Holding on to the pee is something young children do and get into the habit of it due to various reasons—especially the kids who are potty training or starting school.
Kids try to hold their pee as long as possible, but it is not as common as holding poo. Holding pee can be worrying if the child holds it and doesn’t empty the bladder for hours.
Some 4-year-olds hold pee all day which overstretches their bladders, they can sense the urge to pee but won’t go.
In this article, I will discuss why a 4-year-old may hold pee all day and how to fix this problem.
Should I let my 4-year-old hold pee all day?
Holding pee all day can weaken the bladder and result in a urinary tract infection (UTI). It can also cause urinary retention, where the child can not relax his bladder’s muscles even when he wants to pee and relieve himself.
In rare cases, holding pee for extremely long hours can cause the bladder to rupture.
How long can a 4-year-old hold pee?
A 4-year-old needs to go to the toilet every 3-4 hours if he has enough water intake. Breaks can be shorter in cold weather.
To see if your child has enough water intake, pay attention to the color of urine, which has to be clear to light yellow. Dark yellow to brown pee indicates that the child does not use enough fluids or holds urine for too long.
Why would a 4-year-old hold pee all day?
Your 4-year-old might be holding his bladder all day because of
- Not wanting to go to the toilet skipping interesting activities (this is the most common cause)
- Not drinking enough liquid
- Facing problems while urinating, such as pain or burning. (if your child complains about pain while urinating or difficulty releasing pee, talk to the doctor).
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How to get a 4-year-old pee on time?
Don’t worry, mommies, the habit of holding pee can be changed back to normal by encouraging your child to pee at regular intervals and having enough fluids all day. I have summed up some other tips to make the 4-year-old pee on time.
1- Make sure that the child is not scared of the bathroom
Sometimes kids hold pee when they are scared of the toilet. This is because they fear sitting on the commode and falling into it.
Make sure to put a potty training seat on the commode so that the child does not hold his pee out of fear.
For example, 711TEK Potty Training Seat. Put this seat onto the toilet, and your child will easily climb on the toilet and use it without the risk of falling.
2- Keep the bathroom clean and tidy:
Some kids have issues with untidy and smelly washrooms, so they avoid going to the toilet the whole day.
As a kid, I used to hold pee when I visited my aunt’s house, as I found her washroom untidy and smelly. So make sure you keep the bathroom clean and not smelly.
3- 4-year-olds often start preschool and learn to hold pee at school:
4-year-olds, when starting preschool, miss the comfort of their home and struggle to settle. Sometimes preschoolers develop the habit of holding pee, as they find the school washroom new, unfamiliar and uncomfortable.
Talk to the teacher and supporting staff to encourage your child to visit the washroom once or twice at school.
4- Take him to the washroom by yourself every 3-4 hours:
If you start noticing that your child is holding pee or ignoring you when you ask him to go to the washroom to pee, take him to the washroom by yourself. Make sure he has enough fluids.
5- If he still holds pee in the washroom, spill some water on him:
When you take charge of taking him to the washroom and see he still holds the pee on the toilet seat, spill some water on his pee area. Sometimes water sensation makes the muscles relax and makes the pee easier.
6- Doing a pee is easier when you are relaxed:
Help your child to feel comfortable in the toilet instead of putting pressure on him to pee instantly. If you find him nervous, talk to him, ensure you are there for him and give him some time to pee.
7- Exercise whistling exercises to empty the bladder:
Practice whistling exercises while sitting on the toilet seat. Ask him to pose whistling, as it puts pressure on the bladder and helps empty it.
8- Make the whole process rewarding:
Rewarding systems in training or eliminating unhealthy habits is always a win-win. So praise him when he tells you he wants to go washroom.
You can do something together, like playing some extra minutes in the park or an additional bedtime story. Whatever he loves to do, do it, and mention to him that he is a brave boy and does not hold pee.
9- Avoid activities that keep him engaged for a long time:
Keep him away from unlimited screen time or video games. Sometimes kids hold pee because they don’t want to leave their tablets or games in between.
Remind him to go to the washroom even if he is in the middle of doing something he likes.
10- Get a sand timer or alarm clock:
You can get a sand timer or an alarm clock and set the time every 3-4 hours to remind him to go to the toilet. If he follows the alarms punctually, he should be rewarded for going to the toilet on time.
You can have some colorful star stickers and put them on his hands and cheeks every time he follows the alarms.
11- Increase water intake:
Your child will feel pain and discomfort when he passes the pee if he isn’t drinking enough water. The color of urine becomes dark, and it may smell bad. So sometimes, kids hold the pee to avoid this pain and discomfort.
Make sure he takes enough glasses of water as recommended for his age.
12- Make sure he does not have a urine infection:
Sometimes kids develop urinary tract infections (UTIs) due to holding pee for longer hours. Even when they try to pass the pee, they feel pain. To avoid this pain, they further delay emptying the bladder.
Without any delays, take the child to the doctor to treat him with medicines.
A 4-year-old will hold pee all day to avoid going to the toilet and skipping interesting activities.
Make the toilet clean and comfortable, improve your child’s fluid intake and reward him for visiting the toilet in time.
Ensure that your child has not a UTI.