But they look so cute when they do that?!- Bottom Scooting

Thought I would add another fun/educational category to my blog.

I see a number of patients that are delayed for whatever reason and then learn they have a few interesting quirks that their parents find cute/adorable.  Though they see it as cute, as a pediatric physical therapist, I find as an impediment to meeting their gross motor milestones or affecting their development. 

So the first one I will discuss is- Bottom Scooting.

I agree that bottom scooting looks really cute, but I also become concerned if I notice that a child’s arms are nowhere near touching the ground and that those kids are sitting very upright.

Crawling on hands and knees is a complicated process that involves coordinating your arm movement with your leg movement.  If everything isn’t in sync, then you will most like not go anywhere, and if you do move, you certainly won’t be moving very fast.   Crawling also increases shoulder and arm strength, as well as ab strength, as your baby has to work hard to hold their tummy off the floor.  Which is why holding planks are great exercises for ab strengthening for adults.

So… if your baby only likes to bottom scoot, they are missing out working on their hand/eye hand/leg coordination, and missing out on strengthening their shoulders and abs.

Why is strengthening arms and abs important?  Having stronger shoulders and arms means they’ll be able to protect themselves better when they fall when they’re learning to walk.  Stronger abs means they will have more strength to work on standing up straight and maintaining their balance when they do learn to walk.

I’ve also noticed that a number of my patients that bottom-scoot are also very scared to try stepping forward without holding onto anything.  I’m guessing this is because bottom scooting places them in a very up-right position where usually lean back a little as they scoot forward so their hips don’t get used to working on holding their torsos up.

Hand/eye coordination is important because after we start walking we use that skill all day long 🙂

Some methods I use to encourage crawling and making bottom scooting difficult:

1- place obstacles in their path that are too big to bottom-scoot over

-couch cushions, thick blankets, rolled blankets, big pillows

2- you can take them to a play place and place them on an incline and see how they move up the incline.  I sometimes use couch cushions to make a ramp.

3- the usual method of placing them on their hands and knees and preventing them from moving into a bottom scooting position

You can view the video below to see what it looks like.

Categories: Child Development, Humor in pediatrics, Tips and Tricks Tuesdays

Tags: , , , ,

38 replies

  1. My daughter bottom scoots but she does use her hands to help her move as opposed to the video above where it’s all action in the legs. Does that make a difference. Definitely trying to get her to crawl traditionally and will try the suggestions above. Just curious.


    • My son is 10 months old and vacillates between crawling and bottom scooting (he has a larger head and I think he may be top-heavy). He was 6 weeks premature and has started to try to pull himself up on things to stand. He can also go from a laying down position to a seated position without assistance. Should I be worried about the bottom scooting? Is this indication that Sam is delayed in some way? Thank you. Leighann


  2. My daughter bottom scoots but does use her arms to propel herself forward as opposed to the video above. I will definitely give your great tips a try in an effort to get her traditionally crawling but I was just curious,based on your reasoning above, if using her arms made a difference?


  3. I have a 13 month old bottom scooter! Is there anything else we can do to be more proactive than what I read here? She does not want to stand! She just rolls when we try to get her on her belly. I am just concerned!


    • Hi Laura, thanks for your question. Usually if a kiddo doesn’t want to stay on their stomach then I encourage kneeling like in this post: https://beyondbasicplay.wordpress.com/2013/06/19/tips-and-tricks-try-kneeling-if-your-kiddo-hates-tummy-time/

      Has your daughter met her other milestones like sitting by herself? By 13 months your kiddo should be interested in playing with toys at a table surface, so I would try to find toys that your daughter likes and have her try to play with them sitting up in her high chair, and then try the kneeling techniques I talk about in that post. If your daughter hasn’t crawled at all she probably doesn’t feel stable in standing so that’s why she prefers to roll. Kneeling will work on increasing leg and hip strength and also get her used to playing at a surface vs rolling and it won’t be as scary as standing all the way up.

      let me know if that helps or if you have any other questions!


