Help me keep my kids clean without a bathtub.
May 29, 2015 3:43 PM   Subscribe

We are in the middle of buying a house that has no bathtub - just a shower. I have two smallish children. Give me some bathing solutions, please!

I am not a bath person and neither is my husband. Showers are great! The house we are in the process of buying only has a shower and that's fine with us, except... I will need to clean my children occasionally and they are accustomed to baths. The kids are five and one.

The five year old can probably get used to taking a shower - I'm not super concerned about him - but how can I get the one year old clean? I do still have our infant tub (that ubiquitous Fisher Price whale) and it might fit in the shower enclosure. Is that an actual solution until she is of a showerable age? How have other people dealt with this problem?

Please help me come up with a plan. (It's okay to warn me that I am I going to regret this decision forever [or at least until we are able to renovate and add a tub] if you think I will.)
posted by meggan to Home & Garden (24 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I remember being washed in the kitchen sink when I was very small.
posted by aniola at 3:47 PM on May 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

We found that a Rubbermaid 20 gallon storage bin that we already had made a good toddler bathtub.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 3:48 PM on May 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

Best answer: First, get a detachable shower head. One of the big problems with being a little person in the shower is that the water comes straight-down over your head. You can probably also get a second mount for the shower head that is a better height for the five year old. For the little one, if the infant tub doesn't work, I would get a little plastic seat (so she can sit down while you do her feet etc.) and bucket that you can fill with warm water. Get her wet with the head-held shower head, wash using the soap and the warm water in the bucket and then rinse with the shower head. Have her sit down, tip her head back and cover her eyes with a wash cloth while you do her hair. You will probably need to be prepared to get much wetter in this process than you would with a tub but I think it would work.
posted by metahawk at 3:52 PM on May 29, 2015 [8 favorites]

Best answer: I had that situation for about a year and change in an apartment I lived in. Two toddlers, 1.5 and 2.5 We just sat them down in the shower and, well, showered them. It may have been odd at first, but, like with all things, you get used to it.
posted by jpe at 3:54 PM on May 29, 2015

You want a plastic wash basin (or suchlike container) and a water scoop (or a big plastic cup): Fill basin with warm water. Use scoop to wet the child. Soap the child. Use the scoop to rinse. Let the child play in the remaining water a bit if that's a thing.
posted by zennie at 4:03 PM on May 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

My grandmother used to bathe us in some sort of antique tin bathtub, filled by hose from the sink. I think she considered it a family ritual, for kids to be bathed in that tub.
posted by u2604ab at 4:27 PM on May 29, 2015

I shower my two year old. It helps that we have a detachable spray head, and we supplement with a cup.
posted by Night_owl at 4:41 PM on May 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

A friend's child took baths on the floor of the shower. They used one of those flat rubber stoppers over the drain. The shower stall had a fairly high lip or whatever it's called that keeps the water from going on the floor. It also had sliding doors rather than a shower curtain. I met her when she was 4 and she would sit in her three inches of water quite happily.
posted by mareli at 4:42 PM on May 29, 2015

Galvanized wash tub. The global solution.
posted by HuronBob at 4:47 PM on May 29, 2015

Best answer: There are children's shower heads that attach to the main shower head. Probably more helpful for the 5 year old than the 1 year old.
posted by cessair at 5:29 PM on May 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

We have this suction showerhead holder because we are tall people and our shower is at about 5 feet, but all the comments are from parents who love it for kids.
posted by Lyn Never at 5:33 PM on May 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

We've always just done showers for our sprogling, ever since he could more or less stand on his own. When he was very small, I'd pick him up to scrub and rinse, but these days I just soap him down and he can spin and rinse off himself. He wanders around a little bit, and he seems to mostly prefer showering at this point. At least for cleaning purposes; baths are for splashing and playing.
posted by Scattercat at 5:46 PM on May 29, 2015

When I was really little, I took baths in a metal washtub on the kitchen floor. For hair washing, I would lie down on the kitchen counter with my head leaning into the sink, and Mum would wash my hair for me, like in a salon.

