My 14 year old son still wets every night. We have been waiting for him to grow out of it but now we’re starting to be worried that he will never become dry. He really wants to be dry but we need help. What do you recommend?
While bedwetting affects up to 12% of 6 year olds, it becomes less common as kids get older (2% of 14 year olds, 1% of 16 year olds). When your child is the 1 or 2 out of 100 that continues to wet, you can begin to feel very alone and hopeless.
The good news is that bedwetting alarms work as effectively in teens as they do in younger children. It usually takes teens a little longer to get to complete dryness, but a few extra weeks to change a behavior that has been going on for years is quite manageable. I’ve found that the key to success for teens and older children is to use an alarm that is easy to use and acceptable to them.
The wireless alarms (such as the Rodger and Malem Wireless) are my recommendation for teens. A positive feature of wireless alarms is that your son must get out of bed to turn off the alarm. Since the receiver is located in an outlet or on a dresser, it will continue to sound from that location until it is turned off. Many tech savvy teens quickly disconnect the sensor from alarms that are worn on the shoulder, then roll over and go back to sleep. They rarely remember this is the morning and wonder why their alarm is disconnected but their bed is wet and they don’t remember getting up.
Another reason that wireless alarms are recommended is that there are few steps to attach them. The Rodger alarm comes with two pair of specialized briefs. (More can be purchased). Your teenage son simply puts these on when getting ready for bed. The receiver stays plugged in the wall or on the nightstand. This alarm also has a bedshaker option, which is a vibratory cushion that lies on the bed and vibrates when the alarm sounds. The Malem wireless alarm fastens to underwear he already owns (close fitting, not boxers) and can be an advantage if your family doesn’t do laundry very often. If there is no wetting, the underwear go back in the drawer. If wetting occurred, the underwear is laundered with the sheets.
Even with teens, your role is important initially. Listen for the alarm and make sure that your son is getting out of bed and walking to the bathroom as the correct response. The quicker he learns how to respond to the bedwetting alarm, the more quickly he will be on the road to dryness. If your room is far away, either of the wireless alarms can be ordered with two receivers, one for your son’s room and one for your room.
One last point is to make sure the alarm is worn long enough. Having 14 consecutive nights of dryness is important before beginning to use the alarm every other night for 14 nights. Often, my teen patients are so excited to have 4 or 5 dry nights in a row that they stop their alarm use prematurely. Wet nights begin occurring sporadically and further progress is delayed.
Wireless bedwetting alarms can be used for any age child but they are particularly well-suited for teens. Persistence and patience will help insure success.