How to Get Your Puppy to Sleep Through the Night

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Prevent nighttime crying and train your puppy to sleep at night.

A puppy can bring great joy into your life, but that happiness isn’t always stress-free, especially at first. One of the biggest challenges with a new puppy is figuring out how to get them to sleep through the night.
Here are some basic guidelines on how to help your puppy stop crying at night, helping them — and you — get a better night’s sleep.

Why Is My Puppy Crying at Night?

One of the main reasons puppies cry at night is because they need to go outside to relieve themselves. Since they can’t hold their bladder through the night, potty breaks are necessary. Depending on the puppy’s age and breed, you should take them outside every two to four hours.
A puppy may also cry out of boredom or to get attention. To help alleviate this kind of crying, refrain from going to your puppy every time they cry; this will signal to them that if they cry, they get your attention. Instead, only go to your puppy to take them outside at predetermined times throughout the night.

A pit bull mix sleeping in its dog crate.

3 Steps to Get a Puppy to Sleep through the Night

Start training your puppy the first night they come home with you. This will help set you both up for success and make the entire process easier.

1. Determine a Set Sleeping Area

Before bringing your puppy home, decide on their sleeping arrangements. Many owners choose to use a crate, as enclosed spaces provide comfort for dogs. Just be sure to choose a crate that’s the proper size for your puppy. Your puppy should only have enough room to stand up and spin around. If your puppy has too much space, they will have more room to go to the bathroom in their crate. As they grow, adjust or remove the divider in the crate to give them more room.

At first, place the crate or bed in a room near yours. If your puppy does well in this space for a few nights, move the crate or bed to their designated sleeping area.

2. Maintain a Routine

Dogs thrive on routine, so it makes life easier for everyone if they have a regular nighttime ritual. Here’s how you can create one:

  • Make sure your puppy is fed and has had water at least three hours before bedtime so they have time to digest in the evening.
  • Take a walk with your puppy or play with them in the yard an hour or so before bedtime. This not only gives your puppy the chance to empty their bladder, but the exercise will likely wear them out and lead to a better night’s sleep.
  • Set a schedule. Instead of taking your puppy out whenever they cry, establish two- to four-hour intervals for nighttime breaks. This will prevent your puppy from thinking that every time they howl you will come directly to them. Talk to your vet about what intervals work best for your puppy’s age and size.

3. Create Comfort

Coming into a new home is scary, and the best way to ensure your dog adjusts properly is to make them comfortable. A calm and cozy atmosphere makes for a restful night’s sleep. Consider these options, but use your best judgment; don’t place toys in the crate that could present a choking hazard.

  • A favorite toy. Try a toy that emits a heartbeat sound, so your puppy feels like they’re cuddling against a real body. These are especially effective for puppies that came from a litter, as the sound mimics their mother’s and siblings’ heartbeats.
  • A white-noise machine. This creates a soothing background environment and blocks out noises that might disturb your puppy’s sleep.
  • A T-shirt or piece of clothing that smells like you. You may not be able to sleep in your puppy’s crate, but giving them something that smells like you is the next best thing.

While having a puppy is a lot of work at first, sticking with a routine and providing lots of love will help both of you sleep well.

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