You’re just about to walk into a movie you’ve been waiting for months to see. And you’re thirsty.
Should you have a drink now?
Will you need to pee in 30 minutes and miss the best part of the movie?
If you’ve ever been in a similar situation before, or you suffer from frequent urination, or even if you’re just curious: this guide to how long it takes to pee after drinking water is for you.
How long does it take to pee after drinking water?
If you’re well-hydrated and your bladder is full or close to full, it can take as little as five to fifteen minutes to need to pee after drinking water. However, if you’re dehydrated with an empty bladder, it can take as long as eight to nine hours before you need to urinate.
Time to pee after drinking water: infants, toddlers, children and adults
Our bladders have what Healthline describes as an “invisible fill line”. This line is at around ¼ capacity of our bladder. When this line is reached, our brain receives a signal telling us that we need to pee.
In the table below, we’ve calculated the time it takes to pee after drinking water assuming an empty bladder and needing to pee once the bladder is one-quarter full.
|Age||Bladder capacity (ml)||Bladder capacity (ounces)||Time to fill bladder||Estimate time to pee after drinking|
|Infant (0–12 months)||30 – 60 ml||1–2 ounces||1-hour||15 minutes|
|Toddler (1–3 years)||90 – 150ml||3–5 ounces||2 hours||1 hour|
|Child (4–12 years)||210 – 420ml||7–14 ounces||2 – 4 hours||30 minutes – 1-hour|
|Adult||475 – 709 ml||16–24 ounces||8 – 9 hours||2hours – 2hours 15 mins|
Children: How long does it take them to pee after drinking water?
A well-hydrated child with a full bladder will likely need to pee as soon as five to fifteen minutes after drinking – similar to an adult.
With an empty bladder, a 4-12-year-old child may need to pee within two to four hours. This is because their bladders can be up to half the size of an adult.
Men vs. Women: Who needs to pee sooner?
It’s often thought that women pee more frequently than men. And some studies that track urination diaries seem to back this up.
However, there’s no evidence to suggest that there’s any difference between the time it takes from drinking to peeing for men and women.
How is urine formed?
Urine is formed in the body by a process of filtration, reabsorption, and secretion .
The kidneys filter the blood to remove waste products and excess water. The filtered fluid (urine) is then passed through the ureters to the urinary bladder where it is stored until it is eliminated from the body through urination.
During urine formation, the kidneys reabsorb most of the water and some of the solutes (such as glucose) that were filtered out of the blood. This process allows the body to conserve water and prevents the loss of important nutrients.
Secretion occurs when certain substances (such as drugs or toxins) are actively transported from the blood into the urine. At this stage, we can start to see urine’s yellow color due to the presence of urochrome, a pigment that is a by-product of Bilirubin metabolism.
The urinary bladder stores urine until it is ready to be eliminated from the body. The process of urination is controlled by the nervous system and when the urinary sphincter muscles relax, urine is passed through the urethra and out of the body.
Now that you know how urine is formed, you can better understand why drinking plenty of fluids is important for urinary health.
What factors influence how long it takes to pee after drinking?
It’s only natural that we pee after drinking water.
Here are 9 factors that can influence our urination patterns, and affect the speed at which we pee.
The higher your liquid intake, the more time you will spend peeing, and the quicker you’ll feel the urge after drinking.
This is because your urinary bladder becomes fuller and needs to be emptied.
The average person will naturally pee every four hours or so, whether they drink a lot of water or not. However, drinking water in large amounts in a shorter period of time can cause you to urinate more frequently.
Other liquids, like caffeine, coffee, and soft drinks can also make you pee more frequently.
Caffeine, coffee, and soft drinks
If your fluid intake consists of large amounts of coffee, tea, or soft drinks , you might notice that you have to go more often.
Caffeine and coffee are diuretics, which means they make us pee more.
So if you’re chugging coffee or energy drinks all day long, don’t be surprised if you find yourself in the bathroom more frequently than usual.
Carbonated drinks and even unsweetened fruit juices can also have a diuretic effect.
Alcohol is another diuretic, which as mentioned before, means it makes us pee more.
When we drink alcohol, our body tries to get rid of it as quickly as possible. So we’ll urinate more often and with greater urgency when we’ve been drinking alcohol.
Alcohol can also irritate the bladder, causing us to feel the urge to go even when our bladder isn’t full.
As we age, our pelvic muscles and bladder muscles can weaken. This can lead to incontinence and a need to urinate more frequently and sooner after drinking, even during the night.
Most seniors should avoid drinking too much water during the hours before bed. Instead aiming to hit their fluid in takes during daytime hours.
During pregnancy, the growing uterus puts pressure on the urinary bladder. This can cause frequent urination and the feeling of needing to pee sooner after drinking due to less overall space in the bladder.
It’s also common for pregnant women to wake up multiple times during the night to use the restroom. This is due to the increased amount of blood in their body, as well as the extra pressure on the bladder from the growing uterus.
