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

ribbon-method-1
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

ribbon-method-3
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

ribbon-method-2
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?
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Written by Amy Caldwell

Published: 10/24/2017, edited: 01/08/2021

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Norm
Cocker Spaniel
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Norm
Cocker Spaniel
1 Year

He is potty trained in the house but every night he still pees all in his bed when in his crate. How can I stop this?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
944 Dog owners recommended

Hello Elise, First, thoroughly clean the crate with an enzymatic cleaner. Second, remove anything absorbent in the crate including the dog bed - I would throw the dog bed away at this point, since it will be almost impossible to clean to the point where pup won't still smell the urine in it and be encouraged to pee in it again. You can use a non-absorbent bed like www.primopads.com. Third, make sure the crate is only big enough for pup to stand up, turn around, and lie down, and not so big that pup can pee in one end and stand in the opposite end to avoid the accident. Fourth, when you take pup potty before bed, go with pup and make sure they are actually going potty fully and not getting distracted. If they are getting distracted, take pup on leash, walk them around slowly, tell them to "Go Potty" and give a treat after they go fully. Repeat the process again if pup went but didn't seem to finish. This helps pup learn to go on command with practice. Fifth, if the accidents are still happening, I would speak with your vet. There can be medical reasons why pup's have accidents at night while sleeping. It could be that pup doesn't have good control over their bladder while asleep, especially if they are peeing right where they are sleeping. I am not a vet. Sixth, if pup can't hold it all night or pup has lost the desire to keep the crate clean, even with the absorbent bed removed and crate sized right, then I would set up an exercise pen in a room that can be closed off during the day, like a bathroom, and place a non-absorbent bed on one end and a disposable real grass pad on the other end, for pup to use at night. www.porchpotty.com (most expensive but long term option) www.freshpatch.com (what I would try out first) www.doggielawn.com Also found on amazon Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Loki
Yorkshire Terrier
2 Years
0 found helpful
Question
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Loki
Yorkshire Terrier
2 Years

How do make my Yorkie, Loki, Potty at night? I take his water bowls away at 7:30 and he does to bed at 9:00 -9:45. i also take him out at 8:30 and at 8:15 the next morning so he can relive himself outdoors. BUT! He still does potty on wall corners at night. How do i stop this? And where should i put his pee pads, Outside the crate/bed or next to it? He doesn't happen to see the pee pad at night. >.< Please answer this a soon as possible and thanks in advance.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
944 Dog owners recommended

Hello Lisa, I recommend crating pup at night right now. The confined space of the crate will encourage pup's natural desire to keep a confined space if set up right. You want to encourage that desire so pup will learn to hold their bladder overnight. If motivated pup should also alert you at night if they do need to go potty then, instead of just peeing. Once used to the new schedule, pup's body should also be able to adjust to hold it overnight for ten hours at this age, as long as there isn't a medical condition present that makes that length of time unrealistic for pup. 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. I would practice crating during the day first. During the day, you can give him a dog food stuffed hollow chew toy to help him adjust and sprinkle treats into the crate during times of quietness to further encourage quietness. If he continues protesting for long periods of time past 3-5 days, you can use a Pet Convincer. During the day, work on teaching "Quiet" by 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 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. At night, once pup understands, simply tell pup Quiet and correct if he doesn't get quiet when you know he doesn't need to go potty. Don't give food at night time though, only during daytime practice. When you set up your crate, don't put anything absorbent in there - no pee pads, towels, or soft beds. You can use something like www.primopads.com or k9ballistics crate mats if you want to give some non-absorbent padding. Make sure the crate is only big enough for pup to stand up, turn around, and lie down, and not so big pup can go potty in one end and stand in the opposite end to avoid the accident - too big won't encourage pup to hold their bladder. Another option that's less effective but still can work, is to set up an exercise pen with a disposable real grass pad and a non-absorbent bed and have pup sleep in there. Be sure to clean any previous accidents well with an enzyme containing spray and limit access to the areas where pup tends to mark. If pup tends to leg lift when peeing normally, you will need to use something like a tarp to cover the sides of the exercise pen near where the grass pad is. If pup tends to leg lift, I recommend using the crate and taking pup outside even more instead though. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Paco
yorkie/poodle
9 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Paco
yorkie/poodle
9 Years

Paco pees on a pee pad: ok. He poops at night - several poops in bathroom. We don't hear him get up. We take him out several times and before bed.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
944 Dog owners recommended

Hello Barb, Are the accidents at night a recent issue? If they are, I would speak with your vet. Often dogs will have a hard time holding it overnight as they age. Sometimes this can be addressed with your vet depending on the exact cause, and sometimes you need to change pup's sleeping arrangement. I am not a vet. If the issue is something that can't be addressed medically, I recommend setting up an exercise pen in your bathroom with a disposable real grass pad in the pen. I would put a non-absorbent bed, like www.primopads.com or k9ballistics on one end of the pen for pup to sleep in, and a grass pad or two put together on the other side. Pup may be waking up urgently needing to go and not having time to wake you or get outside, or even remember where to go, so I would keep the grass pad option close by so pup goes there instead in the pen. If pup is capable of holding it overnight, I would crate pup at night to motivate them to hold it. Having pup sleep in the exercise pen will also encourage better pee pad habits too if the issue is behavioral and not an issue of not being able to hold it overnight. If the behavior is new, I suspect pup is struggling to be able to hold it though and needs medical intervention or a different sleeping arrangement at this point though. I am not a vet though, so consult your vet also. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Bran
cockapoo
10 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
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Bran
cockapoo
10 Weeks

