Training the bladder

(pee bag)

Let’s yarn about this

Cover picture

The bladder (pee bag)

The bladder (pee bag) holds the pee (urine) in your body until you are ready to go to the toilet.

Bladder training teaches the bladder to hold on longer and keep filling up until it is full.

Bladder training is needed for people who have an urgent need to pee little bits of pee many times through the day and night.

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A healthy bladder:

  • holds about 2 cups of pee
  • empties about 5 times a day, and once during the night
  • does not leak, and
  • gives us plenty of time to get to the toilet without leaking.
Walking from the shop

Sometimes the bladder wants to empty quickly (urgency) and it leaks

Things that cause this are:

  • drinks with caffeine in them, like tea, coffee, fizzy drinks and energy drinks – they upset the bladder
  • grog
  • a germ (infection) in the bladder
  • wrong messages from the brain to the bladder (nerve damage) – this can happen when people have a stroke, diabetes or bad memory, or
  • hard poo pushing on the bladder – this upsets it and it can’t hold as much pee.

Sometimes we don’t know why we need to rush to the toilet or why we leak.

Messages from the bladder to the brain

How to teach the bladder to hold more pee

Try to wait longer before you go to the toilet:

  • sit down
  • think about something else, and
  • wait a few more minutes before you go.

Hold on as long as you can:

  • The strong need to pee can sometimes go away.
  • Do pelvic floor exercises when you get the feeling that you have to do a pee and you want to hang on.
  • Walk slowly to the toilet. Don’t rush.
hold on!

Hold on to your pee

Other things you can do to help:

Things that cause this are:

  • Try to keep the bladder filling up with water, drink 6 mugs a day.
  • Drink less caffeine, like tea, coffee, fizzy drinks and energy drinks.
  • Try to drink less grog.
  • Don’t let your poo get hard. Eat lots of fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and grains.
Drink water

See your health worker, nurse or doctor:

  • if you are an older man (about men’s business)
  • if you are a woman (about women’s business)
  • to make sure you haven’t got a germ (infection) in the bladder
  • if your poo is hard, or
  • about tablets that may help.
hard poo

Hard poo
Normal poosoft poo

How to tell if your bladder is holding more pee

  • Count how many times you go to the toilet in the day before you start training your bladder.
  • After one month of training, do this counting again.
  • See if you are going to the toilet less, and passing more pee when you do.
Woman walking

Talk to your health worker, nurse or doctor

Who can help?

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health service
  • Health workers
  • Nurses
  • Doctors
  • National Continence Helpline Freecall™ 1800 33 00 66
Talk about your problem
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This series of brochures has been developed by the Continence Foundation of Australia and funded under
the Australian Government’s National Continence Management Strategy.

Indigenous artwork created by Georgina Altona and Warwick Keen.
Other illustrations by JAT Illustrational and Fusebox Design.

© 2010

All information in this publication is correct as at August 2012

D0914August 2012