Rinsing a Toddler's Hair ...Help!

Updated on April 22, 2010
A.U. asks from Allen Park, MI
19 answers

Hi moms... I'm having a VERY hard time finding a way to rinse my 17 month old daughters long hair in the bath! Giving her a bath has become a total nightmare! I use to just be able to lay her down in the bath on a sponge and get the top part of her hair then sit her up for the rest and it worked fine. However for the last few months she will not lay still and freaks out when I start trying to rinse (trying to get up, turn over, etc). She's a pretty wild one anyway, lol .. I've tried putting a wash rag on her face to shield it, I've tried every visor type thing they make for rinsing hair(including the pitcher thing), she will NOT look up for me (the stinker) I've tried telling her to look at birdies and everything...also tried laying her on the counter and doing it in the sink but she won't stop trying to get up and its to hard to manage. Even when I try those visor or pitcher things for rinsing hair she'll just throw herself backward... and I do have one of the shower heads that come off the wall, but ugh that doesn't seem to work either, its like a circus act trying to hold her and rinse, I need about 3 more arms! I never had this problem with my 6 yr old daughter. I don't like the idea of just dumping it over her head because #1 it doesn't seem safe and #2 she would freak out! Not to mention that I'm 14 weeks pregnant with our 3rd and my back is still hurting from when I had her(so its worse lately, worried about late pregnancy with this one, yikes) , so its making it really hard on me trying to hold her still while bending over the tub.
Why don't they make a toddler type bath seat that is reclined for rinsing hair!?...That is exactly what I think would work for her! She has really long thick hair, so its not a super quick thing. Help, any ideas ?

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answers from Detroit on

had the same problem. Eventually just went the dump and sooth method. It wasn't until around 2 that she'd actually look up...so yes, bath time was a little harry...but we just kept the hair washing short. Let her play after so that bath time was ended on a positive note. Good luck, it was a very draining time. :)



answers from Seattle on

My daughter was the same! We actually hung butterflies from the ceiling above the bathtub, she liked looking at them. And she likes rinsing her own hair with the boon flo spout cover, it has a special end that makes the water flow out like a waterfall.

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answers from Detroit on

There is a product from Boon called a Flo, and it goes over your bathtub faucet. Kids love it and (like you'll see in pics of the product) she may rinse her own hair. OR, get one of those "sticky" toys that you can toss at the wall and it clings for a minute, then falls. Throw it up, tell her to get ready to catch it, and while she focuses on it, rinse.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Have you tried showers with her? My daughter didn't really like bath water on her face, but she will rinse in the shower because she has "control" of what happens with the water. There is no fear of going under, or gagging on water. I bring my daughter in the shower when I am in there and we both take a shower.

I finally got her willing to lay back in the tub and "swish" her hair around by holding both her hands and letting her lay her head back. Again, with my daughter I feel like she wants control of when and how the water gets on her.

The other suggestion I have is - let her pour the water on her own head. Talk it up, get excited about it, with my son we do things like, "No way you can pour this WHOLE jug of water over your head.." "YOU DID IT!!" -- just making it into a game and getting him involved.

Good luck, I know it can be challenging.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Saginaw on

They actually make a cup thing for rinsing hair. I've seen it at Target and Toys R Us. I actually bought one before, but now I don't use it. My girls are 2 and 4 and are good about looking up while I dump water with a cup. I take my hand to block it from going down their face.




answers from Washington DC on

I have 2 girls , the 4 yr old now has long hair and we tip her head backwards and rinse it under the taps , but she is old enough to follow directions , with my youngest (22 months) we just leave her sitting in the bath and fill up a cup from the taps and tip it over her head , yes she complains a little but no as much as she does if we try to lay her back , if your quick then they don't have enough time to register what is happening and start complaining!



answers from Houston on

My daughter swears that when she puts her head DOWN instead of up, she gets less water in her face.

Also, just during your pregnancy while your back hurts, how about a hair cut for your daughter? Try it shorter and see if they can layer it or thin it out a little bit. It's temporary but may cut down the rinsing time in half.


answers from Washington DC on

1) no long hair until this phase passes (it'll grow back, no worries)
2) sprayer on a boingy arm


answers from Norfolk on

I used a plastic mug. I'd tell my son to close his eyes and dump the water over his head. He always loved baths and I had a hard time finishing up even when the water was starting to get cold. I never bent over the tub - it would have killed my back. I'd wear shorts and sat on the tub edge with my feet in the water.



answers from Benton Harbor on

hey A. :) sorry but your post made me laugh...I went through a phase like this with my son...I finally had to just stop trying to pour water over his head...I started just using a wet wash cloth to wipe the shampoo off the front and top and sides (it takes longer, but worth the non-screaming), and he would still let me pour water over the back part. Counting also helped...I would tell him (I'm going to count to 30 and then I'll be all done) and that seemed to help. Stay strong, now he tilts his head back and lets me pour the water over his head without a single tear or wince :) This too shall pass!


answers from Myrtle Beach on

I have one of the shower heads with a hose on it.... Make washing hair SO much easier (easier to clean the bathtub too!) Good Luck, and Congrats on being pregnant!!


answers from Killeen on

When mine didn't "put their head back" I warn them twice that the water is coming anyway, whether they look up or not. If they decide not to look up, well then they get a face full of water.
But like someone mention below, my son also swears that leaning forward is actually more effective for not getting the water in your face.



answers from Chicago on

first congrats on number two and second this may be unpopular but take her for a haircut it will be easier to deal with if there is less of it. I too have a wild one who refuses to bath and sometimes I had to pour water over her head while she freaks to a few seconds then we wipe off her face and then sometimes I can her to look up at the stars/clouds planes and finish rinsing off. Good Luck!
J. O



answers from Pittsburgh on

Since she lays backwards...can you get her turned around and head under the running faucet? I did that in desperation a few times.



answers from Detroit on

I have three girls, grown now. I found the only way to do it is just to do it. Mostly I would give them a washcloth to cover their eyes, tell them to shut their eyes and THEY lean forward a bit and rinse fast. The leaning forward seemed to help. I know those visor things don't work and no amount of talking works. Don't hold her...just sit her in the tub, lather up and spray her with the sprayer.FAST! It's not dangerous and if she freaks out...oh well. Be prepared to get a bit wet yourself...no worries!



answers from Lansing on

I had a similar problem. I gave my little girl (20 months now) the pitcher and asked her to pour the water on her belly. She did. Then I asked her to pour it over her head. She did. She likes doing it herself (no more freak-outs) so I have her do the rinsing and just do a final one (Okay, one big splash!). So far, it has worked out well.



answers from Boston on

My youngest is the same way. He has very thick hair and a quick rinse does not work. The only thing I can do with him is sit on the edge of the tub with my feet in the water and have him stand against me. He still cries but it is the only thing that will work. I get soaked and some water gets on the floor but it is the only thing that works for us right now.



answers from Detroit on

maybe her hair needs to be shorter to help. the only other thing have her sit on her knees and lean over holding a towel on her eyes. other than that you might just have to wash it and be done withit i can say having a detachable shower had is well worth it.

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