How to use a bedwetting alarm correctly

How to use a bedwetting alarm correctly

A bedwetting alarm is a type of therapy that trains the brain to notice the signals from the bladder. Parents often mistakenly think that a cell phone alarm is the same principle. It’s not. It’s important to the child to be woken up as soon as their bladder starts to empty. It seem counterintuitive that it alarms after they’ve wet the sheets but the process is very important.

  1. Test out the alarm in the sink. Make sure your child is familiar with the sound of the alarm. Show them how to silent it. Do not show them how to unclip it from their clothes.
  2. Have your child void and then put the alarm on their underwear. You can put a pull up on over the underwear to save on sheets. Clip the alarm box onto your child’s pants. The pictures typically depict the alarm on the collar of their shirt but that makes it too complicated when they need to go to the bathroom.
  3. As soon as they start to wet the moisture sensor will detect it and the alarm will sound and/or vibrate. It’s now YOUR job to run in and wake up your child. They will not wake up on their own they need your help.
  4. Once they wake up, make sure they are fully awake and walk them to the bathroom to void. Initially, they will not have much pee in their bladder but over time they will have more to pee in the toilet.
  5. That’s it, super easy, right? (It’s hard, we know, start at a time that works best for your family. The Friday before Christmas break of Summer break.) It can take up to 3 months for their bladder to start to trigger their brain.

Possible Problems and Solutions

  • Intentionally taking it off. These kids should not be on alarm therapy. They are not motivated to get better. Do NOT fight with them or force the issue. They do not get better because they don’t want to put in the effort. Non-compliant kids typically end up on medications, which only works in 30% of patients. These medications do not cure the problem, they only help them that night. Wait until they request help.
  • They accidentally take it off at night. Do NOT allow them to put it on or take it off. This makes it harder for them to figure it out in their sleep. I’ve had some patients take the batteries out every night, we duct taped it and that stopped.
  • They don’t wake up even with a blaring alarm. It might help to put a wet wash cloth lovingly to their face to startle them awake. Keep a bowl of water on their night stand with a wash cloth. Make sure have a conversation with them so they fully wake up.
  • It’s alarming multiple times every night. This tells me their bladder needs to heal. Go through the Time to be Dry Workbook to improve their bladder function. Once they are doing well with those modifications, restart the alarm.
  • It didn’t work in the past. Every year your child’s brain has matured a little. Trying the alarm every year is not unreasonable.

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