Yep… you may remember this at some point in your early parenting life. Your little one is enjoying a fun bubble bath, splashing around and playing with bath toys – when all of a sudden your adorable bundle of joy releases some bubbles of his own. Before you know it, you’ve got a doo-lightful surprise in the bathtub.

While your initial reaction may be to scream “Oh crap,” the best thing to do in this stinky situation is remain calm. Making a commotion might startle your child, resulting in a not-so-enjoyable bath time memory.

To help you out, we’ve done the dirty work and rounded up four simple steps on how to clean and sanitize the bath following the unexpected poop incident.

1. Take your child out of the bathtub

The #1 thing to do when you see #2? Immediately take your child out of the bathtub and rinse him off in the shower or another tub. According to Stephanie Bosche, a Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at Tri-County Pediatrics in Philadelphia, it’s better to restart the bathing process after an incident like this, rather than just removing the poop and placing your child back in the same tub water.

2. Remove as much fecal matter as possible

Use a disposable cup or plastic bag to scoop the poop and flush it down the toilet. Depending on the consistency of the poop, you may need to let the bath water drain before trying to remove it. Grab an extra plastic bag for the final chunks that get lodged at the entrance to the drain.

3. Drain and clean the bathtub

Drain the bathtub and remove any bath toys that were in the feces-contaminated water. Set them aside on a towel. Remove any visible fecal matter using a disposable paper towel.

4. Sanitize EVERYTHING


A simple diluted chlorine bleach solution is the best way to destroy harmful germs found in fecal matter. After making sure that all visible fecal matter is removed from the bathtub, mix a sanitizing solution of ½ cup of bleach for every ¾ to 1 gallon of water. Wearing rubber or plastic gloves to protect your skin, use a rag or sponge and apply the solution to the sides and bottom of the bathtub. Let stand for 5 minutes. Rinse the bathtub thoroughly.

Bath Toys

Sanitize bath toys (after removing any fecal debris) by following the same steps that you used for the bathtub. Be sure to coat all sides of the toys with the sanitizing solution (½ cup of bleach for every ¾ to 1 gallon of water), as they may have come into contact with the fecal matter. Rinse the bath toys under fresh running water and lay them out on a towel to air dry.

You can also check out these simple tips on how to clean and disinfect bath toys when there’s no poop involved.

Now, your tub … your child … and his bath toys will be ready for the next round of bubble-bath fun!

With these tips in mind, you’ve got the poo-wer to conquer any bathtime obstacles that may float to the surface.