Hesperian Health Guides

Methods for Automatic Bladder

Every day 20,000 people visit the HealthWiki for lifesaving health information. A gift of just $5 helps make this possible!

Make a giftMake a gift to support this essential health information people depend on.

HealthWiki > Disabled Village Children > Chapter 25: Urine and Bowel Management > Methods for Automatic Bladder

1. TRIGGERING: This method usually causes the bladder-emptying reflex to work when the person is ready to pee. It can be done using a urinal, toilet, potty or jar. This is the first method to try because nothing is put into the bladder. It is easy, so a child can do it alone.
  • Tap the lower belly (over the bladder) firmly with your hand for about 1 minute. Stop and wait for the urine to come.
  • Tap again. Repeat several times until no more urine flows.
If possible, once a week after triggering use a catheter to see how much urine is left. If there is less than a cupful (150 cc.), continue the triggering program. If there is more than a cupful on several occasions, then the bladder is not emptying well enough. Try another method.
A child sitting on latrine patting her stomach
2. PERIODIC USE OF A CATHETER: This method allows the bladder to be emptied completely before becoming too full. Sometimes it can be used to prepare the body for triggering. Put a clean or sterile standard catheter into the bladder every 4 to 6 hours to empty the urine.

For instructions on how to put in a catheter, see the next page.
CAUTION! If you drink more liquid than usual, put in the catheter more frequently to keep the bladder from stretching too much.
A male inserting catheter into his bladder through penis

Note: To reduce risk of urinary infections, regular frequent use of the catheter is more important than using a sterile catheter. It is a mistake to stop using the catheter only because you don’t have a chance to boil it (for example, when traveling, or at school). Just wash out the catheter with clean drinkable water after use, and keep it in a clean jar or towel. (Do not go too long without catheterizing, and do not stop catheterizing altogether. It is important for your bladder not to interrupt your program.)

This page was updated:21 Nov 2019