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Should I Wake My Puppy Up To Pee At Night?

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I’ve often said this is a blog about pee and poop.

Most conversations about puppies revolve around how cute and fluffy they are, but if you’re like me or you are a new puppy owner, when you hear the word “PUPPY!” your mind immediately reverts to pee and poop questions. 🙂

The first week home with your puppy can be a strenuous one.

The number one item of business for me and any new puppy is potty training.

In fact, it’s on the top of my mind even before I step foot and paw into the house.

One question I hear all the time from new puppy owners is:

Should I Wake My Puppy Up To Pee At Night?

I’m only human, sometimes I have to wake up in the middle of the night to go pee.

So, doesn’t it make sense that maybe I should wake up my puppy to pee at night too?

From one of our readers:

Question: Should I wake my puppy up to pee at night?

Answer: My initial response is no, you should not wake your puppy up to pee at night. After a little thought my answer is also yes, you should wake your puppy up in the middle of the night to pee!

That’s the TL;DR answer to the question but an ambiguous one at that.

The long answer is that every puppy is different so it depends. Some puppies will benefit from being woken up in the middle of the night while others will turn it into a bad habit.

If you’re bringing your puppy home for the first time I wouldn’t advise you to have a planned schedule to wake your puppy up every few hours.


Because then your puppy will get in a habit of waking up at those times and expect to get a wake-up call every few hours.

And if she doesn’t get that wake-up call she might start barking, crying, and whining because you set the expectation that it’s time to get up and go potty.

PRO TIP: After potty training and crate training 17 puppies I can tell you some slept through the night when they came home at 7-8 weeks old! To my surprise the next day they did the same, and the next, and the next…the point is your puppy probably does not need to be woken up in the middle of the night and she may even sleep a solid 8+ hours on the first night.

How Do I Know If I Should Wake Up My Puppy At Night?

To give you a quick idea of our average puppy:

  • First Night – wakes up between 2-4 times.
  • Second Night – wakes up between 2-4 times.
  • Third Night – wakes up 2-3 times
  • Fourth Night – wakes up 2-3 times
  • Fifth Night – wakes up 1-2 times
  • Sixth Night – wakes up 1-2 times
  • Seventh Night – sleeps a solid 8 hours

If I had to classify the three types of puppies we’ve noticed when crate training at night. After 1+ hour of sleeping in the crate at night the puppy:

  1. Puppy #1 – Barks, whines, or cries.
  2. Puppy #2 – Gets restless, starts circling, sits up and down, rustling in the crate.
  3. Puppy #3 – Puppy doesn’t make noise and just goes potty in the crate.

If you have puppy #1 then you will hear when she needs to go outside at night.

If you have puppy #2 then you might hear her get restless and know it’s time to take her outside for potty. I usually hear my pups wake up but my wife never hears them.

If you have puppy #2 and you do not wake up when she starts rustling then you might want to put her on a puppy nighttime potty schedule – I’ll talk about this more below.

If you have puppy #3 then you will have to set your alarm to wake up at regular intervals throughout the night for a week or two or three until you can train your puppy not to potty in the crate at night. – again see the puppy nighttime potty schedule below.

QUICK RECOMMENDATION: If you’re looking for a crate we highly recommend the MidWest Lifestages Dog Crate. We got one for our puppy Linus over 18 years ago and still use the exact same one only having to replace the plastic tray over the years.

What If My Puppy Goes Pee In Her Crate At Night?

For those puppies who are having accidents in their crate at night, I advise setting up a schedule when you can wake your puppy up periodically to go outside.

As your puppy gets a little older (from a few days to a few weeks) and has better bladder control you can start decreasing the amount of times you wake her up to potty until eventually she is sleeping through the entire night.

If your puppy is having accidents in the middle of the night then I recommend trying a puppy nighttime potty schedule.

Puppy Night Time Potty Schedule

In past articles, we’ve talked about tracking your puppy’s potty schedule and sticking to a routine but something we have not talked about is setting up a puppy nighttime potty schedule.

First off, as I mentioned earlier, I would not recommend waking your puppy up at night if you’re not having any nighttime potty issues.

When should you wake up your puppy in the middle of the night to go potty? And when should you implement this puppy nighttime potty schedule?

This is for puppies who are having potty accidents in the middle of the night.

We crate train all of our puppies and from time to time our puppies will pee in the crate, in the middle of the night, without warning.

When this happens we implement our puppy nighttime potty schedule.

Here’s a basic schedule you can use if your puppy is having nighttime potty accidents in the crate.

Night Time Puppy Potty Schedule

We like sticking to a routine and always feed our young puppies on a schedule of three meals a day.

Puppy feeding times are:

  • 7:00 am
  • 12:00 pm
  • 5:00 pm

We set our alarm to go off at regular intervals in the middle of the night and wake up our puppy for potty breaks.

You can adjust the schedule based on your feeding times and sleeping times.

If you were wondering how often you should wake up your puppy to pee at night, below is the schedule we’ve followed with some of our puppies:

TimePuppy Schedule
5:00 pmFeed Puppy Dinner
5-10:00 pmYour puppy will sleep, play, and potty during the evening hours. Most puppies fall asleep before 10pm for the night.
10:00 pmYou and your puppy wake for the day – Take the the puppy out to potty and feed breakfast
1:00 amWakeup puppy to go potty
4:00 amWakeup puppy to go potty
7:00 amYour puppy will sleep, play, and potty during the evening hours. Most puppies fall asleep before 10 p.m. for the night.

