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6 Tips to Hold It Longer

Hi friends! It’s probably safe to say we’ve all been there: we needed to go to the bathroom but someone was in there. Suddenly the urge to is even worse now that the bathroom door is locked and it feels like you’re going to pee your pants! This week let’s talk about some techniques you can use to help you hold it longer without having leakage.


These tips can be used in many situations including bladder retraining for overactive bladder (OAB). Getting better control of your bladder so that you are in charge of when and where you pee can have a huge impact on our quality of life.


Here’s what to do when you feel the urge to go:

  1. Stop your activity.

  2. Sit down.

  3. Take slow deep breaths. This will help to calm your nervous system so that the stress of needing to pee does not fuel the urgency to go.

  4. Perform 5-10 pelvic floor muscle squeezes. Since the pelvic floor muscles work opposite of the detrusor (bladder muscle)

  5. Apply perineal pressure. The perineum is the area around our private parts. Applying pressure to this area either with your hands or sitting on something like a towel roll can help calm the urge. Little kids often use this technique when they have to go without being taught!

  6. Use mental distraction techniques. Techniques to distract your mind onto another topic helps to stop the brain from thinking about urgently needing to pee. This can be almost anything: making a shopping list, calling a friend, counting backwards by seven, etc.


Using these techniques can help you manage urinary urgency to avoid leakage and to avoid spending your life running to the bathroom! However, we don’t want to hold it in for significant lengths of time. Ideally, we should be going to the bathroom to pee every two to four hours while we are awake, but at night we should not need to get up to pee. It is not a problem to go less than two hours or more than four hours between peeing occasionally but it can become a problem when this becomes the norm.


The next time you feel the urge to pee and there isn’t a bathroom nearby, or if you just went to the bathroom try out these steps! If you have leakage with the urge to pee or you feel that you are going multiple times every two hours, seeing a pelvic floor therapist may be beneficial. Ask you provider for a referral or find one near you at www.mypfm.com/find-a-pt.



Ready to learn more about your pelvic floor muscles? Here are some helpful resources:

For providers, check our online courses to help your clients. Consider joining our Ambassador Program and most of our courses are included with your membership!


Written by Emily Reul, PT, DPT

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