There are two main treatments for bedwetting: alarms and drug treatments.Generally, bedwetting alarms are the preferred treatments for children who are fine during the day.
A bedwetting alarm requires the child’s full involvement so they do need to be motivated to succeed. Using alarms as a treatment has a good long term success rate. There are two main types of alarm:
- Body worn alarm
- Bed mat alarm
Both alarms work on the same principle: they have sensors that detect when a child has started to wet. The sensor triggers the alarm and the child is woken up. The idea is that their body and mind gradually get used to linking the sensation of a full bladder with the need to wake up to empty it. Gradually they learn either to hold on or to wake up and go to the toilet.
Along the way there should be signs that the alarm is starting to work:
- smaller wet patches
- waking up when the alarm goes
- having more left in the bladder after the alarm has gone off
- alarm getting later in the night
- alarm going off less often
Once they have two consecutive weeks of dry nights then the alarm can be removed. If the alarm is used for three months and there hasn’t been any improvement, then other measures may need to be considered.
Body Worn Alarm
The body worn alarm has a sensor that clips onto tight fitting clothing like underpants, which the child will need to wear each night. You can get alarms that have wire linking to the alarm control box or you can have a wireless alarm, which are considerably more expensive. Often you will get a choice of sounds or a vibration option if you prefer and this might be better if the child shares a room with another. If you opt for sounds, then the machine will randomly choose a sound to stop the child getting too used to a particular sound and tuning it out.
Bed Mat Alarm
Bed mat alarms consist of a foil embossed plastic mat which fits between the sheets over the mattress. The alarm section can either be placed under the pillow and the sound alarm placed beside the bed.