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With regards to potty-training, I’ve read that a puppy can only hold their bladder for one hour per one month old- so if I plan to crate-train my dog, who will basically be two months old at eight-weeks, does that mean I should let him out in the middle of the night to urinate every few hours? How can he possibly hold his urine without getting wet in the crate? I realize dogs don’t like wetting themselves in the crate but how can a puppy hold their bladder all night?

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For small puppies, the same rules apply as for babies: „sleeping through the night“ means a few hours of uninterrupted sleep, then waking up briefly and going back to sleep.

If you have the crate near you and are a light sleeper, you will notice that at some point puppy gets restless and possibly whines or rummages. That is your clue to swiftly get him or her outside to pee, then back to the crate and back to sleep. As with human babies, the time for proper night dryness varies and they will catch on how to either alert you or hold it for longer sooner or later.

But note that night time is quiet time. Don’t play or cuddle, even limit the praise for good potty behavior, keep the lights to a minimum, and send puppy back to the crate immediately after coming back inside. Make it clear that nothing interesting is going to happen, so that puppy (and the rest of the pack) can go back to sleep immediately.

I would not recommend keeping him or her in the crate to teach them “to hold it”. They simply can’t. Especially with a puppy that’s just 8 weeks, accidents would be guaranteed and you are sabotaging your own efforts at potty training.

The good news is that the phase of having to get up during the night is rather short (compared to human babies) and quite soon only a late-night potty break when you go to sleep and an early morning bathroom trip is going to be your routine for as long as the canine family member stays with you.

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  • Is eight weeks really too early to begin crate-training? I’ve read crate-training should begin at exactly eight or nine weeks. If eight-weeks is too early, how should my puppy sleep at night? Not with me, of course, as I don’t want him to wet my own bed. Should I put him in an open cardboard box near my bed at night?
    – user22726
    Dec 13, 2021 at 14:40
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    This is a different question. Stephies answer is for "does a puppy need to go potty during the night". And there is nothing in this answer speaking against the crate training. You simply should not start to lock the puppy up in the crate to teach it to hold its bladder. This will only work against potty and crate training. Dec 13, 2021 at 15:44
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    @alexanderjsingleton note that the term is “crate training”. Training means short intervals and creating positive associations with the crate. When you as a human start training for a marathon, you don’t start just running until you collapse, aiming for 42km, you start slow, over short distances and build up the stamina over time. For an 8-week puppy crate training means learning to be calm and comfortable and sleep there. Not being locked up for a whole night.
    – Stephie
    Dec 13, 2021 at 16:28
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    Practically speaking, this means you sleep close to the puppy or the crate goes to your bedroom at night. A puppy always needs to go when they wake up from a few hours of sleep. This fussing and whining is not the kind of whining that some crate training methods tell you to ignore, this is urgent.
    – Stephie
    Dec 13, 2021 at 16:30
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First thing to do is remove the water bowl later in the evening, nothing worse than hearing the gulping of water just before bed time. As for getting up to let out you just need to be careful this does not become a learned behaviour otherwise you wont be getting any sleep.

We learnt the hard way, the heart and the brain are a touch wrestle :).

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