32 answers

18 Month Old Not Urinating

I am writing in hopes to get answers of suggestions from other moms on this issue. I am a mom of three and this is the first time I am coming across this issue. My 18 month old has not been urinating much since this past Saturday. Maybe 3 wet diapers and a couple drops in the potty (twice a day). I have noticeed that her urine also has a very distinct odor to it. I called my pediatrician on Sunday and she told me to make sure she is taking in fluids, but because of her age whe is too young for a UTI or any other infections of that type. I am concerned, because it is now almost 6 days and she still is not urinating like she typically does. does anyong have any eperience with this issue? She is only 18 months old, so I know it is not a potty training issue. She sits on the potty in the morning and before her bath and will pee a little, but is just a coinsidence. Any suggestions as to what I should do or try. I am also wondering if I should call and take her to the ped, or if I should goto one of my local hospitals (thy have a Peds. ER). I am not one of those moms who jump at every lttle sneeze, but this is really concrning me. i only mention the ER because I have a feeling if I take her to the ped they will end up needing a urine specimen (via cath. beecause of her age) and/or and ultrasound, so they might send me to the ER anyway. Can someone please help me out with this one. This being my third child one would think I have been through this, but it is a new one to me. Any suggestions or inputs will be appreciated!!!!! Thanks in advance for all your help!!!!!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

We got the preliminary urine culture back and there is a severe bacterial infection!!! The doc said it would be another day before the lab can tell what type of bacteria it is. The Doc did put her on medicine and the fever finally broke, so she is feeling a little better (so am I). I am hoping that with the meds she will be a little more comfortable and be able to get some sleep. Thank you to everyone for all your information and thoughts. This website proves that "moms" are the best.

P.S. I let the doc I saw on Wed and Thurs know hwat I thought about the Doc I spoke with on Sun. Had I known that this could have been such a severe problem I would have had her in the office on Sunday!!! i feel like a horrible person letting the infection go so long untreated, but I was only going by what the doc told me on Sunday!!!!! From now on I am relying on my gut %100!!!!!!!!

More Answers

I am a Neonatal Nurse, not only do UTIs occur premies, but my son had a UTI @ 4 weeks and was diagnosed with renal reflux. It can become evident at any age. I do agree if she is drinking/eating enough then -- 5 pees can be ok, perhaps she is changing her habits. Does she appear to be bloated? IN pain when she pees? Is the urine dark? Any fever -- usually the # 1 sign of a UTI in a child/infant? 18 mos is early for potty -did you train your others early too. Most Dr offices do the urine cath in the office. I would recommend talking to your pediatrician more, if you go to the ER, they will most likely not do a US or VCUG right then, they will schedule, since it is not urgent. She will have her urine checked and the results read before any other diagnostic studies. If you have that instinctual feeling something is wrong then definitely get some follow up on this!

1 mom found this helpful

I think you are right to be worried. When my son was a few months old we took him in to a kidney specialist because there was a history of problems in my family. (My sister had repeated UTIs and they discovered urine refluxing into her kidneys. She had corrective surgery at 6 years old- this was back when it was less common to screen for so it took them a long time to figure it out so now she only has the use of one kidney.) When I was pregnant my ultrasounds showed fluid in one of my son's kidneys so we were worried. My pediatrician recommended that we take him for a VCUG and an ultrasound. While this was traumatic for him, he was too young to remember it and it was over quickly and we have the peace of mind knowing that he is healthy.
So I would agree that you have to get her seen just in case. There is something wrong here and she is certainly not too young for a UTI. Call your doctor back one last time and stress that there is an odor. This is a sign of a problem. Tell them that you really need to bring her in to be seen and if they can't get you in you will take her to the hospital. Don't take no for an answer. If they still refuse, bring her to the hospital.
I would try to get a urine sample beforehand so they don't have to do the catheter. Wash and disinfect her potty so it's as sterile as you can get it and then try to get her to pee in her little potty and save the sample in a sterilized sealed container. They may not accept it, but it's worth a try. Otherwise, give her lots of fluids before you go so it won't be too hard to get a urine sample at the dr's office/hospital.

