Clean intermittent catheterization (1798)

Key points below

Children with urinary tract problems may need to have clean intermittent catheterization (CIC). CIC is the short-term placement of a catheter (tube) into the bladder to drain urine (pee). A parent or other adult will do CIC until the child learns how to do it.  This is often between 6 and 10 years old. 

Why is CIC needed? 

CIC helps your child empty their bladder. When done regularly, CIC can also help prevent:

How is CIC done?

CIC is done by putting a catheter into the urethra (tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body). Once the catheter reaches the bladder, urine drains out. CIC allows the bladder to empty all the way. Once the bladder is empty, the catheter is removed. 

Catheters are soft and flexible and they come in different shapes and sizes. Some are disposable and are thrown away after one use.  Others are reusable and washed after use. Your child’s healthcare team will help choose the best catheter for your child. The healthcare team will make sure you understand how to use the catheter. 

Steps for CIC:

1. Getting ready

Gather your supplies. 

Get your child ready.  Have your child sit on or stand over the toilet, sit in a chair near the toilet, or sit or lay in bed. Some children may find it easier to stand with one foot on the toilet rim.

2. Wash your hands with warm water and soap.

3. Lubricate the catheter.

For male anatomy 

For female anatomy

4. Remove the catheter.  To make sure the bladder is empty:

5. After CIC

How often is CIC done? 

Your child’s health care team will tell you how often to do CIC. Most often, it is every 3 to 4 hours during the day. Your health care provider will let you know if you need to wake up your child during the night to do it.  

Tips for successful CIC

Call your health care team if your child has any of the following: 

For more health and wellness information check out this resource:


Call your child’s doctor, nurse, or clinic if you have any questions or concerns or if your child has special health care needs that were not covered by this information.