Bladder-stretching exercises

Bladder-stretching exercises are done to help increase the amount of urine that the bladder can hold (bladder capacity) and to teach the child to hold urine for longer periods of time. To teach a child bladder-stretching exercises:

  • Have the child drink lots of liquids during the day.
  • Have the child practice holding off going to the bathroom for as long as possible during the day.
  • Keep a record of how long the child can wait before urinating. Encourage him or her to hold the urine for increasing amounts of time. Usually, children can increase the length of time that they can hold their urine by 2 to 3 minutes each day.

Children who are known to have small bladder capacity may stop daytime accidental wetting by using this method. For children who wet the bed, this method may reduce the number of times the child wets (or needs to get up to urinate) during the night and may help the child in the long run, but usually it will not produce completely dry nights in the short term.

It is difficult to know whether a child's bed-wetting is caused mainly by a small bladder capacity, although a health professional may use tests to determine a child's bladder capacity.

Last Updated: November 12, 2008

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