Using a Bed-Wetting Alarm to Day Train Very Potty-resistant 4 Year Old

Updated on March 15, 2012
M.M. asks from Los Angeles, CA
8 answers

I have a notoriously hard to potty train 4 year old. He has some delays, so this has impeded his training. I have tried a few techniques and none seem to stick. Using a reward system will not work with my son, because he is easily bored and we have tried. He wants to have his diapers as he tells me. I would really like him trained by Fall of 2013, He cannot be this way in kindergarten.
I have thought about taking classes (through autism society) and I have a book on the way from Amazon that deals with training special needs children.
I also came across an article that talked about using a bed-wetting alarm to day train potty-resistant children. Depending on what alarm you get, I have heard they are very successful in stopping bed wetting. I think this technique will actually work with my son, or till he figures out how to unstrap the thing and throws it in the trash. He is very non-compliant. Thoughts! Never in my wildest dreams did I think potty training would be this stressful.

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So What Happened?

Sorry for the confusion. This is NOT for night time training. He can wet the bed till he’s 12 if wants. This is for day-time training. He is still in diapers. If I use pull-ups, he leaks all over the place cause they hold less. I would like him to go to regular kindergarten with support. However, if he is not trained he will be in special education kindergarten.
Thanks mom for the answers. I am laying oof the pressure, although the same night I asked this question, my son went pee in the toilet with the bribe of soda. He just cannot consistently keep it up. I guess I have to keel trying. I hope the light bulb comes on sometime soon. Thanks for the cool alert suggestion. i will be getting those.

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answers from Honolulu on

Are you talking about night time or day time pottying????

Night time dryness... is NOT the same thing as daytime. And, night time dryness is not something that develops until even 7 years old. AND this is normal.
Night time dryness, has to do with the PHYSIOLOGICAL development of the organs. And you cannot speed up, organ development.

My son is 5 and still needs night time diapers for naps or bedtime.
My daughter even at 7 years old, had night time accidents.

Using alarms or waking them or punishing them for accidents, does not help. It just results in lack of sleep.

I have waterproof bed pads to put under my kids. The sheets do not get soiled that way. I got mine from Amazon.

Night time dryness is physiological.
ALL kids have accidents.
ALL of my daughter's teachers, from Preschool to Kindergarten to 1st Grade, ALL said, that kids these ages have accidents. Daytime or night time and they wear night time diapers. Their body is not fully developed yet.
It is normal.

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answers from Washington DC on

No. Night time training is NOT the same as day time training.

Let him just be. Give him pull ups and stop pressuring him and yourself. Just let him be. Let his body do its thing.

ETA: I am sorry. I thought you were talking about NIGHT TIME training! Sorry for the confusion!!!

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I am assuming from your info that he is autistic, and really, it's not unusual for autistic kids to train much later (day training). I would assume he will have some support/an aide in K, so they'll make sure he gets potty breaks.

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answers from Salt Lake City on

Please stop beating yourself up and stop pressuring him. I mean that in the nicest way, hopefully to save you some stress. My personal opinion is that the alarms are garbage. They are not for 4 year olds- 4 year olds still often wet the bed, my 4 year old is still in pull ups at night. The alarms are usually for kids who are still wetting the bed at 6, 7, 8 and up. My brother used one when he was 12 and it helped for about a week.Then he got used to the alarm and slept through it. I had the same thing happen with my then 7 year old, and by the way, the alarm broke within 1 month. Total waste of $100. My son just barely stopped wetting (still has occasional accidents) and he will be 9 in a few months. My neighbor told me today that her son (age 7) just barely stopped using pullups at night. Night time wetting is very common for boys and is super common with 4 year olds. I know it is a pain, but your child will grow out of it when his body is ready. The best advice I have for you is just buy the pullups, get a mattress cover, make sure your little guy uses the bathroom right before bed, and let the rest be. By the way, the pediatric urologist we visited for my son years back basically said that any reward system for children that young had to be immediate rewards. Charts do not work, kids that age have no concept of earning something long-term.

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answers from Portland on

I can't say anything about the article, since I haven't read it. But if any approach "works" only until your son finds a way to defy or defeat it, he can't rightly be considered trained, because that implies that he has come to the place of taking responsibility for this task. So that's the goal you hope to achieve, right?

So, before trying expensive gimmicks that may (or may not) work, check out this website for toileting resistance It does use a reward system, very specifically chosen and applied. I don't know if that will put it out of your reach, but it's worth looking at. It seems to be very sound in its principles, and if you have success, you'll have a trained child.

Keep in mind that fall of 2013 is still about a quarter of his life in the future. There will be a lot of change in that much time. His brain and body functions will continue to develop. I'd be careful to avoid pressure or punishment, or he could become ever more resistant.

Wishing you the best. I'm sure there are challenges you face with a child with delays that I have no experience with.

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answers from Dallas on

If this is for night time bed-wetting, switch to pull ups. His body is not ready yet. Many children are not night time dry - it depends on how deeply they sleep, their bladder control, etc. There's no reason to worry if he's still peeing in his sleep at night in kindergarten.

If it's daytime nap related, that's different - perhaps contacting Autism Speaks about daytime potty training. Or talk to your pediatrician about possible solutions.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I just read Peg M's response and as she covered what I would have I ditto her, the site she gave you is a GREAT resource, I used it as a resource with my "poop holder." I'll also add that if I were you I'd wait until I received the book and read it through and take the classes through the Autism Society and then make a decision on how to best handle this...since your son is very non-compliant don't you want as much help and advice as possible before implementing a method?

Also, what about trying the Pull-ups with Cool Alert, that feel cool when he wets? They're supposed to help him learn the difference between being wet and dry. We never used pull-ups for the reason they ARE diapers, so maybe they would help your son since he wants "his diapers." And I have no idea how much your son weighs but I have heard from moms who've used them that Huggies Slip-On diapers hold MORE than Pull-ups.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I used the Miren alarm for my 7 yr old son. It worked great!!!

I think 4 is too young. My 5 yr old daughter is still in pull ups at night. i hope she stops soon. I thought girls were supposed to be quicker.

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