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 bog you from time to time. This task becomes all the more difficult when the child is at a stage where he or she is still learning to talk and express. One of the problems is when your child is not urinating for a long time or how often a child should urinate in a day. Read on to know the probable causes and what actions to take when the child is not urinating for 12 hours.

The question is 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. But 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, such as inadequate hydration for toddlers. If the child is not urinating for 12 hours, this may be a sign of dehydration. Bladder dysfunction, an infection, or obstruction in the flow can also cause reduced urine output. Dehydration leads to no or very little urine output. This could happen if the child does not take ample fluids throughout the day, or is likely suffering from vomiting or diarrhea. These factors definitely impact how often a child urinates in a day.

There are various causes of urine infection 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 urine infection 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.

Sometimes, some medications may also be the reason behind 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.

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 be a sign that the toddler is trying bladder control; but there is no particular age at which a toddler can develop this habit.

There can be various other things to consider to understand reduced urine problems in kids. Did your child eat and drink less on that particular day? Is the child experiencing fever or any other sign of illness? If none of these symptoms occur and the child is playful and happy then there is little reason to worry. 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.

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 color and odor of the urine is anything other than usual.

When should you call a doctor? When you see that your toddler hasn’t even attempted the small job throughout the day. Our kids do give us some signs from time to time even if they are not expressing themselves clearly. 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 pees less than 4 times in 24 hours, you need to contact 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 these may lead to 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, precaution is better than cure.