Bedwetting Alarms

bedwetting treatment for older children

A bedwetting alarm is a device that wakes children up the moment they begin to wet the bed. An alarm is a moisture sensor that goes in a child’s pajamas and is attached to an alarm. When the sensor detects moisture, the alarm sounds (or vibrates, depending on the model being used). This will wake the child up so he can go to the bathroom, hopefully avoiding a wet bed.

Though a bedwetting alarm is a very effective method of treatment for bedwetting, it does take time to work—generally about twelve weeks. At first, your child may not wake up and respond to the alarm. Usually, parents will have to get their child out of bed and help him to the bathroom for the first few weeks of using the alarm. After this, the child will usually hear the alarm and get himself out of bed to use the toilet. The goal of an alarm is that a child will learn to wake up on his own and get to the toilet before he begins to wet the bed.

Advantages of a Bedwetting Alarm

Bedwetting alarms have several notable advantages, including:

  • Effectiveness. Use of a bed wetting alarm eliminates the problem of bedwetting in almost all children. It is a very effective form of behavior modification.
  • Non-Medical Nature. Though there are medications that treat bedwetting, many parents are understandably reluctant to put their children on medication. An alarm will provide the same results, without the risk of side effects that drugs sometimes carry. (In some cases, drugs may still be necessary, however.)
  • Low Cost. Costing between $50 and $100, a bed wetting alarm is a fairly inexpensive one-time purchase that will last throughout the entire course of enuresis treatment.

Disadvantages of a Bed Wetting Alarm

No treatment option is perfect, and a bedwetting alarm does have a few downsides, like:

  • Requires Family Involvement. If your child is a heavy sleeper, even a loud alarm may not wake him up—but it will probably wake you up! The effectiveness of a bedwetting alarm, especially in the early stages, may depend on you waking up and taking your child to the bathroom. Additionally, be aware that the alarm could potentially wake up other family members, too.
  • Requires a Commitment from Your Child.Your child has to want to use the bedwetting alarm. If not, there is no way he is going towake up and go to the bathroom on his own, no matter how much you want him to. For this reason, bedwetting alarms usually work better for older children who notice that their peers do not wet the bed, or who actively dislike waking up wet.
  • Possibility of Relapse. As with any treatment, there is the possibility of eventual relapse into bedwetting after your child stops using a bedwetting alarm. Several studies have attempted to measure how many children relapse after bedwetting alarm treatment, and results range between 30% and 60%. However, using the alarm again will correct this, and multiple relapses are not common.
bedwetting alarm stress
Children who feel embarrassed or self-conscious about wetting the bed are more likely to have success with a bedwetting alarm. (source:

Treating your child’s bedwetting with an alarm will take time, but it is one of the surest ways to help your child stay dry at night, permanently. If you and your child both commit to the process, you’ll find that an alarm can help your child get control of his enuresis.