How to Bladder Train with Foley Catheters


People with certain medical conditions such as spinal injuries may lose the ability to control their bladders. This can be countered by insertion of a Foley catheter--or indwelling catheter--which stays in the bladder and is connected to a urine collection bag attached to the leg or bed. Insertion of a Foley catheter requires caution and hygiene to avoid transmitting infections to the bladder or damaging the bladder or urethra.

Things You'll Need

  • Sterile gloves
  • Cleansing solution
  • Cotton swabs
  • Sterile water
  • Foley catheter (usually 16-18 French)
  • Syringe
  • Lubricant
  • Collection bag and tubing
  • Open the catheterization kit. Pre-fill a 10 cc syringe with sterile water. Wearing sterile gloves, clean the area around the catheter insertion point with cleaning solution and a cotton swab.

  • Connect the end of the catheter to the tube, attaching it to a urine collection bag.

  • Coat the tip of the catheter with lubricant. Insert the catheter into the urethra. Slide the catheter in as far as it will go. Urine should begin to flow into the retention bag.

  • Insert the syringe into the designated slot on the outer end of the catheter. Press in the plunger to fill the retention bag inside the bladder with water and hold the catheter in place. If the catheter is a pre-filled version, release the holding clip on the outer balloon to allow sterile water to flow into the retention bag. Push the catheter in slightly to check that the retention bag has not inflated in the urethra.

  • Replace the catheter once a week to avoid infection. Empty the urine collection bag as frequently as possible. It is also possible to have a tap installed on the end of the catheter which can be opened to drain urine periodically.

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