How I stopped My Child’s Bedwetting in Just one Week
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When our daughter was almost six, she was still wetting the bed every night. She wet the bed during even the shortest of naps. We talked with doctors, read parenting books, and tried everything we could to help her stay dry.
We suffered through advice and comments from friends and family– from “She’ll grow out of it” to “Set an alarm and take her to the bathroom during the night.” Nothing worked.
She wanted to stay dry. She tried to stay dry. It just wasn’t happening.
It was at that point that we were introduced to the concept of using a bedwetting alarm. We had never heard of a bedwetting alarm and began doing some research. Here is what we learned:
What is a bedwetting alarm?
A bedwetting alarm is a device that is worn at night and during naps. It is activated when the first drop of moisture hits the sensor. Some use clips that attach to a child’s underpants, while others have larger sensor pads. All alarms will attach to the child’s pajamas up top to wake them with vibrations, sounds, or both.
While our daughter responded almost immediately to the alarm, most children will continue to sleep through it at first. Bedwetting alarms are designed to be loud enough to wake the dead (or exhausted parents), so you can take your child to the bathroom.
Waking your child and taking them to the restroom when they begin urinating will help to condition their body to wake on their own. So even when you are the one getting up and taking them to the potty, the alarm is still working to train your child.
After a few weeks, your child should begin responding to the alarm on her own. Usually, within a couple of months, the child will wake up to go to the restroom without the alarm going off and will wake up dry in the morning.
Once your child stays dry at night for a few weeks, you will continue having them wear the alarm for a couple more weeks. At that point, you can put the alarm away. It is important to keep the alarm and begin using it again right away if your child begins bedwetting again.
How effective is a bedwetting alarm?
Studies show that bedwetting alarms are extremely effective and safe to use. Bedwetting alarms are the most effective treatment for nocturnal enuresis (bedwetting). They work best for children ages 7 and up. Although, our daughter was not quite six when we bought ours and she did wonderfully.
How safe are bedwetting alarms?
Very! Much safer than pills that many pediatricians prescribe and the effects can be permanent, as opposed to just putting a bandaid over the problem. There are no side effects or dangers associated with the bedwetting alarm. However, it is important that your child be old enough and mature enough to use the alarm. It could be scary for a younger child who doesn’t understand the alarm’s purpose.
What to look for in a bedwetting alarm
- Comfortable when attached to you child. Some alarms are more comfortable than others.
- Easy to set up and use. You will want to involve your child as much as possible, so this is a must.
- Sensitive to a small quantity of urine but not to perspiration
- Reliable operation
- Durable if dropped on floor
- Easy to clean/disinfect on daily basis
- Money back guarantee for technical problems
- Won’t fall off when children toss and turn
- Wires long enough for older children
- Batteries available
- Ability to vary loudness of alarm
- Additional remote sensor for parents
- Wireless system with bed mat to avoid tangled wires would be helpful, but our model didn’t have this feature.
- Clips that connect firmly
How to use a bedwetting alarm
The most important thing to keep in mind when using a bedwetting alarm is to involve your child in this process. The alarm will not work for an unwilling child. Show your child a positive, excited attitude. Emphasize how great it is going to be when she wakes up dry each morning.
Allow your child to help with setting up the alarm. Have your child activate the alarm by touching the moisture sensors with a wet finger and practice going to the bathroom as if it were night time. This is extremely helpful in preparing your child for what the alarm will sound like.
Pull ups must go. Use bedwetting pads and thick underpants when you begin this process. This will help everyone to get more sleep. Keep extra pads right beside the bed and extra underpants and jammies beside the toilet. We used these bed pads. They wash well, last forever, and have many uses. We combined them with these underpants and never had to change sheets at night.
Provide a night light or flashlight near the bed so your child can quickly and easily move to the bathroom and urinate into the toilet.
