How Do You Bathe Your Toddler (19 Month)?

Updated on August 27, 2016
M.T. asks from Saint Paul, MN
34 answers

Hi, we've been bathing our son in an infant bath tub all along - it's a kind that the baby can sit either more reclined or straight up (has two back rests) - it originally had a net to lay small infant on, but we took that out pretty much right away, since our son seemed cold not being in warm water.

Anyways, we were using it on the kitchen counter by the sink, but after he became mobile (and wanted to touch every single thing on kitchen counter), we moved the tub to our real bathtub. Whoever is bathing him kneels by the tub (with pillow under our knees) and washes him. Although he still fits in the tub pretty well, it's an uncomfortable position for us.

So the question is - how do you bathe your young toddler? And when do you/did you start just showering your toddler using regular shower instead of using baby tub -- basically standing him up or sitting him directly in the tub, using a handheld shower would be the way we would do it if we eliminate baby tub? We don't have any other kids even close to our son’s age around us and we are realizing in many areas, that we've just been continuing to do things the way we've always done (baby way), without transitioning to more "big boy" ways. Maybe we should have switched to a "big boy" bathing method a long time ago.

Please let me know how you bathe your toddler and if you're doing it a "big boy" way, when you switched. Thank you!

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answers from Provo on

Once my son could sit up on his own we started just using the big tub. Pretty much any of the way's you suggested will be awkward for one or both of you. I have found that my son (18 months) is terrified of the shower head. So that isn't an option. So I fill the tub up with maybe two inches of water. I grab my ipod touch and send emails while he plays and i'm right next to him. Then just before I take him out, I lather him up and then use a giant mug of water and rinse him off. Easy peasy. I'm not in the uncomfortable position for long and my son has fun playing in the water.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Since about 11 months, a rubber bathmat in the "big tub". She gets up and stands, etc, I just remind her to "sit on her bum"! She loves the bath!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

When my daughter was holding herself up I used the big bathtub. I put the gripper on the tub floor and washed it once a week (or else it gets so slippery) and sat on the toilet and played with her bath toys with her. I think everyone I know does that.

I know her little tub that had the net and all that would've been way too small when she reached 6 months. She didn't really care that we switched, I don't think I even made a big deal except said tonight you get to start using the big bath like mommy yay, and clapped my hands. I believe I did bubbles too but she was 6 months so she only cared that she got bubbles lol.

My daughter was terrified of the shower head too, up until she was 2. I think most young kids are unless you raise them with the shower.

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answers from Kansas City on

I wash our 16 mo old in the tub with his older brother. When he was little I just put his baby tub in the big tub. As soon as he was able to sit up (5 or 6 months), I put his baby tub away. I have to say I don't pamper my knees with a pillow, I just lean over and wash the boys and let them splash for a while and then get them out.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Spokane on

Around 10-12 months is when we moved our older girls into the bathtub without any kind of seat or support. They played and splashed and just LOVED it - we'd only put about 4 inches of water in there and NEVER left their sides; standing in the tub was also not allowed.

My older two are now 4.5 and 3 and still love having baths. We've got a 2-person tub so there's plenty of room for them both still. If we're in a hurry, we'll just hose 'em down with the handheld :o)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I had a baby tub similiar to what you're describing. I hated it. So I didn't use it for too long.
When she could sit up I just held her steady and washed her in the normal tub.
When she was mobile and walking steadily (12 months) I just sat next to the tub and washed her and let her play. I would say from about 12 months - 18 months we went through the "no no, sit down" phase and the "no no, don't play with the knobs" phase, and stuff like that. Now at two, she plays in the tub while and watches me put my makeup on, then I wash her, and she's out.
We do occasional showers. I used to do them a lot when she was an infant, but I figured as a toddler it gives me enough time to put on my makeup and still watch she loves the tub.
I don't use a hand held shower wand, I just have a flexi cup and use that to get the shampoo and soap off of her.
Hope this helps...Good Luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

bathe with your kid...

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Duluth on

When my daughter was a little little baby (first two months, maybe?) we hopped into the tub with her--or rather, pulled her into the tub with me. At about 2 months, I started putting her in our tub on her back. She loves it. Obviously, there's about an inch of water in the tub, and she just kicks and splashes. We obviously don't leave her alone, and she just shimmies up and down the tub. When it's time to wash her, we do, but we can just leave her in there while we take care of dressing our older boys or do something else that is close. My sister bathes her twins who are 9 months old in their bathtub together. If you're paying attention, you should be able to bathe your baby sitting in the tub, alone, just fine.


