How long will your puppy continue waking up at night?
Owners commonly ask this question during the first two weeks after bringing a puppy into their home. At first, a puppy’s crying or whining is largely due to loneliness, as well as the drastic change in its environment. Remember that the puppy is used to being with its mother and other siblings. It needs about two weeks to bond with you and the family and to establish a routine, so sleeping through the night may not come easily to them.
In addition, young puppies are not physically able to hold their urine for long periods of time. Until the size of its bladder increases and its muscle tone improves, you will need to let your puppy outside to eliminate at least once in the middle of the night. A puppy four months of age or older should be able to hold its urine overnight.
When trying to quiet a whining puppy, a common mistake that new owners make is trying to comfort the animal by talking sweetly or petting it for a few minutes before returning the pet to its crate. This practice teaches the puppy that every time it cries, it will get the attention that it loves. Most puppies will stop whining in 10 to 15 minutes if you give them no response. A few difficult nights of this “tough love” will teach your puppy that bedtime is sleep time.
If the puppy wakes in the middle of the night and becomes fussy, it is probably indicating a need to go to the bathroom. This should be an all-business-and-no-play trip, in order to avoid the puppy waking you up in the future solely for attention. Calmly praise your puppy for doing its bathroom duties in the right place, but do not let it think that this is a time for play, or for lots of attention from you.
Some things that may help your puppy adjust to its new environment include a comfortable crate with padding, a warm water bottle wrapped in a towel or blanket, and a ticking clock or music near its crate. Some people choose to set up the crate next to their own bed, so that the puppy feels more secure.