How to Train Your Dog to Not Pee at Night

Medium
1-6 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

You're in that place between dreams and reality. You hear the sound of a babbling stream as you drift off. But wait! There are no rivers in your house! You shoot out of bed as you clue into what's happening. Sure enough, a golden puddle awaits you smack dab in the middle of your living room.

Anyone who's dealt with a midnight urinator knows how much of pain this bad habit can be. But why would a dog who is otherwise house trained insist on “going” inside after the sun goes down? Finding that out will help you better address the situation.

Defining Tasks

Peeing at night can happen for a whole heap of reasons. Sometimes it's just a matter of not being supervised before potty training is complete. Other times, your dog could be marking his territory in a spot that he previously peed on and can still smell.

Another reason that younger pups have night time accidents has to do with when they eat and drink. Their bladders are small, and empty faster than older pooches. If you're giving your youngster a giant bowl of water before bed, she might not be able to hold it until morning. Thankfully, most of these problems are fixable!

Getting Started

To help your fur buddy make it through the night with no accidents, you'll need to be prepared. Try to come to the table with the following:

  • An Alarm: You may think it's overkill, but it's easy to let minutes turn into hours when you aren't paying attention. Having an alarm can help you set a strict schedule.
  • Cleaning Supplies: Don't just grab your favorite bargain brand! Dish out the extra dollars for an enzyme-based cleaner made specifically to beat dog urine.
  • A Crate: Some dogs just need a safe space to become their den. A dog's instinct tells them not to pee in their den, so staying in the crate overnight might stop sneaky floor pees.

Peeing inside at night can also be a sign that your dog isn't feeling so hot. It's a good idea to get a full check-up to make sure all is well before trying to train your dog out of this unpleasant habit.

Below are some methods that you can use to help both Rover and you sleep through the nights. Remember, if you catch your pooch in the act of peeing inside, don't freak out! Clap your hands loudly and give a firm “no!”, then lead the dog outside.


The Rigid Routine Method

Most Recommended
6 Votes
Rigid Routine method for Not Pee at Night
Step
1
Set your alarm
Pick a time in the evening that is about two hours before bedtime.
Step
2
Take the bowl away
When the alarm goes off, take away your pup’s water dish.
Step
3
Go outside
Make sure you give your dog one or two more potty breaks before heading to bed.
Step
4
Keep tabs on your dog
Bring your pooch’s bed in your room so you'll hear if he gets up.
Step
5
Don't sleep in!
If your pup makes it through the night, be sure to get him outside first thing in the morning to relieve himself.
Step
6
Reward a job well done
After he “goes” in the right spot, praise him with a treat.
Recommend training method?

The Cozy Crate Method

Effective
3 Votes
Cozy Crate method for Not Pee at Night
Step
1
Bring in the crate
Put it somewhere that your family is, like a living room or bedroom.
Step
2
Make it cozy
Think of what a den looks like. Try putting a towel on top of the crate and a fluffy blanket inside.
Step
3
Check the size
Your dog should be able to comfortably lay down in his crate, but only just! If it's too roomy in there, the pup may designate a corner for peeing.
Step
4
Put a treat inside
Let your dog know that the crate is a good thing. Give him a tasty treat once he goes inside and put his favorite toys in there.
Step
5
Go outside before bed
Make sure that your pupper fully relieves himself before heading in for the night.
Recommend training method?

The Marking Menace Method

Least Recommended
2 Votes
Marking Menace method for Not Pee at Night
Step
1
Find where your dog has peed
Locate all of the pee spots in your home. If you really want to be thorough, you can use a UV light.
Step
2
Clean the spots
Get your heavy duty enzyme cleaner and soak the area.
Step
3
Follow the label
Get your heavy duty enzyme cleaner and soak the area.
Step
4
Try it out
See how your dog does overnight after a thorough cleaning. If he does not return to the pee areas, you may have beaten the smell!
Step
5
Steam clean!
If your first clean didn't stop the night accidents, you may want to rent a steam cleaner or hire a professional. Then you'll know for sure that all urine scents are gone.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers and Success Stories

Question
Lily
Poodle
8 Years
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Question
0 found helpful
Lily
Poodle
8 Years

Got her as a rescue. Beautiful nature. Pees at night in our bed. Pees all day outside. Has plenty of day time walks. No smell in urine.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
131 Dog owners recommended

