The answer is: it depends. The general guidelines are 60-80 oz per day, but guess what?There is no science behind that answer. It is just a recommendation.
Here are some tips on how to drink and how to increase your water intake. All based solely on my professional opinion.
First, you should spread out your water intake throughout the day. Sure, get up and have your cup of coffee or tea and if you take medications maybe you need a glass of water at the same time, but after that spread it out.
So often I have patients come to me with incontinence or bladder leakage or urinary frequency and I ask how they drink throughout the day. Often it is large amounts of water at once a few times a day. This sudden influx of fluid can be a lot for your bladder to process all at once, especially if you already have bladder issues.
I know we don't live in an ideal world, but it is ideal to drink small amounts throughout the day. I recommend keeping a water bottle with you which will remind you to drink. It's worth the investment to buy a water bottle you like. This will also help you keep track of how much you drink. You know the size of the water bottle and then you will know how much you drink if that is what you drink out of all day.
Don't feel guilty that you haven't drank enough water and then go guzzle a few glasses of water all at once. That is often when bladder leakage occurs. Especially don't do this at night. You don't want to be getting up multiple times a night to pee. Just try to do a little better the next day.
If you want to increase how much water you are drinking each day, also do this slowly. Like a few ounces a day increase, not going from 20 oz per day to 80 oz in the same week. I don't have any magic number for you, but add half a glass or 4-5 oz every few days or every week. That way you won't overwhelm your bladder with a sudden increase in the amount of fluids.
As always, coffee, tea, juice, soda and alcohol don't count toward your daily water intake. Your body needs plain water. Yes, you can add fruit or essential oils to it if that helps you drink more water, but other beverages don't count.
Also, if you are active and exercising or the weather is hot, your body will need extra fluid to replace what is lost through sweat. Factor that in, but again, don't have a sudden increase that overloads the bladder.
You should pee every few hours and the pee should be a pale yellow. That is how you know your body is hydrated. Once you consistently give your body more water it will use it. You may pee more frequently when you first increase your water intake, which is why I suggest increasing slowly, but over time your body will recognize it is getting this new amount of water and your organs and cells will start to use it.