We are often asked for help by parents whose children are deep sleepers. These children may sleep right through the bedwetting alarm even though it wakes the rest of the family! If this is a problem for your child then this blog will give you some strategies to help him or her respond to the alarm in their sleep.
The most important thing to do is to practice what your child needs to do when the alarm triggers, before they go to bed. This helps develop your child’s ‘prospective or future memory’. A common example of how this works is what often happens when you need to get up really early in the morning to go somewhere. Generally you set the alarm when you go to bed but invariably you will wake up prior to the alarm going off because you have told programmed your brain to remember that you have to get up early the next day.
So, before your child settles down to go to sleep have him or her turn on the alarm then lie in bed pretending to be asleep. Take the Urosensor™ and trigger it by putting something metal, like a stainless steel knife, across the sensing strips.
Ask your child to get up, turn the alarm off, then go to the bathroom and pretend to go to the toilet. When your child returns to bed, make sure he or she turns the alarm on again. Practice this three or four times so that your child’s brain is more ready to respond when they hear the alarm.
In the first few weeks you will probably need to get up when the alarm triggers to make sure your child wakes up and follows the bedwetting routine. If you have to wake your child, do it gently by wiping his or her face with a damp cloth.
It is important that your child remembers hearing the alarm and getting up to go to the toilet. This means the conditioned learning can start to take place. So, although they may not initially be responding to the alarm they are cognisant of the fact that it is ringing when they are woken and they need to go to the toilet.
One way to check that your child remembers that the alarm has triggered during the night is to give them a code word which you will ask them to repeat to you the next morning. You should praise them if they remember it, so your child understands that he or she is making progress even though they haven’t yet started responding to the alarm on their own. At the outset you could make a game out of it, and mark on the personal progress chart how many nights they remember the code (add another code ‘C’ for ‘Remembers the code word’). If your child remembers the code each night for a week, then you could give them an appropriate reward.
Another thing your child could practice during the day is halting the urine flow when they go the toilet. So, when your child needs to go to the bathroom accompany them with the alarm and trigger it while they are peeing. Ask them to try and stop the flow of urine, mid-stream. You don’t need to do this every time they go to the toilet but practice it 4-5 times a week. This can help your child halt the bedwetting when the alarm goes off during the night and they become aware of the alarm.
It is really worthwhile to support and encourage your child right through their bedwetting training. Staying dry or responding to the alarm should be a cause for celebration. If you want, you can use the Personal Progress chart as a visual record of how they are doing, but don’t let it demoralise them if they have a slippage in progress or remain in the ‘responding to the alarm stage’ for a while before progressing to the ‘dry stage’.
If you want more information about stopping bedwetting, get in touch with us and we'd be happy to help!