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I Need a Shower!: Will My Toddler Be Okay for Ten Minutes?

I Need a Shower!: Will My Toddler Be Okay for Ten Minutes?

When do you shower? And at what age can a toddler be left semi-supervised or even unsupervised long enough for you to get clean?

Circle of Moms member Lexi C.'s son is 21 months old and has stopped taking naps, leaving her in the lurch. She says, “Our house is safe and child proofed. Is it okay to let him watch TV while I shower with the door open just across the room? 

Like many moms, she’s resorted to taking her tyke into the shower with her. But this too has its limits. “It’d be nice to shower alone occasionally," Lexi laments.


Wow, what a good mom! When my son was a wee little guy, still unaware of gender, I too took him into the shower with me. But this only lasted so long. Just ask Amy J.:

I stopped showering with my son at 17 months because he was looking and point(ing) places, so I was like, ok, enough of this,” she shares. (See Showering With Your Child: When Should You Stop?).

Does the end of naps and co-showering mean that your only choice is to leave your child unsupervised for the duration, as Lexi fears?

It depends on your kiddo.

“I don't watch my two-year-old year old while I shower. I leave the bathroom door open and she comes and goes. I think as long as the door is open so you can hear him (or her) calling, then it should be ok for 10-15 minutes,” is Theresa J.’s advice.

Other moms keep their kids in the bathroom with them, just not in the shower itself.

“Try bringing some toys/books into the bathroom and let him play in there while you shower,” advises Gena P.

The toy ploy also works for Jennifer W. Before she gets in the shower, she makes sure that her child’s favorite toys are readily available and that child-engaging music is playing. “I would say it's time to have a little faith and trust in your child. Keep the bathroom door open and lock the front door,” she says.

But what if your child's not yet capable of entertaining herself for a short periods of time, like Stephanie C.'s daughter? As she shares, leaving her little one alone is a recipe for disaster: “I don't even close the door to pee because I never know what she's going to get into. She always manages to find stuff that I didn't know existed even though I clean everyday and sweep twice a day. One evening I took my eyes off her for ten minutes and in that time she had managed to find a permanent marker and make a huge mess on our wood floor and her face. So, no thanks. I just take my showers after she goes to bed.”

And Hayley B. can tell you it isn’t just toddlers who make messes while mom is in the shower. Her response to the question about when it's okay to turn your back is a flat "never."

“I've had my kitchen flooded, my toilet destroyed as he misses constantly, dirty hand prints all over my white walls were he leans on them, my kitchen worktops have been ruined where he hasn't learned to use a chopping board yet. Can't turn my back for a second! I even caught him yesterday stabbing at a trapped piece of toast in the toaster with a fork.”

Turns out she's actually referring to her 30-year-old partner. But her point is well taken, and begs another question: When can mom ever really take a shower and not expect to return to some sort of mess?

Answer: When she’s june-cleavered the entire house and no one else is coming home for at least an hour. Otherwise, forget it.

Family messes -- and messy moms -- are just part of the process. This too shall pass.

Eventually we all have to let go. Our children do have to be semi unsupervised at times. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have a system to keep tabs on them when we check out to take care of our own personal needs.

I for one like Becky L.’s very practical suggestion:

“Put a baby monitor in the living room with the receiver in the bathroom with you so you can hear him (or her),” she advises.  “If your house is child proof(ed) you should be fine.”

Image Source: EvilErin via Flickr/Creative Commons

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

Join The Conversation
Jennifer-SaranowSchultz1388785098 Jennifer-SaranowSchultz1388785098 3 years

Like Gena P., I encourage my daughter to play with toys in the bathroom while I'm taking a shower. In fact, I turn my "getting ready" in the AM into a toddler-friendly activity that allows me to spend some extra time with my tot while also getting to work on time. More on that, and a link to this great post, here:

