The objectives of this study were to evaluate a method of determining the internal and external potassium balances in dairy cows and to determine daily and lactation period-associated variations of these balances. Ingested potassium, milk potassium concentration (LK) and potassium urinary fractional clearance (FeK) defined the potassium external balance. Serum (SK) and red blood cell (CIEK) potassium concentrations defined the potassium internal balance. Whole blood, urine, and milk were collected at different times of the day from 19 cows, grouped in 5 lactation periods. Significant differences were observed for LK between lactation periods. Significant variations occurred during the day for CIEK, LK, and FeK. Thus, in order to monitor potassium balances during a time period, samples should be collected at the same time each day. This method of determining both potassium balances simultaneously could be useful in the study of the bovine hypokalemia syndrome.