The alarm

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Confession: I was a late bed-wetter. I was such a deep sleeper that my body had trouble waking itself up to use the bathroom, and it was not until sometime in my 5th grade year when we finally got the situation under control.This was definitely a huge monkey on my back when I was in school, always having to decline sleepovers with my friends because I would inevitably pee myself overnight (but no way would I tell them the real reason I had to say no to these invitations).

My miracle solution was what we called “the pee belt,” a device that I wore that triggered an ear-piercing alarm the instant it got wet. The theory behind it is behavior modification, and eventually your body trains itself to recognize the physical cues and wake up to use the bathroom. I don’t remember how long I used that thing, but eventually it worked — in fact, it worked so well that now I wake up 2-3 times during the night to pee!

The Big Sis was night trained very early — like when she was still 2 1/2 or so. And while The Little Sis was daytime potty trained around that same age, she had the same issue as me — she was such a deep sleeper that she couldn’t wake herself up to use the bathroom and woke up with a super-soaked nighttime Pull-Up. We tried waiting it out, hoping she would outgrow it on her own, but as she approached her 5th birthday, it was clear that it was still an issue (and probably would continue to be). A little research showed that nighttime alarms are still the treatment of choice, according to nearly all studies, so I found one with good reviews on Amazon and we planned to get started as soon as we got home from vacation in mid-June. I figured during the summer was the best time to get started since we weren’t on quite as rigid of a schedule with getting her to preschool at the time.

Since The Little Sis’s room is on the other side of the house from ours, we moved her old crib mattress to our room and put in on the floor so she could sleep there and be closer for when we needed to help her overnight. It was about a 3-month process, but we have now reached the point where she was dry with the alarm for 2 weeks, has been dry without the alarm for an additional couple of weeks (I even put it away) and she is even taking herself to the bathroom all by herself now. (Even when she was waking on her own to go potty, she’d often try to get to the bathroom on her own but would become disoriented and need our help. I think she seems to be past that now.)

It’s a nice feeling to know we’re likely past this issue — and can probably move on to actually buying her a real bed for her room in the near future (she currently has a futon in there. But she sleeps on the floor. We rock.).

We humbly bow to the pee alarm.