Have your child practice before bed. Encourage your child to “beat the buzzer” by waking up when he or she feels the urge to urinate, but before any urine leaks out. If the buzzer does go off, your child should be taught to wake-up, get out of the bed, go to the bathroom and urinate into the toilet. She will definitely need your help with this for a while.
When the alarm has been turned off, and your child has attempted to go to the bathroom, then your child should put on dry underwear or pajamas, reconnect the alarm, and replace the bed pad.
Most children do not wake-up to the alarm initially and will need your help. You should try going to your child’s room as quickly as you can and assist your child in waking up. We used a baby monitor to make sure we heard the alarm quickly, but most are loud enough to wake you up from another room.
The alarm should be used every night until he or she can go 3-4 weeks without a bedwetting episode. This usually takes 2-3 months, so you should be persistent and patient as your child masters nighttime bladder control.
When your child awakens the next morning, have him or her write on a calendar “dry” (meaning slept through the night), “Dry woke-up without alarm”, “wet spot” (she or he got up after the alarm went off) or wet (he or she did not get up). Do not use punishments or consequences. This is an imperfect process and setbacks will occur. The information is meant to encourage your child.
How the bedwetting alarm worked at our house
After reading about the bedwetting alarm, we ordered one right away. We explained its purpose to our daughter and let her play with it. We followed all the directions that came with the alarm and got started right away.
The first night we used it, she cried when the alarm went off. It is LOUD. Like, wake the neighbors loud. I’m not even kidding. After that first alarm, I RAN to her room when it would go off. Anything to stop the sound it made.
Day three- she took a nap and woke up dry for the first time EVER. Previously, she would fill a pull up with each nap. When she woke up dry, we knew we had made huge progress.
During the week the alarm went off less at night, and it was never as traumatizing as it was the first time around. She continued to be dry during naps and on day SEVEN….she stayed dry all night!
We couldn’t believe it. She actually stayed dry all night for the first time in almost six years. She was so happy to be dry. She would wake up with a huge smile every morning.
Over the next several weeks she filled up her calendar with smiley face stickers (we would give her one for every dry night). We had a few nights when the alarm would go off, but it didn’t take long at all before she was dry for several weeks and was able to quit using the alarm.
We held onto the alarm for a few years before finally giving it to a friend who needed it.
We could not be happier with our experience with the bedwetting alarm. I know it isn’t for everyone, but for out family, it was worth way more than we paid for it.
There are some people who should not use an alarm to stop bedwetting. Please do not use a bedwetting alarm if:
You are not willing to get up at night when the alarm goes off. You WILL lose sleep in the beginning stages. There is no getting around it. Even older children are probably extremely heavy sleepers and will need assistance. Please do not set your child up for failure by not getting up with them. If you don’t think you can encourage and support your child in the middle of the night, then this is not a good option for you.
You should also not use an alarm with a child who is sensitive to sounds. Kids with auditory problems and sensory issues could be traumatized by the extreme loudness of most alarms. There are some alarms that are vibrate only, which you could try, but alarms are more effective if you can use both the sound and vibration.
Where to buy a bedwetting alarm
Amazon has a huge selection of bedwetting alarms. Here are several great options:
Chummie Elite Bedwetting Alarm for Children and Deep Sleepers – Award Winning Bedwetting Alarm System with Loud Sounds and Strong Vibrations
TheraPee – The world’s #1 Bedwetting Solution
Bedwetting Enuresis Alarm – Loud Sound and Strong Vibration for Deep Sleepers – Easy to Use System by Nytone
Wet-Stop3 Green Bedwetting Enuresis Alarm with Loud Sound and Strong Vibration for Bedwetting
Bed Alarm For Bedwetting Training Children and Kids to Stop Night Time Moisture: Bed Wetting Alarm For Boys or Girls Easy Solutions Control Nocturnal Enuresis Alarm System with Potty Pager Alarms
Malem Ultimate Selectable Bedwetting Alarm with Vibration – Camouflage