Tips for Using an Enuresis Alarm
Set Realistic Expectations
It takes 10 to 12 weeks for the average child
to be consistently dry. Some may take
It is rare for a child to hear the alarm and
walk to the bathroom alone the first night.
This is a learned response and requires the
help of a parent.
First Month Is the Most Difficult
Some success can occur in the first week, if
the child is eager and does not sleep as
soundly as normal. In some cases, the
second week is harder as the child and
family relax and more wetting takes place.
Responding to the Alarm
Parents should respond to the alarm by
going to the child’s room and noting his
response. Remind the child of the next
step—“put your feet on the floor and walk to
the bathroom.” This may require helping
the child put his legs over the side of the bed
to stand up. The alarm should be turned off
only after the child’s feet are on the floor.
Rules of Thumb
▪ A nightlight can help the child locate the
bathroom without problems.
▪ Do not worry if the child has no recall of
the alarm and bathroom visit in the
morning. Learning can still take place.
▪ Progress can be measured by keeping
track of how often wetting events
happen per night, the time of the
wetting, and the size of the wet spot
before the child responds.
▪ Many children wet more than one time
per night at first. Attach the alarm to
clean underwear after each wetting
event. As they make progress, the
nightly wetting events decrease.
▪ Wetting within an hour or two of going
to bed is common. This is the hardest
time to arouse a child, and she rarely
remembers this in the morning. With
time, this first event will go away or
occur closer to morning.
▪ Attach the alarm to close-fitting cloth
underwear (not boxers or pajama
bottoms). Do not use disposable pants.
▪ A waterproof pad on the top of the sheet
allows for easy cleanup in the middle of
the night and in the morning.
▪ At first, the child will have emptied his
bladder by the time he hears the alarm
(or the parent responds). Over time, the
new response will be one of stopping the
urine flow when the alarm sounds.
Many of the alarms sound when they
sense only a drop or two of urine. As
the child makes progress, there will be
only a small spot of urine on the
▪ Keep charts to allow the child to track
▪ Think about giving rewards (stickers,
time for fun activities) for your child
wearing the alarm and walking to the
bathroom when parents come to get him,
as well as dry nights.
Dry Nights: What Next?
Have the child use the alarm until she has
had 2 weeks of consecutive dry nights.
Then use the alarm every other night for 2
more consecutive weeks of dryness. If
wetting occurs during this process, start the
2-week weaning over again.
Having the child drink an extra glass of fluid
before bed while wearing the alarm can help
you to figure out whether he has learned
how to expect the alarm and wake up when
he needs to go to the bathroom. Your child
should be able to do this before you stop
using the alarm.
Stopping the alarm too soon can lead to a
relapse of the wetting.
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor.
This is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because
each person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team
when using this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright ©8/2016. University of
Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing.