, a tub chair or just put down a wash cloth or hand towel to help avoid him slipping. I usually take mine in the shower with me.

the little round plastic ring they sit in that sticks to the bottom of the bath tub works great.

well my daughter is almost a year and I've been putting her in our big tub since she was 8 months! She does just fine, she has slipped alittle but gets right back up. Hope this helps!

You can try using a rubber mat on the bottom of your regular tub. That keeps the little one from slipping and sliding. Thats what I use for my 20 month old and I basically just sit on the edge of the tub and watch him.

Why is he too small? Just put a couple of inches of water in there and throw some toys in and splash away. He is old enough to understand the rules about no standing, jumping, etc. This is the perfect age to introduce those rules and reinforce every time. Another alternative that I did with my kids is to shower with them. He can hang out and get rained on and you can get a shower too. Have fun!

By the time my son was able to sit up confidently on his own I bathed him in the regular tub. I sit him on a wash cloth so he wouldn't slip and only fill it maybe 2 inches. We would have a little play time (because he hated baths) and then I would wash him up and get him never leaving him unattended in there. I think he was probably 8 or 9 months old when we started this. I know everyone has to do what is right for them, and their kid, and all kids are different. But I think yours is probably old enough to go in the tub. Good Luck to you! :)

Hi B., It's been a while since my 13 year old daughter was 13 months. I had a hard plastic round seat to assist in sitting up in the big bathtub. It had suction cups on the bottom and it was great. Also i had a infant shaped yellow sponge that was very helpfull too. In fact i used it later as a back support for me while i was reclining in the tub. My best friend insisted on useing the kitchen sink. Good luck. J.

My one year old has been in the 'big' tub for months now! Try it. We have had nothing but positive results. Sometimes he wants to stand, but we just reinforce to sit on your bottom.

my son has been taking a bath in the regular tub since he was a little over a year. i put a medium sized hand towel on the bottom of the tub for him to sit on. he was a little wobbly at first, but he got more steady each time. now he's starting to venture to the other side of the tub. now that he's getting more mobile i think i'll get a long bath mat to stick to the tub.

I used in inflatable tub, I just left it in the tub ready to go. I found mine online, it had a cute duck on it, purchased for about $15.

I see you've already received a ton of responses, but didn't have a chance to go through them all to see if I'm being repetive (which I normally try to do before posting). My son outgrew his plastic tub earlier than yours and we started "bathing" him in our stall-type shower around 10 months. He loved it. And I love that now - at 18 months - he thinks it's fun to have water rain down on him playing outside in the sprinkler and what-not. It's also nice to have options. If Dad is in need of a shower around my son's bathtime, he'll shower with him. Or if Mom feels like a bit of a soak, I'll bathe with him. Soon, we'll likely let him choose. Above all else, have fun!

as long as he sits up he's fine in the 'big' tub, just only put 2-3in of water in it or get a toddler tub. Most infant tubs convert to toddler too.

When my son was that young I'd use one of those baby seats that looked like a swing seat for toddlers on the playground with the with a plastic bar around the waist and in the crotch and butt crack areas. It had suction cups on the bottom of the seat. I'd fill a medium clear rubbermaid storage container half full of water and stick the seat on to the bottom. My baby was secure and my hands were free to clean him up and use some of his water toys he liked so much. Good luck.

God Bless, M.

I never used a small tub. I thought it took up too much space and made life less simple, and I didn't want him to be afraid of the tub or water. I used the sponge for the tub for the baby to lay on and then sit on, but by 13 months, my son didn't need that and used the tub fine.

We used something called a Euro-tub, much larger than the infant tub but still kid-friendly. Available at Babies 'r Us. Also, if he's comfortable, when traveling we always used a little tub seat, which worked perfectly. Have fun!

Put a towel inside your tub so he doesn't slip. Just put a little bit of water in there and stay with him the whole time.

I bought a small rubbermaid bin. We do not have a bathtub in our home and that is how I bathed them until they were about 2, then they would shower with us. My daughter with me and my son with my husband till they were old enough to shower themselves. It works and was deep enough to hold them in but you could fill it with as much or as little water as you like. It was doable!!!

I had one of those plastic bath seats that you can put your child in in the tub. But I would also just take a bath with my kids at that age. It was really relaxing and afterwards I would nurse him or her, read them a story and off too sleep.

You should be putting them in the big bath at about 7 months old. You just put a washcloth or hand towel under their butt so they don't slip around. Put about 5 inches of water. Bath time is a valuable time for learning play.

I used a bathtub ring seat. It's a seat with suction cups on the bottom to prevent it from moving in the tub. The baby sits inside it while taking a bath. It's great. They get to play in the tub but their confined in the seat. Just don't leave them alone while they're bathing. Got one at "Right Start" down at the District in Irvine.

Hi B.,
When my son was that age I had found a duck at Target or Babies R Us that you can put your child in to bathe. You can put it in your bath tub and fill the duck up with water. You blow it up and the best part is that it lets you know if the water is too hot.
Hope this is helpful,

If you are too nervous to put him in the regular tub just go in and shower with him.. I did that with both my sons.. now ages 3 and 1.5yrs old. Does not pose a problem unless they start getting embarrassed or laughing. Good luck with whatever way you choose.

When my daughter was that age, I used to bathe her in the kitchen sink. I know that sounds unconventional but it was the perfect size! She loved the sprayer and I loved the fact that I wasn't bent over all the time, thus saving my back. Another choice in bathing was that I actually went in the tub with her! She loved this! Just make sure your someone else is home so that you
can hand your baby to that person as you do not want to hold a baby as you get out as you may both risk falling.


I received a blow up duck bathtub for my shower. We would rinse it out and didn't unblow it every night. My son LOVED it. I think I've seen them at target.

Try a bath ring. It is a seat that has suction cups to attach it to the bottom of the tub. My son is 20 months and still uses it! He learned very quickly to turn to the side so that I could wash his bottom. They often have them at Once n Again - on santa monica blvd in SM. Or you can get them at most baby stores - right start and babies r us.

good luck!

I put my kids in the laundry sink.
Good luck

I bought a Munckin blow-up bath duck from Target (in the baby bath section). My daughter is 16 months and she's been in the duck for about 5 months now. She's still too small for the whole tub but the duck in great because it saves the water of filling the whole tub. Easy to fill/dump each time.

Hi B.,
Babies R Us sell this plastic ring shape with 3 legs. The legs have sution caps so that they can attach securely to the bottom of the big bath tub. The baby is placed inside and is contained by the ring. He can sit and play and have his hands move freely. You need to be close by at all times since he can also easily get himself out of the ring.
My children are now older but when my son whas about 1 I found this simple ring very helpful.
Let me know if this helps.

My son is 16 months old and still uses his blow up duck tub. I got it from target for only $10.00. You only blow it up once and you can either hang it on the shower wall (includes suction cup) or just leave it out of the shower until you are finished. My son loves it and won't take a bath with out it. The beak even quacks!!! It also has a temperature sensor on the bottom. It's cheap and works great!!

Hi B., I used a bath towel in the tub to keep my kids from slipping and provide some comfort. Each night hang over the shower nozzle and twist out as much water as possiable then lay out or hang to dry for the next night. The second best way is to bathe or shower with him, easier too if Dad is available when it's time to get out...

We used a baby bath seat that had suction-cups to hold it in place. When he was small enough, it was in the kitchen sink.
Here's a picture:

When he got bigger, we still put him in it but in the bath tub.

Please remember that these are not safe enough for you to leave him there unsupervised (but you knew that :).

I haven't ordered from this website, but this is what the chair looks like: http://www.babyant.com/bh012043.html

Good luck.

By 1 both of my kids were in the big tub - just don't fill it all the way.

I also have a 13 month old and for a while now, she's been in the big tub. I got her a non-slip mat (Elmo's on it) from Babies R Us & she does great. A non-slip mat is WAY easier to put down and remove than one of those inflatable bumpers. Good luck and have fun! Bath time is fun time!

Hi B.,
I had a friend hand me down a non-slip chair to put in the tub. It holds the baby from all sides. I've seen them in Baby's R Us, Wal-Mart, Target. It worked out great for my daughter, but of course still supervised. I even handed it down to my nephew, and my sister-in-law loves it.

Use a bath chair. You can buy them at WalMart for 15-20 dollars.

It takes more time, but I have always gotten in the tub with my daughter. I tried using the little baby tub but HATED it. Now that I have two kids, I bathe the smaller one in the sink and set her in the swing while I bathe my older girl.

No bathing suit necessary... my girls use my boobies for nutrition anyway.

Hi B.:
At 13 months,your boy should be able to sit up on his own.You can place a non slip mat on the bottom of the tub,and use your hand as a brace,so he doesn't fall backward.I took a bath with my baby the first few times, until he felt confident sitting by himself.I wish you and your darlin son the best. J. M

I bought a bath tub chair that suctions to the bottom of the tub. From the time they could sit up in it, I put them in and let them shower everytime I showered. It was great fun!

My daughter's 10 months old; she outgrew the baby bath months ago so as soon as she could hold herself up very well we started putting her in our bath with supervision.

Our daughter is 16 months. Until recently, we just bathed her in the kitchen sink. Just enough space to play, and not enough for her to fall over! (that also forced me to keep the dishes done!) We considered one of those bath seats, but just never bothered. Now she is in the big tub, and seems to enjoy the space. I agree, the bumpers seemed a bit cumbersome.
Good luck.

