Potty Training

Puppy Won’t Return To Sleep After Being Taken Out For A Potty Break

by Karen Parquet

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It’s 3 a.m., and you hear your puppy scratching at your bedroom door. You know what that means. Your puppy needs to go potty. So you trudge bleary-eyed to the door, leashing up your furry friend and taking them outside.

They do their business, and you’re both back in bed within minutes. But then… your puppy won’t go back to sleep! You’ve tried everything, but nothing seems to work. If this sounds familiar, you’re in the right place. Keep reading to find out the causes of this problem and some solutions to help get your puppy—and yourself—back to sleep!

Puppy Won’t Go Back To Sleep After Going Potty – Causes & Solutions

cute and tiny Labradoodle Puppy

There are a few likely explanations for why your puppy won’t stay asleep after going potty. It could be a medical issue, a behavioral issue, or simply a matter of puppies being puppies. In this blog post, we’ll explore the different causes of potty-related nighttime wake-ups and offer some solutions so you can get some much-needed rest.

Puppies Need to Pee… A Lot

First things first, it’s important to understand that puppies have tiny bladders, and they need to pee… a lot. Puppies can only hold their bladder for one hour for every month of age (two hours for small breeds). So, if you have a three-month-old puppy, they can likely hold it for three hours before they need to go again.

However, this is just a guideline, and some puppies may need to go more frequently. Helping someone else with a pup’s training is great, but if you don’t put in the work, it will show. Despite puppies being puppies, this was one of my favorite things to do. I mean, who doesn’t want to train and play with puppies all day?

Medical Issues

Vet With Two Cute Puppies

If your puppy is waking up frequently during the night to potty, it could be because of a medical issue such as a urinary tract infection. If you suspect your puppy has a medical issue, please consult your veterinarian right away. They will perform an examination and run any necessary tests to determine if there is an underlying health problem causing the nighttime potty breaks.

Behavioral Issues

There are also behavioral reasons your puppy might wake up at night to potty. For example, if you’ve been taking your pup out right before bedtime for a last-minute bathroom break, they may have gotten into the habit of expecting to go out one last time before bedtime. Or, if you’ve been rewarding them with treats or attention when they wake you up in the middle of the night to go potty, they may have learned that this is an effective way to get your attention. They’ve done their job and trained you!

Your Puppy Is Still Learning to Hold Their Bladder Through the Night

If your puppy is still young (under 6 months old), they may not yet have the physical ability to hold their bladder through the night. Just like human babies, puppies require frequent trips to the bathroom – usually every 2-3 hours.

As they get older and their bladder muscles develop, they’ll be able to hold it for longer periods. So if your puppy is still young, frequent nighttime potty breaks are just a fact of life that you’ll have to deal with for now. But don’t worry, it won’t last forever! I promise.

Your Puppy Is Excited or Anxious about Something

puppy barking inside crate

Another probable reason your puppy is waking you up in the middle of the night to pee is that they’re excited or anxious about something. Maybe they hear a noise outside that scares them, or maybe they’re just excited about being in their new home with you.

Whatever the case may be, this excitement or anxiety can cause your puppy to lose control of their bladder and have an accident in their crate or sleeping area. If this is the case, try to identify what’s causing your puppy’s anxiety and take steps to address it (e.g., provide a cozy bed or crate cover for them to hide under if they fear a noise outside).

I’ve found that having a larger crate with a divider is the best option to help with potty training and keeps them from going potty in their crate.

You’ve Been Feeding Your Puppy Too Much Before Bedtime

If you’ve been feeding your puppy right before bedtime, they may be more likely to wake you up in the middle of the night to go potty because their digestive system is working overtime. To avoid this, feed your puppy his last meal of the day at least 2-3 hours before bedtime and take him out for a final potty break right before you turn in for the night yourself.

This will give their digestive system enough time to do its thing before bed so that they’re less likely to need a midnight potty break. It’s also a good idea to pick up their water around 7-8 pm and take them out one or two times. When my greyhound was a puppy, we had to do this to keep him from flooding his crate! He was a demanding puppy and required quite a few trips out during the night.

Causes of Nighttime Potty Training Regression

dogs in crate

There are several reasons your puppy may have trouble sleeping through the night with no potty break. The most common cause is simply that your puppy hasn’t yet learned how to hold their bladder for an 8-hour stretch. Puppies have small bladders and need to go more frequently than adult dogs. With time and patience, most puppies will make it through the night with no potty break.

The Solutions

Puppy Proof Your Bedroom & Establish a Nighttime Routine

The best way to solve the problem of frequent nighttime potty breaks is to “puppy-proof” your bedroom and establish a consistent bedtime routine. This means making sure your pup has plenty of opportunities to relieve themselves during the day and right before bedtime so they don’t have to go in the middle of the night.

It also means establishing a calming bedtime routine that will signal to your pup that it’s time to sleep (think: reading a book or having some quiet playtime before lights out). By taking these measures, you can help reduce the number of times your pup needs to potty at night and finally get some well-deserved rest.

Nighttime Potty Training Regression

Chocolate Labrador Puppy lying down in a wire crate 7 weeks old

If your puppy is having trouble sleeping through the night with no potty break, there are a few things you can do to help them (and yourself) get some much-needed rest.

First, make sure that your puppy has plenty of opportunities to relieve themselves during the day. A good rule of thumb is one trip outside for every hour that they’re awake, especially after eating. This will help prevent accidents at night by ensuring that their bladder isn’t full when they finally lay down for the night.

Second, create a quiet, calm environment for your puppy at bedtime. This means no playing, no roughhousing, and no excitement before lights out. A calm environment will help reduce anxiety and promote restful sleep.

Finally, if accidents happen, clean them up immediately but don’t make a big deal out of it. Getting upset or scolding your puppy will only increase their anxiety and make the problem worse. Just clean up the mess calmly and quietly, and try again tomorrow night!


If your puppy is waking you up in the middle of the night to go potty, there’s no need to panic. It’s actually quite normal! In most cases, puppies wake their owners up at night because they’re still learning how to hold their bladder through the night or they’re excited or anxious about something. If your puppy falls into either of these categories, there are some things you can do to help them (and yourself) get a good night’s sleep. Just remember – this phase won’t last forever, so hang in there!

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