MichelleBusch43496 MichelleBusch43496 5 years
My 3 year old's room is child proofed and I put up a child gate across the door and put my 20 month old in his crib and shower with the door open. I try and do this as soon as they wake up so they are still a little groggy and not bored yet. Yet still it seems I'm running out of the shower because my 3 year old holds her pee until I get the shampoo into my You can never win.
Janna10549 Janna10549 5 years
NicholaHanke NicholaHanke 5 years
I am a single mother of a 3 year old and since I work 3rd shift, I use her nap time to sleep, so I have to shower while she is awake. All the bedrooms and the bathroom are upstairs, so I just make sure all the outside doors are locked then I put a baby gate up in the hallway so she can't get downstairs. I keep all the doors open upstairs that way she can go into her room and play or come visit me while I am showering. I usually can get a good 30 minutes that way. She never makes messes or anything while I am in there and she doesn't have access to anything that could potentially hurt her (The only thing she can get into in my room is my dresser with clothes and my bed, and the empty dresser in the spare room and a bed) She is pretty content in her room with her toys. Give her some crayons and a coloring book and she is in one place for about an hour, sometimes more! =]
JulieSullivan3861 JulieSullivan3861 6 years
I either brought my child in the bathroom with me or put them in their crib and put a movie on or did it while they slept. I never showered with them unattended until they were at least 3. Then again some of my kids were older because they were more mischievous. It depends on the child.
FayJones66798 FayJones66798 6 years
i find it easier to shower of an evening when my sons are in bed and it counts towards my me time:)
JenniferCatrina JenniferCatrina 6 years
Wow really?? First of all my 7 month old either lays on my bed, the floor or hes in his jumper while I'm in the shower (we sleep together he doesn't have a crib). Second, why is gender such an issue? Kids are curious, they are going to ask about boobs, and boys will wonder why mommy doesn't have something hanging like them. Nudity has always been "comfortable" in my house. The bathroom door is always left open, regardless of who's showering or going potty. Teach your kids to be comfortable with themselves people. You also shouldn't always have to entertain your kid either, that would be teaching them to be dependent if you do.
RobynMorgan RobynMorgan 6 years
My little boy's room has a safety gate on it rather than a door, so I can hear what's going on in there, and he will play in there on his own quite happily, he's 19 mo atm and I've put him in there when I've needed him out of the way for a few minutes from about 10 mo, he's always played happily in there, including when he wakes up in the morning and after his nap :)
KatyLopez KatyLopez 6 years
ive had one successful shower with my 12.5mo old, the other attempts failed because she was over being in the shower before i was [wanted me to pick her up and when i couldnt, she had a meltdown] but norm if its absolutely ness that i cant wait til they go to bed i put her in her jumperoo in the bathroom doorway while im in the shower. shes been walking since she was 8mos, and shes a climber and i also have a 4yr old daughter who helps her get into things, so i cant leave them alone for long enough to use the bathroom most times ! lol.
AnastasiaTratsiakovaLuzhina AnastasiaTratsiakovaLuzhina 6 years
I take a shower in the morning when my son,21 months, wakes up ( we have camera next to his crib, so I can see and hear him while I shower), and in the evenings my husband is with him. But sometimes I need to take shower in-between,so he is just waiting for me in the bathroom, so I can see him through the glass-door and talk to him :)
murielledumschat murielledumschat 6 years
my 16 month old daughter usually stands next to the shower and watches every move I make. In the past she tried to climb in but usually she just watches or runs away with my towels and thinks this is very funny. I do leave her alone for the odd minutes when I bring the rubbish out otherwise but usually, she just wants to be where I am.
katiestanton katiestanton 6 years
I think it depends on the kid. I could leave my 2 year old with the tv on and he wouldnt move an inch
ShannonSchirtzinger ShannonSchirtzinger 6 years
I still shower with my 22 month old. Call me crazy but even in their rooms there are plenty that they could get hurt on. I completely understand the need for a peaceful, just mommy shower. In that case I try to get up before her, but a playpen just outside the door works well, and I have also learned that you can shave with a little one in the shower if you lather up with Johnson and Johnson. I also care for my little granddaughter during the day and last week....Right before my eyes, she took of running, playing with my little one and shifted her eyes for just a second to see if she was being chased....She slammed the wall and caught the window sill as she came down and this resulted in stitches. I can't imagine what could happen unsupervised!!!
