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How long can one go without passing urine?


Registered User
Feb 18, 2017
I am sorry if this has been posted before.
My mother has lately started to resist going to the toilet and gets very agitated. So we decided that we will observe her and once in a while ask her if she wants to go to the toilet or walk her close to the toilet and see if she wants to use it. So last night she passed uring at around 7:30 pm and now its 11 am. More than 12 hours. She drank more 1.5 L water yesterday before 7.30pm and around 500mL since morning. She does not have an incontinence problem per se because she can hold and doesn't get wet while sleeping. The only other sign we pick up when her bladder is full is that she gets very restless while talking to this invisible person (she has a problem of delusion). But the moment we take her to the toilet she doesn't want to use it. Ultimately she will pass urine while showering (which she normally doesn't want to take). I think she just does not know when she wants to go. But we also don't want to be too pushy as she becomes very resistant.
My question is: How long can one go without passing urine? My search says around 10-12 hours maximum.
Is this the early sign of what will be coming soon, that is incontinence problems?
I miss those days just four months back, when she was still not well but at least took her shower and went to the toilet regularly.

Toony Oony

Registered User
Jun 21, 2016
Hi @mistrymachine - yes I would be concerned about this too.
Just wondered if your Mum can go, but is frightened to do so for some reason? I would look into a UTI or cystitis, both of which could be causing her pain when she attempts to urinate.
If she goes in the shower, it may be due to the warmth, and her position. If she is reluctant to use the loo, perhaps she associates it with something nasty or pain?

Hope you get this sorted soon - you are right it needs attention.


Registered User
Apr 24, 2013
Does she have CKD ie Chronic kidney disease? It is common in old people and my husband too goes for long periods without passing urine. After 16 hours I took him to A & E last July and they didn't even find much in his bladder. They put 2 litres of water into him in the course of the day and he peed copiously. It also tends to make them constipated because there is not enough fluid. I'm not sure where the fluid goes - into the blood stream?

I now encourage him to go every four or five hours during the day but accept that most nights he will last out for much longer spells. I leave a glass of water with Laxido beside him during the day as it helps to keep his system moving.


Registered User
Feb 18, 2017
Thanks all.
She finally went after my father ''tricked'' her to go in. But the frequency is still concerning me, we will see how it goes in the coming days. I feel she is more prone to get UTI although we make sure that she takes enough fluid. She is on antibiotics right now as she had fallen recently and the dr felt she may get infection near the wound. She doesn't like being assisted in going to the toilet (she doesn't clean herself) or shower because she considers it as someone entering her private space. Other than she always says that she has already taken the shower and gone to the toilet while she has not. So yes she does associate these two things with something unpleasant.


Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
South coast
She may also be forgetting the sequence of what she has to do. Also, people with dementia find white things sort of fade into the background, so if you have a white toilet (and especially if there are white tiles behind) she may be having trouble actually seeing it. Have you tried a coloured seat - red is best - so that she can see it better? I always leave the lid up for OH too so that there is one less thing to do.