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Bladder retraining

You may have symptoms of going frequently and urgently to the toilet. Sometimes you may not always make it, leaking on the way.

This may be a result of:

In some cases medication that calms your bladder may help to control these symptoms, but you may not need it if you practise the following steps.

Steps to control your bladder

It is useful to complete a bladder diary to see how often you go to the toilet and how much you drink.

You can expect to go to the toilet between six and nine times in a 24-hour period if you are drinking enough.


Steps to control your urgency

When you feel a sudden strong urge to pass urine:

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.

If, after three months, these steps are not helping, go to see your health professional.

Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles also helps control symptoms of urgency. See Pelvic floor exercises for women or Pelvic floor exercises for men.

Written by the Physiotherapy Department, Christchurch Women's Hospital. Adapted by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by clinical director, Urology, Canterbury DHB. Last reviewed August 2016.

Image courtesy of jk1991 at

Page reference: 97176

Review key: HIUPW-65591