Many manufacturers have created products to make bedwetting less traumatic. These devices and tools can make bedwetting less embarrassing and can make cleanup or activities such as camping easier. However, they should be used with treatment rather than a substitute for it as most of these products will not cure bedwetting themselves:
Choose the right Moisture Detector Alarms
Moisture detector alarms are among the most effective tools in helping children overcome bedwetting. Unlike many of the devices and tools intended for children with Enuresis, alarms can actually treat bedwetting rather than just making the symptoms more bearable.
Moisture detectors are worn with underpants and the sensor of the alarm emits a loud sound when moisture is detected. The child can wake up and hurry to the bathroom in time. With use, the idea is to get the child to anticipate the alarm and wake up before any moisture is detected by the alarm. Within two or three months of nightly use, many children find that they can prevent all nighttime accidents and that they are actually getting up when their bladder is full and going to the bathroom.
Because moisture detection alarms are so effective in helping children overcome bedwetting, many manufacturers make them. However, all the different moisture detector alarms are not made the same.
If you choose the wrong model – one that makes your child uncomfortable or one that does not work well – the chances of success with the alarm are slim. You need a reliable and well-built alarm in order to help your child.
Signs of a good alarm include:
- Reasonable price – the alarm must be affordable
- Comfortable to wear – your child will need to wear this alarm nightly for a few months, anything that digs into your child, prevents sleep or has sharp edges could be detrimental. Plus, if your child hates wearing the alarm, he or she may not wear it often enough for the alarm to actually work
- Right levels of sensitivity – it is important that the alarm responds to small amounts of urine, so that the child can wake up in time to go to the bathroom. At the same time, an alarm that is too sensitive may be set off by night sweats, which will not only interrupt sleep unduly but will also make the alarm less successful in curing bedwetting.
- Ease of use – the alarm must be easy enough for your child to set and reset even in the middle of the night. Some alarms have a remote system that allows parents to reset the alarm from another room. This is useful for younger children.
- Durability – your child may drop the alarm in the night or may knock the alarm against the walls or bed during a restless night
- Reliability – The alarm must work each time urine is present, or it will be difficult to teach your child to solve bedwetting.
- Hygienic design – since the alarm will be in contact with urine, it is essential for good health that the alarm can be easily cleaned or disinfected after each use without its functioning being affected
- Loudness – The alarm should wake your child (and you, if your child tends to sleep through alarms). Some alarms come with adjustable sound levels, which can be very useful. Plus, some alarms allow children to be woken with vibrations rather than sound.If you have large family, young children, or if your child shares a room, this can be a very useful feature. Plus, children not woken by sound may well be woken by movement, so this feature is very useful if your child has trouble being woken by an alarm.
- Secureness – Some alarms come with wireless technology to prevent tangling or pulled wires. This is a nice feature, but even a lower-end alarm is fine as long as it fits snugly with clips or some other secure fastener so that it will not dislodge even with nightly tossing and turning.
- Size – The alarm should be small enough to be worn with comfort, and should be the right size for your child. It should fit snugly enough so that it is not dislodged during a restless night
- Simple power sources – Most of these alarms work on batteries. Make sure any alarm you are considering buying uses batteries that are easily available. Stock up on batteries, as well.
- Guarantee – The manufacturer should be confident enough in the product to offer a full warranty or guarantee on the product. Remember: if the alarm does not work well each time, it will not be able to teach your child to overcome bedwetting. An alarm that is not consistent is useless.
- Quality made – The device should be sturdy and made with a design that shows some thought to patient comfort. The device should also be made to last.
Of course, you may not be able to try the device out in the store. However, the package label may at least give clues as to which of the above qualities are present in a product. Doctor or clinic reviews and recommendations from other parents can also help guide you to the alarms that have most of the above features.
Use Moisture Detector alarms effectively for success
Once you have chosen the best moisture detector alarm for your child, you will want to use it properly so that your child will actually learn to use the alarm to stop bedwetting.
The idea is not to use the alarm in order to alert that an “accident” has taken place. The idea is to get the child up quickly so that they will go to the bathroom in time – after some time with the alarm, many children are able to wake themselves up when they need to use the bathroom, without the use of the alarm. The idea is to get your child to anticipate the alarm and wake up before the alarm has gone off, when the bladder feels full.
Be sure to explain to your child the purpose of the alarm. Stress the idea of using the alarm to get up and go to the bathroom quickly when the alarm is heard. Better yet, practice with your child. Have the child activate the alarm with a damp cloth and then have the child hurry to the bathroom from his or her room.
Have your child practice setting the alarm and then resetting the alarm once he or she has gone to the bathroom. Practice with your child so that your child knows exactly what to do when the alarm goes off.
Make it easy for your child to respond to the alarm quickly. A hall light or other light source can help ensure that your child can move to the bathroom quickly and without injury when the alarm goes off at night. Make sure that the child can easily access a bathroom close to his or her bathroom.
If your child is a heavy sleeper, he or she may need help waking up when the buzzer goes off. If you hear the alarm, wake your child and help him or her to the bathroom. If your child has trouble waking up to the alarm, make sure that there is no noise in your child’s room.
If your child sleeps in a noisy room, he or she may simply have become more adept at blocking out any noise, making him or her less likely to be woken up by noises of any type. Also ensure that your child goes to bed a little earlier than usual. Extreme tiredness caused by staying up too late will make it difficult for anyone to wake up for any alarm.
When using a moisture detection alarm, it is important to use the device faithfully each night until bedwetting episodes have stopped for at least a month. This may take a few
months to accomplish, so patience is a desired trait when using this method to treat bedwetting.
