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HealthInfo Canterbury

Bladder retraining

Bladder retraining aims to improve your bladder control. It aims to teach your bladder muscles to increase the amount of urine your bladder can hold. It also aims to reduce the number of times you have to pass urine (wee). Bladder retraining doesn't happen quickly. But over time you should be able to control your bladder.

You may do bladder training and pelvic floor muscle training at the same time.

It's often useful to complete a bladder diary. A bladder diary records when and how much you drink as well as when and how much urine you pass.

If you're drinking enough, you can expect to go to the toilet between six and nine times a day.

Bladder retraining involves setting times when you want to pass urine. You then gradually increase the intervals between passing urine. This results in reducing the number of times you pass urine in a day.

Steps to control your bladder

Steps to control your urgency

When you feel a sudden strong urge to pass urine, try to delay going straight away. Try to hold on for one minute at first. Then gradually increase this by a few minutes according to your ability. Over time, your bladder should learn to hold more urine. The following techniques may help:

When the urgency feeling goes, either continue what you were doing or walk calmly and slowly to the toilet.

Practise these steps every time you feel a sudden urge to pass urine.

After three months, if these steps aren't helping, go to see your health professional.

Written by the Physiotherapy Department, Christchurch Women's Hospital. Adapted by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by clinical director, Urology, Canterbury DHB. Last reviewed November 2019.


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Page reference: 97176

Review key: HIURS-53047