How to best use a bedwetting alarm

Bedwetting alarms are very effective in curing bedwetting. But, alarm treatment takes time and patience. Avoid frustrations and maximize the chance of treatment success by following these recommendations:

Ensure you and your child understand how the alarm works

A bedwetting alarm is not complicated, but it is important that both you and your child understand exactly what to do when the alarm sounds. Effectiveness is greatly enhanced if your child is motivated to wake up quickly and fully, and then follows the recommended procedure. DryMaker® provides step-by-step instructions that are detailed and easy to understand.

Be prepared to use the alarm every night for at least 4 weeks and up to 3-4 months

It is only with time and consistent training that your child’s brain will adapt and eventually wake up before the bed is wet and the alarm is triggered. This usually takes several weeks and progress is often slow.

Issues you may initially encounter:

  • 1. Your child may not wake up to the alarm. If so, your assistance in waking up your child will be required. This will resolve with time, usually within 1-4 weeks, as your child gets used to waking up on his/her own.
  • 2. Your child will wake up after wetting the bed. This is normal and will diminish with consistent use of the alarm. You will first see less urine and wetting occurring later in the night, then fewer episodes, and eventually, dryness. Once your child is no longer wetting the bed, continue using the alarm for at least two more weeks.

Get your child committed and involved

It is very important that your child wants to become dry. He or she needs to be committed to waking up to the alarm and must be mature enough to understand what to do. For this reason, bedwetting alarms are usually recommended for children over five. However, more important than age, is the child’s desire to get dry.
DryMaker® supplies the tools and support you’ll need to help motivate your child, including a progress chart and a booklet on bedwetting designed specifically for young readers.

Stick with the treatment

The most common reason for failure with a bedwetting alarm is that children/families do not stick with the treatment long enough. Many parents buy an alarm with the expectation that their child will wake up to the alarm from the very start. This is often not the case. It can take weeks before a child wakes up on his or her own. Don’t give up on the treatment if your child is not waking up without assistance. Perseverance and consistency are crucial.
A bedwetting alarm does not work for all children or in all families. In some cases, a child may not be ready for bedwetting alarm treatment and will respond better in a year or two when sleep patterns have changed, the bladder has grown larger and he/she is more mature. Additionally, you can discuss other treatment options with your doctor. Don’t hesitate to ask for a referral to a pediatrician as some family physicians may not have this specialized expertise.

Simple things you can do to enhance the success of bedwetting alarm treatment

  • Restrict evening fluid intake
    Restrict your child’s fluid intake to no more than half a cup (125 ml) of liquid after supper. Less fluid means less urine. Even if this does not seem to help, evening fluid intake should be restricted with any bedwetting treatment.
  • Ensure adequate daytime fluid intake
    Do not restrict fluid intake during the day. Drinking too much in the evening can be the result of drinking too little during the day. Guidelines suggest a minimum of 6-8, 8 oz (240 ml) glasses of fluid per day for children ages six and over, but this varies depending on size, activity level, etc.
  • Go to the washroom before bedtime
    Make sure your child has an empty bladder before going to bed. This helps ensure that the bladder has maximum time to fill up again. Even if it does not seem to help, it is a good habit to get into and should always be done during treatment.
  • Avoid caffeine
    Caffeine stimulates the production of urine. Caffeinated beverages like Coca-Cola, coffee and non-herbal teas should be avoided as much as possible and not consumed at all in the evening.
  • Treat constipation
    If the intestine is filled with stool it puts pressure on the bladder, making it smaller and less able to hold enough urine. If your child has less than three bowel movements a week and/or other signs of constipation, you should get this treated. Talk to your doctor.
  • Have regular bedtime/sleep habits
  • Ensure easy access to washroom
  • Use a night light as this makes it easier to wake the child

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