Potty training a dog is one of the most difficult parts of pet ownership. It can be very frustrating, especially if they only have accidents at night. It’s important to know that your pooch isn’t peeing in the house just to drive you nuts.
Once you know the reason they are peeing in the house, you can take steps to fix the issue. It’s easy to resort to punishment, but that can actually make the situation worse.
Why does my dog pee in the house at night?
You wake up each morning to puddles. Your dog does fine during the day, but has accidents in the house during the night. You wonder why they keep having accidents, and how you can get them to stop.
Too Much Water
This is the most obvious reason your pooch can’t hold it through the night. If they drink too much water before bed, they may not be able to hold their pee until morning.
You may have experienced this yourself. Have you ever drunk a lot of liquid before bed, and had to get up to pee in the middle of the night? Perhaps you’ve ignored the urge, only to wake up to a painful bladder.
Just like us, a dog’s bladder can only hold so much liquid for so long. If they have a high volume of water at night, they will not be able to make it through the night without releasing their bladder.
Puppies can’t hold their bladder as long as adult dogs. A good rule of thumb for understanding a puppy bladder capacity is their age in months plus one. A four month old puppy would be able to hold their bladder for 5 hours.
At 7 months of age, a puppy reaches adult bladder capacity. They should then be able to hold their bladder for 8 hours. A dog of any age shouldn’t be expected to hold it for longer than 8 hours.
Elderly dogs also have a limited bladder capacity. They can typically hold their pee for 4-6 hours.
Missed Potty Break
Missing a potty break can also cause your dog to have an accident at night. Perhaps you forgot to take them out for their bedtime pee, or perhaps they simply didn’t go when they went out.
If they don’t empty their bladder before bed, they will not be able to hold their pee throughout the night.
Many accidents are related to the dog’s bladder capacity or water intake. However, there are other reasons pooches have potty accidents. You’ve probably heard, or even said, “I was so scared I peed myself”. Dogs will also pee when scared, or anxious.
The most common type of anxiety that causes nighttime accidents is separation anxiety. If your pooch only has accidents at night, this could be the reason. Dogs with separation anxiety will get upset or anxious when they are away from you.
If your dog has separation anxiety, they may be clingy, following you everywhere. They may cry or seem upset when you leave the house. Accidents and destructive behavior are common when they are left alone.
Of course, you are in the house at night, but you are sleeping. Your pooch may be upset because you are in a different room. Some particularly sensitive dogs may become anxious even when near you, simply because you are asleep and unable to interact with them.
Lack of Training
If your dog hasn’t received proper house training, this may explain their night accidents. If your dog hasn’t been taught, they don’t know.
Even if you thought house training was over, if they have been recently house trained, you may need to go back to training basics. Some dogs need more time to grasp house training than others.
Why is my dog suddenly peeing in the house at night?
If your dog suddenly begins peeing in the house at night, there’s a reason for concern. It’s usually your pooch’s way of saying something isn’t right. It could indicate a health problem, or anxiety.
There are several illnesses that can cause your pooch to begin having accidents at night. The most common is a UTI. Just like humans, dogs can develop UTIs. This makes it hard for them to control their bladder.
Other signs of a UTI include pain when urinating, increased urination frequency, and cloudy or strong smelling urine. You may notice your pooch straining to urinate, or producing a small amount of pee.
If a UTI is the cause, they may have accidents during the day as well.
Other illnesses that can cause nighttime accidents include bladder stones, kidney disease, diabetes , and Cushing’s Disease.
If you notice any other signs your dog might be ill, be sure to take them to the vet. Signs of illness can include increased thirst, lethargy, and pain when urinating.
Your dog is normally calm and happy, but they’ve been anxious recently. This has led to nighttime accidents. Some dogs are more prone ot anxiety than others, but it can happen to any pooch.
When looking for a cause of sudden anxiety, start by looking for any recent incidents or changes. Perhaps there’s a new member of the household, or perhaps a thunderstorm startled them during the night.
Other signs of anxiety include excessive barking, drooling, panting, and destructive behavior.
Change in Schedule
A change in schedule can also cause your dog to have accidents. If your schedule has suddenly changed, they may be drinking at a different time than before. They may be going to bed at a different time, or missing their bedtime potty break.
A change in schedule is also a common cause of anxiety in dogs. This doesn’t only apply to your dog’s schedule. If your schedule has changed, this can also affect your pooch, even if their schedule stays the same.
How to stop my dog from peeing in the house at night?
The good news is you can train your dog to stop peeing in the house at night in most cases. To do so, you’ll need to tackle the underlying issue.
Keep a Potty Schedule
If your pooch isn’t going to pee before bed, begin using a potty schedule. Older dogs will let you know when they need to potty during the day. For puppies, it’s important to take them out every 2-4 hours depending on their age.
Regardless of their daytime schedule, you should take them out to potty at the same time each night. It can also be helpful to bring them to the same spot each time.
Take Water Up Before Bed
Water is very important for your dog’s health. Just like us, they can’t survive without it. However, this doesn’t mean they need access to it during the night. Unless your dog has a health condition, you should remove their water a few hours before bed.
Be sure they get enough to drink during the day to prevent dehydration. Just like potting, you should take the water up at the same time each night, preferably a few hours before their last potty outing.
It’s wise to take your pooch to the vet for a checkup, particularly if you can’t pinpoint the cause of the accidents. You should also bring them in if they are showing any signs of an illness, like painful urination.
If you are in doubt about the cause of your dog’s troubles, a vet visit will allow you to determine if a health issue is to blame.
If your pooch hasn’t been properly house trained, crating can be a great way to stop nighttime accidents. Dogs have a desire to keep what they consider their sleeping area clean.
When inside a crate, they will typically not potty, because it’s also their bed. In a bigger space, like your home, they can pee far away from their sleeping quarters.
Crating provides your dog with a reason not to potty during the night, which can be helpful, particularly during the training process.
Small breeds can’t hold their pee as well as larger breeds. Elderly dogs and puppies can’t be expected to hold it for 8 hours, or overnight. What do you do in these situations?
You start with reasonable expectations. Begin with taking their water up at night and being sure they potty before bed. If they still have accidents at night, you have two options.
If your dog can’t hold it through the night, you can take them out during the night. You may need to set an alarm and take them out about midway through the night, or take them out when you hear them up and about.
The other option is to use a puppy pad. This gives your pooch an acceptable potty spot in the house.
If anxiety seems to be the cause of your pet’s nighttime accidents, you’ll need to determine the specific cause if possible. If the cause is a new pet, give your pooch a space to be alone when needed. Be sure they get plenty of attention during the day.
Separation anxiety can be tough to treat. Some dogs require medication for anxiety from the vet to control their nervousness. Allowing your dog to sleep near you may help the situation, but it can lead to more severe separation anxiety.
Some owners find crating their dog at night near their bed to be the best option. Of course, your pooch may wake you up during the night.
One of the most important things you can do in this situation is to have patience. Punishing your dog can make accidents more likely, particularly if they are related to anxiety.
It’s also unfair to punish them if they can’t hold it through the night due to age, size, or a physical condition.