Diet & excess salt intake
High salt intake from our diets makes us pee sooner and more frequently after drinking.
When we consume salty foods, our body retains water in order to dilute the salt. This extra water then fills up our bladder sooner, causing us to urinate more frequently.
Certain fruits like watermelon and cucumber can also have a diuretic effect due to their high water content.
The climate can have a big effect on how long it takes to pee after drinking.
In hot temperatures, our bodies sweat to cool down and reduce our body temperature. This sweat contains water, which we lose when it evaporates from our skin.
So in hot weather, we lose more water through sweating than normal, and we need to drink more fluids to make up for it.
This increased fluid intake means we’ll urinate more frequently in hot weather.
Conversely, in cold weather, we don’t sweat as much and so we don’t lose as much water.
This can lead to dehydration if we’re not careful, as we might not feel as thirsty in cold weather.
So it’s important to make sure we’re drinking enough fluids, even in cold weather, or we might find ourselves going to the bathroom less often than normal.
Certain medications can have a diuretic effect, causing us to urinate more frequently, and much sooner after drinking.
This includes medication for high blood pressure, heart failure, and kidney disease.
If you’re on any medication, be sure to check with your doctor to see if it might make you urinate more frequently.
It’s probably not obvious to most people that your mental and emotional health can also affect how long it takes to pee after drinking.
Traumatic incidents in your past relating to toilets or urination may cause you to develop a phobia or anxiety around using the restroom.
This can lead to avoidance of using the restroom, which can in turn lead to urinary retention (not being able to pee when you need to).
You may also pee faster if you’re anxious or in a hurry. The adrenaline from the anxiety can cause your body to go into “fight or flight” mode, which can lead to increased urination.
Overall health & health conditions
Your overall health and any underlying health conditions can also play a role in peeing habits and how quickly you urinate after drinking.
For example, if you have diabetes, your body may be unable to properly process the sugar in your blood. This can lead to increased urination as your body tries to get rid of the excess sugar in your urine.
Obesity and body weight can often be linked to urinary incontinence or a hyperactive bladder.
Other health conditions like urinary tract infections, kidney stones, an overactive bladder or pelvic muscle weakness can also lead to more frequent urination, the feeling of needing to go sooner after drinking, and even urinary incontinence.
So if you find yourself having to pee more frequently than you’d like, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor to rule out any underlying health conditions.
The small bladder myth
Many people believe that people who pee frequently, or quickly after drinking have a small bladder.
But here’s the thing: despite big differences in the sizes of our bodies on the outside, on the inside, most people’s organs are pretty similar in size.
So while there may be some truth to the idea that taller people have longer legs and so can walk further before needing to take a break, the same isn’t true for our bladders.
In fact, most people’s bladder capacity is actually quite similar, regardless of their height or weight. So if you find yourself having to go to the bathroom more frequently than others, it’s probably not because you have a small bladder.
How to influence how long it takes to pee after drinking
While the time it takes to pee is not totally under your control, there are a few ways you can influence the process.
Speeding up the time between drinking and peeing
If for some reason you’d like to pee frequently or speed up the time it takes to pee there are a few things you can do.:
- drink lots of tea or coffee
- chug water
- keep cool
- wear loose-fitting clothes
- pee as soon as you feel the need
- turn on the aircon to reduce your body temperature
Slowing down the time between drinking and peeing
A much more likely scenario is wanting to slow down your pee time. Perhaps on a flight or a long bus journey.
You can slow down your pee time, in the following ways:
- drink water sparingly
- drink coffee sparingly
- avoid soft drinks
- increase your body temperature
- deep breathing exercises
- regularly exercise your pelvic muscles
- pee before you go to bed (even if you don’t feel like you need to)
- avoid salty foods and those with high water content
- avoid stressful situations
Frequently asked questions
How much urine can the urinary bladder store?
The average urinary bladder can store up to 500 milliliters (mL) of urine. However, there is no standard because everyone’s bladder capacity varies. Factors that can affect how much your bladder can hold include your age, sex, and health history.
How many times should you pee per day?
On average, people with a healthy urinary tract should pee around six to eight times per day. However, there is no standard because everyone’s bladder capacity varies. What’s more important is to watch out for changes in your peeing habits, particularly any sudden increase in the number of times you pee per day.
Is it normal to pee immediately after drinking water?
Yes, it’s perfectly normal to have to pee soon after drinking fluids. In fact, it’s one of the first signs that your body is absorbing the fluid.
How long does it take to pee after drinking coffee?
For most people, it takes around 30 minutes to an hour to urinate after drinking coffee. However, there is no standard because everyone’s bladder capacity varies. As caffeine is a diuretic you should expect to pee faster than usual.
How can I stop myself from peeing so much at night?
There are a few things you can do to reduce the need to wake up at night to pee. These include cutting back on fluids before bed, going to the bathroom before you go to sleep, and avoiding caffeine and alcohol. If you have sleep apnea, treatment can also help.