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Choosing a bedwetting alarm

Dr. D. Preston Smith
Author Dr. D. Preston Smith
Submitted 16-10-2007

The Potty Trainer

Remember, before you buy an alarm make sure you are willing to wake with your child and be patient with the process (it may take days or weeks). Each of the alarm systems functions in the same way by waking the child or parent when wetting occurs. For this reason, you will want a loud alarm (vibration hardly ever works).


Once you decided you would like to try a bedwetting alarm, purchasing the correct device for you and your child is important. The first decision to make is whether to use a mattress pad or undergarment sensor. If your child moves a lot in their sleep or does not mind wearing the alarm, then the undergarment sensor would be the best choice. If your child does not like wires and electronic devices then a wireless alarm should be used. If
you do not wish for your child to wear a device, or if your child refuses to wear a device then a bed pad and alarm system can be used. The mattress pad sensor is usually the size of a pillow case and easier for the child to use since the sensors do not need to be carefully positioned within the underwear. Pull-ups cannot be used because the wetting must be allowed to touch the pad. The pad sensor can be messier, but it is less cumbersome for the child. The pad and alarm system is usually more durable and louder
than other alarms.


There are several other factors to consider when purchasing a particular alarm device. These factors include:

  • Batteries

  • Warranty

  • Durability

  • Loudness/Tone

  • Options (light, vibration, color)

  • Weight of alarm (especially if attached to pajamas)

  • Comfort of pad/sensor

  • Difficulty of positioning sensors in undergarments

  • Cost

  • Wireless vs. wired

The Ideal Bedwetting Alarm:

  1. Loud

  2. Wireless

  3. Inexpensive

  4. Durable

  5. Reliable

– 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.