After this is all over with, I would look for a new pediatrician. This is not good advice from your doctor and I can't believe they would not suggest that you come right in on Monday.

Hi C.,
Does she have a fever or is cranky? 18 months old is Not to young for a UTI... my daughter had a kidney infection at only 7 months old. Her main symptoms were crankiness ( or just not acting herself) and then fever and smelly urine. Now, every fever or anytime she is acting unusually cranky she needs to go into the doctor for a urine sample... even if the doctor suspects the cause is something more common such as teething or an ear ache.
I would take her to a doctor, they can try and do a urine catch with a bag... but it doesn't often work, and if they find any bacteria they will most likely do a catheter anyway. Caths are a horrible experience to go through, but if it is a UTI you want it treated quickly so that permanent damage is not done to the kidneys.
When my daughter had hers, we had to do a cath, and an ultrasound and then a VCUG with a pediatric urologist but it all turned out okay. She has no reflux from her ureters and no kidney damage. I would definitely get your daughter checked out...you know your child better then anyone and if you feel something is not right its best to get it looked at.

Best of Luck

Dear C.,

18 months is NOT too young to have a urinary tract infection. Bubble baths are one cause. Have her checked.


Take her to the dr. right away. SHe is not too young. If you are not satisfied with your doctors response go somewhere else. If you really don't want her to have the catheder insist on the bag method (they will sort of stick it to her below her belly button.

Take her to the doctor and have her tested for an urinart track infection. There is something going on. And if the Dr. won't run the simple urine test FIND A NEW DOCTOR! Not urinating can cause lots of big long term problems. A.

Hi C. My name is S. I am a mother of two a six yr old girl and 2 1/2 yr old boy. I would definatley be concerned I am no doctor but as any mother you know your child better than a doctor you know what is the norm and what is unusual for them. I would ask the pediatrians office for a urine collection bottle to bring home then the next morining when your child has to urinate make sure it is on a very clean potty free of any fecal residue or chemicals let her urinate in that potty and then pour it into the urine collection bottle for the doctors office if you are not going there right away refrigerate it but bring it in the same day they can test it for urinary tract infection which she may be getting from her baths my daughter has a long history for this to this day I stopped baths when she was old enough that helped but even pools, and not using the facilities at school enough trigger it in her. If not a UTI I would ask to see a specialist then just to be safe. Another thing absoulutley no bubble baths only mild baby soaps like head to toe bubble baths trigger UTI'S Good Luck. Sue

Hi C... I would certainly pursue this issue with your dr. If she doesn't make a big deal out of it, you could take her to a urologist. I think not peeing much for 6 days is cause for concern.. Is she drinking enough? when she cries, does she have tears? I don't thi nk youneed to go to the ER, but I would certainly want a dr.'s visit and soon...
good luck!

Dear C.,

Does she seem to have any pain when she is urinating? That is usually a sign of a UTI. I am concerned that your doctor is not taking this seriously though, it could be something else that needs addressing.I have never heard of someone being to young for a UTI. You are her mom and if you have noticed a difference in her urination then I say yes have her looked at. My aunt always suffered with urinary issues where the tube that emptied the bladder was not opened enough or blocked I am not sure exactly but I do know it would prevent her from emptying her bladder completely. My friends daughter was suspected of a UTI they made her wear a plastic bag that taped on as a diaper so they could get a urine sample and did not have to catherize (sp) her so it was much less invasive. If you have increased her liquids and still do not see a change I would take her for a second opinion. Then again I was one of those mothers who ran to the doctor for every sneeze (my mother in law used to make fun of me). Despite that I think for peace of mind you should get it checked out further. Mommy knows her children best. Good luck!

get to her a urologist...don't wait.

