Trying to get your puppy to sleep can be difficult especially at the start when he is very young but there are a few things that can make your life a bit easier and maybe even grab some more sleep.
Yes, you should wake up your puppy to pee at night. It establishes a routine and you’ll have an easier time getting your puppy to sleep through the night (or at least longer) if he has an empty bladder.
So, let’s talk about how exactly to do that.
How To Create A Routine
You ultimately need to create a routine that works for you because then it’ll be so much easier for you to stick to it.
I’ll outline two routines, one for when you’re watching the puppy by yourself and in the other you have other people helping you out.
Creating and more importantly sticking to a routine by yourself can be a bit of a challenge and a lot of work so let’s see which routine works for you best.
It all really revolves around when you go to sleep and wake up in the morning and all the other factors can easily be placed into that routine.
Let’s say that you need to go to bed relatively early because you get up early in the morning as well.
This is what your routine could look like:
|Time||Routine For Early Birds||Routine For Late Nighters|
|01:00||Wake Puppy: Nightly Pee-time|
|03:00||Wake Puppy: Nightly Pee-time|
|05:00||Quick Morning Walk|
|06:00||Quick Morning walk|
|13:00||Feed Puppy (light meal)||Feed Puppy|
|15:00||Go for a walk (w/ treats)|
|16:00||Feed Puppy (light meal)|
|18:00||Feed Puppy||Go for a walk (w/ treats)|
|20:00||Last pee-time before bed|
|23:00||Last pee-time before bed|
Now this routine works for me and my puppy but you might need to adjust it according to your puppy’s needs.
This plan is what I used for when he was 10-17 weeks old but now I’m slowly working to reduce the feeding time to three times a day instead of four.
You know when it’s time to reduce the number of times that your dog needs to be fed when he’s pretty reluctant to eat and not hungry already.
I start the day with a quick morning walk instead of just letting him go in the yard because in the morning he usually needs to pee and poo and if I let him poo in the forest I don’t need to worry about cleaning it up later on.
Later in the day, I go on another long walk to drain some of his energy before bed and so that he gets used to walking on the leash, meeting other people, dogs, etc.
Younger pups might need to pee more than once during the night and later on you can get rid of the night pee-time altogether.
Other People Are Helping Out
When you have other people in your household willing to help out taking care of a puppy throughout the day gets a lot easier.
You can still use the same routine but now you can split it up.
The two best ways to split it up among two people are in my experience splitting it up into a day and night shift or morning/evening shifts.
Day and Night Shift
The day and night shift works best for the early days with a puppy (around 8-12 weeks old) when he is still a lot of work and needs to be closely watched 24/7.
The puppy likely won’t be sleeping much at night at this stage so both the day and night shifts are equally challenging and strenuous.
The best way to do this is to let one person go to bed quite early while the other starts the night shift, watches the puppy, wakes him up to pee and keeps him company when he can’t sleep.
Likely the puppy will want to start playing at around 5 or 6 am which is when you’ll switch to day shift and the night shift person can get some rest.
The day shift person takes over watching the puppy because they went to bed early the night before.
It is important to always stick to the schedule even if your puppy is hungry before the actual feeding time because eventually his inner clock will adjust to it and he’ll know when he gets his food.
The morning evening shift generally works better for people where one person is working in the morning and the other in the evening.
In this split up one person watches the pup all morning so for example from 1 am until 10 am and the other from 11 am until 11 pm.
It really depends on your individual schedule and how you want to split things up between the two of you.
How To Get Puppy To Pee Outside At Night
Peeing outside in the dark unknown can be a scary thing for little pups at first.
It’s important to go outside with them and maybe even bring a torch for some light, for your pups and your sake.
Don’t expect the puppy to go outside alone in the dark without you. They are already unsure of their new surroundings and need extra support, especially at the start.
It’s also important to go with your puppy so that you can make sure that he actually did his business instead of just walking around a bit and walking back inside because he’s frightened.
You could also bring a treat or two and praise your pup when he peed so that he knows that he did the right thing.
Additionally, you could add a command like “go pee” which can help the dog identify what you want from him.
My Puppy Won’t Sleep At Night And…
There are a variety of reasons why your puppy could be up all night and these are a few of them and what to do in each case.
.. Screams Every Night
If your puppy screams at night it may be because he is all alone and is scared. He is looking for his mum so stay close to him so that he knows that he is not alone.
Keeping your pup next to your bed and reaching your arm down to his bed is a good idea so that he knows that you’re there.
Puppies will often scream or cry the first few days when they are separated from their mum.
If this doesn’t work or your pup is already a bit older and still screaming you could try giving him a sweater of yours to snuggle with so that he doesn’t feel so lonely.
.. Won’t Sleep In His Crate
This could also be because he was just separated from his mum and is too confused about what’s happening to find rest.
He may also not like the crate because he may have never experienced being in one or being “locked up” at all before.
I know that my puppy in his first few days hated his crate and always tried to get out. He HATED being “locked up” and always tried to find a way out.
It may not be the best idea to stick your 8-week old puppy into a crate on his first night but rather slowly get him used to it.
Keep the crate in the room with the door open so that the pup can choose to go in our go out and doesn’t feel like he’s being punished for something.