Hello! Here is information on potty training, as well as crate training just in case you decide to use a crate to help with potty training. Potty training: Know Your Pup. As you spend time with your puppy, learn your puppy’s love language. Just as some people prefer gifts, touch, or time spent together, puppies can be the same way. Some puppies love praise or pets, while others prefer treats. As you get to know your puppy, consider what reward your puppy loves the most. Create a Daily Schedule. It is best to have a routine for your puppy. A schedule helps them understand when to eat, play, and “go to the bathroom.” Your puppy should go out frequently and the routine should be the same every time. When? Start the day by taking your puppy outside, and repeating based on age and ability. They should also go out after napping, chewing, playing, and within 10 to 15 minutes of eating. Although some puppies can sleep for seven hours, it is important to set an alarm and take your pup out during the night. When you do, don’t make a fuss about it. Quietly take them outside with minimal stimulation and light. Praise them if they go to the bathroom and gently return them to their bed or crate. You don’t want them to get stimulated and ready to play in the middle of the night! As you get to know your puppy, you will become aware of their individual habits. Click here to learn more about house training schedules for puppies. Where? Take your puppy to a specific area to urinate or defecate. Be consistent. You can create an area by using urine-soaked paper or bowel movements to help create an aroma to stimulate your puppy. How? Take your puppy out on a leash so they can focus on the desired activity. This will help prevent them from wandering off to play. Once your puppy is in the selected area, use your verbal cue, such as “Hurry Up,” “Poopies,” “Go tinkle,” or any phrase your puppy responds to. What? Know the signs that your puppy has to go to the bathroom. Every animal may have a different “I gotta go” gesture, which often include restlessness, sniffing around, circling, scratching at the door, barking, and, eventually, squatting. At the first sign that your pup has to go, calmly and quickly take them outside to their bathroom spot. Deal with Accidents. Accidents are a normal part of house training a puppy. What to Do If you see your puppy in the process of urinating or defecating inappropriately, calmly and quickly interrupt them in the act. Tell them to stop (either by a jarring sound or command), and immediately take them to an appropriate location for elimination. After your puppy goes to the bathroom, lavishly praise them and offer a treat. Thoroughly clean up accidents, so your puppy is not attracted to this area again. Create a consistent feeding and watering schedule. Depending on the age of your puppy, they will eat three to four times a day. A consistent feeding routine can create a regular bathroom schedule. Take away water about 2 hours before bedtime. Learn more about ideal dog schedules here. What NOT to Do Don’t punish your puppy when they have an accident. At that point, it is too late. When a puppy has an accident in the house and they walk away, within seconds they have already forgotten about what they did. Taking them to the scene of the crime and yelling and/or rubbing their nose in it does not help and, in fact, can harm your puppy! Supervise. The best thing you can do is to prevent accidents and the best way to do this is to supervise your puppy at all times. You can tether your puppy to your waist with a five or six-foot leash and carefully observe them for signs that they need to go to the bathroom. If you can’t supervise, then crate or confine your puppy. The more accidents your puppy has in the house, the more confusing it will be for them and this can delay house training. Reward, Reward, Reward. It is important to give your puppy a reward for their good behavior. This can be for commands such as sitting and coming to you, or for appropriately eliminating outside. In a puppy, a reward can be a couple kibbles of puppy food or a treat, such as a small piece of meat. The treat should be exciting for them and only available as a result of good behavior. Crate training can take days or weeks, depending on your dog's age, temperament and past experiences. It's important to keep two things in mind while crate training: The crate should always be associated with something pleasant and training should take place in a series of small steps. Don't go too fast. Step 1: Introduce your dog to the crate Place the crate in an area of your house where the family spends a lot of time, such as the family room. Put a soft blanket or towel in the crate. Take the door off and let the dog explore the crate at their leisure. Some dogs will be naturally curious and start sleeping in the crate right away. If yours isn't one of them: Bring them over to the crate and talk to them in a happy tone of voice. Make sure the crate door is open and secured so that it won't hit your dog and frighten them. Encourage your dog to enter the crate by dropping some small food treats nearby, then just inside the door, and finally, all the way inside the crate. If they refuse to go all the way in at first, that's OK; don't force them to enter. Continue tossing treats into the crate until your dog will walk calmly all the way into the crate to get the food. If they aren’t interested in treats, try tossing a favorite toy in the crate. This step may take a few minutes or as long as several days. Step 2: Feed your dog meals