Toddler wants to stand in the bath... ?
September 10, 2010 1:34 PM   Subscribe

My (toddler?) 16 mo old son has developed a new habit at bath time: standing. While he has been a little hesitant to go walking solo outside the tub -- inside the tub he has suddenly become enthralled with the idea. Any suggestions on how to handle what has become a standing.. sponge bath?

If he has become afraid of the tub, he's going about it in a very covert way -- no crying, no upset, nothing but happy baby; that is, unless I try to force him to sit. He'll play with the detachable shower head, the tub nozzle, any toys that are around... as long as he can stand. Attempts to encourage him to sit, to pick him up and sit him, or communicate with him that he should sit... no. He will occasionally grow tired or bored and want to sit to play with something -- but he will soon snap out of this and want to stand again. Huh.

Short of a fear of him falling and whacking himself hard on the tub itself -- something I've placed thicker non-slip mats and my shoulder in the tub for -- should I even worry about this?
posted by cavalier to Health & Fitness (22 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Sitting in a bath always makes me feel weirdly buoyant and uncomfortable. I assume it doesn't have that effect on most people, since baths are supposed to be "relaxing"; it might be because I have some balance issues. I'm not saying your son has balance issues, I'm just saying the tub-sitting might be uncomfortable for him, for whatever reason. Try filling the tub up less (no more than about 2"), and see if that changes things. The less floaty he feels, the more comfortable he might be in the water.
posted by phunniemee at 1:40 PM on September 10, 2010

Could be he's imitating mom and dad in the shower. Or watching someone taking a shower on your TV shows. Kids pick up on everything. He's seeing people getting washed standing up. Just my opinion. Start putting money away for college, he's going in a couple weeks.
posted by JohnE at 1:44 PM on September 10, 2010 [4 favorites]

Our 22-month-old boys have always enjoyed standing up in the bath since they learned to stand. I've never thought of it as odd, but then again, they also do a good deal of sitting in the bath as well. I wouldn't worry about it too much. You say you have your shoulder in the tub -- like, you're leaning in the tub the whole time he's in there? Because you probably don't need to do that. Your boy has the reflexes to stop his own falls. Phunniemee makes an excellent point about the uncomfortable buoyant feeling people get in baths -- I get that, too, but never thought about it.
posted by puritycontrol at 1:51 PM on September 10, 2010

Sitting in the warm water might be making it harder for him to control his bladder.
posted by jamjam at 1:55 PM on September 10, 2010

I would start adding "dumping/pouring" containers to the tub, like little cups and toy buckets. Pouring water on him (below his shoulders, with his knowlege) while he's standing might be an easy way to rinse him off if he insists on standing.
posted by ShadePlant at 1:57 PM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

Cats are weird.

I mean, kids are cats.

I mean, kids are weird.

There are plenty of embarrassing pictures of me as a child that show I was apparently quite a fan of doing this as well. Apparently, according to my mom, once I could communicate, it was something like what JohnE said -- I'd somehow decided that standing in the tub (showering) is what adults did. And I always wanted to be more grown up than I was.

(Until I was about 22 and it's been the opposite ever since.)

I'm far from an expert, but I'm pretty sure as long as you've got the slippage covered, unless a kid is crying, they're usually okay.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:57 PM on September 10, 2010

Crocs or other rubbery shoes are great for insecure walkers and standers in slippery tubs and showers. Reassuring for mom and dad too. A hose sprayer also comes in handy. Other than that just go with the flow, so to speak.
posted by cocoagirl at 1:57 PM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

I think you've borrowed my toddler, who won't stand unaided outside the tub but IN the tub it's the BEST IDEA EVER.

We only give him an inch or so of water and just dump water over him as necessary. He also likes to play in the shower when we have the shower on, so that makes it a little easier to wash him, but we've been doing that with him since he was a few weeks old and had terrible stomach trouble that was soothed in the shower. I imagine it might be upsetting if he's not already shower-acclimated.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:58 PM on September 10, 2010

(Oh, and mine fell yesterday, actually ... forwards, which is the worrying direction for me ... his hands hit the wall before his chin hit anything, and he kinda slid down the wall. He wasn't bothered in the least.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:00 PM on September 10, 2010

Our 18-month-old has developed the same habit. Although I think I am going to try the Crocs idea above, my only solution so far has been to strip to my underwear and climb into the tub with him to make sure he doesn't fall over.

It's not a perfect solution, because it's very difficult to rinse shampoo out of his hair without drowning him... We do use a bucket to get him wet and to rinse him off.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:08 PM on September 10, 2010

I don't recall much that far back but I think I did this for a bit. Then stopped. Just because, no particular encouragement.

