Frequently Asked Questions

What sort of batteries does the DRI Sleeper use and how long do they last?

DRI Sleeper® Excel

The batteries are 4 X 1.5 volt alkaline "button type" similar to those used in a calculator. (Panasonic LR 44 or equivalent, we put a sticker inside the battery compartment showing the equivalent ones which are suitable). the batteries should last at least 6 months providing the sensor is unplugged when not in use.

DRI Sleeper® Eclipse

In order to comply with the new ACCC coin cell battery regulations, Eclipse alarms sold after 22 June 2022 include long life coin cell batteries sealed into both the alarm base and the sensor. They cannot be replaced and will last the normal treatment period.

The DRI Sleeper® Eclipse alarm unit has a Panasonic CR2354 and this battery must be used in replacement. Battery life will depend on usage. The battery in the alarm base should last 6 months with nightly use if the alarm is triggered twice a night, provided the alarm is turned off when not in use. The battery in the Urosensor should last 12 months with nightly use if it triggers the alarm twice a night.

How long will treatment take?

Typically night toilet-training is 6 to 12 weeks, there can be a great deal of variability. If you are familiar with the normal distribution graph, this describes the usual time parameter, eg. some children will respond and be finished with treatment within a week, a larger group take 3 to 12 weeks, and a small group takes longer. While it is quite normal for some children to take longer, if you become concerned about the time talk to us.

Are there any things I should not do?

1. Don't limit drinks - it will not help. This is because some bedwetters produce high amounts of urine because of lack of ADH hormone which is produced at night in adults and most children to cut down the production of urine so we can sleep. For this reason, their production of night-time urine may be too high. So limiting drinks will not change the brain’s message to the kidneys.

2. Don't expect that setting an alarm clock or waking your child at a regular time to empty the bladder will teach the child to wake - it doesn't.

3. Don't blame your child or use punishment, as you can see it is not the child's fault. An anxious child will be less able to cooperate with you in their attempts to night toilet-train.

Can drugs help?

Pharmacological Treatment of Bed Wetting Synthetic hormones, and antidepressants may be prescribed for bed wetting.

Treatment with synthetic hormones reduces the amount of urine produced during the night, whereas antidepressants make the bladder muscles relax whilst causing the smooth muscle of the bladder neck to contract inhibiting involuntary urination.

These can be effective for short term treatment, e.g when the child has to go on school camp, or for treatment of distressed older children, if other treatments have been unsuccessful.

What happens when my child has started to wake to the alarm?

Over the next few weeks the child is learning to react more and more quickly to the alarm, and then begins to "beat the buzzer" by waking up before starting to pass urine. Now the child is beginning to respond to the sensation of the bladder filling, which is exactly where the treatment has been heading to.

The process is then to keep using the DRI Sleeper® every night until there have been 14 nights in a row with no triggering of the alarm, and no bedwetting.

My child sleeps very deeply so how will the DRI Sleeper® help?

All children who wet the bed sleep very deeply, but research indicates that all young children sleep more heavily than adults, because they spend more time in the deep sleep phases. Therefore there is no consistent evidence that children who wet the bed actually sleep more heavily than children who do not. Nonetheless parents will usually agree that their bedwetter sleeps more heavily that their other children. So we have designed the DRI Sleeper® alarm to be maximally alerting for heavy sleepers, firstly because of its loudness and secondly because the frequency is particularly alerting.

An alarm clock does not wake my child and so how will the DRI Sleeper®?

The DRI Sleeper® is triggered as the child starts to pass urine, and this is likely to be when the stage of sleep is closer to waking, and so there is a higher chance of the child waking to the sound.

An alarm clock being set to go off at a particular time will have no relationship to the child experiencing the urge to urinate so it is going off without there being the important relationship between the sound and the urge to empty the bladder, and the child being in a lighter state of sleep.

What if the DRI Sleeper® does not wake my child?

With these children the strategy is that you hear the alarm, go into the room, put on the light, say your child’s name, and if they do not respond, wipe your child's face with a cool damp cloth. Leave the alarm beeping.

Then have your child get up (by themselves) and go to the bathroom with the alarm still sounding, and ONLY then should you unplug the alarm.

The reason for this is so that waking is happening with the alarm sounding, and a link between waking and the sound of the alarm can be formed in your child’s brain.

It is very important that in the morning that your child remembers the alarm sounding and going to the bathroom, because only if your child remembers will learning happen effectively.

However, for these children there is this extra step in the treatment program and so expect it to take longer.

Priming to help waking

Another strategy to assist with waking is the "priming" strategy. It is possible to “prime” your brain to remember to do something in the future, for example we can say to ourselves that we need to remember an appointment next Tuesday, and in fact as Tuesday approaches the thought about that meeting comes into our mind. People also use the same strategy when they need to wake early in the morning, they set the alarm clock for the early hour, but almost invariably will wake up before the alarm clock.

