18-36 months

The bath is a relaxed and wonderful environment for most toddlers, and also a great place for play. Your toddler will have lots of fun with plastic cups, funnels, bottles and toys that float.

Bathing a toddler: basics

Now that your toddler is able to sit securely in the bath, you don’t need to keep a hand on him at all times, but bath safety is still important.

Make sure you’re within arm’s reach at all times, and never leave the bathroom. Your child could slip under the water. Drowning can happen in a matter of seconds in very little water. Or your child might turn on the hot water and burn herself.

For a bit of variety, you could let your child get in the shower with you every once in a while. The main challenge with showers – and baths for that matter – can be getting your toddler to come out!

Afraid of the bath

Some toddlers might be afraid of the bath. If this happens, take your toddler’s fears seriously, because they are very real to him.

To help your child overcome a fear of the bath, you can try:

  • taking a bath with your toddler
  • letting her sit or play in the bath without water in it
  • getting her to leave the bathroom before you take the plug out – some toddlers are afraid of getting sucked down the plug hole
  • having a shower with her
  • letting her sit in the baby bath in the big tub (if she still fits).

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Raising Children Network is supported by the Australian Government. Member organisations are the Parenting Research Centre and the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute with The Royal Children’s Hospital Centre for Community Child Health.

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