Bedwetting (Enuresis) Alarm Common MistakesBedwetting (Enuresis) Alarms Common Mistakes

Results in research trials of bedwetting (enuresis) alarms have varied from 40% success to 97% success. There are several reasons for variability in success rates with bedwetting alarms.

  1. It is very common for parents to be given incorrect instructions with the alarm. They often expect the child to wake to the alarm. These children are such heavy sleepers they will generally not wake to the alarm initially. The parents will hear the alarm and must go in and wake the child at the time of the wetting. Eventually the message gets through from the child’s bladder to their brain and they will wake up to the sound of the alarm.
  2. Often the alarm is tried without combining its use with any other strategies. Unless all the factors causing the bedwetting are addressed in a systematic and comprehensive way results can be disappointing. The causes are generally a combination of factors including a small bladder capacity, too much urine produced at night, very deep sleep and constipation. Long term success is much more likely with a program which addresses all these factors.
  3. The parents continue using the alarm for months on end until they are too tired to continue. If the child has not started to improve within two months then the alarm should be packed away. The initial steps of the program should be continued for three months and then the alarm should be tried again, usually with a successful result.
  4. The child may be frightened by the alarm and refuse to wear it after the first use. If this is the case, the alarm with a voice recording is preferable. Alternatively the alarm can be put on after the child goes to sleep. These children, who wake easily to the alarm, are likely to be cured quite quickly if the alarm is continued.
  5. Another common problem with alarms is that some models are very expensive, costing about one thousand dollars. These alarms are generally hired out, because they are too expensive for families to purchase. Often there is a time limit for families to keep the alarm. The child may appear to have been cured and the alarm is returned to the clinic. It is very common for children who seem to have been cured to have one or two relapses, even months later. There may not be an alarm available at the clinic when it is needed again. If the alarm is not restarted immediately the problem can return and become established again. For this reason it is better to purchase a bedwetting alarm. Generally if the alarm is restarted immediately, the problem will stop again very quickly.