24 Hour Urine Specimen Collection Guidelines

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Your doctor has ordered a 24 hour urine test. This means you must save all of your child’s urine for 24 hours. Urine is being collected for:

(Name of Test)

You Will Need

  • 24-hour urine container with the child’s full legal name, plus information listed below in How to label the specimen section
  • Urine collection container (“toilet hat” for females; “cylinder” for males) or plastic container. If using a plastic container from home, wash with dish soap and then rinse at least 10 times with tap water. Allow to air dry.

How to Label the Specimen

  1. Child’s full legal name – complete first and last names correctly spelled
  2. One of the following unique identifiers:
    • Date of Birthday
    • Patient’s ID or NCH Medical Record Number
  3. Date of the last urine specimen collected (MM/DD/YYYY)
  4. Time of the last urine specimen collected (please include A.M. or P.M.)

NCH Clinics: Clinicians can use an EPIC registration label before giving the container(s) to the patient.

How to Collect the 24-hour Urine Specimen

  1. Decide on a day to do the test when your child will be at home all day.
  2. On the day of the test, have your child empty his or her bladder (urinate) in the toilet immediately after waking up. Flush it down the toilet.
  3. On the plastic 24-hour urine container write this date and time on the label as the start time. The test begins now with the bladder empty.
  4. From now on, when your child urinates, have him or her urinate into the collection container (toilet hat or cylinder). If one of these was not given to you, you may use a clean plastic container. Pour the urine into the 24 hour urine container. Be very careful not to spill any urine. The collection container may be rinsed following each transfer with water only and allowed to air dry.
  5. Store the urine in the 24-hour urine container in the refrigerator with the lid on. The urine must be kept cool at all times. If you do not have space in the refrigerator, place the container of urine in a cooler with ice. Add more ice as needed to keep the urine cold. Make sure the lid on the urine container is tightly sealed.
  6. Each time your child urinates during the day and night, collect the urine and pour it into the 24-hour urine container.
  7. When your child awakens the following morning (close to the same time as the first day), have the child urinate. Collect this first urine specimen and add it to the 24-hour urine container. This ends the 24-hour collection. No other urine should be added to the container.
  8. Write the date and time of the last urine specimen on the 24 hour urine container. Be sure that the child’s full legal name and all other information are legible.
  9. List any medicines your child took during the 24 hour period and attach the list to the 24-hour urine container.

Other Information

  • Take the urine to a Laboratory Service Center as soon as possible after ending the collection. Keep the urine cool. The urine must be received by the Laboratory Service Center within 24 hours.
  • Make sure the urine does not freeze for these tests: Amylase, Immunoelectrophoresis, Arylsulfatase, Micro-albumin, Pregnanetriol, Protein or Uric Acid.
  • If any of the urine is spilled or if you forget to save some of the urine, throw away the specimen in the toilet. Rinse out the 24-hour urine container, and toilet hat or cylinder (or glass jar) with clear water. Start the urine collection again the next day or when your child will be at home all day. Write down the new start date and time.
  • If you have any questions, be sure to ask your child’s doctor or nurse.

Drop-off Options

Take the specimen to a Laboratory Service Center on the same day that you collect it. You can leave your child’s sample at:

  • Any Laboratory Service Center or Nationwide Children’s Close To Home™ Center during normal business hours. For office hours and locations, please call Laboratory Services at 800-934-6575 or visit www.NationwideChildrens.org/Lab.
  • Nationwide Children’s Outpatient Reference Laboratory located in the lower level at 555 S. 18th Street, Columbus, Ohio 43205.

Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

  • Nationwide Children’s Hospital Admitting Department on main campus.

Monday through Friday, 7 to 11:30 p.m.

Please do not drop off stool specimens at the Emergency Department.

For directions to the nearest Laboratory Service Center, please call Laboratory Services at (800) 934-6575 or visit NationwideChildrens.org/Lab.

24-Hour Urine Specimen Collection Guidelines (PDF)

HH-III-20 24 6/79 Revised 12/16 Copyright 1979 Nationwide Children’s Hospital