Our daughter is 20 months old. She recently decided she didn't want to sit down in the bath anymore. We have no idea what triggered it, and she still loves baths and gets excited by the prospect of them.

She'll happily kneel so her bum is in the water but refuses to sit. Does anyone have any ideas how to encourage sitting? We've tried a bath pillow and bath mat as a cushion. Tried making the bath a bit different using bubbles (which she was terrified of). If we try to put her into the sitting position she just screams "out, out out" and tries climbing out the bath.

She's often kneeling for so long that when she eventually stands up she bursts into tears - we assume because her knees are sore from kneeling on the hard surface / pins and needles or the like.

Any advice would be appreciated.

  • I once lived in a flat where the old bathtub had kind of a rough surface. It actually hurt to sit in the bath too long. Maybe you could see if she wants to sit on a soft rubber bathmat?
    – skymningen
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 13:44

3 Answers 3


We've been showering (rather than bathing) our daughter since she was about 24 months. If she wants to stand, let her stand, as long as you can get her properly clean.

My point is that I can't think of any particular reason to make her sit in the name of hygiene. Perhaps for safety, if she doesn't stand steadily on her own, but then I am usually holding her hand or shoulder so I can clean her properly anyway.

Also, on the off-chance that this may be some attention seeking behaviour (not necessarily the case, but not exactly unlikely), I gerneally find that ignoring it works best. This leads us to the same conclusion though, let her stand if she wants to, and use the shower head to get her nice and clean.

  • Thanks for that. We've tried the shower, but she hates it. We just use her stacking cups to throw water over her, which is more or less the same thing. We've been pretty much ignoring it for a few weeks now and I guess we'll carry on doing so. :-) Commented Mar 2, 2014 at 20:34

I have found that my 2 year old won't sit when he has gas or has recently had a diaper rash-even a mild one. He doesn't like the way the bubbles feel (in the case of gas). I think it's obvious that it hurts to sit with a diaper rash. Since he gets diaper rash pretty frequently (he has super sensitive skin) and we have a "sit or get out" rule, we have to sometimes get him to lay in the tub (with less than the usual amount of water). He won't kneel, otherwise we'd do that. My kid is already swimming, though, so I feel comfortable letting him " practice" floating on his back (a huge milestone for little swimmers, by the way). Perhaps this is not the case with your daughter, in which case this solution might not work for you.

Another thought to consider is your daughter's build. I remember when I was little being very thin, and not being comfortable sitting on my rear- anywhere. Even with a cushion. I always sat on my feet, my hands, or knelt. If this is the case with your girl, there's nothing you can do, except encourage her to change positions periodically until she learns to do it automatically on her own.


My 24 month old son won't sit in the bath anymore, he loves the water and still enjoys swimming but when I try and get him to sit in the bath he goes hysterical. It all started a few weeks ago when for the first time ever he had a poo in the bath and it seemed to really frighten him. I've started giving him showers instead but feel sad as he used to spend a good 45 mins playtime in the bath with his toys and now he's in and out. I'm hoping in time he will be ok again, and the showers are working fine. From what I've read he's not alone, anyone having issues just needs to find an alternative that suits.

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