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How to get a urine sample from your child

How are urine samples collected?

Mid stream urine sample

Children who are out of nappies and who can wee when asked will normally be able to provide a mid stream urine sample (MSU).

Catch some of the middle part of the urine stream in the sterile container you got from your doctor or nurse; you don’t need a large amount – your child can then finish passing urine into the toilet.

In younger children who are in nappies and cannot wee on request, an MSU is usually not possible. Several methods can be used:

‘Clean catch’

This involves ‘catching’ a sample of clean urine from an infant or young child. Give your infant a drink or breast feed to help fill the bladder. Clean your child’s genital area with soap and water leave your child’s nappy off and wait for them to wee and quickly catch a small amount in the sterile container you got from your doctor or nurse .

It can be difficult to time catching a wee; you may need to make several attempts. This can be time-consuming and often not practical when infants are unwell. A clean catch is only really practical to do in infants who are not yet mobile and so can lie still on their backs.

Bag collection

For this method, you attach a plastic bag, which has a sticky strip, over your baby’s genital area after cleaning very well with soap and water (for boys, the entire penis can go in the bag; for girls, the bag goes over the labia) you can put a nappy on over the bag. Urine then collects in the bag when your baby wees. Sometimes it can take several attempts to get some wee transfer the urine sample from the bag into the sterile container. Don’t leave the bag on overnight.

If your child has not passed urine after 4 hours, change the bag.

What to do once you have the sample

On the container write your child’s first name, surname, date of birth, and the date and time you collected the sample.

It is important that the urine sample is fresh when tested so try to take it to the laboratory within 2 hours or put it in the fridge (not the freezer) until you can deliver it.