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How Long to Become Dry

March 20, 2024 2 min read

My son is looking at sleep away camps for the summer.  He still has two or three wet nights a week.  How long does it take using a bedwetting alarm to become reliably dry?

Each child varies, but the average time to get to dryness is around 10-12 weeks.  Dryness is defined as 14 consecutive nights without wetting.  Your son can either learn to wake up before the alarm sounds or “hold it” until morning. 

On his current dry nights, he most likely is holding it until morning.   The missing piece for him is learning to wake up on the nights that his bladder cannot hold all the urine he produces until he wakes in the morning.

Intermittent Wetting

In kids with intermittent wetting, like your son, having a bedwetting alarm to remind him each time he needs to get up to urinate helps him to learn what that feels like.  The alarm only sounds when the wetting happens.  On the nights he sleeps dry until morning, the alarm will not sound.

The more practice he gets, the faster he will learn.  If the alarm only sounds one or two times a week, that’s only one or two chances to practice the right behavior.  For that reason, fluid challenges can speed things up. 

A fluid challenge is when he drinks an extra glass of water in the evening.  Chances are that he will need to get up during the night and his alarm will sound.  That’s an extra chance to practice.  Ultimately, his body will wake him up before the alarm sounds and he will walk to the bathroom before his bed is wet.

When to Stop

Once 14 consecutive dry nights are achieved, I usually recommend using the alarm every other night for an additional 2 weeks before putting it away.  This process helps your son build confidence that he can stay dry even if the alarm is not there.  Most children do great in this phase.  If he does slip up and have a wet night, revert to using the alarm every night for another week.  Then try every other night again.

After completing this step, put his alarm away.  The relapse rate is very low when following these instructions.  

Start As Soon As Possible

The more weeks of dryness he has before camp, the more confident he will feel.  Get started now so he will be ready for new adventures this summer.




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