How to Get Your Puppy To Sleep Through the Night (and How Long it Takes) | Pupford
January 9th, 2024
Filed under Pet Parenting
Welcoming a new puppy into your home is so exciting! But one thing that all new pup parents dread is the lack of sleep that comes with a young puppy. When you have a puppy who struggles to sleep through the night it can test the patience of even the most dedicated dog parents.
In this blog post, we will give you some tips and tricks to help your puppy settle into a night-time routine, promoting restful nights for both of you.
Table of Contents:
- Why Isn’t My Puppy Sleeping Through The Night?
- Tips To Help Your Puppy Sleep Through the Night
- When Will My Puppy Sleep Through The Night?
Why Isn’t My Puppy Sleeping Through The Night?
Before we dive into how to help your puppy sleep through the night, it is important to understand why your puppy may be struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep in the first place.
They are in a new place
Being in a new environment can be overwhelming even for an adult dog, let alone an 8-week-old puppy. They are with all new people, and there are new smells and sounds they have never experienced before. This can be overwhelming and may take them some time to relax and settle in.
They are alone
Most puppies have just left their littermates and mothers for the first time. Sleeping alone takes some adjustment and some puppies will experience isolation distress.
They need to eliminate
Puppies have very small bladders and can’t physically hold it throughout the night, especially until they have been fully potty trained. Because dogs typically do not want to soil where they sleep, puppies will whine or cry to let you know they need to be let out.
Tips To Help Your Puppy Sleep Through the Night
Now that we know some reasons why your puppy may be struggling to sleep through the night, let’s get into some tips and tricks to help you both get a full night's sleep!
Related Reading: When Do Puppies Mature Mentally?
Start A Predictable Routine
Puppies (and adult dogs!) thrive on a predictable routine. A routine helps their brain interpret patterns throughout the day, this improves their sense of safety which helps them learn and boosts confidence.
You can learn all about why dogs crave routine here.
Ideally, puppies should be fed at the same time every day. Following every meal they should immediately be taken outside to go potty. This creates a predictable schedule that they can carry with them throughout adulthood. This also simplifies potty training for you and allows you to keep track of their elimination, which is very helpful if you have a puppy who struggles to hold it during the night.
If your pup is struggling with potty training, check out this video about how to potty train!
I know you don’t want to hear it, but almost all puppies will wake up in the middle of the night to go potty, especially between the ages of 8-12 weeks.
The rule of thumb is that puppies can only hold their elimination for how old they are in months plus one.
This means if your puppy is 2 months old, the maximum they can hold their elimination for is 3 hours, and maybe even less for small breed puppies. So expect to take them out throughout the night until they get a little bit older.
Trainer Tip: I recommend setting an alarm throughout the night to get up to take your puppy outside this way they do not practice the behavior of whining to get out.
Any great daily routine will also include daily opportunities for mental enrichment and exercise! Puppies are full of energy and need a way to burn off all their energy and be provided with outlets for natural behaviors like digging, chewing, shredding, foraging, etc.
An easy way to include mental enrichment and problem-solving opportunities into your daily routine is at mealtime. One of my favorite ways to do this is by using puzzle toys!
Your daily routine should also include a bedtime routine to help your puppy wind down for the night. Typically puppies have a spark of energy around twilight, this is when you can have a good play session to get out their zoomies for the night, after this they should start to wind down and begin their bedtime routine. If possible, keep activity levels low in the house, or at least the room they are in. Dim the lights, play some background noise, and give them an activity that promotes relaxation. You can learn more about this in our blog post, the Trifecta of Calm.
Their bedtime routine should also include their last potty break of the night. Depending on the age of your puppy and how long they can hold it, you may need to adjust their feeding schedule so they will eliminate before being put to bed for the night.
Create A Safe Sleeping Space
We all know someone who has to have just the right conditions to sleep, or maybe it’s you, puppies can be the same way! Sometimes it takes some adjusting to get their sleeping conditions how they like them.
Puppies who are not yet potty trained should be crated at night. This prevents them from having accidents and practicing undesirable behaviors throughout the night while you are asleep. You will also sleep more soundly knowing your puppy is safe during the night.
Crate training won’t happen overnight, if you are looking for a deep dive into crate training, check out our Crate Training Course!
But in the meantime, there are some things you can do to make the crate more comfortable for your pup.
- Bedding: Some pups love lots of plush blankets (and maybe even a pillow!) to get comfy throughout the night, and others may get hot and just prefer to sleep on a cool sheet.
- Cover the Crate: By covering the crate with a blanket you can drown out noises, lights, and movements that may wake them up during the night. Having less stimulation can also help them fall asleep more easily.
- Location: The location of the crate is very important to some puppies. Some puppies feel much more relaxed just knowing you are in the room with them. I always recommend starting with the crate in your bedroom, especially for young puppies. This also ensures you can easily take them out during the night for potty breaks.
- Toys: This will depend on your puppy. Some pups sleep better with a stuffed animal to cuddle with during the night, and others will just want to play with it all night. This can vary with age as well.
- Sounds: If you find your puppy can’t relax and whines even after going outside for a potty break, try turning on a box fan (box fans specifically drown out noise for noise-sensitive dogs by making it more difficult to tell where the sound is coming from), soothing music, or white noise.
- Temperature: If you feel like you have tried everything to make your puppy comfortable and nothing seems to work, try adjusting the temperature in the room. When I used to foster 5-7week-old puppies, an oscillating heater outside their crate put them to sleep! They may be too hot or cold, so adjusting the temperature sometimes does the trick.
When Will My Puppy Sleep Through The Night?
Unfortunately, there is not a magic age when all puppies sleep through the night. In my training experience, most puppies sleep through the night by 6 months of age when they can hold their elimination all night.
But, some puppies may sleep soundly through the night by 4 months old and others may still need to be soothed during the night at 8 months old.
This can all vary with breed and temperament as well. All puppies are unique and finding a routine and sleeping arrangement that meet their needs are key.
At the end of the day, it is important to have patience and empathy for your new puppy. Remember, they are just babies and are still learning how to acclimate in our homes. Just like you are learning new techniques to train and care for them. Best of luck with your new puppy!