(Incidentally, when your kids learn that the ears are connected to the brain, make sure they know it's not a hollow tube like the connections between the ears, nose and mouth. I hated getting my hair washed because I was afraid the water that went in my ears would get into my brain and harm me somehow. But it never occurred to me to mention it!)
posted by fullerenedream at 6:02 PM on May 29, 2015

It's pretty trashy, but I recently saw a (bathing-suited) toddler being hose bathed in a beer cooler on a front lawn.
posted by Scram at 6:11 PM on May 29, 2015

you just replace the showerhead with a detachable shower head. Your little one stands in the shower while you kneel outside it with the door open. You wash her up, holding the showerhead in one hand and a washcloth in the other. For washing feet, I agree it would be nice to have a little stool for her to sit on if the shower floor is dirty. If you clean it regularly it's fine to sit for a moment.

This is how I did my toddler bathing though we had a bathtub, as my girls both had conditions that made sitting in soapy bathwater verboten. It isn't as fun for them as a bath with toys etc, but it is much more efficient for both time and water.
posted by fingersandtoes at 6:21 PM on May 29, 2015

My niece showered with her mother or father pretty much from the time she was old enough to sit up, mostly because they were very busy & it was a lot faster. They used a hand held shower head with the adjustable height thingy. She got used to it pretty quickly.
posted by wwax at 6:32 PM on May 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

We put a plastic utility sink in the shower and used a handheld shower head. We also removed the flow restrictor on the shower head so it would fill faster (on the third floor).
posted by Huffy Puffy at 7:01 PM on May 29, 2015

We often just took the kidling into the shower with us, holding him in our arms, and used one hand to soap and rinse him. Then we would hand off the kid to the other parent waiting outside the shower with a dry towel and the showering parent could continue with their own shower. (I've also bathed my dog this way.)
posted by SweetTeaAndABiscuit at 7:41 PM on May 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

Nthing the detachable showerhead.

And I would suggest a plastic one instead of metal, as it is less likely to hurt if it slips and falls on someones toe.

You can have a small pail of soapy water to lather them up with, then rinse them off afterward.

If you can hang a small item up higher for them to look at when you rinse their hair off, that helps.

Also set aside some time in there to play too, lets them enjoy the wet and get more comfortable
posted by nickggully at 8:00 PM on May 29, 2015

When we visit relatives who don't have a bath, we take a small inflatable paddling pool with us and use that. It works fine, although we don't put much water in. Filling it from the shower and emptying it afterwards are not always straightforward, however, so I'd recommend getting the children used to having showers if at all possible.
posted by gnimmel at 8:12 AM on May 30, 2015

In addition to the suggestions above, I will add that you can do sponge baths. I had to wash one toddler down with a wash cloth for several weeks when he was in a cast and could not get it wet.
posted by Michele in California at 10:08 AM on May 30, 2015

Response by poster: I marked a few best answers based on what we are most likely to try if we end up getting the house. We do have a detachable showerhead already but I didn't realize they had kid-sized ones, and I will shamefully admit that it didn't really occur to me that I could just... sit the baby down in the shower. Ha! The kid-friendly showerhead would help with that too, I think.

I just knew MetaFilter would come through for me! Thanks everybody. This makes me a lot more optimistic about potentially owning a bath-less house.
posted by meggan at 3:23 PM on May 30, 2015

My 14 month old loves showers. We were bathing her until a couple of weeks ago and it was a nightmare: screaming and trying to crawl up the sides, you'd have thought we were torturing the girl.

Now I let her stand or sit as she wishes and hose her down with the hand shower. It's a little wetter for me, but not dramatically so given how much angry splashing she was doing before.

A++ would recommend again.
posted by lydhre at 6:24 PM on May 30, 2015

When my cousins and I were at grandma's house, she'd bathe 3 of us in this kind of tub! (there are pictures of course).
posted by peep at 10:38 AM on June 1, 2015

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