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Overcoming Shy/Overtrained Bladders

By BitterGrey

"It is a pain in the butt. ... I have to pee, but even after concentrating for nearly a half hour, I've been unable to. Why? I'm sitting in the school cafeteria. I don't know how deep the psychological training has been ingrained into me, but it's enough that I'm unable to relax enough to wet. Though the moment I'm outside, by myself, I'll be able to wet with no problems. " -LilDobe

When it comes to urinating, we have less control than we think. Far from helplessly wetting, there might be times when we can't pee, no matter how hard we try. Potty training focused so heavily on not wetting that now, sometimes we can't pee when we want too. The problem is most often felt in public restrooms, where it is called a "shy bladder"DEF or parureseisDEF. However, it may also be a problem for those starting to use diapers again. For me, peeing while laying down, walking, or driving can be difficult.

To urinate, the bladder and two muscular valves, called "sphincters"DEF need to work as a team. The external sphincter is consciously controlled, while the internal sphincter is not. They have been trained to hold on most of the time, especially when clothed or in bed. As a result, we need retrain them. They need to be taught that it is OK to wet diapers, etc.

The concept of retraining is simple: start in a situation where it is easy to wet, and move toward the situation that was giving you trouble, step-by-step. Each time you feel the urge to pee, confirm that everything is ready, encourage yourself to pee, and then praise yourself for your success.

Step one: Prepare

Of course, the first step is to prepare. Make sure the diaper is secure and capable, so it won't leak. Take extra precautions against leaks, both for emotional security and because you'll be peeing a lot during practice. For example, if you are training for beds, make sure your mattress is covered and clean sheets are on hand, so you'll be OK even if your diaper leaks. Leaks are a negative re-enforcement, one of the things that trained us to be dry in the first place. For males, you'll want it either up or down. Peeing straight into a diaper that is pressed against the head of the penis can cause a backpressure that hurts (or worse). Go over everything and reassure yourself that the diaper won't leak, and that it is OK to use. Next, drink extra water. This increases the urge and condenses training time.

WARNING: Sip the water frequently over a period of time, generally not more than a liter an hour. Don't drink to the point where you feel sick. Drinking far too much water within a short period of time can lead to euvolemic hyponatremiaEXT, which can be fatal. In addition, don't let the urge rise to the point of being painful. This may drive urine back into the kidneys, damaging them.

Step two: Practice

Start in a position that you think you can pee in, and then move towards the difficult position step-by-step. For example, if you want to learn to pee laying down, start out standing, then pee a few times, sit on the edge of the bed, pee a few times, sit in the middle of the bed, pee a few times, and finally lay down, and pee a few more times. Each time, you'll want to...

A few practice sessions may be needed. There is one detail that could be difficult...

Step two and a half: Getting the flow started

Counting and breathing doesn't work for everyone all the time. Here's a list of techniques that you can try. Use the ones that work best for you. Don't wait until it hurts.

Long Term Effects

Though it may take some practice, you should eventually be able to pee in the situations that gave you trouble before. Of course, how much practice will vary from person to person. Some will have to work at it for a while. Once the overtrained bladder is overcome, you'll be able to wet when you want. It will also give you the option of going on to use natural untraining techniques to eventually become incontinent, if you wish. Of course, this would involve wearing and using diapers 24/7.

On the other hand, if there is a long period without wearing diapers, there are some shy bladders that will revert: they get out of practice if they don't wet in problem situations often enough. Annoyingly, I'm slow to retrain, but quick to revert. It is best to be consistent. Choose when and where you want to wear diapers so that over time, your bladder will get used to doing what you want it too.

- Updated:20 March 2011  1st:11 Oct 2002     

Do you have Questions, tips, suggestions, or other feedback?

  Reader Comments:
  • Undrdog offered a suggestion about learning to wet in bed: "Starting standing up or kneeling in bed helps. Also, and this is strange, if you are laying on your back, lift your head up. I don't know why that helps, but it does. A lot of it has to do with just getting comfortable with the idea and trusting your diaper. It comes easier when you know you're in a thick diaper with plastic pants that won't leak.
  • An anonymous reader shares: "My shy bladder has been a problem all my life not being able to use a urinal in public. I put my DL to use to cut down my shy bladder by working on wetting my diaper while laying in bed. At first I could barely manage a trickle standing when painfully full. But over time I retook control of my bladder by the same stagged process you discussed, first standing then laying. Wet sheets are one issue but wet mattress is an entirely different problem, so I sliced the bottom and left edge of a garbage bag to make a large flat plastic sheet that could be placed under the center of the mattress sheet to provide more confidence. My last diaper wetting was emptying a pleasantly full bladder while laying flat in bed, and was enough to get a trickle out the cuffs on a bambino after a second full wetting that night. ([I'm] thankful for the plastic sheet, sheets clean up easier than mattresses!) Raising my head was not useful during the trials, but I did find arching my back was helpful early on, and penis down is a good idea to prevent leaks when on your back. I'm happy to say I can now fully wet my diaper while laying flat on my back or stomach, and I can (with minimal difficulty) use a urinal while standing next to another member of the public! I never expected my DL to solve such real life problems. Next challenge will be to wet my diaper while driving."
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