Crate Training Puppies at Night: The Key to a Pee-Free Home

Laura Day

March 12, 2019

Crate Training PuppiesThe first couple months of bringing your new pup home may not involve a lot of sleep—and there’s very little you can do to avoid it. The reality of bringing home a new furry bundle of joy is that he will have an incredibly small bladder and need to go all the time. One minute he is playing or running and the next, you are facing a little yellow puddle on your favorite rug with one guilty-looking pup standing over it. Therefore, you have to train him.

You may have heard that the number of hours a puppy can hold his bladder is in direct correlation to the number of months old he is. I would say, from personal experience, that theory is rather accurate. Therefore, if you’re not getting up with your pup every couple of hours, you’re probably going to be welcomed by a few accidents when you wake up each morning, especially when training your puppy. However, there are definitely steps you can take in order to minimize the number of accidents that you’re having to clean up, and ways to potty train him. If you’re going to crate your dog, here are some tips for keeping your home as pee-free as possible overnight.

Stop all eating and drinking a few hours before bed

Have you ever drunk a large glass of water just before bed only to wake up in the middle of the night desperate for a pee? Well, it is just the same for your little pup when you place him in a dog crate. By stopping him from eating and drinking late at night is a great way to crate train your pup and will definitely help curb overnight accidents; however, you are going to need to make absolutely sure that, before doing so, your pup has had his fill—you don’t want a hungry or thirsty pup on your hands. When you stop your pup from eating and drinking a few hours before bed, he will have had the opportunity to go potty at least once or twice during that period of time. Hopefully, he will empty out everything, making it far less likely that he will need to go to the bathroom in the next few hours—even if he is a very young pup!

Make sure your pup is ready for sleep

If your pup is exhausted from playtime and running around before putting him in his puppy crate, this will make him less likely to wake up every hour or so, and immediately relieve his small bladder. When training a puppy, try and make sure that he is ready for a good, long snooze, and really tire him out before bedtime. He will be so pooped that he’ll be more likely to sleep right through the night, making a more fulfilling day for him, and a pee-free night for you! According to the Humane Society of the United States, most puppies can actually sleep for up to seven hours without relieving themselves—so it definitely is possible.

Take him out before bedtime

Take him out before bedtimeYour pup will most likely have fallen asleep before you—he’s only a baby after all! However, you are going to want to make sure that you take your pup out to relieve himself right before you go to bed. Yes, you’re probably going to wake up your pup (which nobody particularly likes to do when he’s quietly sleeping and adorable), but it’s necessary if you don’t want to get up in the next few hours.

Night time is not play time

If you do take your pup out to the potty during the night, you’re going to want to make it known that you strictly mean business. Do not get overly excited or start playing with your puppy during the night as it will just get him all excited. He needs to know that, just because he’s out of his crate, it does not mean it is time to get up and play. If it’s dark out, then it means that it’s straight to the potty, and back into the crate. As sad as it may be, do not even speak to your pup beside to signal him to go potty. Again, this needs to be a strictly business transaction—but it is a great way to crate train your dog.

Wake your pup before they wake you

What I mean by this, is that you do not want your pup to associate you getting up and giving him attention with him making a fuss by whining or scratching his crate. You want to get to your pup before he starts engaging in this behavior. For the first month or two, as much as you may not want to, you may want to set an alarm during the night to get up and let your puppy out in the middle of the night. As much as this may be a pain, nobody said that owning a puppy was going to be easy! It will be far more disruptive to your sleep if you have to listen to a crying pup all night, not knowing if he’s crying because he has to go pee, or he is a little bored and wants attention! Go ahead and wake up your pup and take him outside to relieve himself.

Crate training a puppy is never easy and separation anxiety can quickly set in with young puppies if not carried out properly. Although it could potentially be a long time before your home is pee-free, especially at night, there are certainly many ways to minimize the number of accidents. If you are alert to your pup’s needs and have set his crate in a place where you can easily hear him, it is not that likely that he will want to relieve himself in his crate, if he associates going to pee with being outside. After all, even puppies do not want to pee where they sleep, especially if he is a confined space. Just be patient and remember that your pup does not want to relieve himself in his crate. Once he is used to being crated and knows you will be coming back, that separation anxiety will disappear quite quickly. Just be consistent with your night-time potty training methods and you will be well on your way to a pee-free nighttime routine for you and your pup.