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How Often Should You Bathe a Toddler?

How often children are supposed to take a bath is usually a controversial topic among moms. Most implement a nighttime bath as a part of their little ones’ bedtime routine.

Others swear that a bath once a week is just fine. So, which one is it? For most toddlers, a bath 2-3 times a week with extra baths if they are dirty is just fine. 

Toddlers Have Sensitive Skin

Most toddlers still have sensitive skin, just like infants. This means that they are more susceptible to having problems from germs and bacteria than older children with more developed immune systems.

Because of this, you’re supposed to limit baths to 2-3 times a week. More bathing or excessive scrubbing can make them more likely to develop skin problems. 

There Are Exceptions That Call For More Or Fewer Baths

While 2-3 baths per week is a general rule of thumb, there are always exceptions to this. Some dermatologists might recommend that your little one take fewer baths.

Some might encourage more baths. Keep these things in mind when deciding how often to give your toddler a bath. 

Give An Extra Bath If They’re Dirty

If your little one has dirt caked under their nails and has been playing in the mud all day, don’t let them be dirty. Instead, break the rule and give them a bath.

There are always going to be weeks when this rule gets broken, and that’s okay. It won’t hurt your toddler to give them an extra bath here and there. 

Young cute boy and his little baby sister playing in the water i

Swimming In A Pond, Lake, River, Etc. Calls For Another Bath

Swimming in a body of water can result in the body being covered in bacteria. Young girls can get a yeast infection from this if they don’t take a bath or shower afterward.

Some bodies of water can make you smell. If your little one went swimming today, go ahead and give them a bath. 

Dry Skin Might Mean Fewer Baths

If your little one has dry skin, they might not need to take as many baths. Baths, especially if your little one prefers hot water, can dry out the skin.

This can make existing conditions, like eczema, even worse. Speak with your pediatrician or dermatologist about cutting back on baths.

For example, my little one gets dry skin really bad during winter. We skip every-night bath during the colder months.

Then, we give them a bath three times a week, with extra baths if she gets dirty. It helps her dry skin, and she can still enjoy playing in the bathtub. It’s a win-win situation. 

Bath Tips To Keep In Mind

Even if you’re sticking to the rules and only giving your little one 2-3 baths a week, there a still a few things to keep in mind. Remembering these tips will help your little one have healthy, non-irritated skin. 

Don’t Over-scrub

Over scrubbing can irritate the skin, especially if you have to start giving more baths. Instead of a loofa, which also exfoliates the skin, opt for the gentle use of a soft washcloth.

Then, only scrub as much as you need to. This will eliminate the dirt and grime without your little one having irritated skin.

It’s important not to over scrub while bathing your little one, but pay special attention to this if you’re giving a bath more than 2-3 times per week. 

Stick With Lukewarm Water

Some babies might like a little bit hotter water as they get older. If your little one likes to play, it can be tempting to give in because it’ll take longer for the water to get colder.

However, hot water will dry out your little one’s skin quicker than lukewarm water will. It’s also easier to accidentally burn your baby by making it too hot. To be on the safe side, stick with lukewarm water. 

Use Gentle Soap

For all of my children, I stuck with baby soap until they were almost school age. Baby shampoo and body wash are gentler than other body washes, so you don’t have to worry about them irritating the skin.

If you’re not a fan of this idea, make sure to read the label before buying a product. Products that do not contain alcohol and other known skin irritants, such as essential oils, are a great idea for toddlers. 

Hair Does Not Need To Be Washed Every Day

Just like toddlers do not need a bath every day, they do not need their hair washed every day. Washing your hair daily can strip the hair of natural oils that it needs to be healthy. This same thing happens to toddlers.

In fact, it can dry their hair out, making it break easier. Instead, opt for washing your toddler’s hair once or twice a week unless they have naturally oily hair.

(Most people don’t develop oily hair until they hit puberty, but there are always exceptions.)

There’s Also Nothing Wrong With A Daily Bath

Some parents are going to read this article and instantly shake their heads. That’s okay! We all have different opinions. Where some parents will stick with 2-3 baths per week, others will insist that babies and toddlers should take a bath every night.

This is why it’s often incorporated into a bedtime routine. If your child doesn’t have any adverse reactions to taking a bath every night, there’s nothing wrong with doing that.

Just because it’s been deemed unnecessary by medical professionals doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with a daily bath. 

In Conclusion

It is recommended that toddlers have a bath just a few times a week. If your little one gets exceptionally dirty, you can give them an extra bath.

Parents whose toddlers have a skin condition should follow the recommendation of their pediatrician or dermatologist.

However, if your little one enjoys a bath and daily baths don’t hurt them, there’s nothing wrong with getting them used to daily baths now.