Foley Catheter Insertion Instructions

Some patients, including those with spina bifida or urinary retention problems, may be asked to use a Foley catheter at night. Putting a Foley catheter into the patient’s bladder allows urine to continually drain and keep the bladder empty. This helps to protect the bladder, ureters and kidneys. Those who need Foley catheters will learn how to use the catheter during a CHOC Urology Center visit. The following is to be used as a general guideline after receiving the proper training.

Getting Ready to Insert the Foley Catheter

Before inserting the catheter, it is important to have all supplies and area for the insertion ready. Caregivers should have:

  • A clean, dry Foley catheter
  • A water-soluable lubricant like K-Y jelly. Never use petroleum jelly like Vaseline.
  • A syringe filled with about 5-10ml of water.
  • Caregivers should have a clean diaper or towel set up in where the child will lay down for the catheter insertion.

Inserting the Foley Catheter

  1. Position the child as comfortably as possible. Make sure child is on the clean diaper or towel and the genitalia are clean of stool.
  2. The person inserting or assisting with the insertion of the catheter should wash his or her hands well with soap and running water and dry.
  3. Open the Foley catheter and lubricate generously with the lubricant.
  4. Insert the Foley catheter until you reach the “Y” of the catheter.
  5. Slowly inflate the balloon with the attached syringe, using the correct amount of water stated on the catheter tip in ml, then disconnect the syringe from the Foley.
  6. Very gently and slowly slide the catheter out of the body until it stops. This will occur when the balloon meets the bladder neck.
  7. Connect the end of the catheter to the drainage bag provided.
  8. Secure the catheter to the upper leg with the Foley catheter holder. There should be no tension (no stretching) on tubing.
  9. Place the drainage bag below the level of the bladder to prevent urine from flowing back into the bladder.
  10. Look at the catheter and drainage bag for function and note if urine is draining and the color of the urine. Urine should be clear to pale yellow in color. If urine is darker in color, the child should be drinking more water each day. (Learn more about how much water a child should drink each day.)
  11. The caregiver should wash his or her hands after they are done.

Cleaning Urine Drainage Bags

  1. Prepare a solution using 50% of white vinegar and 50% of water and set aside close to where the urine drainage bag will be cleaned.
  2. Drain urine into toilet.
  3. Place tubing under the faucet and rinse with cold water.
  4. Move the tubing around so that both inside and outside are washed for 10 seconds and empty through the spigot into the toilet.
  5. Repeat #3 and #4.
  6. Carefully pour the vinegar and water solution into the tubing and move around for 30 seconds.
  7. Empty the bag through the spigot, rinse with water and allow it to air dry before its next use.
  8. Wash hands.

Removing the Foley Catheter

The Foley catheter balloon MUST be deflated before removing it. Not doing this can result in an emergency situation.

  1. Using the 5-10ml syringe provided attach it to the balloon portion of the Foley Catheter.
  2. Gently pull back on the syringe to remove the water that was in the balloon.
  3. Detach the syringe from the catheter and push the water into a basin or sink. Repeat steps #1-3 until all the water has been removed. Usually about five to10ml of water will come out of the balloon.
  4. Remove the catheter gently from the child as you would a regular clean intermittent catheter.