Q&A: baby playing with pet water

Katie writes:

“My baby is driving me crazy! We have 3 cats and a dog so we have a 2-gallon water jug that dumps out in a dish available for them at all times. The problem is that my 10-month-old son has discovered it and will not leave it alone. He dips his arms in it, shakes the dish around, and splashes quite a bit. His newest development is that he grabbed an empty cup and started bailing out the water all over the floor. What can I do about this? I just can't think of any feasible solution to this problem.”

Would it be too smartass obvious to tell you to make sure there are no cups within his reach?

How old and spry is your dog? If you just had cats, you could put the water up on a counter where the cats could hop up and get it but the baby couldn’t reach, you’d be home free. If you had a little, agile dog you could do the same thing.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking you could get the Doggy Steps (don’t click at work!—it’s got audio) and then your dog could get up to the counter to drink. And it would work for a few days. But then the baby would learn to climb the Doggy Steps and you’d be back where you started.

Is there a way to gate off the water area so the pets could get under or over the gate but your baby can’t?

If you have an older child, you can just let him or her tattle when the baby gets near the water. You’ll probably have enough warning after hearing, “Mo-om! He’s going toward the water again!” to get there before any gets spilled.

The only other thing I can think of is to put something even more tempting to the baby next to the water so the baby would go that instead. Like a remote control or cell phone or roll of toilet paper or box of marbles (just kidding about the marbles).

Or you could just stay on your toes and pull him away every time he does it, and he’ll move on to being interested in something else (like your rack of CDs or the VCR) in a few weeks.

Probably. Good luck.