How to Get a Urine Sample From A Baby

I had to get a urine sample from Baby A recently, and after messing it up, decided to look online for instructions.  There were none, at least none with pictures or illustrations which is what a sleep deprived mind boggled new mom needs.  10 years ago, I had similar problems getting a sample from Mr P as a newborn.

And so, without further adieu, here are my tips to take a urine sample from a baby, using a bag.  (If your doctor has special instructions, please do what he or she says!)

baby urine sample collection bag

If your doctor asks for a urine sample, he or she will give you some equipment.  A bag with a U-shaped sticky area, a receptacle to hold your baby’s pee, and possibly some sanitary wipes.  Make sure you get extra bags.  It’s very difficult to get a good sample, especially if your baby is the sort who poops a lot.

Standard method

You’ll need:

A Baby

june-2009-100

A collection bag, skin sanitizing wipes, and a diaper.

baby urine sample collection bag

Wipe baby carefully with sanitizing wipes (provided by dr. or lab, NOT the kind you use on your counter!).  If you have a daughter, be especially diligent to wipe all of the folds and creases.

newborn urine sample wipe carefully

Open the sterile package and remove the urine collection bag.  Remove the paper, exposing the sticky strip.

The adhesive isn’t terribly strong, so don’t worry that it will hurt your baby.  It will hold the bag, but isn’t like taking off a bandaid.

baby urine sample collection bag placement

Place the U-shaped foam pad and bag opening around your baby’s urinary opening.  Easy for a boy, a little more challenging for a girl.  The bulk of the bag should be above your baby’s genitals for a newborn, and the foam pad should look like a U (not an N).  Press gently on the adhesive and make sure it’s stuck.  *UPDATED TO ADD* We had to get another sample from Baby A at the doctor’s office, and this nurse put the bag on the other way – in an upside down U.  I guess it doesn’t really matter, and it simply depends on where you want the bag to lay, to the front or the back.

Diaper as usual, and wait for baby to pee.

The urine will collect in the bag.  When you change your baby, carefully wipe any poo off the bag and pour the pee into the jar or receptacle.  Put it in the fridge until you can get it to the lab.

If That Doesn’t Work…

Sometimes the force of the baby’s urine stream will dislodge the bag, and it will slip out of position or a baby’s stool will contaminate the urine sample.  You’re going to have to hold it.

Remove baby’s diaper, and carefully wipe his or her genitals with sanitizing wipes.

Place a waterproof pad or thick towel on your lap.

Place baby on towel.  Remove strip from collection bag and stick it to the baby, as before.

Leave the diaper off and hold the collection bag in place.  Placing a finger or two at the bottom of the U will help.

Wait for baby to pee.  Naptime is great for this.  Offer baby a drink to move things along.

You might want to get a good book or make sure the channel changer is nearby.

Toddler Method

If your child is old enough to sit up, you can try having them sit on a potty.  You’ll need to sterilize it first, though, with bleach (rinse very well) or boiling water.  Any stool will contaminate the urine sample, though, so it may take a couple of tries before you get a good sample.  Keep cleaning and sterilizing the potty – you don’t want bacteria from a poopy to cause a false positive!


I love comments. Tell me what you think!

  • Melissa @ Dyno-mom June 27, 2011, 12:12 pm

    I have ten kids and did this for the first time Friday. Sucks rocks, big muddy ones! We did the bag. Geez. The doc is a friend (godfather of one of Lisa’s kiddos) and let me go home with a test-tube and strip. He said if anything showed to call, otherwise to stay home and keep baby comfortable. THAT made all the difference.

    Reply
  • Rachel Brewer September 14, 2011, 6:13 pm

    Thank you so much for posting! I really liked the idea of the cotton balls for samples that don’t need to be sterile. My 19 month old has to have a sample taken and we are trying again tonight. Going on day 3 of attempts! We need it for a non-sterile screening of tests. However, I would like to address all of the concerns over the not wanting your child to be cathed issue. I grew up (and finally out of) a condition called urethral reflux. I had to have caths and dye scans monthly until I was 9 or 10, then every 6 months until I was 21. I know that caths are not comfortable, but they are not painful and will not scar you child. Also, sometimes a cath is needed to get a sterile sample. Good luck to all!

    Reply
  • Hannah September 20, 2011, 7:20 am

    Thank you for this, I have just found this site too, which I am hoping is just as useful.

    http://www.howardregional.org/body.cfm?ID=720

    I have to fit one on my daughter later, wish me luck!

    Hannah

    Reply
  • Savanna September 22, 2011, 10:05 pm

    My son had to get a catheter when he was under one to check for a uti and he was fine so really they arnt that bad plus they wont even remeber it..just saying i knida wish theyd do it now bc i have no idea how im going to get a urine sample we didnt get those fancy bags..

    Reply
  • june December 13, 2011, 1:41 pm

    hi we have had a nightmare with our grandson trying to get sample, were do you buy bags from to catch urine.

    Reply
  • amy January 24, 2012, 3:09 pm

    I finally ended up using a sandwich bag. i used up all of the sterile bags from the doc trying to get a sample. I wrapped it around my son’s parts, sat him on my lap and waited while he took a bottle and napped. Took about 30 min.

    Reply
  • emily March 18, 2012, 10:26 pm

    This may sound wrong but I had to use a bottle bag for his formula to catch his urin and taped it there and help him there with me till he went. He is only six months old so not as hard. But try putting cotton balls or somethin u can wring the urin out without contaminating the urin

    Reply
  • jenifer April 17, 2012, 9:48 am

    I am a pediatric nurse. For non-sterile samples, we use stuff called “webril” that goes under fiberglass casts. Its basically a thin piece of soft fluffy cotton, then when wet put in a large (60cc) syringe, and squeeze out the pee. Sterile samples have to come from a catheter, unfortunately, especially for uti’s in infants. There is so much that could contaminate the sample and give a false result in infants and toddlers. Its unpleasant but often medically necessary, just like babies have to get IVs at times.

    Reply
  • karen June 5, 2012, 10:33 pm

    @ the ‘flat refusals’…Sometimes the sticky stuff or the poke just has to be. It’s then our job to make it less scary for them. Something like “Its’ going to sting/poke/pinch, but it will help us make you feel better. Hold on to my finger.” It lets them focus on something besides all the strange things going on around/in them (and in them). It will also give them something specific to do (obviously impossible w/newborn). Once they start to communicate, you can sing a song with with them(or whatever captures the interest of YOUR little) . The attention of even very young babies can be captured by their Mom/Dad making faces at them.

    We tried creamy peanut butter to remove remaining adhesive with surprising success after urine collection with our youngest. We just let it sit on the skin for a bit and rub off. It took 3 repeats to get it all, but it worked. Best wishes.

    Reply
  • jacqui March 8, 2013, 4:34 am

    I really wish I had read this first and had to try putting my 9 month sons urine straight into a sample jar. Only got a little bit and the rest over the towel and me.. So I will try a bag tomorrow morning again. I wish I had googled it first. Thanks for the info!

    Reply
  • fabian January 11, 2014, 9:17 pm

    Try to get the urine sample by sitting
    the baby in a small bath tub that is
    sterilized. When he or she urinates..
    . collect the sample and thats it

    Reply
  • Zsinka80 November 11, 2014, 3:23 pm

    Thank you!! the doc said put it to the diaper, pour it to the box than bring it in… and when I opened it.. WTF??? so we didn’t have a clue :) so thanks again for the pics

    Reply

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