Helpline 0800 650 659 continence nz

Good Bladder Habits for Everyone

Good Bladder Habits for Everyone

Helping People whose lives are affected by bladder and bowel problems

Healthy bladder hints


•   Go to toilet more than 5 - 8 times in 24hours?

•   Get up more than once a night?

•   Drink less than the normal fluid average intake for a day, i.e. 6 - 8 cups?

•   Go to the toilet "just in case"?

•   Wet yourself when you cough, laugh, sneeze or exercise etc?

•   Have an urgent need to pass urine? Leak before you get to the toilet?

•   Push and strain to move your bowel?

If you have said, "Yes" to any of the above, you may be developing bad bladder habits.


•   It is normal to go to the toilet about 5-7 times per day and no more than once at night.

•   Your bladder should be able to hold up to 2 cups (400 - 450mls) of urine and we usually pass between 1 to 2 cups of urine each time you go.

•   Try to go only when your bladder is full and when you need to go.

•   Don't go to the toilet "just in case" as this may result in the bladder developing a smaller capacity (unless you are going on a long trip or just before bed for example.)

•   Take your time when emptying your bladder so that it empties completely. Being in a rush may lead to incomplete emptying and predispose you to urinary infections.

•   Make sure you sit on the seat. Do not bear down to empty. Do not hover over the toilet.


Maintain a good fluid intake

Drink an adequate amount of fluid (This includes tea, coffee, milo, soup etc). Assuming there are no other medical problems 6-8 glasses per day or 1500 -2000 mls is the amount to aim for. This amount ensures urine does not become concentrated and that there is enough available fluid to keep bowel motions moist and soft, therefore avoiding constipation. However, some fluids such as tea, coffee, fizzy drinks and alcohol can irritate the bladder for some people and should be limited or avoided.

Maintain good pelvic floor muscle tone

•   The pelvic floor muscles support your pelvic organs and contribute to bladder and bowel control.

•   Practice and use your pelvic floor muscles. (See the Pelvic Floor pamphlet).

•   Use your pelvic floor muscles to brace and support when laughing, lifting, coughing, etc.

Other factors that can influence normal bladder habits:

•   These include some medications, urinary tract infections, medical conditions, difficult toilet access (e.g., steps), emotional stress, cold temperature, etc.

•   Seek help from a Health Professional if you have difficulty with any of this information or have any sudden change in your normal bladder habits.

Signs of urinary tract infections

•   Sudden onset of Incontinence.

•   Sudden onset of frequency and urgency.

•   Burning and discomfort when passing urine

•   Blood in the urine.

•   Strong odor or cloudy urine.

If you have any of the above, see your G.P.

Good bowel habits

•   Keep your bowel habit regular and avoid constipation. Persistent straining when using your bowel can weaken the pelvic floor muscles.

•   A regular soft bowel motion passed without straining from three times a day to every third day is considered normal.

•   Adopt the ideal sitting position for passing a motion, feet on a stool.

•   An adequate fluid and fibre intake will contribute to a soft motion.