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How To Bathe a Toddler Without a Bathtub (5 Ways)


Toddlers are busy little bees, constantly finding new and creative ways to make messes. A perpetually messy kiddo means lots of baths, but what do you do if you do not have a bathtub?

Here are 5 ways to bathe a toddler without a bathtub:

  1. Use the kitchen sink.
  2. Share the shower.
  3. Use a kiddie pool or sprinkler.
  4. Buy a portable toddler tub.
  5. Try a storage bin or hamper. 

Believe it or not, you really don’t need a bathtub to bathe your toddler. Plenty of alternative methods will have your baby fresh and clean in no time! Read on for our best tips for bathing your toddler without a bathtub.

A sink is still a bathing solution for some toddlers.
Sink baths were a regular routine in our home!

1. Use the Kitchen Sink

No bathtub in your bathroom? No problem! The kitchen sink can work just as well as any tub to clean a toddler. A large farmhouse sink works best, but you can make do with pretty much any size, depending on the size of your toddler.

Plug the sink with a drain plug and fill it with mildly warm water and toddler-friendly soap. You can line the bottom with a bath towel or a non-slip mat like these Kitchen Sink Mats (link to Amazon). These mats are great because if your toddler tries to stand or move around in the sink, they can help prevent slippery falls.

Using the sink as a bathing method actually works very well because, unlike a traditional bathtub, the sink is level with your torso. This allows you to be hands-on without straining your back by leaning over the tub. 

The most important thing to remember when using a sink to bathe a toddler is never to leave your child unattended. Toddlers are adventurous, and falling out of the slippery sink can be dangerous, especially at such a height. Be sure to stand directly in front of the sink for the duration of the bath, keeping one hand on your kiddo at all times. 

2. Share the Shower

You can skip the bath altogether and bring your toddler into the shower. Bring a few small toys into the shower and sit your baby near the stream of water so they can get used to it without getting any in their eyes. Let your toddler play safely while you shower off; then it’s their turn to get clean!

If you choose to shower with your toddler, you must be hyper-aware of how slippery a soapy baby can be. Consider picking up a toddler shower chair like this ieBaby Toddler Bathtub Seat (link to Amazon). This chair is a helpful shower tool because it supports children up to 18 months and helps prevent slipping and sliding by providing a stable seat.

Another way to keep your toddler stable in the shower is to sit on the shower floor, lay a towel on your lap, and let your toddler sit on the towel. The towel’s texture is much less slippery than the shower floor or your skin and can be a safe and easy place to wash up. 

Showering together is a great way to go because you can use that time to bond and teach your baby proper showering skills. Sometimes transitioning from bathing to showering can be difficult for children unfamiliar with it. Starting them in the shower as a toddler will help your child transition to independent showering much more easily as they grow.

During summer you can make good use of water playtime by giving your toddler a wash-down with baby shampoo outside.
My son playing in the water while getting the dirt off.

3. Use a Kiddie Pool or Sprinkler

During warm weather months, outdoor playtime can be an excellent opportunity for a quick scrub! While your toddler is playing in the kiddie pool or sprinkler, take a moment to apply some tear-free baby soap to their hair and give their body a quick wash. 

The toddler can rinse themselves off as they play in the water; keep a small cup nearby so you can help rinse any areas that don’t naturally get washed off. 

For some added fun, put a few drops of bubble bath into the kiddie pool while it’s filling up. Your toddler will love to play in the bubbles, and they’ll get a nice, clean rinse at the same time! 

4. Buy a Portable Toddler Tub

A portable toddler tub can be an easy fix for a bathtub-free home. Most portable tubs will fit in the base of your shower, or they can be set up on the floor in a larger area. You could even set them up on the patio or in the backyard on warmer days.

You can purchase portable baby baths or inflatable toddler tubs like this Intime Portable Infant Toddler Bathing Tub (link to Amazon). These tubs provide a simple option when you do not have a bathtub in your home. Portable toddler tubs are also way smaller than a typical bath, so bathing little ones becomes much more manageable.

5. Try a Storage Bin or Hamper

Any large bin can be used as a makeshift bathtub for your toddler. You can set up the bin in the shower, on the floor, or outside (depending on the weather). A large storage bin or hamper works great. Just fill it with warm, soapy water, and you have an easy bath ready to go.

Honestly, a portable baby bath is not much different from a laundry hamper, a storage bin, or even a large bucket, so you can decide which option works best for your home.

Key Takeaways

Bathing your toddler doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated. Occasionally, or if in a pinch, you can just go for the old sponge bath method and wipe them down with a warm, wet cloth. Keep it simple and do what works best for you and your toddler. 

No matter which method you choose, be sure to supervise your toddler at all times. Keep bathtime safe and fun by staying close by and keeping your eyes on your child. Use bathtime to bond by singing songs, practicing letters and numbers, or just being silly and splashing around together! 

Author Notes:
Teresa is a Registered Nurse in the State of Texas and the mother of two. Opinions and insights on childcare are based on professional knowledge, academic research, and personal experience.

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