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How does the bedwetting alarm method work?

History of the origin of the bedwetting alarm

The bedwetting alarm method was discovered accidentally around 1920. A German paediatrician, Meinhard von Pfaundler, was looking for a way to let the nursing staff know when a child had wet the bed. He disliked the idea of children lying in wet beds for long periods and wanted to help both the children and the nurses. He developed a device that would sound an alarm if a child had wet bed. Coincidentally, they also found that the children who used this method were more likely to be potty trained. Later on, it turned out that this bedwetting alarm training was a resounding success.

It was not until the 1930’s that two psychologists carried out research into the effectiveness of the bedwetting alarm against bedwetting. Here, an empirical test with thirty children between the 3 and 13 years old demonstrated that the bedwetting alarm is an effective solution against bedwetting. It was also established that the average duration of a bedwetting alarm training program is a maximum of three months. If children are not potty-trained at night after three months when using the bedwetting alarm method it’s a good idea to see your doctor.

How the bedwetting alarm method and bedwetting alarm training works

The bedwetting alarm method is based on both classical and operant conditioning. The alarm that goes off when peeing causes children to make the connection between a full bladder and the need to go to the toilet. Initially, the alarm will cause the child to be startled, wake up and tighten the sphincter of the bladder. The behaviour is then learnt during this period.

When the bedwetting alarm training is followed for a few weeks, the child will establish a link between the alarm and a full bladder. By learning the behaviour of going to the toilet, the child will wake up and go to the toilet himself when the bladder is full. This process is called classical conditioning.


Operant conditioning is a process in which a person’s behaviour changes as a result of consequences of that behaviour. In the case of the bedwetting alarm method, the consequence of bedwetting is that the alarm goes off. A child would rather avoid this, because being woken up in the middle of the night is certainly not pleasant. Through the bedwetting alarm training, the child recognises the full bladder better, but will also do his/her best to avoid being woken up by the alarm.

It is important to reward a child for dry nights. This will increase the effectiveness of the bedwetting training.

The Dryly® bedwetting alarm method

The bedwetting alarm method is an effective way to deal with bedwetting. How does the bedwetting alarm method work? Your child wears special Dryly® underwear that is connected with our mobile app through a transmitter  and the receiver that is hidden in Wizzu (stuffed panda). For older children, the receiver can be used separately. Both the panda as well as the mobile app work as an alarm. Wizzu for your child and the mobile app for you as a parent. This gives you insight into when and how often your child pees each night.

So you know exactly when your child wets the bed and you can help your child to continue peeing on the toilet! As soon as the pants get wet, both alarms go off. This way, the bedwetting alarm trains your child to wake up to a full bladder. The bedwetting alarm method has proven to be successful because it unconsciously creates recognition of the problem and the will to solve it.

The support as a parent to your child with bedwetting problems is crucial for the success of the bedwetting alarm training method. This is why we provide insight into your child’s behaviour through the mobile app. Wizzu is proud to be at the centre of this bedwetting alarm method and should really become your child’s friend, supporting your child in the process of becoming dry.

Before you start using the Dryly® bedwetting alarm method, you set up the mobile app together with your child. A fun and motivating process, because Wizzu plays the lead role in the app. You enter the name, age and bedtime of your son or daughter into the app to enable it to optimally help you and your child achieve dry nights.

Then explain to your child what the purpose of the bedwetting training is. On the first evening, let them practise putting on and taking off their pants and switching the Dryly® Receiver on and off (in Wizzu). Together with urologists, we have developed a special bedwetting training ritual before your child goes to bed.

  • The Dryly® ritual is very important, the app helps you adhere to it. Follow the instructions in the app and start the night off right!
  • If the panda goes off at night, go to your child’s bedroom and turn on the lights. Wait until your child turns off the sound and goes to the toilet. Compliment your child if this goes well, both at that moment and the next morning.
  • If it takes longer than three minutes for your child to turn off the panda, gently wake him/her up. Let your child go to the bathroom without praising him/her. Pay no attention to your child being wet. Your child should wake up from the sound of Wizzu (and not from the parents).
  • If your child wakes up from the sound of the panda, the night was successful. Your child will be awarded points in the mobile app for doing so. He/she can buy fun gadgets for Wizzu with these points.
  • The bedwetting alarm training provided by our Dryly® bedwetting alarm method will not solve the bedwetting problem overnight, but it is intended to create a positive trend whereby the child’s frequency of bedwetting is reduced.

When to use the bedwetting alarm?

If you are reading this, you probably already meet the first criteria! If a child is not yet potty trained from the age of 5 and wets the bed several times a week, it is a good idea to look into different possibilities. Naturally, parents are free to start earlier, but most health insurers only reimburse the bedwetting alarm from the age of 5-6 years old.

Of course, it is important to first visit your doctor to rule out physical problems as the cause. However, research shows that bedwetting in 98% of children has no physical cause.

Who is the bedwetting alarm suitable for?

The bedwetting alarm clock is suitable for children aged 3-14 years, but also for adults. The recommended age is from 5 years old, It is especially important that both parent and child are motivated to deal with the bedwetting problem! As a parent, you will have to support your child during the night and the child’s motivation is also crucial.

Bedwetting and deep sleep

Bedwetting children are often deep sleepers and have difficulty waking up. If this is also the case with your child, the sound may not wake them up at first. Then gently wake your child so that he or she can get used to it. After one to four weeks, you will notice that the sleep becomes progressively less deep and your child wakes up more easily!

How quickly does the bedwetting alarm produce results?

Every child who wets the bed is different and this is reflected in the treatment times. Some children get used to it immediately and stop bedwetting, others have a more developed problem that requires more time.

According to research, it takes an average of 52 days for a child not to wet the bed for four consecutive weeks. One child may be dry after 3 weeks while another won’t be dry after 4 months.

How successful is the bedwetting method according to science?

A study at the University of Alberta on the effectiveness of the bedwetting alarm showed that 66% of the children studied were dry at least 14 consecutive nights after 10 to 20 weeks. The control group showed an improvement of 4%.

Another study carried out in cooperation with the TNO in Leiden shows that 85.5% of the children were dry for 4 weeks immediately after the bedwetting treatment. After 2 years, the number was 76.7%.

An interesting observation shows that of the dry children, 15.2% woke up every night to pee compared to 3.9% of the wet children. 51.5% of the dry children sometimes woke up to pee compared to 27.5% of the wet children.

Among users of the Dryly bedwetting alarm method93% are currently potty trained within 6 to 8 weeks.