Housetraining can be a daunting task for new pet parents. You may have a routine in place during the day to make it go more smoothly, but what about during the night?
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 usual housetraining routine. Try this plan for getting your dog–and you–through the night.
1. Offer A ‘Last Call’ Potty Break
Just before going to bed, offer a last chance bathroom break.
Put your dog’s crate in or near your bedroom, and pop your pup inside about an hour before you go to bed to give them time to settle down and fall asleep. When you’re ready for bed yourself, wake your dog up and take them outside for a last chance elimination.
They’ll probably pee within a few minutes and doze off as soon as you return them to their crate.
2. Give Another Potty Break Right When They Wake Up
Get up first thing in the morning to let your dog out. Rush them outside so they learn 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 them to their outdoor toilet.
If the pup doesn’t soil their crate for a few weeks straight, you can start setting the alarm for 15 minutes later the next night, and then repeat if they succeed 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. Add More Potty Breaks If They Have Accidents
If your dog soils their crate, set the alarm to get up an hour earlier the next night.
If they do it three nights in a row, abandon the crate confinement at night. Keep them in their 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 their crate, since this can break their tendency to hold it when they’re confined, making housetraining much more difficult.
Have you ever housetrained a dog? What was your routine for night time potty breaks? Let us know in the comments below!