700 Children's® – A Blog by Pediatric Experts

The Pee Palette: What Do All of Those Colors Mean?

Jan 10, 2023
blog pee palette 2

How often are you thirsty? Our bodies use the feeling of being thirsty to tell us we need to drink more water. Drinking water is good for our bodies for so many reasons. Overall, it helps us avoid becoming dehydrated, which is when our bodies do not have enough water to function properly. Dehydration can often lead to constipation, which is when you do not poop enough, and headaches, which can be very uncomfortable. A big way to check if our bodies are dehydrated is by looking at the color of our urine (pee).

The Different Colors of Pee and Their Meanings:

  • Clear: You may be drinking too much water! Children under the age of 5 only need about 16-24 ounces of water daily. Older children need about 40-60 ounces of water daily. Adolescents and adults should drink about 70-80 ounces of water daily.
  • Pale yellow: This is the color that pee should be. Keep up the good work!
  • Yellow: Drink a little more water. Download an app on your smartphone or get a fun water bottle to help you track how much water you are drinking every day.
  • Dark yellow or slightly brown: You definitely need to be drinking more water. You may be experiencing some symptoms of dehydration, such as constipation or headaches. Try to minimize other drinks, such as juices and soda, and replace them with water in your daily routine. Reserve juice and soda for special occasions, such as birthday parties and holidays.
  • Red: while most people assume that red is due to blood in the urine, it can also be due to certain foods or drinks that can change its color. If you cannot think of a food that may have caused this, please see your medical provider right away, in case it might be blood.
  • Other colors: If your pee is a color such as blue or green, this is likely due to dyes found in foods such as icing, fruits, or candy or certain medications that you may be taking.

Drinking water every day is good for your health. Most schools and daycares have water-filling stations to make sure you have access to refilling a water bottle regularly. Staying hydrated can help keep your pooping habits regular, keep you out of the hospital during flu and respiratory illness season, and avoid uncomfortable headaches.

The goal is to have your pee be pale yellow in color and to not be pushing too hard when you poop, which should happen every day or every other day. Remember, it’s always okay to ask your medical provider if you are not sure about the color of your pee or why you are having headaches or irregular pooping habits.

While schools have water-filling stations, some even have medical clinics. Visit our webpage to learn more about Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s school-based health services through Care Connection.

Read about the poop palette and what all of those colors mean.

Featured Expert

Olivia Silvera, CPNP-PC
Primary Care Pediatrics

Olivia Silvera, CPNP-PC is a part of the Nurse Practitioner team of Primary Care Pediatrics at Nationwide Children's Hospital.

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700 Children’s® features the most current pediatric health care information and research from our pediatric experts – physicians and specialists who have seen it all. Many of them are parents and bring a special understanding to what our patients and families experience. If you have a child – or care for a child – 700 Children’s was created especially for you.