Bladder training, or bladder re-training to be more precise, is a process whereby you begin to go to the bathroom on a predetermined time interval even if you have no urge to go, and gradually increase the interval time between the visits.
The purpose of bladder training practice is twofold: first, to let your bladder become more full in between urination and second, to help you build more control over your urination urges.
Bladder training requires you to change your habits. If you have been struggling with bladder control issues, most likely, you’ve been going to the bathroom whenever you felt the urge and probably many times when you didn’t have to go, simply because you wanted to try to prevent an accident. Unfortunately, this natural habit can begin to alter biological signaling and result in your bladder telling your brain it is full, even if it is not. And so you go to the bathroom yet again and the cycle continues.
Bladder training is something you can do on your own without a coach. But like all training, to see great results, you need to put in a little practice; it’s going to take some time.
A bladder training program follows these simple steps:
Establish your baseline. You need to identify what is currently happening so that you can create a program to train your bladder muscles. If you haven’t already created a bladder dairy, you will want to do so for a least a few days in order to monitor how often you urinate.
Take a look at your current pattern and determine (an estimate is fine) how long you generally last between urination. Then add 15 minutes to that. So, if you go every two hours, then start with two hours and 15 minutes. One hour would be one hour and 15 minutes, 30 minutes would be 45 and so on.
That interval becomes your baseline schedule and once you have it, try to stay on that timetable. Go when you first wake up, and then try your best to stick with your timetable and only go to the restroom at that interval, holding it in between intervals if at all possible.
Relax and deep-breath to control your urge. Whenever you feel an urge to go and it is not yet time, try to relax by breathing deeply or even meditate if you are open to that. Stand still or sit down and breathe deeply in and out, following your breath as you contract your pelvic muscles and visualize yourself relaxed, happy and not needing to go. Imagine the urge away.
Once you are totally and deeply relaxed, if the urge is still there and you need to go, then head to the bathroom. But try to deeply relax first and see if the urge dissipates. If you absolutely feel you will have an accident if you don’t go, then by all means go; after that, return to your schedule.
If you are at home and really worried about an accident but you’re committed to trying, then go do your relaxation on the toilet. Relax, breathe, contract and imagine it away. If you have to go, you are safe and you can go. But in time, you may find that you are able to get up without having released and you can wait for your scheduled time instead.
This may take lots of time and practice, so be kind and gentle with yourself, but deep relaxation can greatly reduce the feelings of urgency when they arise.
Gradually as you experience some success (knowing that there may still be setbacks along the way and that is totally okay!) try to increase the time in between by another 15 minutes. Go slowly; don’t feel a need to rush to reach this goal. The more slowly you extend, the more confidence and control you’ll develop.
Continue gradually increasing in 15-minute intervals every week or couple weeks as the case may be until your window is between 2-4 hours. Normal urination occurs every 3-4 hours and once at night, so when you have reached that range, you have learned to train your bladder!
Key Tips for success
Don’t rush and try to overdo it too soon. Think about it as if you are training for a marathon or a walking charity event or any other challenging event in your life. (Could you learn Italian in a week, or become great at tennis in a month?) It would take many weeks of walking to eventually slight jogging to finally slow running until you could run or even walk a race and then you’d need to build endurance to go the distance. You may never run a marathon, but building bladder control may give you more freedom and joy than any other training goal you’ve tried for!
Practice relaxation on a daily basis regardless of you progress. It will give you inner peace and other health benefits far beyond bladder control.
To Your Health.
Bladder control problems do not go away by waiting. Take action today.