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Home Knowledge Center Wellness Library Caregiving: Using a Bedpan or Urinal

Caregiving: Using a Bedpan or Urinal

Getting Started

How to help with a bedpan

Start by gathering supplies. You will need a bedpan, gloves, and toilet paper or wet wipes. Make sure you have a place to set the bedpan aside while you help with wiping or getting dressed.

Wash and dry your hands well, and put on gloves. Have the person you're caring for take down their pants and underwear, and help if needed. Cover them with a sheet or blanket for privacy.

  1. Sprinkle a small amount of body powder on the rim of the bedpan to help with sliding. You can use a bed pad under the bedpan for spills.

    Help get the bedpan into position.

    • Have the person sit up or lift up the hips slightly and then slide the bedpan under the person. Or if you have a helper, help the person lift his or her hips as your helper slides the bedpan under the person's buttocks.
    • Or you can help the person turn to the side. Gently press the bedpan against his or her bottom and then help them turn back onto the bedpan.

    If you can leave the person alone safely, leave the room to give privacy.

  2. Make sure to hold the bedpan in place and help the person roll off of it, away from you. Carefully set the bedpan to the side.

    Help the person wipe if needed.

    Empty the bedpan into the toilet.

    Rinse and wash the bedpan using a disinfectant diluted with water. It may help to use a small sprayer that attaches to the toilet water supply. Dry the bedpan or let it air-dry.

    Take off your gloves and throw them away.

How to help with a urinal

Start by gathering supplies. You will need a urinal, gloves, and toilet paper or wet wipes. Make sure you have a place to set the urinal aside while you help with wiping or getting dressed.

Wash and dry your hands well, and put on gloves. Have the person you're caring for take down their pants and underwear if they are female, or unzip their pants if they are male. Offer help if needed.

Helping someone use a urinal

  • Ask them to put the urinal between their legs. If this is not possible, help them spread their legs.
  • If possible, cover the person with a sheet or blanket for privacy. If you can leave them alone safely, leave the room to give more privacy.
  • If the person needs help, position the urinal and hold it gently while they urinate. If a male cannot do it himself, put the penis in the opening at the top of the urinal.
  • When the person is done urinating, carefully remove the urinal.

After the person uses the urinal

  • Help the person wipe if needed. For women, be sure to wipe the area from front to back.
  • If you used a wet wipe or a washcloth, dry the area between the person's legs after wiping.
  • Empty the urinal into the toilet.
  • Rinse and wash the urinal using a disinfectant diluted with water. Dry the urinal or let it air-dry.
  • Take off your gloves and throw them away.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

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Related Links

Caregiving: Using a Bedside Commode (Toilet) Caregiving: Overview of Personal Care

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