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The bladder is a muscle that communicates to the brain when it is stretched and full. We can use bladder training to change this sensitivity

“Normal” voiding is once every 2-4 hours, and 0-1 times at night.

If you find yourself voiding less frequently than this, we suggest going every 3 hours even if you don’t need to. This bladder training can reduce the risk of UTIs and prevent intense urgency from holding for many hours.

If you find yourself voiding more frequently than this, you can also use bladder training to help!

Bladder Training

Timed voiding:

First, complete a bladder diary. From there, you’ll be able to estimate how frequently you void and use bladder training to change it. In this example, you see that you void about once per hour:

  • Start by going about every hour even if you don’t need to. If this feels easy, increase the interval by about 20 minutes.
  • You may find that you may now feel the need to go within this interval. Urge deferral techniques (below) can help you wait long enough.
  • If you can’t defer your urge, calmly go to the bathroom. Then, get back on the bladder training schedule.
  • Repeat this process and increase the interval by about 20 minutes each time when you are successful for a day or two.

You can relax the rules once you can regularly wait 2-4 hours between voiding. You should also be able to confidently defer bladder urge if needed (in a meeting, not near a toilet, etc). Even if your interval is “normal,” you may benefit from continued timed voiding and practice of urge deferral if you have urge urinary incontinence.

Urge deferral:

These strategies can make bladder training easier. If you find another trick that works for you, please use it!

  • Quick pelvic floor contractions (Kegels). To learn how to do them, check out this article!  
  • Distraction (look at your phone, complete an unrelated task, count backwards from 100 by 7s, etc)
  • Calm, easy breathing. Some people like “box breathing” (inhale for 4sec, hold for 4sec, exhale for 4sec, hold for 4 sec)
  • Press on the clitoris

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