Fecal Fat Quantitative Test (72 Hour Collection)

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The fecal fat quantitative test (72 hour collection) will show if your child’s intestines can absorb fat properly. To do the test, you will collect your child’s poop (stool) at home for 3 days, then bring it to a Nationwide Children’s Hospital Laboratory Service Center.

How to Prepare for the Test

  • Have your child eat foods they normally eat. Unlike adults who get this test, children do not need to load up on fatty foods in advance.
  • Do not give them laxatives that contain oil or mineral oil. Do not give suppositories.
  • For the test to be accurate, do not put any lotions or ointments on their bottom. However, if your child has a diaper rash, it is OK to use cornstarch, petroleum jelly (Vaseline®) or Resinol®. These products will not affect the test.

You Will NeedA toilet hat can help to collect an older child's stool specimen.

  • the right container – it looks like a paint can.
  • several tongue depressors or plastic spoons
  • for an older child, a toilet hat (Picture 1) or plastic wrap
  • a label to put on the container
  • disposable 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 or
  • Patient’s ID number or
  • Nationwide Children’s medical record number

It can be helpful to do steps 1 and 2 before starting the collection.

3. Start and end dates of stool collection (MM/DD/YYYY)

4. Start and end times of stool collection (include a.m. or p.m.)

Nationwide Children’s clinics may give you an EPIC registration label to put on the container(s).

How to Collect the Specimen

  • Collect all stool for 3 days, even if your child has loose, runny stools or diarrhea.
  • Wash hands and put on gloves before handling your child’s stool. Wash hands after disposing used gloves. Stool can contain germs that spread
  • Use a wooden tongue depressor or spoon to place the stool specimen in the can.
  • Close the lid of the can tightly after each collection. Put the can in a clean plastic bag before you put it in the refrigerator. If you prefer, you may keep the can in a cooler on ice. Keep the specimen cool until you bring it to the lab.
  • Do not:
    • let stool mix with urine.
    • collect stool from the toilet.
    • fill the can more than 2/3 full. If you need another one, call Laboratory Services at (800) 934-6575 or go to any Nationwide Children’s Close To Home Center during regular business hours.


Get stool from the diaper. If your child has loose or runny stools, put the plastic side of the diaper next to the skin. Leave the diaper on this way long enough to collect the stool.


If your toddler is toilet trained, you can use a clean, dry training potty, training pants or diaper to collect the stool. If using a diaper, put the plastic side next to the skin. Leave the diaper on this way long enough to collect the stool.

Older Children

  • Use a clean, dry toilet hat to collect stool (Picture 1, page 1). Place the toilet hat on the back rim of the toilet bowl, just under the toilet seat.
  • If using plastic wrap, loosely drape a long section of plastic wrap over the rim on both sides of the toilet bowl. The stool should drop onto the dip in the plastic.

Drop Off Options

During the day:

  • 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 Orange Laboratory located at 555 S. 18th Street, Columbus, Ohio 43205. Business hours are Monday through Friday, 8m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

In the evening:

  • Nationwide Children’s Hospital Admitting Department on main campus. Drop-off hours are Monday through Friday, 7m. to 11:30 p.m.

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

For questions, call Laboratory Services at (800) 934-6575 or your health care provider.

Fecal Fat Test (72-Hour Collection) (PDF)

HH-III-73 ©1988, Revised 2021, Nationwide Children’s Hospital