24-Hour Urine Collection

How do I prepare for this test?

  • You may be asked to follow a special diet during or before the collection period. Follow instructions from your healthcare provider. If no special instructions are given, you may eat and drink normally.

  • Take over-the-counter and prescription medicines only as told by your healthcare provider.

  • Let your healthcare provider know about any medicines that you are taking, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and herbal or dietary supplements.

  • Choose a collection day when you can be at home or when you have a place to store the urine. All urine must be collected during the testing period.

How do I do a 24-hour urine collection?

  • When you get up in the morning, pass urine in the toilet and flush. Write down the time. This will be your start time on the day of collection and your end time on the next morning.

  • From the start time on, all your urine should be kept in the collection jug that you received from the lab.

  • If the jug that is given to you already has liquid in it, that is OK. Do not throw out the liquid or rinse out the jug. Some tests need the liquid to be added to your urine.

  • Pass urine into a specimen container, such as a urinal or pan that sits over the toilet. Pour the urine from the container into the collection jug. Be careful not to spill any of the urine. Use the equipment provided by the lab.

  • Do not let any toilet paper or stool (faeces) get into the jug. This will contaminate the sample.

  • Stop collecting your urine 24 hours after you started. Collect the last specimen as close as possible to the end of the 24-hour period.

  • Keep the jug cool in an ice chest or keep it in the refrigerator during collection.

  • When the 24-hour collection is complete, bring the jug to the lab. Keep the jug cool in an ice chest while you are bringing it to the lab.

What do the results mean?

Talk with your healthcare provider about what your results mean.

Questions to ask your healthcare provider

Ask your healthcare provider, or the department that is doing the test:

  • When will my results be ready?

  • How will I get my results?

  • What are my treatment options?

  • What other tests do I need?

  • What are my next steps?


  • A 24-hour urine specimen is a lab test that requires collection of all your urine for an entire day.

  • When you get up in the morning, pass urine in the toilet and flush. Write down the time. For the next 24 hours, collect all of your urine in the collection jug that you received from the lab.

  • Keep the jug cool while collecting the urine and while bringing it back to the lab.

  • Take the jug of urine back to the lab as soon as possible after the collection period has ended.

This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your health care provider.

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