Clean Catch Urine Collection Guidelines for Males and Females

Helping Hand Logo

A clean catch urine specimen is collected to find out what kinds of bacteria (germs), if any, are in your child’s urine. Before your child urinates, you must clean around the urinary opening carefully. Careful cleaning will help prevent germs on the outside of your child’s body from getting into the urine specimen.

For your child to get the correct medical treatment, the test must show only the germs that are in the urine.

You Will Need

     A clean catch (mid-stream) urine kit, or all of the following:

  • Small sterile container with lid that holds about 4 ounces
  • Label with child’s full legal name, plus the information listed under the How to label the specimen section below
  • Liquid soap
  • 2 clean washcloths
  • Soap towelette package (3 towelettes)
  • Towels for females
  • Latex or vinyl exam gloves (optional)

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 Birth            
  • Patient’s ID or CH Medical Record Number
  1. Date of sample collection (MM/DD/YYYY)
  2. Time of sample collection (please include A.M. or P.M.)

NCH Clinics: Clinicians can use an EPIC registration label before giving the containers to the patient.

How to Collect a Urine Specimen From Males

  1. Wash your hands. Put on the gloves if desired. 
  2. Soak the washcloth with liquid soap and water or use the soap towelette from the collection
  3. Clean the head of your child’s penis with the towelette or a soapy washcloth. Wash with circular strokes. (If your child is uncircumcised, pull back the foreskin and clean thoroughly.)
  4. Repeat step 3 with all 3 towelettes.
  5. Get the urine collection container. (Do not touch the inside or the lid of the bottle.)
  6. Have your child start urinating into the toilet. Then hold the container under the stream of urine and collect at least 1 ounce of urine (30 mL). (See the lines
    marked on the side of the container.) Remove the cup from the stream of urine and allow your child to finish urinating into the (If your child is uncircumcised, pull the foreskin over the penis head after collecting the urine.)
  7. Put the cap on the container. Be sure the cap is tightly closed to prevent leaks. You will hear a “click” when the lid is properly screwed on the container. Wash the outside of the container. If wearing rubber gloves, remove and wash your hands well.

How to Collect a Urine Specimen From Females

  1. Wash your hands. Put on the exam gloves if desired. Have your child remove her underwear, and sit on the toilet. 
  2. Thoroughly wash between her legs with a washcloth and soapy water. Wipe well with a washcloth rinsed out with clean water. Dry gently with a towel. 
  3. Gently separate the folds over the urinary opening. 
  4. With the first towelette, wipe the right side of the urinary opening. Be sure to wipe front to back. Throw away the towelette.
  5. With the second towelette, wipe the left side of the urinary opening. Be sure to wipe from front to Throw away the towelette.
  6. With the third towelette, wipe the center area of the urinary opening. Be sure to wipe from front to Throw away the towelette.
  7. Get the urine collection container. (Do not touch the inside or the lid of the container.)
  8. Have your child start urinating into the toilet. Then hold the container under the stream of urine and collect at least 1 ounce of urine (30 mL). (See the lines marked on the side of the container.) Remove the cup from the stream of urine and let your child finish urinating into the toilet. 
  9. Put the cap on the container. Be sure the cap is tightly closed to prevent leaks. You will hear a “click” when the lid is properly screwed on the container. Wash the outside of the container. If wearing rubber gloves remove them and wash your hands well.

After Collecting the Specimen

  1. Label the container with your child’s full legal name, date of birth or patient number 
    or Medical Record number, and the date and time the urine was collected. 
  2. Place the container of urine in a re-sealable plastic bag.
  3. Give the container to the nurse or if the collection is done at home, bring the specimen to a Laboratory Service Center within 30 minutes after collection. (see Drop-Off Options below) If you cannot bring the specimen within 30 minutes, keep it on ice or in the refrigerator, but do NOT freeze. The urine specimen must be kept cold until it is delivered to the laboratory.  
  4. Place the urine container in a cooler with ice when you bring it to the hospital or Laboratory Service Center. Do not pack ice around the container as it may freeze. Please bring your child with you when you bring the urine specimen to the laboratory. You may be asked to collect a fresh specimen. 
  5. If you have any questions, be sure to ask your child’s doctor or nurse. 

Drop-Off Options

  • Any Laboratory Service Center or Nationwide Children’s Close To Home™ Center during regular business For business hours and locations, please call Laboratory Services at (800) 934-6575 or visit NationwideChildrens.org/Lab.
  • Nationwide Children’s Outpatient Reference Laboratory located in the lower level at 555 S. 18th Street, Columbus, Ohio 43205. Business hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. and Saturday, 8:30 A.M. to 3:30 P.M.
  • Nationwide Children’s Hospital Admitting Department on main campus. Drop-off hours at this location are Monday through Friday, 7:00 P.M. 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.

Clean Catch Urine Collection - Guidelines for Males and Females (PDF)

HH-III-140 12/16 Copyright 2016 Nationwide Children’s Hospital