When my daughter was a little little baby (first two months, maybe?) we hopped into the tub with her--or rather, pulled her into the tub with me. At about 2 months, I started putting her in our tub on her back. She loves it. Obviously, there's about an inch of water in the tub, and she just kicks and splashes. We obviously don't leave her alone, and she just shimmies up and down the tub. When it's time to wash her, we do, but we can just leave her in there while we take care of dressing our older boys or do something else that is close. My sister bathes her twins who are 9 months old in their bathtub together. If you're paying attention, you should be able to bathe your baby sitting in the tub, alone, just fine.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sheboygan on

I transitioned my kids to a regular bathtub as soon as they could sit up. I think your son may be missing out on all the fun that comes with taking a bath in a regular tub...get him a couple bath toys, cups, etc. and he will love it! Just make sure someone stays with him to prevent drowning.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

We've been showering with our kids forever. When they grew out of the newborn stage my husband would simply take them into the shower with him, wash the baby, and hand them out to me to dry etc. Once they could stand up, they stood up in the shower with me or my husband. Now I get it all done at once with three boys in the shower all at once (no more room for adults anymore!). Babies are pretty good with showers - it never bothered any of them.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

As soon as mine could sit up I transitioned to the regular tub. I squat or kneel and bathe them and let them play a bit in the water. You can get padded kneeling benches and cushions at baby stores or gardening stores and sections of places like Target.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Stationed Overseas on

From the day my son came home he went right into the tub no baby tub. But as an infant either myself or my husband sat in the tub with him of course. Since my son learned to sit up on his own he's in the bath with out us in the tub with him but we still stand beside the tub to wash him and watch as he plays in the water. My son is a year and a month old now. he started bathing like this at around 9-10 months old. Just sit your son in water in the bath tub don't fill it to high maybe put some baby bubble bath in it and let him have fun. Just make sure you stay in the bathroom with him at all times because sometimes the tub can get slippery.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

We switched to the big tub at maybe 18 months. My kid walked at 8 months so she's been able to be upright for a while. Our routine is pretty simple - lots of toys and she gets the first 20 minutes to play. Then we have her stand up and we scrub her down and rinse her off with a water jug. It was a painless transition.



answers from Boston on

At that age I just put my son in the shower with me but your son should be able to sit in the regular tub while you stand by and watch him.


answers from Bloomington on

We used a blow up tub that fits in the regular tub after my son could sit up. Now at 15 months he is in the regular tub. I just sit on my older son's stool next to the tub instead of kneeling. My older son (almost 4) occasionally asks for a shower so we let the baby try it, but he doesn't like it yet. I think my oldest started to like the shower around 2 1/2.


answers from Los Angeles on

The first and most vital rule is this: Never, ever leave your toddler unsupervised, even for a minute. Bathtubs are incredibly slippery, so outfit yours with a rubber bath mat for more secure seating. A cushioned spout cover can protect your toddler's head from painful bumps. Also, be sure that any sliding glass shower doors are made from safety glass. Make the bath water comfortably warm (90 to 100 degrees F). Babies and toddlers generally prefer a much cooler tub than you probably do.



answers from Des Moines on

we switched as soon as our kids could sit up on their own. I hate the baby tub in the big tub - so uncomfortable for parents. Just make sure you have a non-slip mat in the bottom of your tub and fill the tub up to about belly button level. Also remind your child to ALWAYS remain seated. Mine crawl around a bit but are never allowed to stand up or walk.



answers from Rapid City on

My kids were bathed in the kitchen sink until they outgrew that at a few months old, then in the regular tub on a little backrest thing. They didn't start showering until they were 5 or 6 or older.



answers from Utica on

My DD is very tall/long for her age so we had to move her out of the baby bath very early on (5-6 months) and we tried to use the net ONCE in the big tub with us leaning over the side to bathe her and I nearly broke my back. So from that day on I just got into the tub with her everytime we gave her a bath. I will do the in tub thing and then my husband will come and scoop her up and finish up with the diaper and pyjamas. She is 17 months and we still do it this way.
Good Luck



answers from New York on

My mother bought a bath tub from Babeez world when my kid completed 40 days..
I started at 10 months, right after my daughter learnt how to splash with both her arms and her legs at the same time. At first she’d try to stand, but I’d keep putting her back down so she learnt very quickly that standing wasn’t allowed in the bath tub.


answers from Minneapolis on

We fill the tub with warm soapy water & plop in a square laundry tub! At only 19 months - they still get squiggly & slippery & will reach for items that float away and risk of injury/drowning. The laundry basket trick keeps our kid upright & toys within reach :)


answers from Austin on

We just had her sit in the tub. Our neighbors daughter always tried to climb out so she purchased a tub seat with the suction cups. It worked great..



answers from Davenport on

We switched them about the age they could sit up/balance really well on their own, to the tub or shower, with no baby tub involved, I would say about 8 months. With my first baby, we only had a shower, no real tub, and we would just sit her in the bottom of the shower with me, and I would shower and then soap her up and rinse her off. It was easy!

