Small puppies are notorious for their lack of bladder control – they pee at the slightest bit of excitement, or get caught up playing and leak before they realize they need to go.
Patience and understanding are required at this stage of their life.
- A puppy takes about 6-7 months until they can hold their pee all night.
- You have to monitor your puppy and take them out to pee before bed, during the night, and when they wake up.
- Some puppies can hold on through the night at 16 weeks but are inconsistent during the teething stage.
A rule of thumb is that a puppy can hold onto their bladder for the number of hours that corresponds to their age in months plus one.
As an example, a 2 months old puppy can hold it for three hours. But they will be getting a bit desperate to go to the toilet by then. So you will still have to get up during the night during their first few months until they grow bigger where they get to the stage where they can sleep a full night.
It’s a good practice to remind your puppy to go to the toilet often. Take them outside for a walk in the yard, and reward them with a tasty treat, so they understand what you want them to do.
A puppy’s instinct is not to pee in their den, so if they start to whine during the night, they are probably asking to go to the toilet. Take them seriously and take them out to the toilet, which will nip a bad habit of whining or barking during the night in the bud.
Get Your Puppy Into A Routine
From the moment you bring your puppy home, get them into a nighttime routine so that they make fewer mistakes.
- After a busy day, start calming your pup down for the evening.
- Start with a walk around the yard, allowing them to go to the toilet if they want to.
- Give them a tasty meal and let them relax afterward.
- Ask the children if you have them, to be calm and help your puppy adjust to the night.
- Play soft relaxing music.
- Put away the noisy toys and keep the games calm.
- Give your puppy a drink of water about an hour and a half before bedtime.
- It is best if your puppy sleeps in your room, with their bed beside yours, where you reach down to comfort them if needed.
- Make sure their bed is soft and comfy and has their favorite toys in there.
- Before they get dozy and want to sleep, take them out for another toilet break.
Then head inside and start getting ready for bed. If they fall asleep (as puppies often do), gently pick them up and put them into their bed in your room.
- Have a small amount of water available in case they get thirsty.
- Be ready to take them out to pee during the night but keep it low-key. You don’t want to hype them up so that they want to play.
- A very small snack in their bed will keep them busy, and then with a satisfied tummy, they will soon drop back to sleep.
- Shut your bedroom door so they don’t wander out at night and get into trouble.
- Some owners have a puppy toilet pad or grass mat, so they don’t have to go outside with the puppy, but it depends on your preference.
Prevent Puppy Leaks By Recognizing The Triggers
A young puppy forgets easily what you teach them, so when toilet training your puppy be prepared to repeat the lesson often. You must be patient and kind.
You are wasting your time growling at your small puppy for peeing on the floor.
They just don’t know how to control their small bladders as yet – they need to grow a bit bigger so they can learn to hold their urine.
Puppies do respond to praise, cuddles, and rewards though, so use these tools to teach your little pup.
The motto is to play down the mistakes your young pup makes and highly praise them when they get things right. Puppies love three things – cuddles, praise, and food. So why not use these traits to your advantage!
An excited puppy greeting a visitor at the door will often pee as they forget to hold their bladder while they bounce around greeting the visitor.
My daughter’s little Spoodle was like that. Every time I visited, she got so excited to see me which resulted in her peeing on the floor.
Luckily it was a tiled area and easy to clean. But I learned to keep her calm when greeting her, or I would have to clean up the puddle because it was my fault for letting her get excited!!
Now she is older, we don’t have that problem anymore. She has learned to hold on, and I have learned not to excite her.
Urinary Issues in Puppies Cause Frequent Peeing
If your puppy seems to be urinating more than usual, it may have developed a urinary tract problem.
Frequent peeing, smaller or larger amounts of pee at any time of the day or night, and being slow to urinate or blood showing in the urine – there is only one thing that is needed, and that is a visit with your puppy to your veterinarian.
Frequent licking of their nether regions is another sign of a urinary tract infection.
Take a sample of your puppy’s urine for your vet to test; it needs to be less than an hour old to be most effective. Bacterial infections can cause pain when your puppy wants to urinate, and they may whine or seem reluctant to pee.
