Do Bedwetting Alarms Work?
Our family, unfortunately, has vast experience with bedwetting. When our oldest was eight and still wetting the bed every single night, we decided it was time to take action. Not only did our oldest wet the bed, but all of her younger siblings did as well. And our kids didn’t just wet the bed sometimes, they wet every single night. We were swimming (and financially drowning) in Pull-Ups, diapers, and cloth training pants.
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What Causes Bedwetting?
I talked to our doctor who said bedwetting wasn’t considered an issue until age six. He confirmed that there is a strong genetic component to bedwetting and there was definitely a family history of bedwetting.
My husband and I weren’t worried, but we were ready to be done washing sheets, blankets, and diapers every day.
We tried all of the standard bedwetting solutions
- waking the child to pee before we went to bed
- limiting liquids in the afternoon/evening
- offering incentives if the child stayed dry
None of these made any difference at all. According to our doctor, our daughter’s brain needed to learn to tell her body to stop producing urine at night We could wait or try a bedwetting alarm. At first, my mind was filled with visions of electric shock therapy and future shrink bills. Turns out I was wrong. No one gets shocked and no one needs therapy afterward…and the best part? It worked!
How Do Bedwetting Alarms Work?
When we finally decided to bite the bullet and purchase a bedwetting alarm, we had to brace ourselves for some rough nights. I’m not going to lie, the first few nights were miserable. Neither the parent nor child enjoys being awakened from a dead sleep by an obnoxious alarm. Right away, however, we were able to see why our kids were soaking through everything. Our daughter was wetting the bed two or three times per night! By the end of the first week, our daughter had her first ever dry night. It was hard to tell who was happier…her or us!
I expected the alarm to work by teaching our daughter to wake up when she had a full bladder. But that’s not what happened. The first week she had a couple of dry nights…not nights where she woke up to use the bathroom, but nights where she woke up in the morning dry. Week two, she had almost all dry nights. Within a month, she no longer wet the bed. We considered the bedwetting alarm to be magical. So we used it on our seven-year-old son and our six-year-old daugther…sucess!
In the end, we used the bedwetting alarm on six of our children. We did have one stubborn son who kept unsnapping the alarm and claiming it was an “accident”. We eventually stopped using it on him since he simply refused to wear it. He always was a difficult kid.
Here is the description from The Bedwetting Store on how the alarms work.
The alarm is connected to a small clip-on sensor which detects moisture and anchors to the outside of any close fitting underwear for boys or girls. No sewing to 9hassle with or metal clips or snaps to come undone during the night. No mini-pads to buy and attach each night! Sensor contacts are within the clip so skin contact or sweating will not trigger the alarm. The alarm sounds continuously until the sensor is removed, allowing you or your child sufficient time to effectively respond to the alarm.
So basically, you snap it to their underwear and an alarm goes off the minute any moisture hits it. You then take the child to the bathroom, change them, rehook the alarm and hope it doesn’t go off again that night.
Our Experience with Bedwetting Alarms
We have used both the Malem Alarm and the SleepDry. I don’t think the particular brand matters as much as just getting an alarm and using the system. DryBuddyFLEX is a wireless option. We found it simple to make the alarm be part of our bedtime routine and in the end it was helpful for 6 out of 8 of our bedwetters.
Other Bedwetting Supplies:
Waterproof Mattress Protector (we use these on all of our kids’ beds. You’ll thank me next time one of your kids gets the stomach flu)
Washable Nighttime Training Pants (we used these for years)
Have you dealt with bedwetting in your home? What have you found to be helpful?