National Incontinence is America’s source for bladder control products.
Tips & Advice: Tips for Choosing a Vibrating Reminder Watch
- What are vibrating reminder watches?
- What features should I look for when selecting a watch?
- How can I use reminder watches in a timed voiding program?
- Is there another reminder device besides watches?
- Beeping watches vs. vibrating watches
- A note about watch size and style
- Getting your child used to wearing a reminder watch
What are vibrating reminder watches?
Our most popular vibrating watches can help you or your child with frequent reminders to use the restroom on a regular schedule and lessen the chance of embarrassing accidents. Watches can also be used for other important activities such as medication reminders or homework reminders. We feature several watches that work well for these needs. All watches have unique features that make them useful for reminding you to void or perform a task - in addition to standard digital watch features (e.g., time/date, chronograph). The watches are the Vibro-Watch, VibraLITE 3, VibraLITE 8, VibraLITE 12, and MeDose.
What features should I look for when selecting a watch?
Look for these features as you select the watch that is best for you or your child. Refer to the comparison chart for viewing the specific features to help you make your selection.
- Auto-Restart Countdown - Each watch has the ability to remind you to void by alerting them repeatedly at preset intervals. The auto restart feature is important because once the watch counts down to "0" and alarms, it automatically begins to countdown again. Once the countdown mode is started, the child doesn't have to reset the alarm every interval. You can turn off the countdown mode at the end of the day and turn it back on the next morning. The Vibro-Watch, Timex and VibraLITE can be set at intervals from 1 minute to 23 hours, the MeDose can be set for 1 minute to 99 minutes.
- Independently Set Alarms - The Vibro-Watch and MeDose multi-alarm watches allow you to set independent alarm times per day (most watches have only one or two). This function provides flexibility in setting reminders at times other than exact intervals. The alarms allow you to set the times once and then have them repeat every day. For example, you can set the alerts at 8:35am, 10:15am, 12:10pm, 1:45pm, 3:30pm and 5:15pm to coincide with your daily schedule. The Malem Vibro-Watch, and Vibralite 12 Vibrating Watch allows you to set up to 12 times a day, while the other watches offer less alarms (between 3 and 8). Independent settings are especially convenient for school and workday schedules. These watches are easy to use - set the alarms once and every day they vibrate at those specific times.
- Sound, Vibration, or Both -Vibration is an excellent solution for discreet reminders or in noisy settings. All vibrating reminder watches are approximately the same size due to the vibrating mechanism. All have approximately the same-size watch face, approximately 1.5 inches in diameter, and most fit a wrist 7 inches in circumference or larger. For smaller wrists, the Vibro-Watch's band features additional holes to fit wrists down to 5 ½” and the VibraLITE 12 watch fits wrists as small as 4 ½”. For the other reminder watches, you can punch additional holes in the band or exchange the band for one at a retail store.).
All vibrating watches are water resistant, but should not be used when bathing and swimming as they can only withstand accidental splashing. Additionally, vibrating watches have a battery life of 2 to 12 months depending upon the frequency of alarms. The Vibro-Watch has an easy-open battery compartment which makes changing the battery more convenient than the others.
How can I use reminder watches in a timed voiding program?
Vibratory wrist watches can be used quite successfully for timed voiding programs for people with daytime wetting and urgency problems. The vibratory watches work as a discreet reminder that you need to urinate on a regular basis. People with daytime wetting often receive very urgent messages from their bladder that do not give them enough time to get to the bathroom and unfasten their clothing before they wet themselves. Many of these people will deny that they have the feeling to urinate even a few moments before the strong urge hits.
A timed voiding program using a vibratory wrist watch to remind the user helps take the guesswork out of when to use the bathroom. When the watch vibrates at a pre-set interval of time, the user should use the bathroom, whether they "feel" that they need to urinate or not. Initially rewarding the behavior of following the watch's reminder can be helpful until the new behavior is established. By independently urinating on a regular schedule, the bladder doesn't become overfull and send such urgent messages. Most people find that they can maintain dry underwear within a week or two of following a timed voiding program.
Many people ask how long they need to wear the watch. Since each person has different needs, this is a very personal answer. Slowing increasing the intervals by 15 minutes can help you become more familiar with your body signals of a full bladder. If you see an increase in accidents after an increase in the time interval, decrease the interval until the wetting ceases. Since vibrating watches are non-medicinal and non-invasive, using them for months or even a year is not detrimental in any way.
The Vibro-Watch, MeDose, VibraLITE 8, and VibraLITE 12 watches can be set to vibrate at specific times, regardless of the interval. If you walk past the bathroom at 8:30, having a reminder at 8:29 might be easy. The next reminder could come 10:15 between meetings. Even though the interval of time isn't exactly 2 hours, it may be more conducive to your lifestyle. Another important time for a reminder is when you are preparing for your trip home. This prevents many end-of-the-day accidents or running into the house with urine leaking.
Is there another reminder device besides watches?
If you don't like wearing a wristwatch, our Invisible Clock is very small and clips on the waistband like a pager. You can choose from 12 specific alarms times or up to a 99 hour auto reset countdown mode. While vibrating watches typically vibrate for 20 seconds, this device only vibrates for 6 seconds.
Beeping watches vs. vibrating watches
Beeping (audible) watches are generally inexpensive and relatively easy to find. The disadvantage of this type of watch is (1) the beeping becomes easy to ignore, (2) it draws attention to the user, especially if it sounds in a quiet setting, and (3) teachers do not usually allow these in the classroom. For these reasons, a discreet vibratory watch is usually preferred for timed voiding.
A note about watch style and style
The actual watch face of a vibratory watch is usually about the size of an average sports watch. The motor that the watch needs in order to vibrate requires that the size of the face be a certain width and depth.
Getting your child used to wearing a reminder watch
Just getting used to wearing a watch regularly can be an adjustment for some children. Encouraging them to put it on when they get up in the morning and take it off when they go to bed at night is important. They do not need to remove it when washing their hands but should remove it when showering or swimming. Discourage them from allowing their friends to try it on. Since daytime wetting often occurs in a less structured environment, such as during the weekend, be sure they wear it every day, not just school days. When the watch vibrates, no matter where the child is, it is important to help him/her follow through with the reminder. This may mean finding a bathroom in the mall or leaving a movie for a minute. It's best not to ask them to "hold it", but to do your best to find a bathroom as quickly as possible.
Choose a vibratory reminder watch that best suits your needs and you will find that continuous annoying verbal reminders to your child to use the bathroom will diminish. Not only will there be less tension in your family, your child will be proud of their new dry status.