Congratulations you’re doing so well with the training, and now you’re ready for tips on how to crate train a puppy at night. If you just happened to come across this article but haven’t started crate training yet, this article “5 Easy Steps to Crate Training a New Puppy” is a great place to start.
Great, you’re back!
You’ve decided to keep the crate in the bedroom, at least for a little while until your puppy is sleeping through the night.
Reasons for your decision
It will help your puppy feel more secure in unfamiliar surroundings
You will be able to hear him if he barks/whines to go out. If not, he may pee or poop in the crate, which could set back your house training efforts.
Getting your puppy ready for a good night’s sleep
Tire him out! Plenty of exercise during the day and into the evening (just to be clear, I’m not talking about a marathon), and no naps too close to bedtime. A tired puppy, is a puppy who will sleep.
Take him out to pee/poop right before bed.
Don’t give food or water roughly 3 hours before bedtime. If your puppy has special needs, a medical condition, or you’re unsure if it’s okay consult your vet.
Whining/Barking in the crate
Ignore him! I mean it, ignore him!
You’ve done everything right. You’ve tired him out, taken him to pee/poop, and made his crate nice and comfy. You closed the door and, wait… what’s that you’re hearing?
Poor little thing! You just want to check on him quickly – don’t.
He is in a strange environment, away from his litter mates and the familiar. He’s bound to be afraid. If all he’s doing is looking for attention, don’t give it to him.
The second he sees you responding to his hails, even if you just poke your head through the door without saying a word, he has now learned that when he whines or barks you come. He’ll also learn to do it louder next time. You don’t want to go down that road, it will only lead to a dog that barks constantly.
If you skipped a step in your night time prep, and it’s likely he has to go out, try and wait for a bit of quiet before you open the crate door.
Handling middle of the night pee/poop breaks
Puppies just can’t hold it too long so if they don’t get taken out often enough, accidents are going to happen. Having said that, by following the middle of the night potty schedule below, you have a good chance of reducing and even preventing them from happening.
Here’s a great tip – To get yourself out the door quickly and without stumbling around, gather everything you’ll need in one place – sweater, jacket, shoes, flashlight, leash, poop bags…
It’s about getting the job done, and back to bed. Take him out, say “go pee” (or whatever cue you use), then in. That’s it.
Middle of the night potty schedule
One way to help minimise or perhaps even eliminate the barking to go out is to pre-empt his letting you know, by letting him know when it’s time.
To start with, set your alarm every 2-4 hours. If you’re not sure how long he can wait, err on the side of caution and go for shorter intervals. When this is working well for a few nights, extend the time in between alarms by 30 minutes.
Extend this every few days (as long as it’s working well, otherwise go back a bit), until he’s sleeping through the night.
How to crate train a puppy at night – conclusion
I admit it can be a bit of a pain for a short time, but now that you know how to crate train a puppy at night, you’re halfway towards success!!