Care Plans

National Continence Helpline

8am - 8pm Monday to Friday AEST Talk to a continence nurse

How to fill out a bowel diary


A bowel diary is a record of when a person passes bowel motions. Some people need help to fill out a bowel diary.

Bowel diaries are usually filled out as part of a continence assessment. It's important to fill out the bowel diary carefully, so it provides useful information for the health care professional. A bowel diary should be kept over seven days and nights.

What equipment do you need?

You will need:

Put this equipment in or near the toilet, so the diary can be filled out each time the person passes a bowel motion.

How do you fill out the diary?

Wait until the person needs to go to the toilet and give them the help they need.

  1. Put on disposable gloves.
  2. When the person finishes passing a bowel motion, help them with wiping if needed. Don't throw the toilet paper into the toilet bowl straight away, as you may not be able to see the bowel motion in the toilet bowl.
  3. Do not flush the toilet straight away.
  4. Look at the bowel motion in the toilet bowl and compare it to the Bristol Stool Chart.
  5. Record the type of bowel motion in the bowel diary.
  6. Flush the toilet.
  7. Take off your gloves and wash your hands.
  8. Complete the bowel diary by writing down the time, date, amount and any other information asked for in the diary.

Need more help? Call the National Continence Helpline on 18OO 33 OO 66 and talk to a continence nurse advisor.

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This information is not a substitute for independent professional advice.