Sorry I read some of the other Mom's advise and they are thinking like I was but I did not want to write all that down but as you can tell I am now doing it...I still believe you should go to your children's BUT if she/he is not helpful fine another. Just so you know my daughter was 7 months old when I took her in because of pink urine my ped. immediately felt it was a urinary tract infection so a child can get UTI really at any age. Unfortuatley it was not one it was more serious than that.....SO to make a long story short..............take her to a doctor asap. It could lead to something really serious.

Good luck,

I agree with the other moms:
1. She is NOT too young for a UTI!
2. Bring her to the dr. ASAP

Does she have a fever/temperature?

Good Luck

She's not too young for a UTI. The odor is often a sign of one. I'd bring her in today. They'll take a urine specimen with a catheter right in the office...no need to go to the hospital for it. It only takes a minute to do.

Call the Dr. ASAP!

Not sure if you've done anything yet but I recently had my daughter at her doctor for similar reason. She was crying when she peed though and the odor was strong. (She is 21 months old.)Anyway, at the doctor they didn't catheterize her because the doc thought it woud be too traumatic and rightly so. They actually took a plastic bag with a sticky piece of foam carved around the top and stuck it to her vagina and collected the sample that way. It doesn't sound great but a much better alternative to a catheter and surprisingly my daughter did really well when they were putting it on. She wasn't too happy once it was on because of the plastice in her diaper. But again the alternative is worse. Hope this helps.

If your pediatrician is saying she is too young for a UTI, I would switch pediatricians, because that is definitely not true!! In fact, it is very very common in infant girls due to the proximity of the "poo" to the vagina. She doesn't necessary need to go to the ER, but she does need to go to a more reliable doctor who will check her out properly. FYI, they will probably do an ultrasound on her, but it's really not a big deal - as I'm sure you know, the more anxious you are, the more anxious she will be about it.

Hi C.,
If your doctor told you that she is too young for a UTI, you need to find another doctor. You are right to be concerned. I would get her in to a doctor today. You normally need to go through your own doctor before heading to the ER. But if your doctor isn't saying anything other than to push fluids, I would take her elsewhere. Meanwhile, keep in mind that if she's in disposable diapers, these often pull urine away from the skin/surface of the diaper. It's difficult to really know how much your baby is peeing. To get a better handle on exactly how much she's urinating, I'd put her into cloth diapers for now to monitor - but I would definitely make a doctor's appointment for TODAY.
Good luck

Hi C., According to the "what to expect.." books: "no daytime urination for 4 hours or more" requires immediate medical attention. 6 days is a long time for anyone to go without much urination. Please seek medical assistance as soon as possible. Love, J.


I sounds to me like she may have a bladder or a kidney infection! Small children usually don't get them, but there is an exception to every rule! When you bathe her, have you been putting bubble bath or anything like that in her bathwater, because that can cause a urinary tract infection.

I know your pediatrician told you not to worry about it, but they're not always right! You're her mother, and if your instincts are telling you that there's something wrong, then they're probably is! If I were you, the next time she goes in the potty, I would put a portion of the urine that she puts out into a clean, sterile container (such as an empty baby food jar that's been dipped in boiling water) and take it to her pediatrician, and insist that they test it, to see if she has an infection. You don't have to take her in to be seen, unless the test shows something abnormal, but I would definitely insist that her urine be tested, just to be on the safe side! Doctors aren't always right!

Not urinating is very concerning. Take her to her pediatrician or hospital immediately. Don't wait for things to get worse.

That's odd that she is too young for a UTI - our nephew was hospitalized while an infant w/one - unless it's different for boys - I would go w/my gut and bring her to the e/r. Heck, my oldest is at the e/r so often they claim to be building a wing for her! Good luck!

Definitely take to Dr. ASAP. They can arrange for neccesary tests and possibly avoid a long wait at the ER and actually get you in faster for the specific test you need. but not urinating is not good from my understanding.

