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When you get a new puppy, the first few weeks may be a bit hectic while working to get the puppy house trained and on a strict potty schedule. Throughout the day you have your puppy on a consistent schedule for going outside to potty, but then bedtime comes along, and you are unsure if you should continue your potty-training schedule throughout the night, even at the cost of your and your puppy’s sleep schedule.
What should you do? Should you wake your puppy up to pee at night?
Puppies do not generally need to be woken up at night to go potty, unless under the direction of a veterinarian or if your puppy has a health condition. As long as you are sticking to a consistent training schedule, you (and your puppy) can sleep through the night.
Below we will go over the reasoning as to why you do not need to wake your puppy up to potty at night, and possible situations in which you SHOULD wake your puppy up to potty at night. We will also cover what not to do to ensure your puppy sleeps soundly through the night.
Should I Wake My Puppy Up to Pee at Night?
In general, you should not need to wake your puppy up to pee or poop at night. Depending on their age, puppies can sleep through the night provided they received a potty break just before bedtime and they did not have access to food or water at least two hours before bedtime.
The younger the puppy or the smaller the breed, the more often you may need to take them out, and some puppies may frequently wake up during the night to go to the bathroom, even if you restricted their access to food and water in the hours leading up to bedtime.
If a puppy does need to go to the bathroom during the night, most will usually attempt to wake you up and indicate their discomfort or need to relieve themselves by moving about frequently, whining, or barking to get your attention. If your puppy is loose in the house, they may just wander off and find someplace to potty and then return to bed.
But if your puppy is sound asleep, it is unnecessary to wake them just to see if they need to go potty. They will usually let you know if they have to go to the bathroom during the night!
Why You Shouldn’t Wake Your Puppy up to Potty at Night
Allowing your puppy to sleep through the night without waking them up to go potty also helps them set an internal schedule for potty time and bedtime. Dogs and puppies are creatures of habit and rely heavily on schedules, so setting and sticking to a good schedule early on in their lives will help them stay healthy and happy.
If you are waking them up every few hours to see if they need to go to the bathroom, their bodies and minds will adjust to that schedule rather than the schedule of sleeping through the night and only going to the bathroom before bed and just after waking up.
Are There Situations Where I SHOULD Wake My Puppy Up to Pee at Night?
Yes, there are certain situations where you should wake up your puppy to take them out to pee at night.
If your veterinarian has instructed you to take the puppy out periodically for health reasons, or to collect urine samples to see if there are any changes in the puppy’s health status through the day and night. If your puppy has some kind of health condition, like a kidney or a urinary tract infection, you may also want to wake them up during the night to make sure they are relieving themselves and not holding in their urine for longer periods of time.
Of course, if your puppy is indicating in any way that he has to go to the bathroom during the night, you should always give him the opportunity to go outside to avoid any accidents. Very young puppies who have little control over their bladders may also need to be woken up periodically to go outside, as they might not be able to communicate their need to use the bathroom yet.
How To Help Your Puppy Not Pee At Night
There are several things you can do to help keep your puppy from going potty in their crate at night.
Get Your Puppy on a Good Potty Schedule
For all puppies, you should be letting them outside to potty right before they are put to bed, and just after they wake up. They should also be let outside about 10-15 minutes after eating or drinking anything, or after any heavy exercise.
Depending on their age, you may also need to let them out to potty at various intervals throughout the day. If you are following this schedule and provided your puppy does not have an underlying health issue, then your puppy can sleep through the night, and you do not have to worry about taking them out to potty.
Remove Water & Food a Few Hours Before Bedtime
Unless directed otherwise by your veterinarian, or if you have very young puppies or puppies who are still being weaned from mom, most puppies can go the entire night without having access to food or water. This will help them with learning a good schedule and will also prevent them from having to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
Depending on your puppy’s age, size, health condition, and any additional recommendations by your puppy’s veterinarian, you can start restricting access to water and food about one to two hours before you are expecting to put your puppy up for the night.
You will take your puppy out one more time just before bedtime to make sure they empty their bladder and bowels as much as possible, and then it’s off to bed for puppy!
Understand How Long Your Puppy Can Hold His Bladder
Most adult dogs can hold their bladders for up a to full 10-12 hours, but for puppies this time frame is much smaller. Younger puppies and small breed puppies need to go pee much more frequently than their older or large breed counterparts.
No matter what age your puppy is, they should still be let out about 15 minutes after drinking, eating, or intensive exercise.
If My Puppy Is Crying At Night, Does That Mean He Needs To Go Pee?
If your puppy is crying or acting restless in his crate, you could let him outside and see if he needs to go to the bathroom. He could also be crying because he wants attention or because he is afraid of something.
Puppies can also cry out and bark in their sleep during their dream cycles, but this doesn’t mean they need to be woken up. Determining why your puppy is crying is very personal to the individual puppy and situation, but generally it’s better to be safe than sorry and you should go ahead and take your puppy outside to see if they need to potty.
If the puppy does not potty and continues to cry and bark in his crate, but is quiet when you remove him, then it is likely he is only attempting to get attention and to be let out of the crate rather than having the need to potty.
What If My Puppy Goes Pee In The House Or In Her Crate At Night?
If you are still working on potty training your puppy, it’s best to keep her confined to a small area until she is house trained.
Limiting her access to food and water a few hours before bedtime will also prevent her from having any accidents during the night. Making sure to let her out just before bedtime will also ensure that she sleeps through the night, and you don’t have to worry about taking her outside to potty in the middle of the night.
Despite your best efforts, some puppies may still develop a habit of peeing and pooping in their crate at night, and there are several steps you can take to help fix this issue.
Using Pee Pads in a Puppy’s Crate at Night
Puppy pee pads are great in a pinch, but they should not be relied upon for long term house training, and it can actually be detrimental to the puppy’s potty-training experience to keep them in his crate at night.
If your puppy is ill and you are not sure you would hear them crying in their crate at night to be let out, then you can use a puppy pee pad in their crate for the duration of the puppy’s illness to help keep the area clean.
In general, though, you should not encourage the puppy to pee within his crate, even on the pee pads unless you have no other possible solutions and must keep the puppy confined for longer periods of time. By using pee pads in the crate, you are inadvertently teaching your puppy that it is OK to pee within his place of slumber and it will make house training and getting him to sleep through the night without needing to potty much more difficult.
Do I Need to Wake My Puppy Up to Pee at Other Times of the Day?
If your puppy is taking an afternoon nap, it is probably unnecessary to wake him up, just as it is during the nighttime. If you are supervising him, you should notice his body language and, depending on how far along his house training is, he will alert you to his need to go outside and potty.
The exception to this is if your puppy is napping and you need to take him somewhere or put him up in his crate while you are unable to supervise him.
Waking him up and taking him out to potty is encouraged in these situations, as is letting him out to potty shortly after he wakes up from a long snooze, even if he is not yet indicating that he must go to the bathroom. This will help him establish a good internal schedule for when to potty.
While it may be tempting to wake your puppy up throughout the night to take them out to potty, it might actually cause more harm than good. Unless your puppy is very young, has a health condition, or as directed by your veterinarian, you do not need to worry about waking him up during the night as long as he is sleeping soundly. Of course, it’s a different story if your dog is waking you up at night for a potty break rather than you waking them up.
Getting your pup into a good schedule of potty breaks and bedtime is the best way to prevent her from having to go outside in the middle of the night and helps ensure that you both get a good night’s sleep!