Help! My toddler suddenly hates the bath!

Up until about a month ago Toby was loving the bath. He would happily sit there playing with his toys and we’d have the bubble machine going…in fact the only drama we had was getting him out again!

bath fun
Then one day he suddenly decided he hated the bath. He was screaming and shouting, he refused to sit down and was trying to climb out. We tried tempting him with toys and bubbles and all the things he had previously loved but nothing worked. In the end we just had to do a quick hair wash with him stood there screaming and then get him out.

We thought maybe it was a one off. Toby only usually has a bath twice a week – any more and his skin starts to dry out. So next time he was due a bath we tried again. Same thing. He seemed genuinely upset. It wasn’t just a tantrum but almost as if he was scared of something.

Since then we’ve tried various things; I’ve tried getting in the bath with him, trying to take him in the shower, only putting a little bit of water in the bath, trying in the morning instead of before bed when he’s tired… but nothing is working so far. And so for now we are just giving him a flannel wash most of the time and then once a week standing him in the bath and using the shower to do his hair as quickly as possible and get him out again while he screams the whole time. It’s not ideal but we can’t just not wash him!

The only thing I can think of that might possibly have triggered this is that the last happy bath we had, not long after he got in, Toby started saying ‘a poo, a poo’. He hadn’t done a poo, and he seemed to forget about it and carry on playing happily for the rest of that bath – the problems only came next bath time. I wonder whether he needed a poo, and is now scared of doing one in the bath?

He still loves playing with water (as evidenced by him going through three sets of clothes at nursery quite regularly), it just seems to be the bath that is the problem.

We’ll keep persevering and hope that like most things this is just a phase but if anyone has been through this with their little one and has any ideas we haven’t tried yet then I would love to hear them!

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