As a busy working family you’re already under pressure and having a bed wetter in tow only adds to the work load.
Knowing you’re not alone (1 in 7 five-year-olds wet the bed regularly) and understanding that your child cannot help their bedwetting may be reassuring but it doesn’t make daily life any easier. Parents also worry about the effect bedwetting can have on their child’s self-esteem. Only 15% of affected children outgrow the condition every year so by the age of ten, 1 in 15 will still be wetting the bed.
So, what can you do?
Night-time toilet training with a bedwetting alarm can provide an effective cure for bedwetting. The success of alarms has been well-documented in research over the past 35 years. The advantage of alarms is that they are cost effective, avoid the need for medication and have no side effects.
Talk to your child about their bedwetting. Reassure them that it can be treated and introduce the idea of using an alarm. Explain how an alarm works to train their brain to recognise the feeling of a full bladder during sleep and eventually wake them before they wet the bed. For the majority of bed wetters it will take 2-12 weeks to achieve dry nights.
If they are ready to try using an alarm, let them know you will support them.
Like most things in life…preparation is the key.
Using an alarm will be disruptive to your child’s, and possibly other family members’, sleep. Start by getting the whole family onboard so there are no surprises. Consider alarm training during school holidays when there is less pressure to get up early to go to school and there is an opportunity to catch up on sleep, if necessary.
An effective bedwetting alarm treatment programme will have the following elements:
- Practise before bed: as your child settles down to go to sleep during the first week of alarm training, practise what they need to do when the alarm triggers during the night. This will help prepare their brain to respond to the alarm during sleep. Be ready to get up and assist your child during the night, especially if they are a deep sleeper and don’t initially respond to the alarm.
- Prepare extra night clothes and Brolly Sheets for a quick change during the night. This helps minimise the sleep disruption time.
- Develop a Reward Programme to keep your child engaged. Night- time toilet training is a process and a Progress Chart (see our free chart downloads below) with a Reward Programme that recognises milestones along the way can keep your youngster on track. Examples of important milestones are:
- responding to the alarm on their own for several nights in a row;
- if they are a deep sleeper and can’t initially respond without your help, then giving them a code word when you get them up that they must remember and repeat to you the next morning (so they focus what they are doing when they get up) can be brought into a reward programme. For example, if they remember the code word 3 mornings in a row then this could be rewarded;
- helping with the laundry or bed changing;
- dry nights;
- after 14 consecutive dry nights your child can stop using the alarm as their bedwetting is cured….best reward of all!
Daytime training for bed wetters
There are some things you can do during the day to help your child with their night-time toilet training:
- Keep them well hydrated: Make sure that your child drinks at least six 250ml glasses of fluid (water or milk preferably) during the day. This will help stretch the bladder so it can hold more during the night and reduce the frequency of bedwetting;
- Visualisation: Another technique which can be used to help cement the brain/bladder connection is practising Visualisation before toilet visits during the day. For example, during the day when they feel they need to wee, get them to go to their room and close the curtains. Then get them to close their eyes and explain out loud the feeling in their bladder. This can help them recognise the feeling in the night.
By preparing well and sticking to a routine, night-time toilet training with an alarm is very manageable, even for busy, working families. Curing your child’s bedwetting will be well worth it, not only for the reduced laundry load but, more importantly, for your child’s confidence and self-esteem.
Brolly Sheets sell Dri Sleeper alarms on their Australian and NZ websites. Dri Sleeper alarms are made in NZ and sold around the world for over 35 years. Helping hundreds of thousands of children achieve dry nights.
Download your free reward charts here:
Written by our guest Blogger, Karen Radford from Dri Sleeper Alarms