How to Keep My Puppy from Nighttime Pooping?

Potty training is a big part of welcoming your family’s new puppy. It’s probably the least appealing aspect for dog training.

So, your pup no longer pees in the house but has taken to pooping every night without fail. How come? And most importantly how can you stop the little fur baby?

How to Keep My Puppy from Nighttime Pooping

A Lot Depends on Your Puppy’s Age

Theoretically, your pup will have been with his or her mom until approximately 8 weeks of age. Supposing you adopted your puppy at 8 weeks, you can begin potty training your pup right away.

Ideally, good potty training should start anywhere between 8 and 16 weeks of age and know that it may take from 4 to 6 months to train your new pooch.

With the proper potty training your dog should be able to sleep the night without defecating.

If a pup of 6 or 7 months is still pooping indoors after you go to sleep, your pup either has a medical issue, has not be trained properly, or has developed an undesirable habit. It’s vital that you identify the cause of the pooping to remedy it.

Consider Medical Issues

A consultation and checkup by your veterinarian will be the place to begin your investigation. If your pup’s stools are soft, have a strange odor or color, it may be a medical problem.

Also, consider if you dog is pooping a lot during the day as well. This should alert you that something else may be going on, or any type of unusual behavior when eating of eliminating. It may be as simple as a case of worms, or it could be something more serious like diabetes. 

Should you not succeed at potty training, consider the possibility that something else may be happening or the source of the problem. 

Depending on the age of your pup, he may be marking his territory and you will want to comtemplate neutering. In any case, your vet should be guiding you if it’s a physical issue and if it’s behavioral, your vet can refer you to an animal behaviorist.

Age, Potty Training, and Bad Habits

The skill and bladder muscle control associated with successful potty training develop with age. Consider that your pup’s control capabilities will increase with age.

An 8-week-old puppy may be able to hold pee or poop for a maximum of 2 hours, perhaps 3 if you’re lucky. This will increase as the pup matures. 3 to 4 hours at 3 months, 4 to 5 hours, at 4 months, 5 to 6 hours at 5 months and so on.

If your puppy is 4 months of age or less, expect accidents to happen as the bladder is still small and not fully developed.

At 5 months a pup’s potty habits should begin to stabilize with fewer accidents, and at 6 months, bladder muscles are completely developed in most dogs.

So, if you puppy continues to poop, you should seek veterinary advice to exclude health issues and eventually work with a professional canine trainer if you are unable to aid your pup alone.

Some consideration should be given to pre-existing accidents. Your dog will still be able to smell where it defecated in your home as a very young puppy even when you can’t. In these cases, the use of an odor eliminator can generally resolve this stimulant.

See also: When Should I Start Training My Cavapoo Puppy?

Potty Training Errors

If you are potty training without professional help, consider all the things you should not be doing to your dog during potty training.

1.) Do not punish your pup if he or she has an accident

Puppies will fear you and may not even make a connection between the punishment and the poop. Punishment can lead to destructive undesirable behaviors when training a canine.

So, opt for positive reinforcement when your canine BFF does something right. Do not rub your dog’s nose in poop or he or she may hide when it’s time to go and will poop despite this.

2.) When cleaning, remove the odor as well

It’s important to consider that your dog’s olfactory capabilities are far superior to those of humans. Don’t assume that because you’ve disinfected your dog can’t smell what happened before.

Use enzymatic cleaners to remove odors that may stimulate your dog to repeat the behavior in a specific spot.

3.) Avoid using potty pads unless absolutely necessary

Avoid using potty pads

The use of pads reinforces the idea that it’s ok to poop and pee in the house when it isn’t. By reverting to pads, you are only delaying the potty-training process. By continuing with pads, you may be encouraging what can become a life-long habit.

4.) Don’t restrict a puppy’s movements

Restricting movements will not teach your pup that the house is not the appropriate place for pooping. It is unlikely they will make a connection. Better you should observe and catch them in the act. Grab you pup and head for the door.

5.) Remember and use positive reinforcement

Reward your puppy when he or she gets it right.

See also: Why Does My Dog Bury his Head in Me? (10 Reasons)

Potty Training to Stop Your Puppy from Nighttime Pooping

Remember that potty training requires patience so don’t expect your pup to understand what you expect the day they walk in the door. The training is on you, not the dog.

Dogs do not automatically think they need to go outdoors to poop. They will instinctively only avoid pooping where they sleep, so other spots are fine in the canine mind. 

So, how can you do to stop your puppy from nighttime pooping?

1.) Use Treats

Choose a treat that your puppy loves and give it to your pup only after pooping outside. Make sure you have several with you whenever you take your pooch outdoors.

2.) Schedule Meals

Put your puppy on a feeding schedule immediately. After approximately 20 minutes, remove uneaten food. Do not feed your dog until the next scheduled meal. Consult your vet as to how many meals your pup should get daily and keep to the schedule. 

3.) Schedule Potty Times

Schedule times when you are taking your puppy outside. This should definitely include before your dog goes to bed and as soon as your pup wakes up.

Depending on the age of your puppy schedule breaks accordingly. This could be every 15 minutes, half hour, hour, and so on. Maintain these scheduled breaks for several days.

If your puppy succeeds in holding, you can gradually increase the time between the potty breaks. If your puppy continues to have accidents schedule potty times more frequently.

Should you take the dog out and nothing happens, try again ten minutes later until your dog defecates. 

4.) Clean any accidents well

Dogs will often return to where they pooped the last time, so enzymatic cleaners should help remove any odors that you may not smell but that your dog will. If hidden odors remain, your puppy will return to the spot.

5.) Use “Accidents” to Your Advantage

When cleaning up poop, take it outside and place it on the preferred potty zone. This can function as a trigger for when you take your puppy outdoors. Every indoor poop should be removed to this zone.

6.) Observe Your Puppy

Keeping an eye on your dog will aid you in interrupting unwanted accidents. Things to watch for include circling, squatting, excessive sniffing, or the positioning of the tail straight out.

If you see any of these behaviors, grab your puppy and rush outdoors to the potty zone. If you continue to find accidents, your supervision is inadequate.

7.) When an Accident Happens

If your puppy poops and you see it, clap, or make a noise to distract and interrupt. Grab your dog and rush outside. If the dog poops outside, praise the pup and offer a treat.

Crate Training

Many pet parents use crates when they leave the house or at night. Remember that dogs will avoid pooping where they sleep. Make sure your crate is not too large for your puppy.

correct crate size

When crates are too large, puppies will instinctively create a sleeping area and a pooping area. The correct crate size will allow the dog to stand up and turn around but nothing more.

If a puppy soils himself, set up a vet appointment to rule out medical problems. Should your puppy continue to poop at night even in a crate, consult a veterinary behaviorist.

You will also need to determine if the puppy was kept in a crate where he or she peed and pooped before you adopted. This will complicate potty training.

Should your puppy cry at night, your pooch may want to go out or seek attention. Take the dog out. If the dog poops, praise, and reward.

If it is only attention-seeking behavior, do not acknowledge your puppy and return him or her to the crate. Remember that crating is not a viable substitute to proper potty training.

Susan R Elliston

I have over 11 years of experience as a vet working with a wonderful variety of species of innocent and lovely animals. Whilst I still work two days a week for a local practice, I realized that I could help more people by sharing my knowledge and experience with my readers.

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