Potty training takes a lot of time and patience. Most toddlers are not fully toilet trained until they are between the age of 2 and 4 years. While staying dry and using the toilet throughout the day, some may not stay dry during the night until they are older.
Nighttime bed-wetting is normal and very common among preschoolers, affecting about 40 percent of 3-year-olds. Most toddlers simply outgrow bedwetting. If your toddler is embarrassed or bothered by frequent bedwetting, you can introduce a bedwetting alarm.
Feelings about the use and effectiveness of bedwetting alarms are mixed; some believe they are a useful parenting tool, others believe they are cruel and abusive.
A simple parenting tool or an unnecessary torture device? You decide.
A bedwetting alarm is a simple device that senses urine and sets off an alarm so your toddler can wake up to use the toilet. Most alarms have a simple moisture-sensor that snaps into your toddler's pajamas or training pants. A small speaker attaches on their shoulder or pillow with Velcro. At the first drop of urine, a high-pitched alarm goes off, similar to a fire alarm. Most toddlers' instantly stop urinating by reflex. If your toddler doesn't wake up, you will. You must wake your toddler up, walk them to the toilet, and encourage them to finish peeing in the toilet. Then you have to reset the alarm.
If this ritual is continued, the alarm usually begins to wake a deep sleeper directly within 4 to 6 weeks. Bedwetting alarms usually stop bedwetting completely in over 70% of toddlers and older children after two to three months.
If you decide to use a bedwetting alarm, it is always a good idea to introduce your toddler to its sound before you use it. The alarm is quite piercing and can shock anyone out of bed when it sounds off unexpectedly. If your toddler knows what to expect, it may not be as frightening the first time it wakes them up - but it will still be frightening. Give them a full explanation of what a bedwetting alarm does and it may automatically send them to the bathroom when they hear it.
The causes of bed-wetting are not fully understood, although understandable for a toddler. A toddler's bladder is not yet developed enough to hold urine for a full night. They are not yet able to recognize when their bladder is full, wake up, and use the toilet. Sometimes stress can cause a toddler to wet the bed when they were once dry through the night.
A bedwetting alarm can help to teach your toddler to respond to a full bladder- but there is nothing nice about them. That piercing scream in the middle of the night can be traumatizing for a very young child, which is why they are not recommended for children under the age of 8- they are just too harsh. Toddlers wet the bed- it's a fact of life, but almost all grow out of it. If you can't wait for your toddler to be fully trained and want to use an alarm, try to find an alarm with a gentle ringing rather than a piercing scream. Just remember to be patient and understanding when your frightened or crying toddler cries out for you in the middle of the night. If the alarm is too disturbing or upsetting, stop using it. Toddlers do grow out of wetting their bed—your toddler may only need a little extra time.