As your child is preparing for bed, have them lie down just as they would when sleeping. Trigger the alarm by pressing and holding the flat blade of a stainless steel knife onto and across the sensor. Tell your child to get up, unplug the alarm/turn off the alarm and go to the bathroom, pretending to use the bathroom as she or he would if he or she needed to pass urine. Practise doing this five times in order to assist (priming) your child's brain to be more ready to respond to the alarm when it sounds during the night.

But what if even that doesn’t work?

When there is still no progress (and I guess it’s no comfort to you that not many children are in this category), a part of the learning to wake to the alarm is practised during the day.

Before you follow this routine make sure you know it well. Explain it to your child and make sure your child understands that this practice is teaching the brain to be ready to wake to the buzzer, and, that with practise your child's brain will get fast enough to beat the buzzer. Then he or she will have dry beds.

1. From dinner time on, have your child drink extra liquids. This may sound strange, but we are wanting to get plenty of practise at the routine of responding to the alarm.

2. Have your child tell you when he or she needs to go to the bathroom (you could call it having a “bladder signal” or any other term you like, as long as it is one that you have agreed on and you continue to use that term).

3. Immediately go with your child to the bedroom, have him or her lie on the bed, and pretend to be asleep. Plug in the Urosensor™ of the DRI Sleeper® Excel or switch on the DRI Sleeper® Eclipse.

4. When your child is relaxed, trigger the alarm by pressing and holding the flat blade of a stainless steel knife onto and across the sensor. Then your child is to get up and you both run to the bathroom, with the alarm still beeping.

5. Ask your child to unplug the Urosensor™ from the DRI Sleeper® Excel alarm box, or switch off the DRI Sleeper® Eclipse, just as would happen if this were during the night.

6. Have your child splash their face five times in a row with cold water. Then pretend to use the toilet for a few seconds as if to urinate, and have your child say, "I have a bladder signal (or whatever is the term you have agreed on), but I can wait to urinate."

Return to the bedroom and repeat four more times. If your child cannot hold off urinating, then let them urinate and then continue until you have practised five times in total.

If after a week your child is still not waking to the DRI Sleeper® alarm at night, then increase the number of repetitions to 10 times per evening. For more difficult cases go to 20 repetitions in the 3rd week.

If even this is not successful (and that’s very rare) leave it for a few months to allow more brain maturing and then start again.

Even after 14 dry nights could my child relapse?

A few children may go back to bedwetting after a few months, and in that case simply start using the DRI Sleeper® again with the Overlearning Procedure.

Ask your child to drink an 250ml glass of water around a half an hour before bed. What this will do is make it necessary to go to the bathroom two or three hours later, and either it will cause the alarm to be triggered, or the child will wake up. Either way this brings about more learning to respond to the sensations of the bladder filling. Continue with this drinking before bed for 7 nights. Then stop the extra drinks (let your child drink what he or she wants to) but keep using the DRI Sleeper® attached each night until he or she has achieved 14 dry nights.

My child has a problem with wetting during the day, can the DRI Sleeper® help?

Yes, parents have used the DRI Sleeper® successfully during the day to teach the child to tune into their bladder signals. Even from using the DRI Sleeper® at night many parents notice an improvement during the day because their child has become more aware of daytime bladder signals.

My child has special needs, can the DRI Sleeper® be used to help with toilet training?

Yes, the DRI Sleeper® has been used successfully for children with special needs to assist them to become toilet trained so that they can become mainstreamed at school.

How loud are the DRI Sleepers®?

DRI Sleepers are tuned to a high volume (around 98 dBA at the ear) and rarely do parents want to turn them down. They also ring at the Resonant frequency of the ear, which the ear is most alerted to. 

The DRI Sleeper® Eclipse (wireless) alarm will switch off after 2 minutes and so there is no risk to hearing.

How does the Urosensor™ stay attached in the underwear?

The Urosensor™ is put inside a women’s small or regular sanitary pad or pantyliner and this is done by cutting a 1 inch slit in the absorbing layers somewhere in the middle. Put the point of the scissors inside the slit, and moving them backwards and forwards and downwards, create a tunnel inside the absorbing layers so that you can slip the Urosensor™inside. Although the Urosensor™  will usually stay inside the tunnel by itself, to ensure that it does not pull out, you can tape across the slit with a sticky tape. The pad is then stuck into the crutch of the underwear with the sensor near the wee spot.

Why do you advise putting the Urosensor™ inside a minipad or pantyliner?

