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Bedwetting treatments: Bedwetting alarms

Dr. D. Preston Smith
Author Dr. D. Preston Smith
Submitted 10-10-2007

The Potty Trainer

Bed alarms that detect nighttime wetting have been available for many years. Bedwetting alarms make noise, light or vibrate when exposed to wetness (urine). When the child wets, a sound is usually made in hopes to wake the child before the bladder has completely emptied. What usually happens is the child wets and the alarm sounds. The child (usually the parent) then awakens and the child goes to the restroom to completely empty the bladder of any “left over” urine.


Using the alarm for days or weeks and awakening just after wetting should eventually “condition” the child to wake up prior to wetting. Once you establish a consistent pattern of waking during the night prior to wetting then you graduate from the alarm. Current bedwetting alarms have sensors that are placed in the underpants or on top of the bed. Usually wires connect the sensor to an alarm or vibration device that is secured to the pajama top or near the child’s ear. There are many alarms from which to choose. Some are louder than others, and some are wireless. Several options of alarms are now available to include different tones, lights, vibrations, and colors.


Studies have shown bed alarms to be safe and effective in correcting bedwetting in 50-85% of children. The most important factors for success are the amount of parental and
child involvement and motivation. They usually require parent and child working together for several weeks. Often times the child does not easily awaken, and the parents and other family members are awakened by the alarm. If the alarm is only tried a few times then it is not likely to work.



– Dr. D. Preston Smith



Dr. Smith is board certified and he has authored or co-authored many articles, papers, chapters, and books in Urology and Pediatric Urology. His research has been presented throughout the world. Dr. Smith’s dedication to helping children with urologic problems inspired him to establish PottyMD.