Diagnosing diarrheal disease is difficult in part due to challenges in obtaining and transporting a bulk stool specimen, particularly in resource-limited settings. We compared the performance of flocked rectal swabs to that of traditional bulk stool samples for enteric pathogen detection using the BioFire FilmArray gastrointestinal panel in children admitted to four hospitals in Botswana with community onset severe gastroenteritis. Of the 117-matched flocked rectal swab/stool pairs, we found no significant difference in pathogen detection rates between the flocked rectal swab samples and traditional bulk stool sampling methods for any bacterial (168 versus 167, respectively), viral (94 versus 92, respectively), or protozoan (18 versus 18, respectively) targets. The combination of flocked rectal swab samples with FilmArray testing allows for the rapid diagnosis of infectious gastroenteritis, facilitating a test-and-treat approach for infections that are life-threatening in many resource-limited settings. The culture recovery rates for bacterial pathogens utilizing this approach need to be assessed.