How to Potty Train a Puppy at Night

Bedside crating for puppy at night.

Our puppy is approximately 20 weeks old. One of our biggest headaches with our puppy is never ending clean-up over potty training mistakes. While we're not at home, we leave our maltipoo in a small section of the house. During this potty training period, we leave Pee Pads in strategic corners of the room. Because pee is more difficult to clean in carpeted areas, we restrict our puppy to non-carpeted areas. That makes for an easier cleanup job. But even with that, exepect to use many paper towels to clean pee and poo.

I've dug through many resources mainly online and there are many doggy potty training methods. Most of the ideas center around dogs and puppies not wanted to relieve themselves where they sleep. I've tired many options, but only one worked out very well.

Confine the Puppy to A Small Area

  1. The first thing we tried is to let the dog sleep in a small area. In our home, the first floor powder bath was the perfect size.
  2. Half of the space is lined with Pee Pads and newspapers while the other half is where I placed his bed. That way, the puppy will sleep in his bed whiling taking care of business in the other half of he space.
  3. The upside to this option is the puppy will have more space to roam around. As a new puppy owner, I thought it was more humane to give him free range to roam. I was met with a mess every morning.
  4. The downside is there is more to clean up each morning, as the puppy goes to the bathroom several times during the night, often times missing the pee pad or newspaper.

Crate the Puppy In Your Bedroom

  1. Buy a crate suitable for your puppy based on his/her size. It should be large enough for him to walk in and turn around, but not enough space for him to move pick a place to sleep. The idea is the crate is his home/den, and so he won't do his business until he's out. I got lucky and didn't have any problems introducing my puppy to his crate.
  2. Your puppy needs to be accustomed to his crate before you begin. The most common way I've read about is to slowly train your puppy to go in and out of his crate with treats, slowly extending the amount of time he's inside his crate. Never force him into the crate.
  3. The advantage to crating near your bed is you can be near him throughout the night. This is helpful for puppies who have seperation anxiety.
  4. The challenge for crating near your bed is depending on the age of your puppy, he may wake you up multiple times throughout the night (like a baby). Each time your puppy wakes up, take him to his spot to relieve himself. I now routinely get woken up once at approximately 5:30am (sleeping at midnight).
  5. Out of the 2-3 weeks I've crated in my bedroom, he's only had one accident on the second night. This required a thorough cleaning of his crate to remove any smell that will scare him from entering his crate. The rule of thumb for puppies holding their pee is 1 hr for every month old.

So for me, the trade-off between the two options is spending time to clean up after the dog every morning, but get more sleep each night. Or to get less sleep, but hope that the dog learns to hold his pee at night and possibly even during the day. After trying both methods, I am sticking with crating at night is the best long term solution.

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