Because puppies are low to the ground, when they squat to go to the toilet, they can easily pick up an infection from bacteria residing in the ground.
Crystals are another concern of a urinary infection. They tend to appear along with a bacterial infection. The crystals are very fine sand in the bladder and cause pain when toileting.
If your puppy is constantly urinating day or night, or showing signs of pain when they do go, they need to be checked by your vet. They have picked up some infection and will need treatment to overcome it.
Getting the problem seen as soon as you realize they have a health issue is important. A puppy might get scared to urinate and hold on as long as they can, and this is where the infection becomes a real problem.
Act promptly if your puppy is peeing all through the night and day, and after treatment, you will have your happy little puppy acting normal again.
Cleaning up Puppy Pee Effectively
Puppy pee needs to be cleaned up immediately, or your house will start to smell. Cleaning it thoroughly will prevent them from peeing there again and again.
Try following these steps.
- Wear gloves as animal waste contains many pathogens that can cause problems in humans.
- Soak up the liquid using thick pads of tissue or toilet paper.
- Don’t rub the pee or poop in, just soak it up.
- Use an enzyme-based cleaner that neutralizes the substances in urine that cause stains and odor.
- Chemical cleaners remove the stains but do not eliminate the odor, which is what the enzyme-based cleaner does best.
- Avoid cleaners with ammonia because they mimic the smell of urine and will attract your puppy again.
- A good natural cleaner is to mix 1 part white vinegar, 1 part water, and add a splash of lemon juice. This mixture works very well.
When they are very young and still learning, try to put down some puppy pads inside for your puppy to use.
These are thick and will soak up the pee if your puppy gets there in time. They are waterproof on one side and can be put in the rubbish bin once used.
Once Your Puppy Gains Bladder Control
Although you begin to potty train your puppy between 3 to 4 months of age, they will not have full control of their bladder until they are approximately 6 months old.
The reason is that a puppy can take several months to develop bladder control. A small puppy has a small bladder that holds a small amount of urine, and they don’t get used to nature’s signals until they grow a bit bigger.
A puppy needs to pee within 10 to 30 minutes of filling its bladder with water. One good drink and they will almost need to go right away.
A puppy is not physically capable of holding it in until it is convenient for you.
As they get to six months the bladder is larger and can hold more fluids. Your puppy will come to realize the feelings that are a signal that the bladder is full and they need to go.
You just have to be patient with them. Overlook the slipups and clean the urine up thoroughly using a good smell inhibitor cleaner. Do not punish your puppy, do not yell at them, they will have no idea what you are going on about and could become fearful of you.
Instead, reward them when they pee in the right place with cuddles and food, two of your puppy’s favorite things.
Observe your puppy, and you will soon get to know their body language when they are wanting to relieve themselves. Pacing in circles, whimpering, pawing at the door means that your puppy is trying to tell you they need to pee.
You can help your puppy to improve their bladder control by potty training around a routine. If your puppy gets taken out at regular intervals to pee, they will quickly get used to it and know what is expected of them.
Fit the toilet breaks around their day. Take them out when you first get up in the morning, after naps, and before going to bed. After a meal is also a good time to take them out for a toilet break.
As your puppy grows, you can extend the time between breaks.
Your Puppy Grows Up
It is a great moment when you realize that your puppy slept through the night without having to wander out to their toileting area.
Life finally readjusts back to normal. There is no more dragging yourself down the stairs to take your puppy out to the toilet.
Those times are a test of your control – you want to sleep, and your puppy begs to go to the toilet only to want to play when they get outside.
You have to make the nightly midnight toilet stop a business-only trip. Don’t be tricked by your puppy into a game of fetch, or you will never settle them down to sleep.
Make it clear it’s time to pee or back to bed.
Giving them a treat when they are successful during the toilet break will make them want to please you more. If your puppy knows that when they pee in the dark, cold night, they get a cuddle and a treat.
To a puppy, that’s like winning the lottery!
Writer: Jean Brewer