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Urine Test: About Your Child's Test

Kidneys, ureters, bladder

What is it?

A urine test checks the colour, clarity (clear or cloudy), concentration, and acidity (pH) of your child's urine. It also checks the levels of protein, sugar, blood cells, or other substances in the urine. This test is sometimes called a urinalysis.

Why is this test done?

A urine test may be done:

  • To check for a disease or infection of the urinary tract. The urinary tract includes the kidneys, the tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder (ureters), and the bladder. It also includes the tube that carries urine from the bladder to outside the body (urethra).
  • To check the treatment of conditions such as diabetes, kidney stones, a urinary tract infection (UTI), high blood pressure, or some kidney or liver diseases.
  • As part of a regular physical examination.

How do you prepare for the test?

  • Before the test, don't give your child foods that can change the colour of urine. Examples of these include blackberries, beets, and rhubarb.
  • Don't let your child do heavy exercise before the test.
  • Tell your doctor ALL the medicines and natural health products your child takes. Some may change the results of your child's test. Your doctor will tell you if your child should stop taking any of them before the test and how soon to do it.

How is the test done?

A urine test can be done in your doctor's office, clinic, or lab. Or you may be asked to collect a sample of your child's urine at home. Then you can take it with you to the office or lab for testing. Either you or your child can collect the sample.

Clean-catch midstream urine collection

If your child is very young or a baby, you can use a special plastic bag with tape around its opening instead of a collection cup. The bag is placed around the child's genitals until he or she urinates. Then you carefully remove the bag.

  1. Wash your hands to make sure they are clean before you start.
  2. If the cup you are given has a lid, remove it carefully. Set it down with the inner surface up. Don't touch the inside of the cup with your fingers.
  3. Clean the area around the genitals.
    • A boy should retract the foreskin, if he has it. Then clean the head of the penis with medicated towelettes or swabs.
    • A girl should spread open the genital folds of skin with one hand. Use the other hand to clean the area where urine comes out (the urethra) with medicated towelettes or swabs. She should wipe the area from front to back.
  4. Have your child start to urinate into the toilet or urinal. A girl should hold apart the genital folds of skin while she urinates.
  5. After the urine has flowed for several seconds, place the cup into the urine stream. Collect about 60 mL of urine without stopping the flow of urine.
  6. Don't touch the rim of the cup to the genital area. Don't get toilet paper, stool (feces), or anything else in the urine sample.
  7. When you have enough urine in the cup, pull the cup away. Then your child can finish urinating into the toilet or urinal.
  8. Carefully replace and tighten the lid on the cup, and then return it to the lab. If you are collecting the urine at home and can't get it to the lab in an hour, refrigerate it.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to keep a list of the medicines your child takes. Ask your doctor when you can expect to have your child's test results.

Where can you learn more?

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