How Do You Give Bath to a 3 Year Old?

Updated on December 07, 2011
C.S. asks from San Diego, CA
17 answers

I currently give my 3 year old a bath in the bath tub with a bucket and cup with a handle. If I use shower, I end up getting wet which I don't like. But somehow, it has started hurting my back a lot. How do you ladies give bath to your 3 year old? I am encouraging her to do it herself, but she is not there yet.

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Phoenix on

What's the bucket for?

I just fill up the tub, let them soak and use a bunched up or folded large towel under my knees and one draped over the side of the tub to lean on.

I do recall my chest bone aching some while leaning over the side of the tub while washing and rinsing hair. But then I had my husband install a hand held shower head, so I could rinse with that so I did not have to lean over for so long


2 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

I bought one of those hand-held shower heads and it totally saved my back! It cost under $20 and keeps you from having to stoop over with the cup. You can still keep the water in the tub so its part shower, part bath. My daughter is now 5 and uses the hand-held herself both sitting up or sitting down. (Saw this idea at my sitter's house--she has 4 kids and bathes them en mass.)

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Houston on

I used a bath knee pad - soft and waterproof. I think from Babys R Us? (not sure).

I also kept a towel hanging over the edge, more on my side than the water side, so I could lean on the edge w/o it killing my back but not get wet or have my elbows slip.

Most of the time I just sat on the toilet and watched my 3 yo play by himself. I really only used the knee pad for scrubbing and rinsing, which was about a minute or two.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Bloomington on

Have you considered installing a hand-held shower sprayer??? That is a must have in our house. We put both girls in the tub, wet, wash, rinse hair with the sprayer. They stand up while we scrub them down head to toe, and then rinse with the sprayer. They play while we are working on the other kid and afterwards for good measure.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

another idea is to take her in the shower with you.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I run the water, add bubble bath, then add some toys. I let them play for a bit while I sit on the toilet and entertain myself. They need some play time with the water that does not involve me but I do not leave a child this age alone at all. After time is up I open the drain and turn on the hand held shower head. I leave it in the holder and soap them down. I rinse them off and then they step out onto the towel end on the floor and I start at the top to dry them off.
I read a book, check my email or read my friends updates on FB on my phone, I do puzzles, all kinds of things to entertain myself in the, I had to come back and clarify that comment because it made me laugh when I re-read my answer.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

We shower with the kids a lot, but this thing has made it EASY for all of them to shower alone!!!!!!

Rinse Ace 3901 My Own Shower Children's Showerhead with 3-Foot Quick-Connect/Detachable Hose and Dolphin Character

We found ours at Lowe's for $15, but it's awesome.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I simply put my three year old directly in the bath tub. I only come along to soap up the tid bits, wash and rinse hair. She is perfectly capable of being in the tub without me leaning over her and has been since she was two. I used to use shallower water and stay within earshot, but now at nearly 4, I leave her by herself in there with my assistance at soaping up. What is it you're afraid will happen? She is at the age, and well past the age, of being able to sit in a tub and play by herself without you hovering and breaking your back. Even my baby at 16 months plays in the bath without me leaning over her (though I do not leave the room) . I use a no slip matt for her and it works really great. Again I only lean over her for the soaping and rinsing. If my back is not in the mood for that, I roll up my pants and sit on the edge of the tub and put my feet in for the soap up. By age two I expect i will let her play in a shallow bath while I stay within ear shot and check in constantly. They love to play in the tub at this age. I say get rid of the bucket.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Utica on

My daughter is only 2 but once we switched from the baby tub at about 3-4 months I tried once to get her a bath out of the tub and swore never again. I was in so much pain trying to lean over the damn tub that halfway through the bath I said screw it and I stripped down and got in with her. I have been doing it this way ever since. Now that she is older though and much bigger I just get in long enough to wash her hair and soap up her body and then I take the bucket and rinse any soap off of me and jump out while she plays for a while longer. Its so so so much easier this way - IMO anyway
We actually are looking at getting her into doing showers because she has done it a few times with me in our bathroom but she needs her own tub liner so she doesnt fall and even then I would have to stay right there with her to help her wash but Ive had her in the shower without me and I thought I stayed pretty dry and that was without ever taking a hand off og her so she didnt fall
Good Luck

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I fill the tub with a bit of water and she sits and plays. DH usually sits on the (closed) toilet to talk to her and make sure she's alright as she has had small spills and gets nervous. We only lean over the tub long enough to do the final wash. It can be book reading time, or they'll play games with her rubber ducks. We both use cups to wet and rinse her hair and use a washcloth for the rest of her. Sometimes I ask her to stand up to make it easier. We kind of do the hokey pokey.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Are you sitting on a step stool. If not, you should get one that is a comfortable height. You are doing exactly what I do.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Bellingham on

my 3 year old showers. he either gets in with me, or when he's in by himself, once he's nice and wet, i ask him to step away from the stream (so I don't get soaked), then i soap him up, then he steps back into the water to rinse. he's stsrtkng to get the hang of washing himself properly now.


answers from Williamsport on

My kids (youngest are 2 and 3) just sit in the tub an play while I hang out near by. Just before they get out, I wash hair and ears etc real quick. I just kneel by the tub, not bend over.



answers from San Francisco on

My 3 year old takes regular baths. I only have to bend to soap her up and comb her hair - but that can take 30 min! I roll up my pants and put my feet in the tub so I can keep my back straight. I have to focus on my technique or else I'd be sore too.



answers from Minneapolis on

I second Jill F's suggestion of a hand-held shower sprayer. That's what I used with my kids. Most of the time I didn't fill up the tub and just used the sprayer. They were a little hesitant at first and I let them hold it. Otherwise it was a bath and a bucket to wet them. My kids are 7 & 4 and have both been taking showers since they were almost 2. When they were 3 I had them clean with a bath poof and then I would do after wards. Both of my kids now wash themselves, including hair all I need to do is turn the water on for them. My 4 year still needs help getting out and getting dried.



answers from Des Moines on

I usually just put him in the bath tub with me-- beats the heck out of wondering what he's doing while I'm in the tub. And I really love the hand held shower/sprayer!


answers from Los Angeles on

My little guy won't be 3 until April, but I sit on the edge of the tub or on a stool so i don't have to do a lot of bending over him and the tub. (I have fibromyalgia and have enough pain without adding to it ; ) My goal is to help him learn to be independent so I fill the tub with water and bubbles from his Aveeno body wash, give him a washcloth and his special soap (it's by J&J in a green mesh so he can hold on to it better and find it if he loses it) and let him play and practice washing. I encourage him to "wash your toes, wash your legs, etc..." so he's getting practice by trying to do it himself and clean in the process. When he's done I take the washcloth, put soap on it and go over him top to bottom, rinsing as I do with a large plastic cup, then finish by washing his hair, again rinsing with the cup.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions