Urine collection - infants
It is sometimes necessary to get a urine sample from a baby to do testing. Most of the time, urine is collected in the health care provider's office. A sample can also be collected at home.
How the Test is Performed
To collect a urine sample from an infant:
Thoroughly wash the area around the urethra (the hole where urine flows out). Use the soap, or cleansing wipes that your provider gave you.
You will be given a special bag to collect the urine. It will be a plastic bag with a sticky strip on one end, made to fit over your baby's genital area. Open this bag and place it on the infant.
- For males, place the entire penis in the bag and attach the adhesive to the skin.
- For females, place the bag over the two folds of skin on either side of the vagina (labia).
Put a diaper on the baby (over the bag).
Check the infant often, and change the bag after the infant has urinated. (An active infant can cause the bag to move, so it may take more than one try to collect the sample.)
Empty the urine from the bag into the container provided by your provider. Do not touch the inside of the cup or lid. If at home, place the container in a plastic bag in the refrigerator until you return it to your provider.
When finished, label the container and return it as instructed.
Thoroughly wash the area around the urethra. Clean from the front to the back on a female infant, and from the tip of the penis down on a male infant.
Sometimes, it may be necessary to obtain a sterile urine sample. This is done to check for a urinary tract infection. A provider will take this sample using a catheter. The area around the urethra is cleaned with an antiseptic. A small catheter is inserted into the baby's bladder to collect the urine. It is removed after the procedure.
How to Prepare for the Test
There is no preparation for the test. If you collect the urine at home, have some extra collection bags available.
How the Test will Feel
There is no discomfort if the urine is collected using a bag. There may be a brief period of discomfort if a catheter is used.
Why the Test is Performed
The test is performed to get a urine sample from an infant.
Normal values depend on what tests will be performed on the urine after it is collected.
There are no major risks to the infant. Rarely, a mild skin rash from the adhesive on the collection bag may develop. There may be a small amount of bleeding if a catheter is used.
Boswell B, Thomas AA. Pediatric genitourinary and renal tract disorders. In: Walls RM, ed. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2023:chap 168.
Castle EP, Wolter CE, Woods ME. Evaluation of the urologic patient: testing and imaging. In: Partin AW, Dmochowski RR, Kavoussi LR, Peters CA, eds. Campbell-Walsh-Wein Urology. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 2.
Patel K, Jones PM. Specimen collection and processing. In: Rifai N, Chiu RWK, Young I, Burnham CAD, Wittwer CT, eds. Tietz Textbook of Laboraory Medicine. 7th ed. St Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2023:chap 4.
Last reviewed on: 7/1/2023
Reviewed by: Charles I. Schwartz, MD, FAAP, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, General Pediatrician at PennCare for Kids, Phoenixville, PA. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.