Friday, May 31, 2013

Talk to Me – Crying At Bath Time

So over the past week Henry has developed a fear of baths.  It is to the point where last night just saying “do you want to take a bath” brought on tons of tears.  And I had to actually get in the tub with him while he was crying almost uncontrollably while he squeezed me so tightly, just to rinse him off as he hadn't had a bath in over a week. 

This was Henry about 5 minutes after his bath yesterday….still crying :(

Later with his wild hair, that I am sure still had soap in it...
just wanting to lock arms with me and cuddle but acting like nothing had happened.

As you may have seen in a previous post, Henry is going through a little phase. (That seems to have gotten a little better in the last week.)  But I think this is unrelated to that.

Now we have never given him a bath every day as he has sensitive skin and we just never felt he needed it.  But now that he is outside more and going to school one day a week, we have upped baths to a few times a week.  A couple weeks ago he was fine.  He LOVED bath time.  He loved splashing and getting me all wet.  He loved his toys.  And some days I would drain all the water and he would still be sitting in there.  And while he has always HATED getting water poured on his head, we try to avoid that and just use a wash cloth to rinse his hair; it has never been a reason for him not to want a bath.  Also, nothing has happened to him in the bath where he fell under water or anything like that to spur this fear.

Then a week ago he stood up in the bath and pointed down to himself and squeaked.  Before I could realize what he wanted he was peeing in the tub.  He then got, what I assume was embarrassed, and started whining because he peed in the tub.  Of course I sat him on the potty and nothing and he went back in.

Then a couple days later Terry gave him a bath and he did the same thing except this time he got a little more upset about peeing in the tub and kept wanting to sit on the toilet but was getting upset on the toilet.

Then for the past three days we have tried to give him a bath.  First I tried and he was all excited for bath.  We put his toys in, got undressed, and I put him in the tub.  And as soon as he was in the tub standing he started pointing to his himself like he had to pee.  So I put him on the toilet, but nothing.  So I put him back in the tub and tears….lots of tears.  I tried for a few minutes to get him to relax and nothing, he just wanted OUT.  So then the next day Terry tried, thinking maybe it was me or it was a new day and he would be fine.  Same thing.  He pointed at himself and cried.

So that brings us to last night.

Now, we thought for a second, perhaps it hurt when he pees….but he is fine ANY OTHER time he pees so we don’t think it is that.  We are wondering if he is becoming more aware of peeing and he feels like he needs too when he is in the bath but because he isn’t potty trained he doesn’t quite get it and that is why he is rattled, slightly scared when he does pee in the tub.  If he is around the house with no diaper he hates if he accidentally pees on the carpet.  You can tell he is trying to control it, but can’t just yet.

Or perhaps he is just a toddler and he has this fear for whatever reason and as quickly as it came on it will go away. 

We did buy soap crayons and tried those yesterday and they didn’t work.  He just grasped to them while crying.  We have thought about trying to bathe him in a swimsuit or swim diaper to see if that helps.  And perhaps just an inch or two of water.  However, we will most likely not try for a few days as we do not want to perpetuate this fear anymore by forcing him to get in the tub when he is noticeably upset.  We will most likely just give him a sponge bath for the next week or so and slowly try again later.  I also haven’t tried the swimming pool yet this summer so I am not sure if he has a fear of all water or just the tub.  I might try this weekend to get insight to that.

However, I must ask….have you ever had a child who was scared of getting a bath, especially when they were OK with it before?!?!


  1. Hmmmmmm .... Maybe it is related to peeing. Hmmmm ... Could you try some new toys? Like fun cool bath-only toys? He may want to take a bath if he can play with those new toys. I am interested to see how he does in a pool!

    1. Thanks!

      Yeah, I am not sure either. It is just so weird. I have heard others say that toddlers can just develop fears like this and then as quickly as they came on they are gone! They are just sooooo dramatic! :-)

      We got him some new toys and bath crayons and while Terry and I rather enjoyed drawing (slightly inappropriate) pictures on the tub, Henry was just too scared to play with the toys or the crayons :( I think I will try the pool next and see how that goes!! I will let you know :)