To put it another way a bathtime as a kid was playtime. As an adult it's forget about work time. I'd not expect my adult bath behaviour to match my toddler bath behaviour.

I'd not worry.
posted by edd at 2:30 PM on September 10, 2010

Consider getting something like this to cover the faucet. We got an inflatable one when my son as born.

I'd say the bath is a great place to stand, he can't get anywhere else and there arent any sharp things to fall on. We have a nonslip bathmat that he still slips on sometimes, but I blame the shame of the tub more than anything. The crocs sound like a good idea. We just sit on the toilet and watch and if we see him fall and not get up, we'd snag an arm or something.
posted by ish__ at 2:30 PM on September 10, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks ish___! We have some rubbery protector thingy on the faucet already -- I should have mentioned that -- he's tried to pull it off but it's pretty secure.

I do have a bucket-ish contraption I've been using to rinse him off. I'm a little curious how hair washing is going to go now, actually, because I used to use the bucket combined with leaning his head back to rinse his hair. This week it's been akin to water torture, at least, it seems that way to me. Douse his head, he just closes his eyes, spits, and opens up again smiling. So, no go on attempting to flood him into submission..

Everyone's comments here are very re-assuring for me -- thank you. I couldn't find much info on google, and like your normal everyday average neurotic overcompensating parent I was thining there was something I could do. I'll wait for more responses but I have a feeling this is looking like standing bath time for the time being..
posted by cavalier at 2:42 PM on September 10, 2010

Count your blessings. My parents have a picture of me as a toddler, having pooped in the tub, piling it neatly on the ledge for easy disposal later.
posted by fatbird at 3:08 PM on September 10, 2010 [3 favorites]

You might want to also look into getting a handheld shower nozzle to make rinsing easier. Plus they're great for relaxing showers for you too!
posted by platinum at 3:12 PM on September 10, 2010 [2 favorites]

Count your blessings. My parents have a picture of me as a toddler, having pooped in the tub, piling it neatly on the ledge for easy disposal later.

I was actually wondering if sitting makes him feel like he's going to poop, and thus he avoids.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 3:18 PM on September 10, 2010

Our 18 month old has also decided the only way she will tolerate being in the bath is standing up. We flip her around so she's supporting herself with her hands against the wall and dump water on her with a cup. She looks disturbingly like she's being taken down by the cops, but she never falls over and it's over quick. We have a very thick rubber mat suction cupped to the bottom of the tub for wee footy traction as well.
posted by Go Banana at 3:33 PM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

My 17-mo-old likes to stand in the bath, too. She's been walking since she was 11 months old, so she is really strong on her feet, but I don't think much of it. She did slip one day and whack her head a bit, but she was fine, and I bought a thick mat the next day.

If there is anything I have learned about kids, it's that they change ALL the time. He might get bored with it soon and stop standing.
posted by sutel at 4:12 PM on September 10, 2010

My 26-month-olds are standers in the tub. We found that certain toys encourage them to sit - they have a floating mat which has a little drum and bells on it. We also keep the water level pretty low (mainly to avoid splashing).
posted by candyland at 5:44 PM on September 10, 2010

Our 11-month old started to do the same thing one day--no more sitting in the tub, standing only. Frankly, it makes his, er, parts much much easier to clean so it's not all bad. We soap him up good, then rinse him with a bowl of water from the faucet. But I have to keep a hand on him at all times to make sure he doesn't fall--he actually did fall once, but didn't seem to mind very much.
posted by agent99 at 5:46 PM on September 10, 2010

Get some bath toys - those stacking cups or "squirters" are fun to start with.

I use a foam pad to kneel in front of the tub (or a towel) so it's easier to catch my kid if he falls. I think at that age we had an inflatable tub that we put inside the big tub - this provided some fall protection as well.

IMHO standing makes washing easier - we have a big rinse cup with a handle (purchased at Target). My kid didn't really like having water dumped on his head at first but after he figured out that he can just close his eyes it's not a big deal. You have to make these things seem fun.
posted by kenliu at 9:50 PM on September 10, 2010

Response by poster: For anybody reading this thread later (Thanks everybody! I love you! Yay!), my son gave up on the standing routine aroudn 17ish months and proceeded sitting until about 21 months. Now Mr. StandyPants is back, but only on rare occasions. There was much water torture dumping on head to rinse hair...
posted by cavalier at 12:33 PM on February 23, 2011

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