  4. Hello, my son is 13 months old and has never traditionally crawled, always bum scooted, but used his hands in conjunction with his legs. He constantly pulls himself to a stand & will fabulously cruise along the furniture with ease. He will even let go off things for a couple seconds, until he notices he isnt holding on and then quickly grabs on. His PT told me that she feels since he did not get the muscle strengthening with traditional crawling that he may end up walking later? Can you advise me on your thoughts? Thanks in advance!


    • Hi Leanna, thank you for your comment. It sounds like your son is doing pretty well since he is cruising and letting go of furniture already! If he is doing these things already then seems like he does have the confidence and strength for standing activities and is progressing towards walking. Independent walking normally begins between 12-18 mos so he seems to be on track. He may have a little weakness in his hips since he didn’t traditionally crawl, which would help him progress to walking soon. One way to work on hip strengthening is to try kneeling activities like in this post: https://beyondbasicplay.wordpress.com/2013/06/19/tips-and-tricks-try-kneeling-if-your-kiddo-hates-tummy-time/

      And to help him increase his confidence on letting go of support surfaces when cruising, you can try the strategies in this post: https://beyondbasicplay.wordpress.com/2012/09/18/tips-and-tricks-tuesdays-progressing-to-walking-part-1/

      hope these tips help, let me know if you have any more questions, and thanks for stopping by my blog!


      • My son is 12 months old and scoots on his bottom. He uses is left arm and right leg to push around. He usually has a toy in the other hand. He does all the things in the above links. He has been kneeling for awhile now. Pulls himself up on everything. When I hold him up to stand he is pretty wobbly still. Anything else you recommend? Just keep doing what I’m doing? Is it ok that he only uses one hand and one leg every time? I tried to get him to crawl traditionally but from all 4s he would just sit on his bottom and start scooting. Thank you for any input.


        • Oh and might I add that his scooting is nothing like the above video. He is super fast and has one arm down.


        • Hi Heather, sorry for the delay in my reply! Thank you for reading my site. Since you said he is pulling up to stand everywhere, I would start encouraging him to cruise along furniture to get different toys, and to cruise between a couch and coffee table/ottoman to continue improving his standing balance. I would also encourage walking while holding onto your hands to continue improving his standing balance and strength.

          Regarding the scooting, I wouldn’t physically try to change the way he is moving around since it sounds like he’s pretty successful with moving on his own. If anything I would alter the environment like i wrote above, to try to make him move in different ways. The main way I would do that is to put couch cushions/pillows/folded blankets on the floor to make it harder for him to scoot on his bottom. He may still scoot, but at least he will have to problem solve a little 😉

          you can also try method #2 from this post: https://beyondbasicplay.wordpress.com/2012/09/04/tips-and-tricks-tuesdays-increasing-arm-strength-in-infants/

          i typically try a bowling game or any tossing game that encourages a kiddo to throw an object at a target while staying on their stomach. I usually lay on my stomach right next to them and sometimes hold my hand over their hips in case they try to roll over. This activity is to mainly increase shoulder and ab strength and to just practice being in that face down position.

          hope those tips help, let me know if you have any more questions!


  5. I realize this advice is meant to be helpful but if your baby just scoots don’t be too worried. As a baby I always scooted and still ended up walking and running sooner than most. Although, I used my hands also and not just my legs like the baby in the video above. It’s really not that unusual, your baby is just learning it’s own way. I don’t think you should worry unless your baby doesn’t start trying to stand and take steps. 🙂


    • Thank you for your input. Again, I would stress that true bottom scooting without using one’s hands does affect a child’s strength in their hips and trunk and can delay walking. If someone does feel that their child is delayed in walking, they should first speak with their pediatrician to determine the next appropriate step.


  6. Natalie, While I appreciate the great tips in this article. I did try and email you (can’t find an email address on your about page) separately about your phrasing at the beginning of the article, which almost turned me off from reading further.

    You said “I agree that bottom scooting looks really cute, but I also cringe as I notice that babies’ arms are nowhere near touching the ground and that those kids are sitting very upright.”

