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Timed Urine Collection

Your child’s care team may need to collect urine samples from time to time. These are used for laboratory tests.

Many urine samples are collected over a specific length of time. The usual collection period is 24 hours. But your child’s test may be longer or shorter.

Man handing container with urine sample to a doctor

Some lab tests require urine collected over a certain time period.

Tips for timed urine collection

A member of your child’s care team will give you a plastic urine collection container with an attached label.

  • Do not let your child pee directly into the collection container. Have your child empty their bladder into a urinal, pan, or clean cup.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water and dry well. Or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to clean your hands.
  • If there is fluid in the collection container, keep it from touching your skin or your child’s skin. The liquid is a chemical preservative that can burn the skin.
  • Wear gloves to protect your skin while pouring urine into the container and keep it out of the reach of children.
  • Start your child’s timed urine collection after their first urine is passed in the morning. Have your child pee when they wake up and throw this urine away.
  • Write that time and date on the label attached to the urine collection container.

How to collect urine for testing

  • From that point on, collect all urine for the time you have been asked to do so.
  • Do not allow the urine to be contaminated with paper, stool, or feces.
  • As you collect it, pour the urine into the collection container.
  • Keep the collection container in the refrigerator or on ice. This is needed to ensure the urine sample remains usable.
  • Write the stop date and time on the collection container label when the collection period is over.
  • Return the collection container to your child’s care team.

What to do if you miss a sample

Do not panic if you miss a sample (or one gets lost or contaminated). Instead, continue collecting other samples.

Write down the number of times samples were lost during the collection process. Also try to estimate the amount of urine lost. Let your child’s care team know when you return the collection container.

Missed urine can make test results inaccurate. This means the tests may have to be repeated. That is why it is important to report any “lost” urine samples.

Ask your child’s care team for help if you have any questions.

Key Points

  • Some lab tests require urine collected over a certain time period.
  • If your child needs one of these tests, follow instructions from the care team.
  • Do not allow the sample to be contaminated with stool or paper.
  • If you miss a sample, be sure to log it and let your child’s care team know.

Reviewed: August 2022