Make sure that any bedclothes the child wears allow for proper use of the alarm. Thin underwear that allows a good grip for the clips that often come with the alarms, as well as a t-shirt to prevent tugging at wires, is often a good idea.
Even once your child has been dry using the alarm device, make sure that the problem has been resolved well. Some doctors recommend that the child drink more fluids before bedtime and continue wearing the device to ensure that the child really can wake up and go to the bathroom without “accidents.” Even after the child is doing well, occasionally resorting to the alarm again can help “solidify” the learning, according to some experts.
Disposable urine absorbers.
Infants wear diapers to control the mess of urine flow. Now, there are disposable products designed for older children and even adults. These can help ensure a dry night and less mess to clean up. Today’s products are made to be thin and discreet so that your child does not have to feel as though they are wearing diapers. These products are available through pharmacies and through medical supply stores.
However, even if your child wears these at night, be sure to pursue other options for actually treating the bedwetting. Disposable products are just a tool to make bedwetting less messy – they will not fix the problem.
These disposable systems are generally made to look like underpants, but they have liners of absorbent matter as well as top layers of plastic material to keep moisture away from the skin. For children who urinate only a little in their sleep, there are also liners that can be used with underwear.
Also be sure to keep your child’s hygiene in mind while using these products. These products do keep moisture away from the skin but they can also be heavy and very warm when worn all night (especially in the summer). Teach your child to care for his or her skin to prevent sore skin.
Reusable urine absorbers
There are urine stoppers that can catch urine during the night but which can be used again and again. These are less expensive than disposable products and can look either like underpants or like a combination of liner and underpants. Some parents prefer reusable urine absorbers because they keep sheets dry while still allowing a child to feel the wetness, which in some cases can wake the child up in time to go to the bathroom.
Used in this way, reusable urine absorbers such as underpants or liners can be used as part of behavior modification to cure bedwetting.
Choose the right type of urine absorber.
Urine absorbers come in two basic types:
1) Liners – These are strips of absorbent material, covered with a stay-dry layer and underpinned with a waterproof layer. They are attached to the underpants with adhesive strips, slips, or bands of some sort. They can leak if a child urinates a larger amount, but they are often enough for children who wet only a little. These liners are quite discreet and can cause less skin irritation and discomfort. On the other hand, they can also dislodge during a restless night, not offering protection.
2) Absorbent underpants – There are underpants made of absorbent material that is covered in soft fabric that keeps the skin dry. The outside of the underwear is made waterproof and may be covered in designs to make the underpants look more like regular “underwear.”
These absorbent underpants can be very expensive, but come in many styles and sizes. The newer styles are thinner than ever and also more discreet (they do not create any tell-tale sound of crinkling). For small children, these underpants provide a large area so that leaks are less likely. These absorbers can also usually absorb more urine. These underpants can cause skin irritation as the skin cannot breathe very well. For this reason, it is important to choose the correct size.
You should choose an absorber that works for your child’s situation and one that your child will not mind using. In some cases, it takes some trial and error for your child and you to find the absorber that is most effective and comfortable.
Mattress liners and mattress protectors
These products are placed under the sheets and keep the mattress free from moisture and stains. This can help protect a costly mattress and can make cleanup less of a hassle. These are a good idea while your child wets the bed, as otherwise the smell of urine can linger in the mattress and make your child uncomfortable.
Also, without liners, each time your child wets the bed you will have to air out and dry the mattress, which can take all day. Liners make life easier for everyone in your family. Families who do not want to invest in expensive mattress liners and protectors can easily cover the child’s bed securely with plastic wrapping (garbage bags, ponchos, any plastic material).
These have the advantage of being disposable as well as affordable, making clean up even easier. However, with these home-made innovations, you have to cover the mattress firmly as leaks may happen more readily with this solution, especially if you child is a restless sleeper. Store bought mattress liners are made to fit seamlessly and snugly over a bed, so that less leaking is possible.
Whatever sort of bed protection you use, make sure that all affected areas are covered. That means that if your child tosses and turns a lot, you should provide full mattress coverage as well as possibly pillow liners or protectors as well. Be sure to clean all protectors regularly (if they are not the disposable kind) to prevent odor.
Sleeping bag liners
These are more difficult to get than mattress liners, but they can make all the difference on camping trips and overnight stays at a friend’s house. Check at on-line retailers, sporting goods stores, and medical supply stores. These liners keep the inside of a sleeping bag dry and odor-free thanks to an absorbent inner layer, a soft top layer and a waterproof lower layer that keeps the sleeping bad completely dry.
Those with chronic Enuresis often turn to catheters.
Catheters are medical equipment used to draw waste away from a body when a patient is very ill or unconscious. They are used by some patients with Enuresis. Traditional catheters will generally present a risk of infection and should not be used nightly.
Something called the “Texas catheter” fits over the genitals, is less invasive, and so is safer.
The idea is that the catheter gathers the urine into a disposable container, ensuring that the patient wakes up dry. Urine can be disposed easily, ensuring no clean up. Also, unlike absorbency undergarments, catheters draw the urine away more completely, reducing the chances of skin irritation or skin infection.
This is a bit of an extreme method, as it is not very comfortable and is certainly not discreet. However, it is used by some Enuresis patients who wet the bed each night due to a medical condition. If catheters seem like a solution to you, speak with a doctor or health care professional. Catheters are available through medical supply outlets, but if you decide to get one you may need to be trained to clean and use it properly and safely.