Which Type of Bedwetting Alarm is Best for My Child?

Which Type of Bedwetting Alarm is Best for My Child?

Which Type of Bedwetting Alarm is Best for My Child?

There are many bedwetting alarms on the market today, varying significantly in both design and price. With so many to choose from you may find yourself asking, well do they all do the same job and which one will be right for my child? 

Many of the alarms available don’t necessarily work well or are only designed to appeal to desperate parents in desperate need of a quick fix! Paying for the more expensive alarms with more features may not be your best choice.

There are a few things you’ll need to take into consideration when choosing the right bedwetting alarm for your child which include comfort, user-friendliness, volume and level of after-sale support.

Let’s start with the different types of bedwetting alarms.

There are three types of bedwetting alarms: 

  • Wearable alarms where a cord is attached to a moisture-sensitive sensor that clips to the outside of a child’s underwear.
  • Wireless alarms where the unit sits away from the bed and transmits to the moisture sensor via a wireless signal.
  • Bell and pad alarm which is a moisture sensitive mat placed over the bottom sheet.






 Bell and Pad


When choosing what type to go for, ask yourself the following:

  1. Does my child move around a lot while they sleep?
  2. Will my child be OK with a device on their body?
  3. Will my child prefer sound close to their ear or at a distance?
  4. Does my child need extra sensory stimulation to wake up?

If your child moves in their sleep a lot, then the concern with a bell and pad type alarm is that they could miss the pad completely. A wearable or wireless alarm moves with your child and detects moisture in no matter what sleeping position they are in. 

Some children cannot tolerate any foreign object attached to their body or their clothes. So in this case, a pad type alarm may be more suitable.

If your child is sensitive to sounds, then you need to consider whether a wireless alarm will be best, as the alarm itself can be placed anywhere in the house. This could be on their bedside cabinet, the parents room or further away. The risk here of course is whether or not your child will still be able to hear the alarm if it’s not close enough to them. 

If your child sleeps deeply at night, then you’ll want to ensure you choose an alarm that has extra sensory stimulation to increase their wake-up response. Wearable alarms can also vibrate and have flashing lights, which can be compared to a gentle shaking of the shoulder. 

In addition to the above, it’s important to consider the following when selecting a bedwetting alarm for your child, as it could make a difference to their willingness to use it every night.


It should be comfortable for your child to wear or sleep on and easy for them to put on and take off. If considering a wearable alarm, the size and weight are important features to factor in. So too is the sensor type. Some sensors attach to their underwear or top, some sensors are built into their own specialised underwear and some sensors insert into mini-pads which can be time-consuming.

At The Parenting Garden, we specialise in the wearable type that is small, light and discreet. The alarm unit attaches around their upper arm and connects to a small sensor that clips to the outside of their underpants.


Wearable alarms are set at 80 decibels and some wireless alarms allow the volume to be turned up louder. Either way, the volume should be loud enough for parents to hear from another room. As fancy as multiple tunes sound, only one sound works best as it teaches your child to respond to a repeated sound during sleep. Swapping it up with other tunes may confuse your child and delay their progress.


A big part of alarm training is your child taking on responsibility to become dry. This means the alarm needs to be easy for them to set up, attach and take off. How the alarm unit attaches to your child is important. Units that attach via a comfortable armband or clips onto their clothing are the most practical option. Some alarms require attachment via a safety pin which can become fiddly and pose a risk of injury.

The part that detects the urine (sensor) is equally important for ease of use. Sensors that clip onto underwear easily, preferably via alligator-style clip to prevent slipping off, is the best option. Some less ideal sensors that fit into a mini-pad can be quite fiddly to attach and insert. If considering a bell and pad alarm where the sensors are enclosed inside a bed pad that the child sleeps on, it is harder to ‘hide’ and may cause embarrassment for the child if friends stay over.

