Bladder Retraining After Long Catheterization

A couple of weeks ago my urologist told me I didn’t need to wear the leg bag with my catheter anymore – if I didn’t want to. I wrote about this in my article – I Haven’t Really Need This Leg Bag!  At first I felt a bit like “I wish I’d known this 3 months ago!” But as it turns out, I couldn’t have gone bag-less any earlier because I was being prepped for my antegrade-retrograde urethrogram (read about that here – Results Of My Combined Antegrade And Retrograde Urethrogram), during which time my bladder and urethra had to be resting for 3 months. This apparently makes for a much more accurate picture of the stricture length and location.

But now that they have done the urethrogram and pinpointed the details of the stricture (small, thanks goodness!), I can go bag-less every day. However, even after a couple of weeks I still have to go every hour.

So I’ve been wondering if I should be holding it for longer, trying to push through the discomfort of the urge to pee for longer and longer, in order to retrain my bladder to hold onto the pee for the normal 4 hours. My hunch appears to have been right, according to the below article. Basically, you have to inform your bladder that YOU are the boss, not IT. As it turns out, that’s not entirely true. I’m bending to my bladder’s will…eventually. But I was able to get up to 90 minutes a few times yesterday. So maybe it’s working.

Anyway, here is the article I refer to:


  1. vaishali says

    thankyou for the link. I had an indwelling Foley’s catheter for approximately 4 months which is due to be removed by month end. dr had discussed regarding the probability of incontinence and need for bladder training after the removal. was searching for relevant information and found the link you posted.

  2. Jeff says

    Hi Ken,
    I was wondering how long it took you to get back to normal. I only had a catheter in for 33 days but after 2 weeks of having it out I still find myself getting up to go 2 or 3 times a night.

    • Ken Theriot says

      Jeff. This is something that depends on the individual. I know this because my mom went through a couple of surgeries right before I did, neither of which lasted more than a few hours. And just from THAT, she reported having to take months before she could sleep through the night without having to get up 2 or 3 times to pee! And I had “practiced” retraining my bladder with the valve in my catheter (which as it turned out was something my surgeon didn’t WANT me doing. Other docs in the same clinic are the ones who let me do it – did it FOR me! My surgeon mainly works at the university and only comes in a couple times a month. Oh well. It all turned out OK). ANYWAY – by the time my post surgery transurethral catheter came out, I was able to pretty much immediately sleep through the night. But like I said, this is a very individual thing.

      It should get back to normal. It just might take awhile.

      Sorry I couldn’t be of more help. Good luck!


      • Jeff says

        Thanks for the reply. I guess I will just keep practicing the bladder retraining and everything should improve with time.

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