(Closed) Question about puppy's nighttime potty habits. Please help.

posted 6 years ago in Pets
Post # 3
7293 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2011

Sooo sweet!

Keep track  of his eating/drinking habits. He should be able to hold it, but it doesn’t hurt to try extra, as long as its on your terms. Maybe try 2 hours instead of three?

The pup may be trying to see if he will get some attetnion, but since he did go potty, I think he and you are doing a great job!

Post # 4
8334 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

If you’re a light enough sleeper I wouldn’t set an alarm, but let him wake you up when he needs to go out.

Post # 5
6597 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2010

As previous posters suggested – I wouldn’t wake him up regularly to go out if he can wake you and whines when he needs to go!

I have done the puppy thing twice and both times the dog was sleeping through the night within a week, with just a few times after that where they would wake us up to go out. I worry that if you train him to go to the bathroom at night on a schedule it would be hard to break him of the schedule!

Let him out when he needs to go and other than that he stays in there until morning!

Post # 7
441 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2011 - St. Joseph's Parish, Seattle Tennis Club

To be honest, I think it can really depend. From everything I have read, if young puppies cry at night, it’s generally better to take them out because they need to potty. It’s better to take him out and not have to potty than to not take him out and let him get in the habit of wetting his crate. If you are just taking him out, letting him do his business, and then taking him back inside/putting him right back into the crate, it shouldn’t create any bad habits. Honestly, at that age, they are still so young that even if they can hold it, sometimes when they’re tired they just need to get it out. Does that make sense? Haha. Anyway, I think it’s generally best to set an alarm (that’s what we did), and gradually push the time back. He’s still so young, and he’s only been with you for such a short time, that he’s still getting the hang of things and learning. 

Anyway, sorry I’m not much help 🙂 Good luck with your little guy! He looks like a sweetheart. 

Post # 9
1026 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

When does he drink in the evenings and at night?  Is he getting a drink when you let him out with the alarm?  He may just be on a slightly different schedule then you.  You could try noting the times he wakes up crying for a day or two and see if there is a pattern.  If hes asleep at 3am when you would let him out, but crying at 4am, try adjusting your alarm to 4am.  Our shepherd wakes up at 6:30 every day to go out and potty- it doesn’t matter what else is going on, that is when her internal clock says its time. 

Post # 13
11167 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

I think you are on the right track with the schedule…don’t let him wake you up. Once your dogs realize they have you at their control they will definitely abuse said privilege. It is definitely possible that he has associated going potty at night with getting out of the crate.

If your dog whines between the times set I wouldn’t take him out. Again, it only reinforces the behaviour of them controling you rather than encouraging a schedule. What is going to happen when you are at work and they are older…no one to whine to. Our dogs at this point know they go potty in the morning and at 5:30 pm, they go while on their walk and then once more before going to bed. They take care of everything and do not have the need to be let out again. Eventually we want this for your pup too rather than sporadic times.

It sounds like your pup is just too smart for his own good. And yes even if he does pee during these sporadic times that doesn’t mean he couldn’t hold it. My female pup can pee on command (well not quite but you get the idea)….she always pees, hence the desperate need for a schedule!



Post # 10
6124 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

What breed is he?  Hard to tell if he’s a little dog or like a Standard Poodle?  Cute!


Well you’ve had him just a week, so it’s all still very new to both of you.


I think at that age, let him out for a potty and put him back in the crate.  Two trips in the night is plenty (usually they hold it the # of months plus one, so 3 hours it seems here).  Don’t cuddle, fuss, love on him at this time.  He needs to know it’s just potty time and not cuddle play time.  But you do reward him when he does potty.  If it’s just one hour after his last potty, I would ignore him.

My puppy was 16 weeks when she slept through the night 8 hours, so soon this little nighttime habit of his should go away.


How long can he hold it in the daytime?

Post # 12
153 posts
Blushing bee

I had a friend who set her alarm for her pup, and at the same time I never set an alarm. I instantly became “Mom”, so I sleep light enough that I hear her cry. She would let out one or two whimpers, I would be up in a flash and have her outside. Both methods led to potty trained dogs who sleep really well through the night. At 5 months, my pup can now hold it for 12+ hours and always lets me know when she has to go.


I would push back your time, as a PP said. If you normally get up at 2 with him, set your alarm for 3 and see what happens. I purposely tried to stretch my pup longer and longer, especially during the day, so that she stretched her bladder. I didn’t want to have to worry that if I got stuck at work (as she gets older, not when she’s a little baby) or something, she would pee all over the place. 

Post # 11
1890 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

I am also a new puppy owner (he’s 11 weeks, we’ve had him for 3 weeks now) and I also have two adult dogs that I raised from when they were pups.  I’ve heard that puppies can “hold it” in hours for their age in months + 1, so if he’s 2 months old, he should be able to hold it 2-3 hours, and if he’s 3 months old, he should be able to hold it 3-4 hours, etc.  Puppies should also be able to sleep in their crate without having to wake up and eliminate for about 5-6 hours, even when they’re as young as your puppy. 

We take our puppy out every 2-3 hours or so (if we can) during the day, and also every time he’s been playing, sleeping, or is being let out of his crate.  He is doing great w/ housebreaking, and I think a big part of this is because we make sure he gets LOTS of play time, and at least one decent-length walk per day.  I take him out for the last time in the evening around midnight, then give him a treat to go in his crate w/ a couple toys, and he’s able to hold it/sleep until around 5:30 am when I get up for work.  It is very important that your puppy gets lots and lots of active time, so when it comes time to go in his crate, he (and you!) will be able to sleep through the night.

Gratuitous puppy pic (he’s almost 2 lbs now–gettin big!):

Post # 14
6597 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2010

Meowkers:  I see where you are coming from with the thing about the dog being in control with him waking you up. But at the same time as long as they know that if they wake you up they get to go outside, do their business, and go back in the crate. No attention and no play. If they don’t do anything outside they go straight back to the crate! So with this method there is very little control that the dog has over the situation!

Post # 16
11167 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

@dncartier:  Agreed. Early on we had issues when we rushed our pups. We have to be sure to give them enough time to wake up, sniff around, explore and then do their business….otherwise we end up with problems.

Post # 15
24 posts
  • Wedding: September 2013

@meowkers:  I would keep your schedule of waking up and taking him out.  Try not to let him wake you up or he can learn crying=out of crate.  No hugs, no puppy talk, no snuggles– just outside to potty and back to bed in the crate. Also, try staying outside for a bit longer.  When they are little, they sometimes won’t completely empty their bladder.  They can also learn that if they go (at all), they will get to go back inside.  If he’s sleepy that might be what he wants, so he might need another minute to wake up and finish his business. ♥

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