It’s also worth noting that pullups cannot be worn if a bell and pad type alarm is used. However, wearable alarms can allow for pullups to be used over the top of the sensor attached to underwear, if so desired.

After-sale support

For bedwetting alarms to be successful, it not only requires motivation from the child but also his or her parents. Unfortunately that is where most alarm training programs fail because the parent hasn’t been properly guided or trained in the process. If the parent gives up, what incentive does the child have to continue?

Support from your bedwetting alarm provider and clear, easy to understand instructions is extremely important if you want your child to succeed in becoming dry at night. When you purchase a bedwetting alarm, in most cases that is all you get. It is up to you to learn how to operate it correctly and motivate your child to use it.

One of the main features that sets The Parenting Garden Bedwetting Alarm Success Package apart from the rest is the level of support the parents and their children receive throughout their entire dry-night journey. Included is a ‘Guide to Success’ Booklet, Achievement Chart and all stickers, a letter from another child to your child, as well as phone, email and Facebook Group support.

So when deciding on which bedwetting alarm to purchase, please make sure it includes support after the sale, and at the very least, clear instructions on how to operate the device and how to overcome any troubleshooting issues.

To help make your decision easier in choosing which type of bedwetting alarm would be most suitable for your child, I’ve listed the pros and cons of each alarm type below:

Wireless alarms


  • Sensor is close to the source of wetting and activated by the first drop of urine.
  • Detects moisture regardless of the child’s sleeping position.
  • Allows the use of pullups if desired.
  • No need to attach the alarm unit to their top or around their arm.
  • No cords to cover under tops or tuck into pants.
  • Alarm buzzer can be placed anywhere in the house.
  • Alarm buzzer can be placed in the parents bedroom if the child is a very deep sleeper.
  • Suitable for children who prefer sound at a distance.
  • Manual volume control.
  • Some brands can be ordered with an additional alarm unit for the parents room.
  • Ideal for lazy children as they are forced to get out of bed to turn it off!


  • Not ideal for children with extreme sensitivity to foreign objects attached to their underwear.
  • Can only be turned off by getting out of bed.
  • More expensive than wearable alarm devices.
  • Some brands require special sensor underpants.

Wearable alarms


  • Sensor is close to the source of wetting and activated by the first drop of urine.
  • Detects moisture regardless of the child’s sleeping position.
  • Allows the use of pullups if desired.
  • Less expensive than wireless devices.
  • Suitable for children who need sound close to their ear, especially deep sleepers.
  • Can be turned off by the child while in their bed.
  • Most wearable alarms have a vibration and flashing light feature as well as the sound. 
  • Extra sensory stimulation (vibration) to increase their wake-up response.
  • Children can use their own underwear.
  • Simple to use.
  • Different sizes and colours to choose from.
  • Most comprehensive selection of features.


  • Volume cannot be adjusted therefore sounds at the same volume each time.
  • Risk of child pulling on the cord therefore dislodging the sensor from the underwear.
  • Not ideal for children with extreme sensitivity to foreign objects attached to their underwear.

Bell and Pad Alarms


  • Ideal for children with extreme sensitivity to foreign objects attached to their underwear.
  • Suitable for children who prefer to lie on the sensor as opposed to wearing it.
  • No cords attached to the user.
  • Suitable for adults, the elderly and those with special needs.
  • Some pads can be waterproof.
  • Simple to use.



  • Prolonged delay between the onset of wetting and the alarm activation sound.
  • Allows a large amount of urine to be released, passing through night clothes and sheets before it activates the bed pad alarm.
  • Impairs the quality of brain to bladder conditioning.
  • Impairs the quality of the treatment.
  • Risk of the child ‘missing’ the bed pad surface if they move around a lot while sleeping.
  • May cause the child embarrassment due to the inability to ‘hide’ the mat.
  • Needs to be wiped down after every wet.


Choosing the right type of bedwetting alarm for your child is one of the first decisions you’d need to make and you want it to be the right one!


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