Consistently we have found that putting the Urosensor™ in a women's small sanitary pad is the most effective, because the pad provides a collecting area that is even wider than the Urosensor™ and it is very absorbing, so quickly catches the urine and directs it onto the Urosensor™. You will also find that once your child is starting to respond to the DRI Sleeper® that only a patch on the minipad will get wet, not the underwear.

Do I have to put the Urosensor™ in a women's sanitary pad or pantyliner?

If you prefer not to use a pad or pantyliner, then the Urosensor™ can be put in between two pairs of underpants, or you can cut some rectangles of any cotton material and sew a rectangle into the crutch of the underwear, making sure that it is just wide enough for the detector to slip inside and to be reasonably tight. The opening will face upwards.

Why not just have a clip or a dome on the underwear?

Over more than 40 years of dealing with bedwetting and developing bedwetting alarms, we have found that having a small detector, such as a clip or dome, attaching to underwear may appear to be an effective and simple way of attaching the sensor, but in our experience it is too easy for boys in particular to miss the small clip or dome and so the alarm is not triggered. Clips and domes are also likely to come unclipped. For this reason, we developed Urosensors™ which are long enough and wide enough for the first amount of urine to trigger the alarm.

Can the Urosensor™ be used in a pull-up?

The Urosensor™ is suitable to use in a pull-up. Simply cut a 1 inch (25 millimetres) slit in the pull-up in the crutch area, insert the point of the scissors into the slit, and moving the scissors from side to side, make a small tunnel into which you can insert the sensor. To make sure that the Urosensor™ stays in place, it can be useful to tape across the slit once you have put the sensor inside.

The pull-up has granules which are designed to absorb liquid and may keep the Urosensor™  too dry and fail to trigger. In this case either ensure the Urosensor™  is as close to the surface of the pull-up as possible, or wrap it in a piece of toilet paper before inserting it in the prepared tunnel. This will assist with wicking the moisture onto the sensor and help prevent the sensor moving to the back of the pull-up which can result in the pull-up absorbing all the wee before it gets to the sensor.

How is the Urosensor™ cleaned?

The Urosensors™ are moulded units and so no urine or water can get inside. Therefore, it is simple to wash with soap and cold water, or if you want an even higher standard of hygiene, then you can clean it in isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol from any pharmacy.

Do I need to buy a spare Urosensor™ as well?

1. DRI Sleeper® Excel (with plug-in Urosensor™). Think of the Urosensor™ as you would an earphone on a personal radio or an iPod. With reasonable care, the radio or iPod lasts for many years and so does the DRI Sleeper® alarm unit. However, the earphone is the consumable item of the iPod and personal radio and needs replacing from time to time. Just as people often have a spare earphone on hand, our advice is that a spare Urosensor™ is a good idea. Because the Urosensor™ is used by a child, the exact life of the Urosensor™ is hard to predict.

2. DRI Sleeper® Eclipse (wireless). The wireless Urosensor™ should not need replacing because it has no moving parts. The internal battery should last a year if the alarm is used every night for a year and triggers twice a night, which is much longer than the normal training period.

How long is the DRI Sleeper® Excel Urosensor™ wire?

The wire is 2.5 feet long (850 millimetres) and is suitable for children aged five years, through to young teenagers. For older children and adults the DRI Sleeper® Eclipse wireless model is more suitable because there is no wire connection.

How is the DRI Sleeper® alarm different from many other bedwetting the alarms?

The DRI Sleeper® alarms have special electronics. When the Urosensor™ is wet by urine, it triggers the alarm to start beeping, but then the Urosensor™ no longer has current running through it.

This is quite different from many other alarms, because with those alarms, all the time that the alarm is sounding, they have current flowing through the Urosensor™ and while this cannot cause a shock, it can cause the urine to become acidic and irritate sensitive skin.

In the case of the DRI Sleeper®, this cannot happen, because there is no current continuing to run in the Urosensor™.

Is the DRI Sleeper® electrically safe?

The DRI Sleeper® Excel runs on six volts and the DRI Sleeper®, Eclipse on three volts. Both use only a tiny current, and are so safe that you can put the Urosensor™ on your tongue, and trigger the alarm, but you will feel nothing. For much less than a second a few microamps (which you can not feel) pass through the Urosensor™ and trigger  the DRI Sleeper® alarm.

How do the DRI Sleepers® turn on and off?

The DRI Sleeper® Eclipse has an on-off switch.

DRI Sleeper® Excel. The Urosensor™ plugs into the alarm unit and this switches it on so that it is ready to detect urine. When the alarm has been triggered by the urine, the alarm will keep on beeping until the Urosensor™ is unplugged from the DRI Sleeper® Excel alarm unit. This switches the alarm off.