    My son was a premie, he is under the care of an OT and she would never say that she “cringes” when she sees my son butt scooting with no hands. She would say ” I am concerned because of x, y and z” and lets do some things to encourage the skills he isn’t getting when he scoots on his butt.

    My husband butt scooted, his sister butt scooted and so did other relatives of theirs. They all are functioning adults who while they developed a little on the slow side, all are just find. When you say “cringe” it has a very negative connotation. My baby shouldn’t be cringed at. He has overcome a lot and I take offense to that wording.

    I am not normally the sensitive type. I give people the benefit of the doubt and I am sure that your wording probably was not intended to be hurtful. But I did want to say something here because your suggestions are great and I wouldnt’ want the use of that phrase to stop other parents from reading on.

    We get judged all the time by other parents, grandparents and even friends without kids. I would hate to think that our OTs and PTs were also secretly judging my baby and cringing at what they do.


    • Hi Lucy, thank you for your comment and I am sorry for having a negative connotation for using the word cringe and I will change that. I definitely do not literally cringe when I see bottom scooting, and I do tell parents my concerns if I do see their child bottom scooting. And I assure you that therapists aren’t secretly judging those kiddos’ parents if they are bottom scooting. I am usually quick to explain why their child is bottom scooting and how we can work on it and the benefits of crawling. I also approach each case individually to determine if teaching how to crawl is the best option or if I should just leave the bottom scooting and work on the next milestone because mobility is main focus. And I understand that others that have bottom scooted in the past are probably just fine now, but we usually treat children who come in with gross motor delays where the bottom scooting may be contributing to their delays so I work on those to get them caught up. If you have any other questions or comments, you’re welcome to comment here, and you can also email me from the link at the top of the page and I can email you back. Thank you for stopping by my blog! – Natalie


  7. I realize that this is an old post but I wanted to comment anyway. My baby doesn’t crawl, he scoots. He is also able to pull himself up to standing and is also able to go from his tummy to a sitting position by himself. Have you tried scooting around on your bottom? Let me tell you, it is a workout of many areas on the body. This is my third child and they’re all different. I’m not concerned about the bottom scooting at all.


    • Hi Heather, thanks for your comment. It’s fine if you’re not concerned about the bottom scooting. I used this post to explain how bottom scooting affects development and strengthening in other areas of the body. Usually parents bring their children in when they are 13-18 months saying they aren’t walking yet and that they’re only bottom scooting. When I see that then it’s easy to explain why they’re not walking yet and then we start working on strengthening those muscles that are necessary for walking and working on the balance activities that progress to walking to help them reach their milestones.


  8. i was a butt skooching baby also but, i used my hands and arms beetween my legs and held my self up sometimes so i could move and i aslo pulled my self with my arms in front of me beetween my legs.is it wierd that i never crawled and i could scoch faster than a average person walking, i started at about 8 months and kept at it till i was 4 and could walk?


  9. My daughter Boot Scooted, she was very fast and happy. She is now 24 and is very fit, going to Cross Fit most days. She stage 3,4 Kidney failure which is unexplained. We have had a thought that maybe moving around on a pooie nappy, could some of the poo have gone up to her kidneys and created the scarring that she now has on her kidneys?


  10. HI, I’m Stella and I’m now 55 years old. I never crawled as a child but bottom scooted with hands and legs until 11 months and then got up and walked. My mother (still alive and well) never concerned herself about this. By two I was dancing to everything on television, kept my interest in dance and gymnastics right through to about 15 years when I set my sights on becoming a visual artist, I was also academically very bright. I just want all parents to realise that skipping crawling does not necessarily mean your child will have co-ordination problems, be left handed (I’m right handed), be dyslesic or dyspraxic or lack fine motor skills. I have experienced none of these…and have no problems with weak jooints, hips etc. IN fact I would say my balance, co ordination and fine motor skills are above average as indicated from my career choice and hobbies. I really believe it depends on the child.


