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Tips for Selecting a Bedwetting Alarm

Choose the right alarm for your child
By: Renee Mercer, MSN, CPNP


A bedwetting (enuresis) alarm is a device that sounds or vibrates in response to moisture. The alarm sensor is located on the child's underwear where the first drop of urine would be expected. When the child wets, the alarm goes off and alerts those in range that wetting is occurring.

The child hears or feels the alarm and learns to get out of bed and empty urine into the toilet. Gradually, the child learns to respond to the feeling of a full bladder by waking and going to the bathroom before the alarm goes off. This is a type of behavioral conditioning.


Successfully using a bedwetting alarm to achieve dryness is a journey that can take several weeks. You'll have questions along the way. We have a team of certified Bedwetting Experts available via phone, chat or email, as well as a wide variety of resources to help you choose and use your alarm. Click here to learn more.

Important Features

Rodger AlarmHow is the alarm connected?

Does it fasten to any pair of underwear, or does it come with its own specialized underwear? Some children like using their own briefs while others prefer those with a built-in sensor, where placement is never a problem. A pad type alarm is an option for those who prefer to lie on the sensor rather than to wear it.

How is the alarm turned off?

Methods of stopping the alarm after triggering can vary. Does your child need to get out of bed to turn off a wireless receiver or do they reach up on their shoulder and push a button? Some alarms require a two-step turn-off in which the sensor is removed from wetness before the reset button is pressed. This design prevents an active sleeper from accidentally pulling off the sensor without being alerted. Wireless alarms require wearers to get out of bed to turn the alarm unit off, which works well for heavy sleepers.

Where does the sound come from?

Sound comes from a unit clipped to the shoulder in wearable alarms. In wireless and bedside alarms, it comes from a separate unit set away from the sleeper. Wireless alarms generally have a volume control button whereas wearable alarms usually sound at the same volume every time.

Wearable alarms can vibrate as well as sound off. The vibration from the wearable alarms would be similar to a gentle shaking of the shoulder. Vibration “bed-shakers” can be added to some wireless alarms. Many users find the vibration adds extra sensory stimulation, increasing their response.


sleeping boy Bedwetting alarms can be very effective for even the soundest of sleepers. Parents initially play an important part in rousing the sleeping child once the alarm has sounded. As long as the alarm is loud enough for parents to hear, they can provide backup if children do not respond initially.

The wearable alarms all sound at 80 decibels, and make a variety of noises.

Wireless alarms with volume control can sound even louder. You can get an extra receiver for your room.

Once parents hear the alarm, you should respond quickly. Remind your child what is happening and help them to the bathroom. Bedwetting alarms are a mainstay in the treatment of bedwetting. They are an easy first step that most parents can take, as no prescription or physician supervision is necessary. Children over the age of five or six are usually ready to begin treatment.