Bath Anxiety — The Bump
Pre-School

Bath Anxiety

I hope you guys can give me some info and tips to help my 3 year old.


He is absolutely terrified to have a bath. He screams and cries to the point he cannot stop and is short of breath or vomits.

It started with crying when water got in his eyes when we were washing his hair. Next it was that he cried when we were washing his hair.... then... he cried when we talked about washing his hair when he was playing in the bath... and now... it starts when we tell him he has to have a bath or talk about him having a bath!

 Anyone else have this?

He has never had an accident in the bath or with water and I never leave the tub side when he is bathing so im not sure what has caused this.

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Re: Bath Anxiety

  • No advice, but we are dealing with the exact same thing with my 4 year old. Would love to hear what people say!
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  • We had similiar issues with DD1, but she was maybe 1.  The thing that helped was she took a bath with her cousin who she idolizes.  that made her realize how much fun it was and how there's nothing to be afraid of.

    Can you try going in with him, or maybe even switching to a shower?  What about buying a special bath toy that he's super excited to play with?

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  • Will he take a shower? A few months ago DD2 decided she didn't like baths. I think she's afraid that she'll go down the drain... For some reason she's okay with showers, so we've been doing those ever since.
    Annalise Marie 05.29.06
    Charlotte Ella 07.16.10
    Emmeline Grace 03.27.13
  • thanks for all the advice! I will let you all know if anything works!
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  • Sounds like it started with hair washing. Henry was having huge hair wAshing issues- he hated rinsing. I tried everything  to calm him down but no luck. We went a few baths with just playing and fun and then a bath where I told him I was going to wash his a hair a different way. I put a little shampoo on a wet washcloth and scrub his hair, then give him a dry cloth to hold over his face while I "rinse" with a wet but not soaking washcloth. Kid loves bath time now and there is.never a fight to wash his hair any more.
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  • Just to update everyone. Bath time has been going a little better ever since DS shouted out while I was washing his hair "only a little water". I had been rinsing his hair using a cup because he doesn't like the shower head and I guess the reason is because there is too much water going on his head at once. So... now I am using the cup and only filling it half full with water before I dump it on his hair to rinse. Bath time isn't as much of a nightmare now .... keeping my fingers crossed that it keeps getting better! Thank you for all your advice!!!!!
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  • cpmichcpmich member
    We used to have this issue...

    hot wheels makes a ramp that suction cups to the tub wall. It comes with a car for under 15. I let my son take a couple cars into the bath with him and some nights have a heck of a time getting him out.
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