Occasional Contributor
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎01-12-2014

Irrational Fear of Baths

I have twin 2 and a half year old girls (along with a 4 year old boy) and for the last 2 years both girls have loved baths. I don't however do long drawn out playtime baths because it would take over an hour to run 3 baths like that! We go in wash and get out. But all of a sudden one of the girls screams and cries and tells me "No bath!" Every time I try to give her one..The whole time she's in there she cries. Is this normal that for no apparent reason she has an irrational fear or at least hate of the bath. I'm not sure what to do at this point; they take baths every 3rd day since it's winter and we are inside. She watches her sister with her bath and even splashes the water at her..but when it's her turn the trouble begins. I don't want her to suffer but she has to bathe...
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Regular Contributor
Posts: 245
Registered: ‎05-28-2013

Re: Irrational Fear of Baths

Poor thing. I really don't know what could be going on but I am guessing that something might have scared her at one point. Will she get in the tub with her splashing sister? Maybe thats a good way to ease her fears?


I hope things turn around for her, and you :smileyhappy:



Posts: 31
Registered: ‎08-02-2013

Re: Irrational Fear of Baths

Gently helping toddlers face what scares them is the best way to ensure that today's fears won't continue to hold them back tomorrow. Preparing the bath, having all necessary supplies and standing outside the bath area may be all that is required.

Posts: 36
Registered: ‎11-13-2013

Re: Irrational Fear of Baths

I too aggry with Tammy point of view as there might have been some incident which could have scared her from bathroom area. I would say to figure out that first. Maybe it might have something to do with that fear as we all as humans are never hydrophobic. Its pretty easy and as a mom you can do that easily.

New Member
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎02-03-2014

Re: Irrational Fear of Baths

Mine did that at about the same age after watching Little Mermaid. She was afraid she would go down the drain like the sea witch dies at the end. She happens to live Micky Mouse Clubhouse at the time so we got her a special "mousekatool" drain plug. It worked.
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New Contributor
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎10-01-2013

Re: Irrational Fear of Baths

I had the same problem with my 1 year old a few months ago. She loved baths, and then one day she hated them. She would scream the whole time and try desparately to get out. I tried giving her a bath in a different place (she was little enough to bathe in the kitchen sink) and gave her fun toys to play with. None of that worked. My only guess was that something had happened that had frightened her. Sometimes she would slip on her bottom, and even though I was always there to catch her, I think one time it just scared her too much. Anyway, I found a solution that worked very well with her. During her bath, I gave her Gerber Puffs to snack on, and the tasty treat was a perfect distraction. I also put a towel under her in the tub to keep her from slipping. After doing that a few times, she started to play during her bath again. Not long after that, I stopped the puffs during the bath all together, and we haven't had a problem since then. I did not want her to always expect a snack during bath, so I only intended for that to be temporary. Once she was able to be more steady sitting up, I stopped using the towel too. I suggest you try that with your daughters. Give them a light snack to munch on during their bath: crackers, cereal, or something they really like. Hopefully it will work for them like it worked for my daughter.

New Contributor
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎02-12-2014

Re: Irrational Fear of Baths

Since your daughter is 3, I would approach this verbally. First, realize that she might not have a "rational" reason. Three year olds rarely do. :smileyhappy: You could ask, "What can I do to help you feel more comfortable taking a bath?" It's a pretty broad question, so have some suggestions ready. If she's *terrified* of the bath -- you need to keep reassuring her, "When I am here, you are safe. I love you, and you can trust me." It's important to remember she is -- developmentally -- still learning that you are there for comfort and security. I teach parent and teacher workshops for 0-6 year olds, so I'm interested in how all of the suggestions have helped, or which you read that you won't try (and why?). Message me at!

Early Childhood Parent/Teacher Trainer
Toolbox for Teaching, Washington State

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