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What is a bladder diary?

A bladder diary is a record of when the person normally passes urine. It's often used to collect information as part of a continence assessment. A bladder diary may also be used at different times during a continence treatment plan to see if the plan is working.

It's important to fill out the diary carefully, so that the information can be used to plan the person's continence care.


The person should be involved in managing their bladder diary as much as possible. Work out what things they can do, for example, writing down the amount of urine passed on the bladder diary after you measure it, or tipping the urine from the container into the toilet.

What information does a bladder diary collect?

A bladder diary shows:

  • how many times the person empties their bladder during the day and overnight
  • the total amount of urine the person passes every 24 hours
  • whether the person is wet before they get to the toilet (urinary incontinence)
  • whether the person felt the need to go to the scheduled time
  • if the person wears a continence pad, how many times a day it needs to be changed
  • whether the amount of fluid they drink is less or more than the amount of urine the person passes, when compared to a fluid intake diary (a record of what drinks the person has in the same time period).

How do you fill out a bladder diary?

A bladder diary is usually kept for three days. It should be filled out using the person's normal routine.

The diary:

  • is kept for three full days
  • can be kept for three separate 24-hour periods, or for three days and nights in a row.

To work out which one of these timing options to use and when:

  • think about what will work better for the person:
    • if you notice that their pattern of passing urine changes over the week, it may be better to do three different days
    • if their pattern of passing urine is the same most of the time, keep the diary for three days in a row
  • think about when the person will be home during the recording period. It's harder to record the results when the person is out, so it's best to keep the diary when they will be at home, e.g if they are at a day centre during the week, keep the diary on the weekend when they are home.

Other things to think about:

  • If the person has a commode, they can use that instead of the toilet, as the pan will catch the urine. Some people don't like to use the commode during the day, however, and you need to respect that even if it's easier for you.
  • You may be also asked to record the fluids the person drinks during the time the diary is kept. The diary may have room to write this down, or you may need to write it on a separate diary. This can be kept in the kitchen so that the time, as well as the type and amount of fluid can be written down as the person has it.

Remember that for the information to be useful, you need to fill out the diary as carefully as possible.

If you have any problems filling out the bladder diary, ask the person who wants the diary for help.

Need more help? Call the National Continence Helpline on 18OO 33 OO 66 and talk to a continence nurse advisor.

Extra Resources

Take the Quiz

Question 1

A bladder diary:

helps to work out the person's usual pattern of passing urine

will make the person refuse to use the toilet

is too much work

cures urinary incontinence.

Question 2

A bladder diary is usually kept for:

half a day

three 24-hour periods

six months

all the time.

Question 3

A bladder diary is kept:

only during the day and not the night

during the day and overnight

only overnight and not during the day

only when the person is away from home.

Question 4

A bladder diary shows

the total amount of urine passed every 24 hours

whether the person is wet before the get to the toilet

how many times the person empties their bladder during the day and night

all of the above.

This information is not a substitute for independent professional advice.