Have you ever been on a long road trip and didn’t think you could make it to the next rest stop?
Have you drank a large soda at a movie theater and barely made it the bathroom during a slow part in the movie?
We have all felt this from time to time, but when the urgency is sudden, strong, and uncontrollable, it can start causing problems. Generally, the bladder should fill slowly, and you should comfortably be able to hold it anywhere from 2-4 hours. If you find yourself going way more than that, or you are leaking before you get to the bathroom, you may benefit from bladder retraining.
Just like you were potty trained as a toddler, your adult bladder can be “retrained” using some simple techniques.
Put yourself on a “voiding schedule.” Pick a time between 2-4 hours that seems reasonable and try your best to stick with it. It can be helpful to first track how many times you pee on a normal day. You can track it using a bladder diary, a scrap piece of paper, or on your phone. If you find yourself going every hour, see if you can stretch it to 1.5 hours, then so on and so on.
Space your liquid intake out throughout the day. Drinking high volumes all at once can be more difficult to control than gradual intake.
Perform 5 quick pelvic floor contractions when the urge comes on. This helps send a signal to the bladder to chill out! This can also be helpful if you have urgency triggers such as running water, key in the door, seeing the bathroom, etc.
The most important tip: Stay calm! When you get a strong, sudden urge, do not rush to the bathroom. Instead, take a deep breath, do some pelvic floor contractions, and walk calmly and confidently to the bathroom. It’s important to frame your mindset that you are in control of your bladder, not vice versa.
It’s normal to have some setbacks. If you are tired, sick, or stressed, you may experience more leakage. People often find once they are more conscious of their bathroom habits, they gain more control and experience less leakage.
Hope you find these tips helpful in controlling the urge! Remember, you’re the boss!