How to choose a bed wetting alarm
You’ve tried everything to help a child, and nothing seems to work. Waking, restricting water, removing the pull-ups, maybe even drugs and now you are considering “alarms”. Where to start? There are two basic types of bed wetting, simple and complicated. For younger children who are healthy, happy, and fairly light sleepers, a clip-on alarm with basic instructions might work but keep in mind that thousands of these are sold every year and don’t even wake the child. So before buying that alarm on Amazon, try an alarm-clock test at 90 minutes after bedtime to see if it might work. These alarms cost $50 to $150.
Alarm versus a bed wetting alarm program
Most kids do indeed get dry by age 7, but if they don’t there may be more complicated things going on. Constipation, stress, sibling rivalry, ADHD, food sensitivities. For these kids an alarm “program” is probably a better way to go. At a cost of $300 to $2,000 you will want to choose wisely.
Does the program have a personal approach that customizes the remedy to the child’s personality, health issues, and cultural considerations, or is it just a series of videos to teach the child? Is it considering the family lifestyle, the age of the child, their sports activities?
Is the alarm itself one that is effective and convenient? Alarms have to be a single loud tone because the process is Pavlovian and is partially aversion therapy. Does it require the sheets to get wet every time it sounds?
The mat requires one to sleep in one place, and bot pad and the sheets get wet. Clip-ons usually wet only the underwear and maybe a disposable pad on top of the sheet.
There are recent improvements in alarm technology that work especially well for young kids, for girls, and for parents. The new small wireless bed wetting alarms are rechargeable, respond to the fist few drops of moisture, and can wake the child and/or the parent as you prefer. On the other hand, older style mat alarms require at least one sheet possibly two as well as an absorbent pad, to get wet every time. That’s twice a night, two sheets and a pad. That’s a lot of washing.
Finally, does the program include personal follow-up to add tips and tricks that will keep both parent and child “in the game”? Bed wetting cessation should not be stressful. You only have to “do the stuff” every day to see a consistent improvement. With exercises to strengthen the bladder signal and lighten sleep you can expect complete dryness in three to twelve weeks. So get on with it now just in time for summer camp!