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Adviser Mills C.C.D.
Adviser Mills C.C.D., Child Care
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 153
Experience:  15 years Plus, Preschool Owner, Teen Mentor
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I posted a few questions here earlier this week about my 24

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I posted a few questions here earlier this week about my 24 month old son's problem with hitting and having huge tantrums. I received some great advice. I have one other problem that I need to try to resolve.

He has always loved playing in water. We never had a problem getting him to take baths. He took a bath last Friday and everything was normal. But then on Saturday and Sunday he wouldn't sit down in the bathtub and wanted to get out of the water after a few minutes. I assumed that it was because he still had a small diaper rash and maybe it hurt. On Monday he absolutely refused to get into the bathtub. He cried when I took his diaper off. I tried getting in the bathtub with him and that didn't help. The problem has continued all week. I tried putting him in the shower. I tried putting a swim diaper on him. I even tried letting him take a bath in his old infant tub. Nothing works. He starts crying as soon as I take his diaper off and he kicks and flails to the point where its not safe to put him in water. I've been giving him sponge baths.

Today I needed to be able to wash his hair to get food out of it. So I finally just picked him up and put him in the bathtub. I think that was probably a mistake. He cried and clung to me and stood at the side of the tub. Afterwards he wanted his diaper back on.

I don't know what to do. I need to keep him clean, but I don't want to traumatized him.

Adviser Mills C.C.D. :


Adviser Mills C.C.D. :

There are most likely two things going on here. The pain was from a diaper rash and at his age they cling to a fear of pain dearly. Sometimes it comes in some form interfering with potty training or sometimes bath time.

Adviser Mills C.C.D. :

They are intense with these short term memories. Some children can be put into a bath at the wrong temperature and the effect lasts a very long time.

Adviser Mills C.C.D. :

Another thing is, it could be is an Anal Fissure, Of course, I can not diagnose that here. But, I have had many children at this exact age suffer from one of these and their parents not know.

Adviser Mills C.C.D. :

One of the signs is the fear of sitting in a bath because it hurts. Here is a link to tell you more about them and you could get him checked just to make sure.

Adviser Mills C.C.D. :

This can sometimes happen during potty training or even with a child that is very trained.

Adviser Mills C.C.D. :

They are small and you may not be able to see them with your eyes, and can sometimes be internal.

Adviser Mills C.C.D. :

Since he has never shown a fear of water, there is most likely something going on with a pain association.

Customer: That kind of makes sense. The two days that he wouldn't sit down he was kind of squatting. As soon as the water got close to his bottom he stood up and wanted out.
Adviser Mills C.C.D. :

Yes, there is something going on there. If he has suffered from constipation recently that could also cause tiny tears.

Customer: The diaper rash is gone now, so how do I break that s
Adviser Mills C.C.D. :

The great news is, this is all treatable. You can have him checked by his doctor and it will have to heal. The best thing to do is assure him you will not let the water get there and try to use a wipe with witch hazel on it to soothe the area.

Adviser Mills C.C.D. :

I have seen children become so scared of potty time that they would scream when going into the bathroom just because ONE time it hurt. They just cling at this age. But, you are correct. You have to clean him.

Customer: No constipation.. Lots of loose stools which led to the rash. He just had a well child visit today. I didn't think to ask about it.
Adviser Mills C.C.D. :

So as a mother, I understand. My daughter just simply had a fear of water. Yes, I understand. You can look for home remedies, like maybe a soak in the tub that will help, let me see if I can find one for you.

Adviser Mills C.C.D. :

here is some info

Adviser Mills C.C.D. :

  • Sitting in a tub filled with a few inches of warm water (sitz bath) for 20 minutes 2 or 3 times a day soothes the torn tissue and helps relax the internal anal sphincter. This may help heal the anal fissure.

  • You may want to use ointments or creams such as zinc oxide, Preparation H, orAnusol (which includes an anesthetic). But evidence suggests that fiber and sitz baths help symptoms better than nonprescription creams.1 Creams withhydrocortisone (such as Anusol-HC) can reduce itching and inflammation.

  • Although some people may be tempted to use a mirror or have a family member examine a fissure, do not separate the buttocks. Doing so might slow healing of the fissure.

  • Instead of using toilet paper, use baby wipes or medicated pads, such as Tucks, to clean after a bowel movement. These products can be less irritating to an anal fissure.

Adviser Mills C.C.D. :

like I said, of course, I am only going on experience here. But, this is usually what it is when they do not want their bottom to touch the water...Or like I said, it just hurt when he had the rash. But, the way you describe it, the way he pulls up when the water touches the area, seems like pain may still be present.

Adviser Mills C.C.D. :

I wanted to share this info because many parents will try to examine and as you can see in three...this can worsen the issue.

Adviser Mills C.C.D. :

I would stick with maybe a sitz bath treatment until you see a Doctor. But, most likely before you do, it will heal on it's own.

Customer: The other thing that's confusing is that he suddenly insists on wearing a diaper. When he had the rash, I let him walk around without it for a while, and he had a few accidents. We reassured him that it was ok. But now he tries pulling his shirt down over his penis if he's not wearing a diaper.
Customer: I'll take him back to his doctor next week to have him checked. I'm assuming that in the meantime we shouldn't force the issue.
Adviser Mills C.C.D. :

He may just be uncomfortable with the way it feels. With children this age, they change like the weather. Something that is ok one day can change the next. You letting the air hit it, was the best thing. Just let him wear what he is comfortable with, they will begin to show their preferences at this age.

Adviser Mills C.C.D. :

I would not force the issue. Making the water a little less warm can help. But, then, he may be uncomfortable with that.

Adviser Mills C.C.D. :

If you make him a sitz bath, try something new like tub chalk or something of the like so that he will be distracted by this activity and be soothed at the same time.

Customer: We tried a sitz bath, but couldn't get him to sit. We'll try new tub toys.
Adviser Mills C.C.D. :

Oh, well good, then you are so on the right track. Yes, anything that will pull him from the thought of sitting in the water. New things will distract easily.

Customer: Thanks for your advice.
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