Here’s How Many Times You Should Actually Pee in a Day, a Urologist Reveals

Feel like you need to pee more often than you should? A bladder health doctor reveals the true number of times it's normal to go in a day.

We all go…but we don’t often talk about what’s normal. Whether you spend your days at work or in the privacy of home, it’s safe to say plenty of us have wondered: Am I running to the bathroom more than most people do? Gregory Quayle, MD, a urologist certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties, has some answers.

The number of times you should urinate in a day depends on a few factors, but there are some universal guidelines. Here are some prevalent trends when it comes to peeing—and another read that will lend some context here:

Here’s How Much Water You Really Need in a Day, with Nutritional Scientists’ Latest Wisdom

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How often should you pee?

Dr. Quayale points out that “the frequency of urination is subject to habit and the size of the bladder.” He explains the bladder can hold up to 24 to 27 ounces (700 to 800 milliliters) in men and 17 to 20 ounces (500 to 600 milliliters) in women, yet typically the bladder will start sending signals that it’s time to go when it’s at 50% capacity, which is 250 to 350 milliliters, or 8.5 to 12 ounces.

“If you urinate four to 12 times a day and don’t have any symptoms such as pain or burning with urination, weird urine smell, or color then you are urinating normally and your bladder is likely to be healthy.”

To get a little more specific: while the amount of fluid you drink in a day will vary from person to person, generally Dr. Quayle says, “Anywhere from four to 10 times a day is considered normal, depending on how much liquid you drink.” Certainly for someone who drinks at least eight glasses of water a day, that number is likely to increase. “And an athlete who drinks 20 glasses of water, can urinate up to 12 times a day,” says Dr. Quayle

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The color does matter

That’s right—the color of your pee does matter, and it can tell you a lot about your health.

The truth is, there is such a thing as drinking too much water. If your pee is clear without any color, that’s just one sign you actually may be drinking too much. The color you want to go for is a pale straw shade. If it veers on the amber or honey-colored side, it may be time to start drinking some more water throughout the day.

However, if the color of your pee is abnormal, like brown, orange, red or green (yes, green), it could be a sign of a greater issue, so set up an appointment to speak with a doctor or a urologist.

Not exactly sure what the color is? You can easily measure the color using this urine color chart that reveals exactly what your pee color means.

Can’t go? Here’s how to handle it.

If you’re finding that you aren’t needing to pee as frequently throughout the day—also known as urinary incontinence—Dr. Quayle says it’s something that you can get tested through your doctor. “If you have symptoms of urinary incontinence, urodynamic testing can be prescribed. Urodynamic Testing is a procedure used to assess how well the bladder and urethra are functioning. It is also used to help diagnose the cause of urinary incontinence.”

Certain foods can be the cause of urinary incontinence known as diuretics, stimulating your bladder and increasing the volume of urine, such as foods that are high in spice, sugar or acid, according to the Mayo Clinic. Urinary tract infections, constipation or menopause could also be to blame. However, there are more serious causes of urinary incontinence including undiagnosed prostate cancer or neurological disorders.

If you feel your number of times needing to tinkle isn’t hitting within that four to ten window, be sure to talk to your doctor about getting tested to find out the root cause.

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Kiersten Hickman
Kiersten Hickman is a journalist and content strategist with a main focus on nutrition, health, and wellness coverage. She holds an MA in Journalism from DePaul University and a Nutrition Science certificate from Stanford Medicine. Her work has been featured in publications including Taste of Home, Reader's Digest, Bustle, Buzzfeed, INSIDER, MSN, Eat This, Not That!, and more.