Luckily for humans, dogs and puppies don’t need to pee as often at night, so you don’t need to wake up every hour for a bathroom break. But you will want to follow a modified version of the housetraining routine.
Try this plan for getting your dog, and you, through the night.
1. Just before going to bed, offer a last chance bathroom break. Put the crate in or near your bedroom, and pop your pup inside about an hour before you go to bed to give her time to settle down and fall asleep. When you’re ready for bed yourself, wake her up and take her outside for a last chance elimination. She’ll probably pee within a few minutes, and doze off as soon as you return her to her crate.
2. Get up first thing in the morning to let her out. And rush her outside so she learns to do it there, and not in your house! Bear in mind: You’ll need to take puppies younger than three or four months outside at least once during the night. So for the first few weeks after your pup comes home, set the alarm to go off five to six hours after your puppy’s last bathroom break, when you’ll take her out to her outdoor toilet.
If the pup doesn’t soil her crate for a few weeks straight, you can start setting the alarm for 15 minutes later the next night, and then repeat if she succeeds again the following night.
By three or four months of age, most pups are physically capable of making it through the night–about seven or eight hours–without a bathroom trip.
3. If your dog soils her crate, set the alarm to get up an hour earlier the next night. If she does it three nights in a row, abandon the crate confinement at night. Keep her in her puppy playroom instead and try again in a week or two. It’s also a good idea to ask your vet to check for any physical problems that could be making it hard for your pup to hold it.
Caution: It’s very important that your puppy is never forced to eliminate in her crate, since this can break her tendency to hold it when she’s confined–making housetraining much more difficult.