Bedwetting alarms

How does a bedwetting alarm work?

Bedwetting alarms work by setting off an alarm when they detect moisture. A bedwetting alarm teaches children to become aware when their bladder is full and to wake up and use the toilet.

Using a bedwetting alarm requires a sustained effort over many weeks (perhaps as long as two to three months) and it is not an option that works well with a casual approach.

Are there different types of alarms?

Yes, and you will need to decide on the best approach for your child: 

  • one is a personal alarm with a small sensor used close to the body and linked to an alarm unit worn on the body
  • the other is a bell and pad alarm which involves placing a mat over the bottom sheet that is covered with a small drawsheet. This is connected to an alarm box placed at the foot of the bed.

Your family doctor or a continence health professional can help advise you on which alarm is most suitable for your child.

What can parents do to help?

It is important that both you and your child are properly taught how to use the alarm and have someone to call if you are having difficulties. Your aim should be to have your child use the alarm as independently as possible according to their ability. All children benefit from parental encouragement and support throughout an alarm-based program. You will also need the guidance and support of a trained health professional, as this is a key element in the success of this treatment.

Where can I find out more?

It is recommended that you discuss your child's needs with your family doctor or continence health professional, who will determine if a bedwetting alarm is a suitable form of treatment. Most reputable continence services will have bedwetting alarms for hire.

Bedwetting medications

There are prescription medications available that reduce the amount of urine produced overnight by the kidneys. Your family doctor or a continence health professional can provide you with more information on this option.


Contact the National Continence Helpline on 1800 33 00 66 for free and confidential information, advice and support. The National Continence Helpline is staffed by Nurse Continence Specialists who can also provide a wide range of continence-related resources and referrals to local services.


Last Updated: Wed 29, May 2024
Last Reviewed: Sun 05, Apr 2020