in the crate After introducing your dog to the crate, begin feeding them their regular meals near the crate. This will create a pleasant association with the crate. If your dog is readily entering the crate when you begin Step 2, place the food dish all the way at the back of the crate. If they remain reluctant to enter, put the dish only as far inside as they will readily go without becoming fearful or anxious. Each time you feed them, place the dish a little further back in the crate. Once your dog is standing comfortably in the crate to eat their meal, you can close the door while they’re eating. The first time you do this, open the door as soon as they finish their meal. With each successive feeding, leave the door closed a few minutes longer, until they’re staying in the crate for 10 minutes or so after eating. If they begin to whine to be let out, you may have increased the length of time too quickly. Next time, try leaving them in the crate for a shorter time period. If they do whine or cry in the crate, don’t let them out until they stop. Otherwise, they'll learn that the way to get out of the crate is to whine, so they'll keep doing it. Step 3: Practice with longer crating periods After your dog is eating their regular meals in the crate with no sign of fear or anxiety, you can confine them there for short time periods while you're home. Call them over to the crate and give them a treat. Give them a command to enter, such as "crate." Encourage them by pointing to the inside of the crate with a treat in your hand. After your dog enters the crate, praise them, give them the treat and close the door. Sit quietly near the crate for five to 10 minutes and then go into another room for a few minutes. Return, sit quietly again for a short time and then let them out. Repeat this process several times a day, gradually increasing the length of time you leave them in the crate and the length of time you're out of sight. Once your dog will stay quietly in the crate for about 30 minutes with you mostly out of sight, you can begin leaving them crated when you're gone for short time periods and/or letting them sleep there at night. This may take several days or weeks. Step 4, Part A: Crate your dog when you leave After your dog can spend about 30 minutes in the crate without becoming anxious or afraid, you can begin leaving them crated for short periods when you leave the house. Put them in the crate using your regular command and a treat. You might also want to leave them with a few safe toys in the crate. Vary the moment during your "getting ready to leave" routine that you put your dog in the crate. Although they shouldn't be crated for a long time before you leave, you can crate them anywhere from five to 20 minutes prior to leaving. Don't make your departures emotional and prolonged—they should be matter-of-fact. Praise your dog briefly, give them a treat for entering the crate and then leave quietly. When you return home, don't reward your dog for excited behavior by responding to them in an enthusiastic way. Keep arrivals low-key to avoid increasing their anxiety over when you will return. Continue to crate your dog for short periods from time to time when you're home so they don't associate crating with being left alone. Step 4, Part B: Crate your dog at night Put your dog in the crate using your regular command and a treat. Initially, it may be a good idea to put the crate in your bedroom or nearby in a hallway, especially if you have a puppy. Puppies often need to go outside to eliminate during the night and you'll want to be able to hear your puppy when they whine to be let outside. Older dogs should also initially be kept nearby so they don't associate the crate with social isolation. Once your dog is sleeping comfortably through the night with the crate near you, you can begin to gradually move it to the location you prefer, although time spent with your dog—even sleep time—is a chance to strengthen the bond between you and your pet. Potential problems Whining: If your dog whines or cries while in the crate at night, it may be difficult to decide whether they’re whining to be let out of the crate, or whether they need to be let outside to eliminate. If you've followed the training procedures outlined above, then your dog hasn't been rewarded for whining in the past by being released from their crate. If that is the case, try to ignore the whining. If your dog is just testing you, they'll probably stop whining soon. Yelling at them or pounding on the crate will only make things worse. If the whining continues after you've ignored them for several minutes, use the phrase they associate with going outside to eliminate. If they respond and become excited, take them outside. This should be a trip with a purpose, not play time. If you're convinced that your dog doesn't need to eliminate, the best response is to ignore them until they stop whining. Don't give in; if you do, you'll teach your dog to whine loud and long to get what they want. If you've progressed gradually through the training steps and haven't done too much too fast, you'll be less likely to encounter this problem. If the problem becomes unmanageable, you may need to start the crate training process over again. Separation anxiety: Attempting to use the crate as a remedy for separation anxiety won't solve the problem. A crate may prevent your dog from being destructive, but they may get injured in an attempt to escape. Separation anxiety problems can only be resolved with counterconditioning and desensitization procedures.