Then when we had my son, we had a real tub installed, and about 7 months, we would put them both in together, and like you said, kneel on a towel outside the tub and wash them, and then rinse them with the handheld shower sprayer. That is what we still do. They are 2 and 4.




answers from Redding on

Both of my kids were too squirmy for the baby tubs. I either put them in the tub or shower with me from the time they were brand new and by 19 months, my kids were shower champs. I put a big towel down on the bottom of the shower so there was no chance of slipping and if I wasn't in with them, I just reached in and soaped and rinsed them off.
I had a jacuzzi tub in my bedroom and a hot tub outside so my kids were very used to water. They were both little fish. Still are to this day.
They make little things to help kids sit up in the big bathtub.
He's big enough to stand in the shower with you and get washed. He might really like it.
Give it a whirl!



answers from Columbus on

We have a spa bath and I get in with my 2.5 year old.

The nights that he has a bath just to play and relax, I sit in the bathroom and watch him. But to actually wash his body and hair it's so much easier on my back to just get in.

We also do showers together. Both are fun. He plays with bath balls and cups and kitchen utensils (ladels, spoons, funnels) in the tub and plastic cars and cups in the shower. Our shower has a detatchable shower head so I can still wash his hair and body easily.

We've been doing the bath that way since he was a baby and started the showers around 14 months. I definitely think you can try the big bath!



answers from Washington DC on

At some point my DD started picking the big tub and we stopped using the other tub. She was getting too big for it but she preferred it. It was sometime around 2, actually, but she's a peanut. We still don't shower much. She prefers to spray the water elsewhere, so I just let her splash in the big tub without it. My husband uses a garden kneeling mat but I just sit next to the tub.



answers from Miami on

I actually asked this question a few months back when my little girl was also still using her infant tub inside the big bath tub. (she's almost 16 months now) After the answers i got, i just tried using the big bath tub only, which she absolutely loves. It gives her space to move around, kick, and splash and have more toys in there with her. Just make sure u get a skid-proof bath mat and something to cover the faucet if he moves around a lot, but i just never let her stand up in the tub. I've also given her a few showers with the shower head that pulls down and she loves that too. But it's kind of hard cuz she has to sit down cuz she makes me too nervous standing up and walking around the tub, and when i wash her i have to put the shower-head down. And she doesnt like the water going over her face. But just try the big bath tub, and if it doesn't feel safe enough then go ahead and get one of the blow-up ones.



answers from Iowa City on

I too have a 19 month old and he hates having water poured on him, so showering is not an option. I really think tub baths with a nonslip mat on the bottom of the tub is the way to go until they are like 6. It's fun for them to just play around for awhile and then you can quickly wash them and out they go. Bath time is such a fun time and good bonding experience to watch them play. Its also a good time to learn body parts since they are naked.



answers from Youngstown on

I never used a baby bath tub with my 13month old, My 2 older I did because I had it but when they could sit up I put it was always in the way and we have a small bathroom. So when I had my baby I no longer had the baby tub so I just bought a sling for like 5 buck and put it in the big tub. It's not a big deal to fill up the big tub a little bit. My son loves playing aroun in the bathtub. Also my older boys didn't like a shower until they were like 2.5. It terrifired them eventhough they got in with their dad.



answers from Rochester on

Our son is 20 months. We got rid of the baby tub a long time ago. I can't even remember when. It was mostly because often only one of us is home at bathtime and we needed to bathe two kids at the time. We have a nonslip bathmat (from Babies r Us) that we put inthe bottom of the tub. Then we fill tub about waist deep when he is sitting. We still have to kneel to wash him, but then I usually sit on a stool next to the tub while he plays for a little bit. He loves to pour water from one cup into another.



answers from Iowa City on

I switched my daughter to the big tub at 5 months with the big spongy maT under her as she is not able to sit up that long yet. She was just making a huge splashy mess and wanted to play so big tub!



answers from Detroit on

When DD was a baby I actually would get in the big tub with her and bathe her in there, starting when she was around 3 months. I would just hold her and balance her on my legs or in my lap and once she was able to sit up unassisted she just sat in the tub with me. I want to say when she was around 13 or 14 months I stopped getting in the tub with her because it wasn't enough room for the both of us and she needed more room to play with her toys. I would then just sit next to the tub and watch her while she played - for the 1 minute it took me to actually soap her and rinse her off, it wasn't that hard on my knees. She is now 3.5 and big enough that I don't need to be on my knees to help her get clean - I'm just able to sit comfortably and she can do most of the cleaning herself. She's never liked the shower so it's not something she's willing to try yet!



answers from San Antonio on

We never used the baby bath. We have always just used the regular tub. :)
Our daughter is 18 months, son is 3. They bathe together, practice washing their hair, etc, and we do the real washing. Then we let them splash around a bit while we monitor.



answers from Chattanooga on

I took my DD out of the baby tub when she was about 7 months old. She loved being able go 'swim' around in the bathtub. :) She's 12 months now, and still loves it.

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