First thing I would do is write down everything she
drinks and how many wet diapers in a 24 hour period.
This way you are armed with info for your ped. This
will help him tremendously. Then go from there. She is
not too young to have a UTI. However, she would be
going often. Good luck.

Get her to the pediatrician TODAY, and I'm debating whether you need to get her directly to the ER. Before you go, try to get the few drops she drops in the potty in a clean, if possible sterile container instead (most pharmacies have them), so that they can see and smell the thing, even if there isn't enough for a urine analysis.

Six days almost without urinating is absolutely not normal, and she needs to be seen, no matter what the ped says. There's something wrong with her, and you need to be her advocate in this. I'm not a Dr, but I know enough of physiology to know that the liquids she's ingesting (I'm assuming she's still drinking) have to go somewhere. Her bladder is only so big, and when it's full and the way down is blocked, there's only one other way to go, up to the kidneys. Not good.

If her bladder is as full as I think it is, they'll probably want to put her a catheter to empty it no matter what else is going on, but let your Drs guide you in that, once they've started taking care of it.

So get her seen, and get her seen today. If it's nothing, at the worst you will feel a little foolish. But if, as I suspect, there's something going on, you'll be happy you did.

Let us know what happens.


Hi Chrisitne, I think you should start looking for a new pediatrician & take your daughter to the local ER...this is your daughters health & if it ends up being just a little infection better safe thaan sorry - you don't want to wait until it gets worse. Make sure she is drinking plenty of fluids!
Good Luck,
J. B.

Get to a doctor right away.... surprised your doctor didn't have you come in. Keep us posted. Hope all is ok...

Go to a doctor right away. I'm surprised to hear that your doctor was not concerned about these dry diapers. That's the first question my doctor always asks!

Mom knows best, and you are clearly very worried. If your doctor isn't listening, find a new one. But see someone right away! Babies are supposed to pee!

Good luck!

Why is she too young for a UTI? If she has a urethra and bacteria gets into it, she isnt too young! I would take her in. If she's consuming fluids and not voiding them, there is something wrong. Possibly a UTI or a blockage. Good luck!

Hi C.,
Your ped. should have the urine catch bags in their office or go to your local blood lab and get one and urine speciman cups. It has an adhesive that you attach to the baby and the urine goes into the bag. It's really easy so long as you attach the bag correctly it will collect all the urine. Give her anything she likes to drink and just wait!!

Hi my follow child care provider , how is her eating pattern during these pass few days, is there any fever. Is she as active . These are question that might let you know that she should be seen by a doctors as soon as possible. They will give you a better diagnose once they have seen her. But I would take her in as soon as possible.

She is not too young for a UTI at all. They are very common in diaper wearing children if they are on for too long. It only takes one diaper that's on for longer than it should be for her to get one. I would take her in the Ped. 1st but there is a chance they might send you for a Ultrasound. But you should definitely get it checked out. She may be holding it in because it hurts her to go. Which is not good either. It can than go from the urinary tract to the bladder then the kidneys. Or it could be some sort of urinary stricture which is when the ureter starts to tighten up and does not let urine pass. You should take her right away, especially since it's been almost a week.

hi C.:
1st one is never "too young to have a UTI". Increasing fluids for decreased urine output is recommended . How much does she drink a day? Has her intake of fluids decreased?
2nd If you have ever had a UTI you know how painful it can become.Please take her to either the ER or a pediatric urologist, or nephrologist ASAP.
3rd she may be able to give a urine specimen by herself or they may place a specimen bag to collect as they do in infants. A "clean catch" maybe gotten with a catheter and they use a lidocaine gel so there is minimal discomfort for the child.
If you are in the NY area I can recommend an MD I worked with.
best of luck
ps I agree with the other moms, time to find a new pediatrician. also the ER has to see your child or any patient, you do not have to have a doctor to go to the ER (by law).
lastly, little girls are more prone to UTIs because of a shorter urethra and proximity to the anus, so it's just part of being a girl's mom

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.