I read that I could set an alarm clock to go off once or twice during the night to help my 13 year old son stay dry. I am so frustrated because we have been doing this for 6 weeks and he is no better. In the beginning, he got up and went to the bathroom when the alarm clock sounded. Sometimes he was already wet when the alarm clock went off. Then he had no urine left to pee in the toilet. It is hard to figure out the best time to have him wake up because it seems like he wets at a different time every night. Now he mostly sleeps through the alarm ringing and I go in and just turn it off. I don’t have the heart to wake him up. My questions are: 1) Is this method effective? 2) How do I know what time to set the alarm clock for? 3) How does a bedwetting alarm work differently than this? Please help us.
It sounds like your son is very motivated to get to dryness. You have pinpointed several reasons why setting an alarm clock to sound at an arbitrary time is not an effective method for helping your son get to dryness. Because you are unable to predict exactly when your son will need to urinate, you are unable to set the clock to alert him precisely at the right time.
Because bedwetting alarms sense wetness, they do not sound until the precise time that wetting is occurring. If he doesn’t wet or need to go to the bathroom that night, the alarm won’t sound. If he needs to go twice, the alarm will alert him twice. This precise timing is what allows the brain and bladder to make that important connection. Your son will begin to be alerted when he is wetting and conditioned to wake up to a full bladder.
Parents often ask, “Isn’t it too late to be alerted if the urine is already coming out?” In the beginning, the bladder may completely empty before your son or you can respond. Over the first few weeks, however, the usual response is that the urine flow stops at the sound of the alarm. Instead of a large wet spot on the bed, the spot is reduced to a quarter sized spot on the underwear. Urine remains in the bladder and can be emptied in the toilet. Ultimately, his brain will alert your son to wake up before urination happens.