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Bladder Training for Urinary Incontinence: How to Do it at Home

Medically reviewed by Regina Victoria Boyles, MD · Pediatrics

Written by Jen Mallari · Updated Jul 08, 2023

Bladder Training for Urinary Incontinence: How to Do it at Home

What is Bladder Training for Urinary Incontinence?

What is urinary incontinence and what is bladder training for urinary incontinence?

Urinary incontinence is a condition wherein a person is unable to control their bladder, resulting in the involuntary leakage of urine. This commonly occurs in elderly people. Bladder training for urinary incontinence may be essential to address this problem.

Bladder training helps the bladder get used to holding in urine until the volume inside it gets full. It requires discipline and effort. As a person gets used to bladder training, the more the bladder may hold large amounts of urine until it reaches the maximum volume.

Bladder Training for Urinary Incontinence

Part of addressing urinary continence is recognizing unhealthy bladder habits and avoiding them.

For instance, one bad bladder habit is frequently urinating even though the bladder is not full yet. This may train the bladder to release urine despite not having too much volume inside the bladder, and this may worsen over time.

Bladder training is done by having a person relive their bladder following a fixed schedule. This schedule applies whether or not they have the urge to urinate. The schedule has a specific interval time between when a person goes to the bathroom.

If the person feels the urge to urinate before the designated time, then they must do suppression techniques to help the bladder hold in the urine. If done successfully, then the intervals may increase, until the bladder is able to hold in urine for a longer number of hours.

Can I Do Bladder Training for Urinary Incontinence At Home?

Bladder training exercises can be performed at home to help increase bladder control. Here is how bladder training can be done at home:

  • Observe and keep track of how many times you urinate in a span of a day.
  • Calculate the duration/time between trips to the bathroom.
  • Decide what your starting interval between urination sessions will be. Let’s say your normal interval between bathroom trips is an hour long, then the starting interval must be an hour and 15 minutes long.
  • Hold back your urine as much as possible and only urinate at the end of the decided intervals.
  • Once you get used to your initial intervals, gradually increase the time by adding 15 minutes. Eventually, you will start to notice that you are able to hold in urine for longer periods of time.
  • Always try to empty your bladder as soon as you wake up in the morning.
  • Be sure to follow your schedule as much as possible. Make sure to use the bathroom even though you do not necessarily feel like urinating at the time.

Bladder Training Exercises to Do at Home

These exercises may help in training the bladder:

Kegel Exercises

This method works by tensing the pelvic muscles, which are the same muscles used for controlling urine flow. Weak pelvic muscles may result in being unable to control the bladder.

People who want to try Kegel exercises must first identify their pelvic floor muscles. You can do this by squeezing your rectum, as though trying to avoid passing gas, and identifying the muscles you use in this motion. Women may find their floor muscles by contracting their vaginal muscles.

To exercise these muscles:

  • Squeeze your pelvic muscles for three seconds, and then relax.
  • Repeat this fifteen times.
  • Do one set of fifteen three times within a day.
  • As your muscles grow stronger, you can increase the count to five seconds.

Delay Urination

You can delay your urge to urinate by trying to hold in your urine for five minutes. If that works for you, try to increase the time and make it 10 minutes. Eventually, this will make your bladder used to holding in urine for a longer period of time.

Key Takeaway

Bladder training is an effective way to address urinary incontinence. It helps in increasing the amount of time between bathroom trips and managing the urge to urinate. It also eventually helps increase bladder capacity.

Learn more about Urinary Incontinence here.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Regina Victoria Boyles, MD


Written by Jen Mallari · Updated Jul 08, 2023

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