Irrigation is not difficult, but it does take some getting used to. First off, do you have a colostomy? Ileostomates would need to check with their doctor; it is unlikely that irrigation would be helpful for them. I did ask my ostomy nurse, but what was actually way more helpful was checking all the videos on YouTube. There is a special place in heaven for people who post those videos! I should tell you that I don't irrigate all the time, because it takes a few hours, from start to finish. But if I want about 36 hours uninterrupted by bathroom trips, then I do. So if I am going out for the evening, for example, I definitely irrigate.
I use the Coloplast irrigation kit, but I prefer the Hollister sleeve; they can be bought separately. I like to irrigate in the evening, a few hours before I go to bed. It is important to point out that you need to be well hydrated before you start, because if you aren't, your colon will just absorb a lot of the water you put in it. I hang the water bag using an S hook from the shower curtain rod. It has a temperature gauge on it, so I can see if the temperature is OK. Your stoma will retract if the temperature is too hot or cold, so it's important to get it right. I stand in the bathtub while irrigating because I don't want to get the floor wet (in fact, I put an old shower curtain on the floor in case of accidents). I take my appliance off completely and put the sleeve on, using a belt, with the hole over my stoma. Clamp the bottom end, and I stick it in the belt, just so it isn't hanging there. Take the nipple end of the tube attached to the water bag, and gently put it in your stoma, from the top of the sleeve. You don't need lubricant for this. I like to stick a finger in my stoma first to see which direction I need to point the nipple - your colon won't likely be coming in straight from behind your stoma. Be aware that your stoma will retract when you put the nipple in. That's normal. Just give it a minute, and try it again. When you've got the nipple in place, use the regulator dial to gently allow water to flow into your stoma. Be especially gentle the first time; when you get the hang of it, you can be more assertive. I try to get about 1,000 CC's of water in, but honestly, so much leaks out during the process (that's why I'm standing in the tub) that it's really hard to be accurate. If you start to feel crampy, ease off on the water until you feel better.
When I have the requisite water amount in, I take the nipple out and clean it and the water bag. Then I just wait for my colon to do the rest. For me, this is the part that takes so long. I often have some output very early (which I drain into the toilet) but the rest can take a couple of hours. So I keep a housecoat on, and generally sit and read or whatever, getting up to walk around occasionally to encourage movement. When I feel that the process has finished (sometimes "late returns" can be a surprise), I put a small cap over my stoma, and that will last me usually 36 to 40 hours, depending on what I eat or drink. Other people will get more or less time.
So that's it, really. I hope others will weigh in on this too, because everyone will have different experiences, and suggestions that I won't have thought of. In fact, if anyone else wants to comment on what I've said, please feel free. I know there are lots of people who have been doing this longer than I have, and I would be happy to hear their thoughts.
Kathy, I would suggest that you Google and YouTube colostomy irrigation, and if you have specific questions after that, please ask.