.. Has Too Much Energy
Even though puppies sleep most of the day, they also have a lot of energy and it can be difficult to drain their energy if you don’t know how to.
There are two ways of draining a pup’s energy. You either challenge them physically or mentally.
To challenge them physically you can play with them, have them chase a toy, play with another dog, take them on a walk, bring them to puppy class, there are a lot of options.
The other way is to challenge them mentally, by training them. Young pups tend to learn things very quickly so even though you might not think you can already teach them things, you certainly can!
You can start with the most basic commands, like “sit”, “down”, “no”, “come here” or just start by teaching them their name.
.. Has Too Much Energy And Isn’t Vaccinated Yet
Draining a pup’s energy that hasn’t been vaccinated yet can be a bit more challenging but trust me there are still plenty of options.
You can’t take your pup out to do anything but you can still play with him in the house or the yard and most importantly teach him things.
Teaching your puppy the most basic commands are often very tiring for them so be sure to keep the teaching sessions very short (5-10 minutes) but do them more frequently.
.. Is Restless In His Crate
That puppies will be restless is totally normal. You just brought them into an entirely new environment that they need to get used to. They might still be looking for their mum and siblings and can’t find them around.
This is completely new for them. They have never slept alone but always had their mum or siblings cuddling with them.
Now he is completely alone so you could try giving him cuddle toys or stick your hand in his crate at night so that he can feel your warmth and heartbeat which might calm him down.
.. Is Constantly Changing His Sleeping Position
When puppies constantly change their sleeping position around the room it can be a sign that they are uncomfortable with something.
My pup Teddy always moved around the room at night when it was really hot during the summer and he was trying to find a place to cool down.
Sleeping positions like the one above are often connected with your dog trying to cool down.
You can try giving your pup a cooling matt but you have to monitor him closely because he shouldn’t be chewing on it.
.. Will Only Sleep With Me There
If your puppy is so closely bonded to you that he is scared to be apart you can try giving him a clothing item that smells like you and give it to him when he’s supposed to sleep.
He’ll smell you and might be calm enough to sleep.
If he’s still not sleeping you can try to have him sleep next to your bed and hold your hand down next to him so that he can feel and smell you. I recommend this for the first few days but not beyond that.
After that, he should get “over” the fact that he is away from his mum and should learn to sleep alone.
You could try gradually increasing the distance between you and him when you sleep so that he can slowly adjust to it.
.. Won’t Tell Me When He Has To Go Potty
Rarely will a young puppy (8-10 weeks old) “tell” you that they have to do their business.
Think about it. Do babies tell us when they need to? No, they just go potty in their diapers.
Now you need to teach your pup to give you a signal when he needs to go outside. This can often come naturally without you having to teach or train him.
For instance, my pup always sits in front of the door that leads outside when he needs to go. Every time he sits there I’ll bring him out and he knows that when he sits there he gets to go out.
Now be careful. You don’t necessarily want to bring your dog out every time he barks because he’ll be doing exactly that for years to come.
Be sure to choose an action to reinforce that you like and if he doesn’t give you one, teach him one.
.. Wants To Be Fed
I don’t recommend feeding your puppy at night because then you’ll accustom him to a schedule where he will always wake up at night to be fed, which is what he should be doing during the day.
Wait until your schedule says it’s time to feed your pup and he won’t be demanding to be fed at night anymore in the future.
Don’t give in to the cute puppy eyes.
When Should My Puppy Sleep In My Room?
The first few days your puppy should definitely sleep in your room because he’ll feel lonely and needs to be comforted during the night and might even cry.
After the initial move and once your puppy has properly settled in you can slowly get him used to sleep elsewhere.
You might not want him sleeping next to your bed or in your room at all but rather ina different place downstairs where he can keep watch at night when he’s grown up.
Should I Run To My Puppy When He Is Crying?
Running to your puppy when he is crying is always a bad idea. I’ll make an exception for the first few nights in his new home but otherwise, it only teaches him a bad habit.
You might want to run to him when he’s crying because of the neighbors or because you feel sorry for him but starting this behavior now only produces problems in the future.
He will learn that every time that he cries you’ll come running and will come to “abuse” this behavior for whatever he wants.
For example, you put him in his crate and lock it and he’ll start crying because maybe you left the room and you’ll come running back and let him out.
Now you taught your dog that when he cries he gets to go out of the crate.
When Will My Puppy Sleep Through The Night??
It depends on how long you want to sleep at night but generally, puppies can hold their pee an hour for every month of their age.
Worked out this will look like this:
- 4 Week Old Puppy: 1 hour
- 8 Week Old Puppy: 2 hours
- 12 Week Old Puppy: 3 hours
- 16 Week Old Puppy: 4 hours
- 20 Week Old Puppy: 5 hours
- 24 Week Old Puppy: 6 hours
- 28 Week Old Puppy: 7 hours
But also keep in mind that smaller dogs will be able to hold it for less time because of their smaller bladders and bigger dogs could be able to hold it for longer.
Don’t worry this phase will be over soon. It may feel like forever away now and you may even regret your choice of getting a puppy but it’ll all be worth it in the end.