Bran will happily sleep anywhere during the day but as soon as he wakes up to realise nobody is in the room his first instinct is to pee/poo inside. At night he will not settle in his crate and I don't want to get him into the habit of sleeping in a basket in my room even though this would settle him.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
944 Dog owners recommended

Hello Aofie, First, what's happening with the accidents is actually more biological that behavioral. Puppies at this age tend to need to go potty right when they wake up - after eating, running around, and when waking up at the main times pup need to go potty, in addition to scheduled hourly potty trips. I suspect pup is probably also sleeping for about an hour also, since puppies tend to take a lot of hour long naps. That length of time is also how long pup will be able to hold their bladder for when not in a crate to motivate them to hold it longer. I recommend following the crate training method from the article I have linked below, which will time pup's schedule so that pup is either outside or in a crate when their bladder is getting full, and only free without full supervision when their bladder is empty. The more accidents you can prevent through such supervision, confinement and scheduling, the sooner pup will learn how to keep your home clean. Crate Training method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside As far as pup settling in the crate, that's also normal. It generally takes 2-4 weeks for most puppies to adjust to the crate. You are smart not to let pup sleep in a basket just yet. Pup needs to be fully potty trained and past the chewing phases before you can do the basket safely without leading to destructive, unsafe chewing habits or harming your potty training efforts. Check out the Surprise method from the article I have linked below. Practice that method during the day, along with potty training, to help pup adjust to the crate sooner. When pup cries in the crate before it has been at least two hours since pup last went potty, ignore the crying. This will mean some lost sleep but in the long run, it's still the easiest option, letting pup out will only make training take longer in the long run and create other issues. When pup does truly need to go potty during the night, which pup will need 1-2 times a night for a while longer even once used to the crate due to a small bladder, take pup outside on a leash, keep the trip super boring, without play, food, or much talking or attention. You want pup to have no reason other than needing to go potty to want to get up at night - like anticipating treats or play at night. Surprise method for helping pup adjust to the crate - skip to the section where the crate door is closed at this age: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Bella
Kelpie/lab X
4 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Bella
Kelpie/lab X
4 Years

Bella will mostly got outside during the day to pea. Sometimes she will deliberate pee right at the open door, she will pee on the floor almost ever night, sometimes multiple times.
Cheers
Marie Forrest

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
944 Dog owners recommended

Hello Marie, I suggest going back to the basics with her for a couple of months and act as if she isn't potty trained at all to stop all accidents from happening so that she will develop a habit of holding it consistently while in the house and wanting to keep your home clean. After a couple of months if she has been completely accident free, very gradually give her more freedom - but when you start, still go outside with her at first to ensure she is going potty and not getting distracted. To crate train for at least two months to get her back on track more strictly at first, check out the Crate Training method from the article linked below. Make sure that the crate doesn't have anything absorbent in it - including a soft bed or towel. Check out www.primopads.com or k9ballistics.com if you need a non-absorbent bed for her. Make sure the crate is only big enough for her to turn around, lie down and stand up, and not so big that she can potty in one end and stand in the opposite end to avoid it. Dogs have a natural desire to keep a confined space clean so it needs to be the right size to encourage that natural desire. Use a cleaner that contains enzymes to clean any previous or current accidents - only enzymes will remove the smell and remaining smells encourage the dog to potty in the same location again later. The method I have linked below was written for younger puppies, since your dog is older you can adjust the times and take her potty less frequently. I suggest taking her potty every 3 hours when you are home. After 1.5 hours (or less if she has an accident sooner) of freedom out of the crate, return her to the crate while her bladder is filling back up again until it has been 3 hours since her last potty trip. When you have to go off she should be able to hold her bladder in the crate for 5-8 hours - less at first while she is getting used to it and longer once she is accustomed to the crate. Only have her wait that long when you are not home though, take her out about every 3 hours while home. You want her to get into the habit of holder her bladder between trips and not just eliminating whenever she feels the urge and you want to encourage that desire for cleanliness in your home - which the crate is helpful for. Less freedom now means more freedom later in life. Crate Training method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside If she is not already used to a crate expect crying at first. When she cries and you know she doesn't need to go potty yet, ignore the crying. Most dogs will adjust if you are consistent. You can give her a food stuffed hollow chew toy to help her adjust and sprinkle treats into the crate during times of quietness to further encourage quietness. If she continues protesting for long periods of time past three days, you can use a Pet Convincer. Work on teaching "Quiet" by using the Quiet method from the article linked below. Tell her "Quiet" when she barks and cries. If she 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 she disobeys your command and keep crying or stops but starts again, spray a small puff of air from the Pet convincer at her side through the crate while saying "Ah Ah" calmly, then leave again. If she stays quiet after you leave you can periodically sprinkle treats into the crate to reward her 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. Do NOT spray in the face - only side or chest. While home, you can also tether pup to you with a leash to prevent her from sneaking off to have an accident - this isn't quite as effective as crate training but you can combine the two a bit if you want pup to be out of the crate a bit more while you are home. It's extremely important to crate her at night as well. The nighttime accidents are likely contributing to the daytime accidents. While you are asleep confinement is the easiest and most effective way to eliminate accidents and start building a habit of holding it overnight. If you find she can't hold it in the crate overnight, I would see your vet to determine whether there is a medical condition leading to some incontinence. I am not a vet. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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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?

3 years, 3 months ago
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