Purpose We evaluated the ability of a newly developed continence index to predict the return of urinary continence 3 months after radical retropubic prostatectomy. Materials and Methods We developed and used a continence index to determine continence level after removal of the urinary catheter on postoperative day 15 in 145 men. A total of 20 patients were evaluated independently by 2 nurse specialists to assess continence index reliability. We evaluated continence level, pad use and degree of bothersomeness due to incontinence 3 months after catheter removal. The association of continence score with outcome variables was calculated using the Mantel-Haenszel trend test and the predictive ability of the continence score was determined by logistic regression to produce cumulative odds ratios. Results The intraclass correlation coefficient was 0.995 for the independently assessed continence index ratings and the Cronbach coefficient α was 0.65 for the 5 continence index parameters. Complete continence or continence with heavy activity but not always was achieved by 96%, 85% and 68% of the men in tertiles 1 (continence score 18), 2 (continence score 15 to 17) and 3 (continence score 14 or less), respectively. The cumulative odds ratio of 2.9 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.9 to 4.6) per tertile indicated a 2.9-fold increased chance of incontinence for each successively lower tertile. In addition, 96%, 82% and 68% of the men in tertiles 1 to 3, respectively, required no or 1 small pad daily. The cumulative odds ratio for pad use was 2.3 (95% CI 1.5 to 3.5) per tertile. Of the patients in tertiles 1 to 3 100%, 97% and 80%, respectively, had no or slight bothersomeness due to urinary incontinence. The cumulative odds ratio for bothersomeness level was 2.7 (95% CI 1.7 to 4.3) per tertile. The Mantel-Haenszel trend test showed a significant association of continence score with all 3 outcome variables (p ≤0.001). Conclusions Our continence index is a simple and reliable instrument that provides useful prognostic information on the early return of continence after radical retropubic prostatectomy.