Transitioning Toddlers to the Tub

As the parent of a baby or toddler, you are continually marking important milestones. Your baby utters first words and then takes first steps, your toddler graduates from diapers to training pants and then to a potty, and your child outgrows the toddler tub and moves to the big tub. Bath time can be a splashing good time, as long as you take steps to safeguard your bathroom.

Quick Tip

Use back burners for cooking when you can and remember to turn your pot and pan handles in and away from the edge of the stove.


Change is a big deal to toddlers. Sometimes, saying goodbye to what’s familiar can be scary. Before transitioning to the big tub, head to the library and check out some kid’s books, such as “There’s an Elephant in the Bathtub” by Roger Bradfield or “Maybe I’ll Sleep in the Bathtub Tonight” by Debby Levy, to familiarize your child with what to expect. Explain to your child that switching to the big tub means they are growing up — and will have more room to play. Allowing a few new bath toys helps build anticipation and excitement around the transition.


  • Never leave a baby or toddler unattended in any tub
  • Line your tub with a rubber mat to prevent your child from slipping, and place a nonslip mat on the floor near the tub
  • Only fill the tub to your child’s waist: a move to the big tub doesn’t mean filling it up
  • Set your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or less; anything higher is too hot
  • Always test bath water temperature yourself before placing your child into the tub
  • Install plug covers on outlets and avoid using any plugs by the tub
  • Keep any electric items, such as hair dryers or razors, unplugged and safely stored away
  • Remove the small, circular screw covers located where your toilet meets the floor; curious children will inevitably pick them off and try to put them in their mouths


School-aged kids are ready for a measure of bath-time independence. Do stay within earshot and check in frequently. Make sure you’ve installed faucet guards or covers that prevent your child from turning on the water. Still keep those electrical devices safely stored away. Even though your child is older, keeping medications, nail scissors, razors and other hazards out of your child’s reach is also still a good idea.

Safeguarding the bathroom makes bath time enjoyable for your child and you. You can breathe easier knowing you’ve removed the potential hazards and feel confident that you’ve created a safe bathing environment.