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Question
Odin
Labrador Retriever
14 Weeks
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Odin
Labrador Retriever
14 Weeks

Odin is 15 weeks of age and is already house trained, apart from the odd accident he knows to toilet outside and will sit at the door when he needs to go. He sleeps in a crate through the night and aside from his first few nights would only whine when he needed the toilet. At first it was as expected and going three/ four times a night but slowly managed to sleep 5 hours before needing the toilet. However now he has started whining early morning around 4/5am and when we go to let him out he has already toileted in his crate. We are at a loss as he seems to be going backwards in his training. He has consistent meal times every four hours between 8am and 8pm. Hes been doing really well up until now.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
131 Dog owners recommended

Hello! Sometimes their schedules just change a bit. The only thing I can suggest is pushing back that last meal to about 6pm. No food or water after that time until he stops going to the bathroom in his crate. Do this for a few weeks to get him out of the habit and then you can go back to your regular feeding schedule.

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Question
Eris
Labrador Mix
8 Weeks
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Question
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Eris
Labrador Mix
8 Weeks

She wakes up at 4 am and starts crying. When I get there it either has pee or poo on her blanket or bed. She’s constantly peeing everywhere in her bed area. She’s definitely not potty trained. What should I do?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
706 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kalista, First, remove all bedding and blankets and anything absorbent from the crate. Check out www.primopads.com or k9ballistics.com for a non-absorbent bed option. Second, make sure that the crate is only big enough for pup to turn around, lie down and stand up comfortably - but not so big they can go potty in one end and stand in the opposite end to avoid it. Third, make sure pup's crate is somewhere that you can hear her when she wakes up at night needing to go potty - with the right size crate and no soft bedding, most pup's will wake up and cry to be let out, not wanting to soil the crate. If you tend to sleep through those cries until it's too late, or she isn't waking you, either move the crate to where you can hear better, use an audio baby monitor if she is in another room, or set an alarm for every three hours at this age to wake up to take pup potty. Each month you can add one hour to that time until pup can be expected to sleep through the night by 6 months. Finally, check out the Crate Training and Tethering methods from the article linked below. Know that at this age, it's normal for pup to need at least 2 potty trips during the night due to their small bladder. During the day, the maximum amount of time pup can hold their bladder for it 2-3 hours. Ideally, pup should be taken potty every hour though when you are home, and you can only expect pup to hold it for longer than an hour when pup is crated and thus hopefully motivated to keep the crate clean, until they have learned about potty training. Crate Training and Tethering methods: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Alfie
Yorker-poo
8 Years
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Question
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Alfie
Yorker-poo
8 Years

My dog is peeing every night in the house. He has no health issues as seen by a vet. I walk him before bed every night and make sure he wees. I know he is not weeping because he is desperate. I get up and walk him again the same time every morning so he knows the routine. I recently let him sleep with me for a few nights and no accidents so I know he can hold it. I don’t exactly like having my dog in the bed with me but it seems like he is peeing in the house every night as he is starting to protest about sleeping on the sofa alone? Any advice would r greatly appreciated. Thanks

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
706 Dog owners recommended

Hello Zoe, Since it doesn't appear to be medical according to your vet, and pup held it when sleeping with you, it may simply be a bad habit - pup isn't motivated to hold it overnight right now, so is having accidents, and has developed a bad habit of doing so. To motivate pup to hold it again, I recommend crate training pup and crating them at night. If he is not already used to a crate, expect crying at first. When he cries and you know he doesn't need to go potty yet, ignore the crying. Most dogs will adjust if you are consistent. You can give him a food stuffed hollow chew toy to help him adjust and sprinkle treats into the crate during times of quietness to further encourage quietness. Check out the Surprise method from the article linked below. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate/ If he continues protesting for long periods of time past five days, you can use a Pet Convincer. Work on teaching "Quiet" but using the Quiet method from the article linked below. Tell him "Quiet" when he barks and cries. If he gets quiet and stays quiet, you can sprinkle a few pieces of dog food into the crate through the wires calmly, then leave again. If he disobeys your command and keep crying or stops but starts again, spray a small puff of air from the Pet convincer at his side through the crate while saying "Ah Ah" calmly, then leave again. If he stays quiet after you leave you can periodically sprinkle treats into the crate to reward him quietness. Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Only use the unscented air from the Pet Convincers - don't use citronella, it's too harsh and lingers for too long so can be confusing. Crating will only work if pup is physically able to hold their bladder overnight - as dogs age even healthy dogs will some times not be able to hold their bladder for as long overnight. If that turns out to be the case, your option will be to either set an alarm and take pup potty in the middle of the night, or you can set up an exercise pen and a disposable real grass pad and teach pup to go potty there in the middle of the night, and sleep on a non-absorbent bed in the exercise pen. For the crate, I also recommend not putting anything absorbent in the crate. Check out www.primopads.com and k9ballistics for non-absorbent bed options. Look for something like one of those potentially. Disposable real grass pad brand examples - also on amazon: www.freshpatch.com www.doggielawn.com www.porchpotty.com Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Emma
Shetland Sheepdog
3 Years
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Question
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Emma
Shetland Sheepdog
3 Years

Hi there.
Emma is 3 now, but we still have issues with her doing her business outside overnight. We have ample backyard space, and she tells us when she needs to go out during the day by using the bells we placed on our door. Overnight she stops doing this though, and 90%of the time I wake up to her having used the puppy pads we placed in case she has an accident.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
131 Dog owners recommended

What a beautiful pup you have! So if you are struggling with night time potty issues, you may want to think about cutting water consumption off a few hours before night time, and giving no access to water at night. Regardless of how well potty trained a dog is, they will go if they have to.

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Training Success Stories

Success
Tacho
Labrador Retriever
4 Years

Tacho is our 4 years old Labrador Retriever. He usually stays alone at our house but won’t go to the bathroom by himself (he has an open door to the garden and knows it). When we come home he peed himself as a result of not going to the bathroom all day long (he pees while laying down, so its only drops during all day). Any ideas of how can we train or show him to go when we are not home?

2 years, 5 months ago
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Pweeeze!
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd