Bedwetting alarms work by helping the child recognise the sensation of a full bladder during sleep and wake up to go to the toilet or learn to hold on.
Alarms can help improve arousal to a full bladder and also increase bladder capacity.
What types of alarms are there?
There are 2 main types of alarms available:
- Bedside Alarm: This consists of a mat that goes on the bed under a sheet on which the child sleeps. The mat is connected to a noise-box, which is usually placed at the side of the bed. The noise-box sounds when the child’s wee touches the mat causing the child to wake up or hold on to the sensation of a full bladder.
- Body Worn Alarm: This consists of a smaller sensor that fits inside the child's underwear and is connected to a mini sound box, which is attached to the child's pyjamas at shoulder level. The noise box sounds when the child’s wee touches the sensor causing the child to wake up or hold on to the sensation of a full bladder.
How do they work?
The idea is that when the child wets, the sensors trigger the alarm, which will then hopefully wake the child. The child then has to get out of bed and try to finish emptying their bladder in the toilet before coming back to change the bed and resetting the alarm if necessary. Read more...
Children need to have a certain level of understanding and motivation to comply with the alarm treatment, and most will need help and support from family members initially. For this reason the alarm is generally used with children from about the age of 7 years.
How do we know if the alarm is working?
Signs of progress may develop slowly, the first being that the child wakes to the alarm by him or herself. Then, over a period of time, the child wakes more quickly to the alarm and the 'wet patch' gets smaller, with more urine being passed in the toilet. Read more...
Eventually, the child will start to have runs of completely dry nights. When the child has been dry for 14 consecutive dry nights, the alarm treatment can be discontinued and the child monitored for a few weeks. If the bedwetting restarts then the alarm can be re-introduced.
Did you know?
Around 17% of 7-year old boys wet the bed. Around 10% of 7-year old girls wet the bed.