Should We Try a Bedwetting Alarm?

16 Sep

My son is 11 and wets most nights. Bedwetting makes him feel embarrassed and he does not do sleepovers. We have tried desmopressin medication (3 pills), waking him, limiting fluids, and a bedwetting alarm for a few weeks when he was 7. Nothing has worked and we are at our wits end. His school has an overnight trip in a few months and he really wants to go. Do you think we should try a bedwetting alarm again?

Yes, try using a bedwetting alarm again. His body has matured since he was 7 and it sounds like he is motivated to become dry. Bedwetting alarms continue to be the most effective way for children to develop the necessary brain-bladder connection to stay dry.

Here are a few tips:

Choose a different style of alarm. I often use the Rodger wireless alarm for boys in his age group. The moisture sensing underwear are simple to use and sense the first drop of wetness, no matter what position he is in. The sound comes from the wall receiver and he must get out of bed in order to turn it off. This encourages not only waking to the alarm but getting out of bed.

Know that he will sleep through the alarm in the beginning. This is how most children begin. Parents need to hear the alarm and go to his room. Waken him and have him turn off the alarm. You may need to do this for the first few weeks but he will eventually be able to wake up and turn it off himself.

Expect large wet spots in the bed initially. His bladder is used to quickly emptying when it is full. It takes some time for this to change. Use waterproof mattress overlays, on top of the sheet, to make middle of the night clean up easier.

There are signs of progress along the way. Smaller wet spots in the bed, urine left to empty in the toilet, hearing the alarm, and less frequent wetting closer to morning are all signs that he is on the right track.

The average child takes 8-12 weeks to become completely dry. Use the alarm long enough and start early enough so that he has a chance for this to work before his school trip. He should have 14 consecutive dry nights, and then use the alarm every other night for 14 more nights. By doing this, he can be assured that he can stay dry no matter what events may come about. My book, Seven Steps to Nighttime Dryness, gives specific steps for using a bedwetting alarm successfully.

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