Hi B.,
I use an inflatable tub for my 20 lb. baby who does not sit up alone. I leave it inflated all the time, and store it in the bathtub when not in use. It dries out between baths. I bathe her in that inside the big tub, so it is easy to dump out and fill. It's great because she can lean back on the soft edges while I turn to get a towel or grab the shampoo. When I use the tub myself, I just stand it up inside the bathroom door. Or if there is no one to watch her, I put her in it with some toys. It is a comfortable place to sit, and she can't really get out of it (not quickly anyway.) It is not tub bumpers, it is an oval shaped tub. I have seen one shaped like a duckie, too. B.

Yes your child is old enough to use the big tub but to be safe get a duck tub. Someone had said don't go spending money but it is only $10 at Target. The duck tub that a handful of others have talked about is the way to go. It is for age 6-18 months and is fun too! :-)

Dear B.,
When our daughter outgrew her infant tub, but was too small for the big tub, I bought her a bath seat at Babies R Us. It worked great. She could sit up and play with her toys, without the fear of tipping over. I think our seat was made by the Safety 1st company. It cost around $20-$25. Hope this helps! ~ T.

Hi B.,
You've gotten a lot of suggestions for a bath chair, which works great. I thought I'd also let you know about my experience with using an inflatable tub, which I loved. If you have the space to keep the inflated tub between baths, then it's a great option. I liked it because it was like sitting in a real tub, but it had nice cushy sides, plus, it took far less water to fill than using the whole bath tub. When you're done with the bath, you just tip it over to dump the water out. We loved it, but we also had a very large bathroom with plenty of room for storing it.

If he fits into the kitchen sink, I would use that. It works for him and easier for you... You don't have to bend to hold on to him. Uses less water as well.

When my son was that age, we used an inflatable tub and put that in the big tub. He loved it. Plus, when we traveled, we packed it up and were able to use it in the hotel bathtub, making it much easier and safer to bathe him.

Hi B.,

I have a 10 1/2 month old boy and went through EXACTLY the same concern as you as recent as 10 weeks ago. My son is very squirmy and curious in the tub and his little newborn tub was too small but I was worried I couldnt safely bathe him in a full size tub, even with the baby inflatable surrounding version. I am SO HAPPY I BOUGHT THIS INSTEAD:

It is a larger version of an infant tub, for up to 24 month olds, available at BabiesRUs for only $22 and out of 314 people who rated it, it got FIVE STARS. My son sits very comfortably and it is very roomy. It has supports in the bottom for baby to sit up without leaning too far forward and getting a face underwater, yet it is deep enough for a toddler. I still sit him on this and it's amazing. I am so glad I bought it.

I bought my son a seat that attaches to the side of the tub. It's great! I know lots of parents who just get into the tub with their kids, too. There are also covers for the spouts so you don't have to worry so much about them hitting their heads.

my daughter has been using a full sized tub since about 6 months. i just and stil use about 2-3 inches of water. my daughter is 2 and loves splashing in the bath every morning. if your seriously worried about bathing him in the big tub then by a bath seat (i ordered one of walmart.com for like 15 bucks). heres a bath seat its not the one i have (mine is foldable)
heres the bath ring i had for my daughter (i typed infant bath seat nto google and found it on ebay-

I actually had a Eurotub. Bought at BabiesRUs. I would run and get that. This is a great tub that your child can use pretty much until 2 or 2.5. It has the lay down area for infants, but the other side has a little triangle part where you place the child and that goes between their legs. It isn't a "safety" thing, but because it is there it stablizes the child a bit. Also, it has nice sides that the baby can hang on to or lean back against. It's pretty cool. Both my girls felt safe and comfortable in it. I also didn't have to use as much water inside it as a bathtub. Plus there is room for toys!

I bathe my 7 month old in the big tub, and have since he was about 2 months. When he was smaller and I was more worried, I would throw on a bathing suit and jump in with him.

bath him in the sink. thats what i did with my son now 3years old, then when he was to big i got a him a bath seat loved it too!!!
hope this helps

Hi B. the tub bumpwer that i used with mjy daycare tots, was not inflatable it was a round padded ring with I think 3 suction cups, it worked like a charm, but also I used the tub with my kds when the were bigger, I think i even used the kitchen sick a couple times, but because you are right there the whole time it's fine. J. L.

I know someone who uses a plastic laundry basket. She puts a little water in the big tub, then puts the basket in and then the kiddos (10 month old twins)! Seems to work great for her.

I purchased an inflatable bathtub which I would place inside the actual bathtub. It doesn't need to be inflated everyday, because it has suction cups on the bottom which I would adhere to the inside of the bathtub. I believe these can be purchased through infant catalogs, ie One Step Ahead, or perhaps Babies R Us. My son is 7 now so I may not actually remember where I purchased it but it was definitely worth the money. Good luck.

When my kids were little there were much simpler bath seats than "bumpers". Go on line and Google "infant bath seats" and see what you get. You just plop the little one in and wash away!

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