HeatherB17385 HeatherB17385 6 years
great question b/c i've wondered it myself. i used to shower during my daughter's morning nap, however once she went to one nap it got tricky. we set up the pack and play in our room, so i turn on her music together cd, put her in it (which has toys and books) and hop into the shower. the bathroom doesn't have a door so i'm very close. we've never really had a problem. i guess the ideal would be to wake up before she does and shower!!
VickiKerin VickiKerin 6 years
Straight after his breakfast my 18 month old is usually happy having play time for at least half and hour so I jump in then...I close the door so he doen't join me but we talk through the door if there is a problem or he notices. If hubby is home he watches him and on work days I get up and shower before he wakes...he is happy with all and we haven't had any problems.
CarrieThorstenson CarrieThorstenson 6 years
I just keep the door open and shower. You have to go by your child my little boy is so good he plays so nice so it is never a problem. I just make sure he is feed and happy before i take the shower.
LisaTrommeshauser LisaTrommeshauser 6 years
My oldest daughter(2.5 yrs) has stopped taking naps so I when my youngest(1yr) goes for a nap I take my oldest to my room and she lays on my bed and "relaxs" well I take a shower or on days where they are both in good moods and playing well together I will put on their favorite movie and my oldest (2.5) will watch my youngest well I run into the shower. I have made sure that my house is safe enough to leave them unattended for 5 minutes with the lite super vision of being within ear shot. Independance and trust are key.
ChrissyWhittick ChrissyWhittick 6 years
Have none of you ever heard of a playpen? I put a few of my sons favourite toys in, flip on a kids movie and take a shower. He's 22mths old. We own and live above our own business so I get very little time to myself even after he is asleep. Not to meention I am six months pregnant. He likes the playpen, I like to have 15 min of me time in a day. The playpen makes us all happy.
NicolaCatto NicolaCatto 6 years
ive done lots of things, as my son got older (currently 2) started with putting him in the empty bath with some toys, have also got a stool at the sink so he can play up there, or just on the floor in the bathroom, i have done snacks etc in the highchair and also taken him in the shower with me, he gets sick of everything pretty quickly. now hes two he will quite contently sit and watch tv or a video on the computer whilst i shower, he can open the door etc so even if i close it he will come find me if he needs me, he likes to come in and brush his teeth (althoughi have ended up with toothpaste everywhere a couple of times - thats just life lol) i think it all depends on the child, if they listen and follow instructions tell them the consequences or whatever if they get into a specific thing whilst u are not in the room but at the end of the day it depnds on your child and what you are comfortable with!
KathrynMark KathrynMark 6 years
I put my 15 month old in the exersaucer in the doorway of my bathroom. This way i can keep an eye onher while i bath or shower.
SarahBasler SarahBasler 6 years
Im very thankful that my 2 yr old loves Dora. She can get over any baby gate we put up and we had to take her out of her crib at 21 months because she could climb out of that too. My little monkey will sit completely still without blinking for an entire episode of Dora. I leave the bathroom door open also, but she is glued to the t.v. until well after I'm done.
JenDalley JenDalley 6 years
I would never shower with my son in the bathroom- He has slammed his fingers with the toilet lid, opened our closet and the cupboards, and thrown his nummy inn the toilet, and I can't wash my hair if I'm constantly peeking around the curtain to see what he's doing. Our bathroom is a pretty dangerous room with all those hard surfaces even though cleaners & other dangerous things are placed out of reach..I generally wait until someone is home or he is napping but I would be OK with letting him play in his room -He does that when he's getting himself ready for a nap anyway. Everything for us is on one floor, though I mightt think about a baby gate to keep him out of the kitchen as that is the only other place he has done damage! I did try taking him in with me one day, but we had to have a bath and when I tried to rinse us in the shower he freaked out. Not a fan of the shower!
KarenKern KarenKern 6 years
My son turned 2 in March. There is no way that I'd leave him alone while I shower. I have him shower with me, play in the bathroom with toys while I shower or I shower before he gets up in the morning. He is a climber and also very curious, so I have to keep an eye on him ALL the time, even in a childproofed house! :o)
izastrawn izastrawn 6 years
i wait for my daughter to sleep, be it for a nap or her bedtime.. i don't know what she's capable of, she changes everyday.. call me paranoid, but i don't trust her.. lol..
CoMMember13631067737819 CoMMember13631067737819 6 years
do like the rugrats and get an inside playyard!!
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