Understanding The Causes And Actions To Take When A Toddler Is Not Urinating


When your child is growing up there are so many issues (big and small) that may bog you from time to time. These issues may become all the more difficult when the child is at a stage where he or she is still learning to talk and express. One major concern parents or caretakers have is not knowing what to do if a child is not urinating or experiencing oliguria. Oliguria is a medical term that refers to decreased urine output. Oliguria can be a sign of an underlying medical condition or any other issues affecting the kidneys, urinary tract or overall fluid balance in the body. Read on to know the probable causes and actions to take when the child is not urinating for 12 hours or more.

How Often Should A Toddler Urinate In A Day?

A toddler’s bladder size is around 88 to 145 ml, which means they should empty it every 2 to 4 hours. However, this voiding frequency may vary depending upon the child’s toilet training habit. Many children develop the ability to extend the voiding intervals longer than expected; even up to six hours. However, there are a few instances where decreased urination can indicate an underlying issue. If a 1-year-old baby is not urinating for 12 hours, this may be a sign of dehydration.

The frequency of urination in toddlers can vary and it depends on factors such as age, fluid intake and individual differences. On average, a toddler may urinate about 6-8 times a day. However, this can vary and some toddlers may urinate more or less frequently. It’s essential to ensure that your toddler stays hydrated, as this can influence the frequency of urination. If you have concerns about your toddler’s urination habits or notice any changes, it’s a good idea to consult with a pediatrician for personalized advice and guidance. Additionally, be mindful of signs of dehydration or excessive thirst, as these can also provide important information about your toddler’s overall health.

Understanding a toddler’s urination pattern is an essential aspect of parenting. Regular monitoring, maintaining proper hydration and seeking professional advice when required contribute to promoting a healthy urinary system in toddlers. As always, a pediatrician can provide personalized insights and address any specific concerns related to your toddler’s well-being.

Causes Of Oliguria And How To Prevent Them

  1. Dehydration
  2. Dehydration in babies and toddlers occurs when their bodies lose more fluids than they consume, leading to an imbalance that affects their overall health. Common causes include illnesses causing vomiting or diarrhoea, insufficient fluid intake, hot weather or prolonged periods without adequate hydration. Babies and toddlers are more susceptible to dehydration due to their smaller body size and higher turnover of fluids. Signs of dehydration may include dry mouth, fewer wet diapers, fussiness, lethargy and sunken eyes. It is crucial to monitor their fluid intake, offer breast milk or formula frequently and seek medical attention if the baby is not passing urine for 12 hours or more.

  3. Bladder Dysfunction
  4. There are various causes of oliguria in infants; most are caused by bacteria that enter the urethra. Urine infection is usually accompanied by pain while urinating. Older toddlers may express their discomfort by crying during urination or even refusing to go to the toilet due to fear of pain. Other causes of oliguria in infants can be due to constipation, holding the pee for a long time, or particles of ‘poo’ entering the urinary tract when they soil their diaper.

    Give your child small sips of water from time to time till it becomes a habit. For mild dehydration, encourage your toddler to drink more fluids throughout the day; make sure that you don’t give them any sugary liquids as this would lead to dental caries.

  5. Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
  6. Bacterial entry into the urethra can cause infections, leading to pain or discomfort during urination. Recognizing signs like crying while passing urine or frequent urination and promptly consulting a doctor can help diagnose and treat UTIs effectively.

  7. Side-Effects Of Medications
  8. Sometimes, medications can also lead to reduced urination. Antihistamines and decongestants can have an impact on the production of urine as a side effect. Parents must check if their toddler has been given any new medication recently and check with their doctor to know about its possible side effects.

  9. Stress and Anxiety
  10. Urine problems in kids can also occur due to stress and anxiety. Parents need to check if there have been any major changes or shifts in their child’s life. Children also tend to hold their urine if any particular experience has triggered a fear to pee, for example, pain. On the other hand, reduced urine output can also be a sign that the toddler is trying bladder control; but there is no particular age at which a toddler can develop this habit. Other things to consider to understand reduced urine problems in kids are their food and water intake, fever and any other signs of illness. If you think that your kid is developing bladder control, remind them to use the bathroom if they are holding the urine a bit longer than you think. It would be a good idea to accompany your little one to the washroom and check if they emptied the bladder or not. While doing so, you can also check if your toddler is experiencing any pain, if at all, or if the colour and odour of the urine are unusual.

  11. Baby not passing urine for 12 hours?
  12. Our kids might be unable to communicate their pain and discomforts, but they do express themselves with some signs and noticing these can help you a lot from further hassles. As mentioned earlier, if your child is playful and happy, there is little to worry about. On the other hand, if your toddler seems ill at ease, in pain, refuses to eat and drink, or does not pass urine for 12 hours you need to consult a doctor. If you think that there is some obstruction in the urine flow then you immediately need to go to the ER and see a doctor. These signs are not to be avoided as they may lead to more serious problems if not addressed immediately.

We, at EuroKids, understand that every child is different and reacts differently to certain behaviors and situations. The above-mentioned probable causes and actions are only a general guide to what your child might be facing and how you can take care of them. However, a parent knows their child and nothing can beat the gut feeling of a parent. If you think that your toddler needs to see the doctor even if he or she appears completely alright then there’s no harm in going ahead and doing so, right? After all, prevention is better than cure.

For informative and accurate articles on all things related to your new born-toddler’s development, growth, health and nutrition, follow EuroKids Blogs and do check out our nationally recognized preschools – EuroKids for the first step in your kid’s educational journey!

About Us

EuroKids is recognized as India’s most respected early childhood education brand, with over 21 years of experience, and has a presence in 350+ cities & 3 countries. The journey began in 2001 with 2 preschools and since then the group has consistently raised the bar for preschool education through its innovative and mindful curriculum – EUNOIA, which helps children grow holistically in a home-like environment.