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Potty Alarms for Kids

May 10, 2010 2 min read

"I have a son who is 4yrs and 3 mo old and we are not making any headway in toilet training. He seems to be too pre-occupied with playing, occasionally he does tell us when he has to pee. He informs us of stooling after it has occurred. Would the alarm help speed up the toilet training process? Have you used it on any children for toilet training?

I have used a moisture sensing alarm for children who need some help putting together the feeling that happens before wetting occurs with the actual wetting episode. No matter how often the parent or teacher checks their disposable pant, they inevitably wet the minute they pull the pants back up. The type of alarm that I commonly use is the Malem recordable alarm, because the parent can record a message, such as "You need to go to the bathroom now", which is triggered by the first sign of wetness. (This alarm also makes 8 different pre-recorded sounds that you can choose from).

Initially, you can reward cooperation, that is going to the potty when the alarm sounds. Then you can begin using the reward for "beating the alarm", going potty before the alarm is triggered. If your son isn't frightened by sounds, you could also use a less expensive Malem auditory alarm, which just makes one loud sound at the onset of wetting. (You would have to role play what the sound means a few times so he could make that association).

I recommend that he wear regular underwear when using the alarm. The small sensor is fastened to the outside of his underwear where you expect the first drops of moisture to appear. Training of stool continence is often a separate experience, especially in boys. If you train him to sit when urinating, letting go of stool might be easier. Sitting long enough, playing a game or looking at books is important for bowel training. If you see him posturing before having a BM, encourage him to sit on the potty.

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