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A new alarm for toilet training children with developmental disabilities?

Can you believe it? An alarm attached to a disposable diaper/nappy to send messages to your smartphone!  Don’t get your hopes up, however. The “TweetPee” is NOT a cheap device which could replace the wet pants alarm used during potty or toilet training (Bettison, S.: Toilet training for children with autism or intellectual disabilities. Brisbane, Australia, e-book, www.learn2do.net, 2011).

The alarm is called “TweetPee” and is stuck onto the front of the diaper/nappy. It can send a range of messages, such as “time to change”, oops, did a few drops” or “everything OK”. It can also be programmed with your baby’s photo, and a record of all diaper/nappy changes. It’s a selling agent to encourage brand loyalty and more frequent diaper/nappy changes and therefore increased Huggies orders.

Why is it no use in potty/toilet training? Firstly, the “TweetPee” sticks onto the outside of the diaper/nappy rather than being securely fastened and would be easily dislodged by an active, mobile child.

Secondly the device would not send a message immediately the first two or three drops of urine were passed. This is because it reacts to general humidity through the thick material of the diaper/nappy, rather than to the exact place where the first few drops of urine appear. This is entirely reasonable given the purpose of the device. There is no urgent time pressure to change a wet diaper/nappy. In potty or toilet training the value of the alarm sounding is that it does so on the release of the first drop or two of urine so that the toileting tasks can be taught at exactly the time when the bladder is ready to empty. This enables the self-toileting tasks to become habitually joined to the sensation of a full bladder.

Thirdly, the delay (of variable length) in messages reaching a smart phone would prevent me (the parent/caregiver) getting to the child in time to begin helping him or her carry out the self-toileting tasks at the exact time when the bladder is ready to empty.  Most of the emptying would have occurred by the time I arrived.  Too late!

The first marketing of the “TweetPee” appears to be occurring in Brazil.  I wonder why?  Any ideas?

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