A new puppy is a bundle of joy, at least during the day when you can play with him, teach him tricks and cuddle him. A dream come true.
Except when the night comes and getting out of bed to take care of the dog’s needs becomes a nightmare.
Nobody wants to go out of their nice warm bed to take the puppy out for a potty break. The good news is that if you keep to a constant routine and are quite firm about it, you will both soon be able to sleep through the night peacefully.
Let’s see what you can expect during your first weeks with the new pup and what you need to do to teach him proper nighttime manners.
How long can a puppy go without peeing?
There’s no point explaining or complaining to your cute puppy that you need to get to work in the morning and simply need to get some sleep.
For the first weeks of your life together be prepared to wake up at least once during the night to take the dog out for a quick pee. Don’t wait until you hear the puppy whining, barking or scratching to signal he needs to go potty.
Set the alarm halfway through the night, drag yourself out of bed, wake up the pup and take him to the designated potty area.
Experts say an 8-week old dog can go without peeing for roughly four or five hours, but, of course, every pet is unique so the best way to determine the time you should set the alarm is trial and error.
If your dog soils his bedding before your scheduled nighttime potty break, you should set the alarm one hour earlier and see how that goes.
On the other hand, if you wake up to find your dog sleeping peacefully and he looks at you like you’re some sort of a maniac for disturbing his sleep in the middle of the night, you can safely set the alarm 15 minutes later the following night.
Or even 30 minutes if you’re feeling particularly lucky. In case your new furry baby had an accident, remember it was your decision to test the limits so don’t blame the poor thing as he has literally no control over these matters and we’ll explain why.
How often does a puppy need to pee?
The problem with puppies is that they have tiny bladders so there’s not much room to hold it in. At the same time, just as babies, puppies have technically no control over their elimination process.
To be more specific, they cannot control the muscles that activate the sphincter of their bladder. It is something they will master with time, but at 8 weeks puppies cannot force themselves to keep it in until the next potty break.
According to the Humane Society, you can calculate how long a pup can hold it judging by their age in months. For instance, a one month old pup can go one hour without peeing. At two months, he should be able to keep it in for two hours and so on.
As to how many times does a dog need to go potty, some go as far as saying 24 times per day. Now, don’t panic, that doesn’t mean you should take your new puppy to the garden for number one every single hour.
You need to take into account that most of the bathroom breaks occur during daytime and, depending on his activity, your pup will pee several times in the space of one hour. To understand how this works let’s have a look at the ideal daily routine you should set.
The puppy potty routine
The first few weeks with a new puppy are all about training, especially housebreaking. If you want to have a happy life together for many years to come, you need to set a routine and keep to it at all cost. You have to make it clear to the dog that, for him, the bathroom is outside and he is not to pee on your carpet. For this, you must take him outside every time he needs to pee or poop and there are plenty of such times during the day.
Just as you go to the bathroom as soon as you get out of bed, so should your dog. So, first thing in the morning take the dog outside to do his business. Coffee can wait!
If adult dogs only require two meals per day, a puppy needs to eat three or four times a day. Let’s say you give him breakfast right after the early morning potty break. Now, as soon as he’s done eating you must take him outside again even if you’ve done that not 15 minutes ago. Eating stimulates the digestive system so he will want to poop and pee again. Keep to a regular feeding time as puppies, just like babies, need order in their life.
Young dogs need training and plenty of mental stimulation. A very young puppy will be so excited he might need to pee during playtime so if the weather allows it play with him outside and take him to the potty spot as soon as he shows signs of needing to go.
Puppies need to sleep 18-20 hours a day. After a play session, your little one will be exhausted and he will take a nap which might last anywhere between 30 minutes and two hours. The moment he wakes up, it’s time for another potty break. Then it’s feeding time again and after that you must take him outside once more and so on.
Night time routine for your puppy
If the daytime program seems exhausting, take heart, you don’t have to keep doing this overnight as well.
Here are the steps to take to keep nighttime potty breaks and accidents to a minimum.
Withhold food and water a couple of hours before bedtime
Your pup might object to that and whine a little, but he doesn’t really need food after sundown. Less food and water in his system means he won’t have to go during the night.
Last-call potty break
Get yourself ready to sleep, change into your pyjamas and then wake the puppy who’s probably already asleep and take him to his potty spot. Tell him to ‘go potty’ or whatever command you use during training.
Crate your dog for the night
Experts believe using a crate is useful during this stage in your puppy’s training as he won’t want to soil his sleeping area. By nature, dogs don’t like to sleep in their own waste anymore than you do. With this in mind, make sure that the crate is not too big, thus allowing the dog to use the extra space as his personal bathroom.
If there’s not enough space to go potty without having to sleep in his own mess the puppy will try not to. However, don’t count on it because, as we’ve said, he cannot really control his bladder. Furthermore, you shouldn’t make the puppy keep it in for long periods as this can lead to urinary infections.
Nighttime potty break
When you wake up in the middle of the night to take the puppy outside you certainly won’t want to waste too much time. Nor should you. Teach the puppy from the very beginning that it’s strictly business. A well-rested dog might take it into his head it’s playtime. It isn’t. Keep the lights dim or as dim as possible without stubbing your toes, grab the pup and take him to the potty spot. Tell him to go potty and take him back to his crate as soon as he’s done. In most cases, at that ungodly hour he’ll only need a quick pee, as dog’s rarely feel the need to poop during the night.
You don’t need to bother with a treat at this hour as this might keep him awake. A quick pat on the head will do, then put him back to bed. Chances are he’ll be fast asleep before you get back to bed yourself.
If taking the dog outside for a potty break in the middle of the night is not an option for you use a litter box or at least an area covered with newspapers in the bathroom. It’s not ideal, but as the puppy grows older he will have less need for a nighttime potty break and you can get rid of the litter box.
Getting rid of nighttime potty breaks
As your dog grows older set the alarm slightly later to see if he can hold it. In case of an accident return to the previous schedule and try again in a week or two. With time, your pup will be able to sleep through the night without any accidents. Expect this to happen when your dog is around five months old. Some dogs can sleep for eight hours without needing to pee by the time they’re four months old, while others only master this when they’re six months old. Sometimes it’s just the way your dog is, but in some cases maybe you weren’t consistent enough with housebreaking your dog.
An eight-week old pup cannot possibly be expected to hold it in for more than two hours during daytime. At night, your puppy will need one potty break. Set your alarm for a time halfway through the night and take the dog outside for a quick pee. Keep it quick and boring, as you don’t want your dog to get any ideas into his head. Return the dog to his crate and go back to bed without a word.
Increase the interval slowly and by the time your pup is five months old he should be able to sleep soundly and you can forget about getting up at all hours! Well done both of you!