Most of our puppies fall asleep around 7-8:00 pm then we wake them up again at 10:00 pm for a potty break before we all turn in for the night.

If your puppy is still having accidents you can add more wakeup times throughout the night.

Anytime you get up in the middle of the night to take your puppy out to potty bring her immediately back to her crate after she goes potty. No playtime.

When Should I Stop Waking My Puppy To Pee At Night?

My simple answer is after approximately 1-3 weeks. However, every puppy is different so it depends on your individual puppy.

  • Week 1 – follow the above schedule
  • Week 2 – Remove the 4:00 a.m. wakeup and only wake up one time at around 2:00 a.m.
  • Week 3 – Try letting your puppy sleep through the entire night.

Remember, every puppy is different. Yours may figure this out after a couple of days, not three weeks. Make adjustments accordingly.

We had one friend try a nighttime schedule similar to ours but her puppy was still peeing in the crate.

She had to resort to waking up her German Shepherd puppy every hour! The first few nights my friend had to wake up a whopping 9 times!

Every couple of days she stretched out the amount of time between alarms until eventually her puppy was sleeping through the night.

It took her about 3 weeks to get her GSD pup to sleep a solid 8 hours a night.

If My Puppy Is Crying At Night, Does That Mean She Needs To Go Pee?

Time for another ambiguous answer to a common puppy potty training question. If your puppy is crying at night it may or may not mean she needs to go pee.

The question is how do I know if my puppy is crying because she has to go pee?

This is when I defer to the puppy potty schedule I created for my puppy. This tracks every time my puppy went pee or poop and what time she ate her meals.

If you’re really diligent then also include tracking when she drinks water and how much (just a sip, a medium amount, she drank the whole bowl)!

After tracking this information for a few days you’ll get a pretty good idea of when your puppy will go potty. You can use this information to help determine if your puppy really has to go potty or just wants attention.

Here are a few more tips for knowing whether or not your puppy is crying at night because she has to potty:

  • Has she been sleeping for 1 or more hours and started crying? If yes, then she probably has to go potty.
  • Did she drink water less than an hour before she went to sleep without going potty? If yes, then she probably has to go potty.
  • Did you just put her in her crate and she started crying? If yes, then she probably does not have to go potty.

PRO TIP: If my puppy has been sleeping for 1+ hour and I notice her start rustling around in the crate (but not barking/whining) for 60 or more seconds it’s usually a sign she has to potty and I’ll take her outside.

Should I Use Pee Pads in a Puppy’s Crate at Night?

We do not put pee pads in our puppy’s crates.

Why? Because we do not want our puppies to go potty in the crate.

Just like people, puppies will start sleeping through the night without having to pee or go poop.

We’ve noticed that most puppies will sleep a solid 8 straight hours after about one week in their new homes.

During the day we do not leave our puppies in the crate for more than 2 hours when they first come home.

Most puppies can hold it for 2 hours during the day. Even an 8-week-old puppy!

In conclusion, your puppy should not have to potty when she’s in the crate and therefore she should not need pee pads when crated.

Final Thoughts

I found it interesting that many other trainers recommend that you should always wake your puppy up in the middle of the night to help with potty training.

I do not agree. Every puppy is different and while some may have potty accidents in the crate, most of the puppies we raised never had a potty accident in the crate and never needed to be woken up in the middle of the night.

I say most and not all.

For the few that had accidents in the crate in the middle of the night, we put them on a puppy nighttime potty schedule which consisted of setting our alarm to wake ourselves up at regular intervals throughout the night.

While the nighttime puppy potty schedule listed above is for 3 weeks most puppies will figure it out sooner.

I said it before and I’ll say it again every puppy is different. You can make adjustments to our puppy nighttime potty schedule as you go.

Any questions? Any answers?

How are you doing with potty training and crate training at night?

Do you wake up your puppy in the middle of the night to go pee and/or poop?

Tell us about your experiences in the comment section below.

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Should I Wake My Puppy Up To Pee At Night? - Brown Poodle puppy sleeping in wire crate.

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  1. Another good tip I give people from personal experience is if the puppy is having accidents in the crate, how big is their crate? The crate should be small enough to feel like their personal space / not an entire bedroom where they have room to potty in the corner. Keeping it a smaller space will make them not want to mess their area up and instead hold it until going outside. I do feel like a schedule always helps, but I always wind up falling back on just watching for cues – sniffing, keeping track of when they ate/drank /had treats. At night I’ll check on them but if they’re sleeping I leave them be. But as you said, each puppy is different and you find what works for you. Great advice. Thanks!

  2. We have a German Shepherd, siberian Husky rescue. Called a gerberian shepsky. His name is Trooper. He is 4 months old as of 4-15-23. Is crate trained. Goes in his wire crate to sleep sometimes during the day. Sleeps in crate 8 plus hours. Usually have to wake him if before 8 am. We have started a 20 minute walk (at 4 months) ,however we live in the mountains of western N.C. so unless I drive him somewhere, it’s up and down so great exercise . He still runs thru house in the evening and I roll a tennis ball too. Smart, blue eyes, tall. 38 lbs as of 4-28-23. All muscle!! Confused about feeding. Vet said 4x a day. 3 makes more sense. Poops and pees outside, except for accidents which is probably my fault. He will come and stare at me, so I’d better get him.out
    Lol. Great pup. Lost my 2 fur babies in October 2022 within 2 weeks of each other. 12 1/2 and 14 years. Great times.

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