Timed urine collections


Urine samples are collected frequently for various laboratory tests ordered by the medical staff. These tests tell the medical team how well your child’s kidneys are working.

Many urine samples are collected over a specific length of time and are used for timed urine tests. The usual collection period is 24 hours, but a few may be longer or shorter.

How to collect urine for testing

A St. Jude staff member will give you a plastic urine collection container with an attached label. Please follow the instructions below to collect the urine.

  • Before and after each urine collection, it is important to clean your hands. You may wash with soap and water and dry well or use an alcohol-based gel or foam hand cleaner. Both methods work well to kill germs. (See “Do you know… Clean hands.”)
  • It is very important to keep the fluid in the collection container from touching your skin or your child’s skin. The fluid in the container, if present, is a chemical preservative that can burn the skin. We recommend wearing gloves to protect your skin while pouring urine into the container. Keep the container out of reach of children.
  • Start your child’s timed urine collection after her first urine is passed in the morning. Do not collect this urine, but do record the time and date that she voids it. Write that time and date on the label attached to the urine collection container.
times collection tag
  • From that point on, collect all urine—day and night—for the amount of time you have been asked to do so.
  • Do not let your child void directly into the collection container. Have your child empty her bladder into a urinal or clean cup. Then pour the urine into the collection container.
  • During the collection period, all urine samples must be kept cool, either refrigerated or on ice.Keeping the urine cool helps prevent the growth of bacteria and the breakdown of metabolic products.
  • Once the collection period is over, write the stop date and time on the collection container label.
  • Return the collection container as soon as possible to your child’s primary clinic or nurse as directed. Please remember to keep the urine cool until you can hand it to the medical team member.

Collection tips

  • Try to keep the urine sample from becoming contaminated with feces.
  • If a sample is missed or lost (dropped, contaminated), continue collecting the other samples. Write down the number of times samples were lost during the collection process and try to estimate the amount of urine lost. Report this information to the nurse when you return the collection container. Missed urine can make test results inaccurate, and the tests may have to be repeated. So, it is important to report any “lost” urine samples.


If you have questions about timed urine collections, talk to your child’s doctor or nurse. If you are inside the hospital, dial 3300. Locally, call 595-3300. If you are outside the Memphis area, dial toll-free 1-866-2STJUDE (1-866-278-5833), and press 0 once the call is connected. For questions about pharmacokinetic (PK) urine collection, call 595-3300 and ask for the PK nurse on call.


This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.

St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

ATTENTION: If you speak another language, assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

تنبيه: إذا كنت تتحدث باللغة العربية فيمكنك الاستعانة بخدمات المساعدة اللغوية المتوفرة لك مجانا. .يرجى الاتصال بالرقم. 5833-278-866-1  (الهاتف النصي: 1040-595-901-1).