    • Hi Stella, thanks for visiting my blog and thank you for your comment! Glad all is well with you, and I used my post more to highlight the benefits of crawling and how it can affect development in the future. Thanks! -Natalie


  11. My son is 16 months and a bottom scooter. He uses his hands and arms and can get around pretty quickly. I’ve never seen him kneel or put his knees under his body. …as a baby does when they crawl. Could this be a concern for hip dysplasia?
    I love your site. Great info!


    • Hi Brenda, you would have to talk to your pediatrician to determine if your son is at risk for hip dysplasia. Since he is a bottom scooter, 1 concern I would have is that his hip muscles may be a little bit weak since he prefers to bottom scoot and not crawl or be on his hands and knees. I would practice some kneeling activities at couch cushion or low table to at least get him working on his hip strength. Thank you for visiting my blog and let me know if you have any other questions! -Natalie


  12. Hi, I am 22 years old, I had bottom scooted for a long time when I was small then crawled on knees and hands for a little while before I started walking at 18 months, which is just within the norm, but later than usual.
    I still find it difficult to sit upright for long periods without back support and tend to slouch. Then I have back pain until I lie down and relax the muscles. Many people have complained of my poor posture and jave to remind me to sit up straight but i find it tiring. Do you think that I could still suffer from low tone? What activities could I do to assist with this?


    • Hi Ruqayya, thank you for visiting my blog. Regarding your question about low tone. If someone has low tone, then they will always have low tone. As someone gets older, this low tone may be less noticeable as they get stronger. In addition to low tone, some people also have more flexible joints which means their muscles have to work harder to maintain postures and positions. If you feel like you are having trouble staying upright for long periods of time, then you have to work on your postural muscles. I would research postural and core strengthening exercises to get some suggestions for exercises. let me know if you have any more questions!


  13. Hi there,
    My daughter just turned 9 months old and is doing a bum scoot just like the baby in the video, not incorporating her hands. We have also noticed that she isn’t putting her hands out when she falls forward. She doesn’t hate tummy time, but doesn’t love it. She is doing other “milestones” with her hands, like clapping, passing toys from one hand to the other, etc, and will reach far to get something. Besides the kneeling exercises you have mentioned, what else would you suggest for her to start using her hands and potentially crawling? Thanks


  14. Here’s the deal. According to my parents, I was the only 1 out of me and my six siblings who bottom scooted and did not crawl. However I was also the earliest of my siblings to walk by about a four month margin. I am also very good at hand/foot eye coordination and have been since a young age. The only thing that my bottom scooting may have possibly effected was certain mental abilities that some claim are linked with babies skipping the crawling stag, such as difficulty with reading and language.


  15. Hey my 11 month can walk, but she has a scooting technique that she uses one arm and sits on her bottom to scoot around (not like the video), and she’s very fast when scooting. My question is why does she prefer scooting than walking (she only walks when she feels like it which is not a lot) and what can I do to make her walk more? Thank you!


  16. Hi my name is Tammy, I have a 14 month son that doesn’t crawl,roll over either way walk or pull up, he cant bare weight,or get in a sitting position,crazy thing is he can scoot on his bottom, he only uses his hands to get around,but if he falls he cannot get back up on his own.he has been in pt ot and speach since he been 2 months. We’ve had xrays had all kinds of blood work and recently we had a MRI .and everything came out fine, we recently seen a neurologist and he said that he was going to keep an open mind not sure what that means looking for any answers I can get


    • Hi Tammy, sorry to hear that no one has been able to get you any answers. The good thing is that your son is exploring on his own since he can scoot on his bottom. Have his therapists given you any insight as to why he can’t do any other movements? Regardless of the why he isn’t moving, I would recommend to just get him in a standing position at this point so he starts putting weight into his legs to see if that helps him get stronger so that he can do their movements. Have your therapists recommended a gait trainer for him? That would be the next step in my opinion since it will help strengthen his legs and trunks. He clearly has trunk and arm strength and figured out how to get around on his bottom so I feel like walking in a gait trainer would be he next step for him, keep me posted and I hope he continues to improve!



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