Generally, there are 2 main types of treatment for bedwetting, and these include: alarms and medication.

A doctor may need to exclude any disease that may be causing your child to wet the bed. It may also be necessary to assist your child’s diet and drinking habits, and to look at when they go to the toilet and how much urine they pass. Once this is done, treatment for bedwetting is individualised and tailored to suit your child.

Now, let’s look briefly at the two main treatments for bedwetting.

Alarm therapy is a conditioning treatment. The aim of the treatment is to teach the child to recognise and respond to a full bladder during sleep. With alarm therapy, an alarm sounds whenever the child begins to wet the bed. It is used to teach the child to wake up whenever the wetting begins, and to get up and go to the toilet to finish urinating.

There are 2 types of alarms. The pad and bell alarm, which has a pad connected to an alarm or bell that rings when the pad gets wet with urine. The other alarm is the body warn alarm that can be clipped onto the child’s underpants. When the alarm sounds you’ll need to go to your child and, if necessary, wake them up. Older children should always be responsible for turning off the alarm themselves. The bed should be quickly remade following any wetting and the alarm reset as the child may wet more than once during the night.

Bedwetting alarms are effective. Responses to alarm therapy may be variable. Some children respond very quickly while some may take up to 3 months to show an improvement. Remember, successful alarm therapy requires the cooperation of the whole family, careful instruction in their use and patience. Bedwetting alarms can be purchased or hired from pharmacies or continence clinics or through the Internet.

For children who continue to wet the bed despite the alarm system then medication may be appropriate.

Desmopressin is a form of vasopressin, the substance which controls the amount of urine produced during the night. Some children who wet the bed have low levels of vasopressin during the night and may produce more urine than the bladder can hold. And if they don’t wake up, they wet the bed. Desmopressin supplements the body’s naturally occurring vasopressin, thus reducing the amount of urine produced during the night. Desmospressin is a prescription product available as tablets.

More information

Bed Wetting For more information on Bedwetting, including risk factors, prevention and treatments, see Bed Wetting (Nocturnal Enuresis).