This handout explains the steps you need to follow for your bowel prep as you prepare your bowel for surgery.

Clear Liquid Diet

“Clear liquid” means no sediment, no fiber, and no pulp. Clear does not mean colorless. A clear liquid diet includes:

  • Water, sparkling water, or soda

  • Gelatin (no added fruit or topping) homemade from box only

  • Popsicles with no pieces of fruit or fruit pulp

  • Broth or bouillon

  • Crystal Light®

  • Juice with no pulp (apple, no orange)

  • Coffee or tea, no creamer – sugar is ok

  • Gatorade® or other clear sports drinks

  • No alcohol or dairy products

  • Hard candy

  • Ensure Clear® 4 pack

2 Days Before Surgery

Follow the instructions on your checklist for mixing GoLYTELY® prep. Store this in the fridge and use within 48 hours. It is okay to add Crystal Light® powder mix to each glass.

Day Before Surgery

Follow the schedule on your checklist for completing your bowel prep. Clear your schedule of other duties for the day.

Clear Liquids

Drink only clear liquids all day and up to 2 hours before the surgery.


Take your bisacodyl tablets in the morning. If you take morning medicine, it is okay to take them with the bisacodyl. Do not chew or crush.

Other Medicines

If you take scheduled medicines, take them at least 1 hour or more before or after drinking the prep.

Bowel Prep

Follow your ERAS Bowel Prep Checklist. You will start drinking the prep after your first bowel movement (around 9 AM). You may add Crystal Light® to each glass to improve taste. Stop when you drink half of the bottle or once your stools are clear.

If you see sand-like grains in the toilet, drink one cup of prep at a time until all solid matter is gone, and it looks clear. Do not sip slowly. It works better if you drink quickly. You will likely feel cramps. This is normal.


Take your antibiotics today if needed. Follow the schedule on your ERAS Bowel Prep Checklist not the instructions on the pill bottles. Call if you have questions.

Ensure Clear®

Drink 3 bottles of Ensure Clear® starting 1-2 hours after you finish drinking the prep. If you are taking antibiotics as part of the prep, you may take them with Ensure Clear®. Save the 4th bottle of Ensure Clear® for the morning of surgery.

Skin Prep

Before bed, you will take your first shower using Hibiclens® medicated wash.

The Morning of Surgery

Follow the schedule on your ERAS Bowel Prep Checklist and follow the details the nurse from First Day Surgery gave you. If you can have clear liquids until 2 hours before the surgery, refer to the clear liquids list.

Take approved medicines.

Ensure Clear®

Drink the 4th bottle of Ensure Clear® (10 oz.) 4 hours before surgery.

Fleets® Enema

Give yourself a Fleets® enema at least one hour before you leave for the hospital.

Skin Prep

Take shower #2 using Hibiclens® medicated wash.

When to Call

Please call if you have:

  • Questions about your prep instructions

  • Steady stomach pain

  • Light-headedness or dizziness

  • No bowel movements

  • Problems drinking the prep

Who to Call

Digestive Health Center
608-242-2800 or 1-855-342-9900

After hours, holidays and weekends ask for the doctor on call.