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What time to take my dog out at night?

What time to take my dog out at night?

If your nights are as busy as mine, it can be tough to take your dog out at night. However, it’s important for them to have a potty schedule. When to take them out will depend on a few factors, including their age and your schedule.   

What time to take my dog out at night?

You know your pooch needs to pee before bed, but when is the right time to take them out? How long can you expect them to go without peeing? 

Right Before Bed 

You should always take your dog out to pee right before you go to bed, even if they’ve had a recent potty break.

You probably pee before bed as well, so you don’t have to wake up during the night. If you have kids, you know how important the last potty break before sleep is for preventing accidents. This is also true for your pooch. 

 Stick to a Routine 

Your dog loves routine. This lets them know what to expect throughout the day. They can’t tell time the same way we do, but they do seem to have their own sense of time. 

They also remember things happening in a certain order. For example, they will know after you wake up, you take them out to pee. If you feed them afterwards, they will understand that they potty, and then have breakfast. 

When it comes to bedtime, you probably have a routine. Your dog will learn from these cues that it’s time for bed, and a potty break. Over time, they will learn to potty when taken out, and then go to sleep. 

Set Reasonable Expectations 

How often your dog needs to go out will depend on their age. Dogs can generally hold their pee longer during the night, because they are asleep. 

Since they aren’t active or drinking water, they will not need to potty as often. However, this doesn’t mean they can hold their pee all night. 

We’ll take a closer look at whether your pooch needs to pee during the night in the next section. This is based on their age, size, and health conditions. 

For now, just remember that if your pooch has accidents or seems uncomfortable when you wake up in the morning, they may need to go potty later at night, or get up during the night to pee.

If your pooch has an accident during the night, you should take a look at their drinking and peeing schedule.  

Should I take my dog out in the middle of the night?

Some dogs have no problem holding their pee throughout the night, while others require a potty break during the night. Let’s take a look at the factors that determine if your dog needs to potty during the night. 

The first factor that determines how long your dog can hold their pee throughout the night is age. 

The Importance of Potty Breaks

First, let’s take a look at why it’s important to give your pooch potty breaks when needed. It’s easy to assume  that if your pooch is able to hold their bladder for a certain amount of time, it’s ok for them to do so. 

However, holding their bladder too long can cause kidney problems and urinary tract infections. It also weakens the bladder muscles, which can eventually cause  them to have accidents. 

If your dog is housetrained, they may become upset if they do have an accident, because they know they aren’t supposed to pee in the house.

Having accidents makes it more likely that they will have more accidents, because it can easily become a habit. This is particularly problematic for puppies who in the housetraining phase. It can cause set backs to their training. 


Generally, a puppy can hold its bladder for one hour for every month of age, plus one. This means a 3 month old puppy should be able to hold its bladder for 4 hours.

This may be overly ambitious, however. Other sources say that a puppy younger than 6 months can hold its bladder for 1-3 hours during the day. They have small  bladders, and their bladder muscles are weak. 

Puppies can hold their bladder longer at night than during the day. However, they do not sleep through the night. Since they wake up during the night, and they have a small bladder capacity, they will absolutely need a potty break during the night. 

Puppies older than 6 months of age can hold their bladder for 2-6 hours during the day. They may be able to get through the night without pottying. If they wake up during the night, they need a potty break. 

Adult Dogs 

Most adult dogs can hold their pee throughout the night. They can hold their pee for 6-8 hours during the day, and generally 8 hours or more at night. 

Senior Dogs 

Senior dogs can’t hold their bladders as long as adult dogs. After age 7, they lose some bladder strength. You can expect them to hold their pee for 4-6 hours during the day. 

They may be able to make it through the night, but a potty break is a good idea. 

Dogs who are 12 years or older have a very limited bladder capacity, and reduced bladder control. These dogs can hold it for 2-4 hours during the day. They absolutely need to go pee in the night. 


Your dog’s size is also a factor in how long they can hold their bladder. Basically, the larger the dog, the larger the bladder. The larger the bladder, the longer they can go without pottying. 


If your pooch has health issues, they may need to potty more often. This is particularly true if they have issues with the kidneys, urinary tract or diabetes.

Some medications have a diuretic effect, which also causes them to pee more often.  

Dehydration or health conditions that cause your dog to drink more than normal will also mean they need to pee more often. 

If your pooch has any of these issues, you should expect them to need a potty break at night. 

How often should I take my dog out to pee at night?

How often you should take your dog out at night will depend on the factors mentioned above. 

Adult Dogs

Most adult dogs are fine peeing right before bed and first thing in the morning. 


Puppies younger than 4 months will need to go out at least once, and possibly two times during the night.  Puppies 4 months old and older are usually ok with one potty break during the night. 

Senior Dogs 

As your dog ages, they will need to pee during the night. Your senior may need to go out during the night if they are 7 years old or older. If they are 12 or older, they may need two potty breaks during the night. 

Nighttime Options 

If you aren’t sure how often your pooch needs to potty during the night, or don’t want to take them out, there are a few options. 

If they are in a crate at night, you’ll have to let them out of their crate. Peeing in their crate can change their view of the crate, causing them to pee in it more often. 

If your pooch isn’t in a crate, or you don’t want to let them go outdoors, you can use potty pads. Place the pad in a specific area, preferably near the door. If they have accidents, place the pad where they have the accidents. 

Put the pad down at night, and remove it each morning.