Crate Training a Puppy at Night: Peaceful Sleep for You and Your Dog

A white poodle terrier in a wire crate looking out.

Sharing is caring!

Bringing home a new puppy is an exciting time, but also comes with the challenge of training them to adapt to their new environment.

One of the most crucial aspects of training is ensuring they learn to sleep comfortably at night in a crate.

Crate training a puppy at night can help establish a sense of security, reduce anxiety, and make bedtime a more peaceful experience for both you and your furry friend.

Although crate training may seem daunting at first, with patience and consistency, your puppy will eventually come to see their crate as a safe and comfortable space.

In this article, we will explore the most effective methods for crate training puppies at night, ensuring they sleep soundly and develop a positive association with their crate.

This post may contain affiliate links. That means if you click on them and buy something, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. Read my Disclaimer Policy to learn more.

Pin image of a dog in a wire crate with a text overlay that reads how to crate train puppy at night: tips for stopping the whining.

Benefits of nighttime crate training

One of the top benefits of nighttime crate training your puppy at night is ensuring a good night’s sleep for both you and your puppy. A well-rested puppy will be more alert and eager to learn during the day, which can help with training and socialization.

Another advantage is that crate training at night helps your puppy develop a proper sleep schedule. By establishing a routine bedtime, you promote healthy sleep habits and reduce the likelihood of nighttime potty breaks once your puppy is old enough to hold it all night.

Additionally, nighttime crate training offers your puppy a safe and secure environment to rest in. This space can prevent potential accidents or injuries, as your puppy will be unable to access potentially dangerous household items while you’re asleep.

Lastly, utilizing a crate at night can promote house training by encouraging your puppy to hold their bladder and bowels until they are taken outside for a designated potty break. This can lead to fewer accidents in the house and faster potty training progress.

Find the right spot for the crate

A dog in a wire crate in a living room.

The first step in crate training your puppy at night is finding the right crate and the right spot for the crate.

You should choose a spot that is close enough to you that you can hear them if they wake up to go potty at night.

Some people prefer to start with the crate in their room and move it to its final location, often in the family room, after the puppy is sleeping through the night.

For me, this wasn’t an option as my room is too small for a dog crate. I chose to put their crates in the living room and kept my door open. 

This worked for me, do what works for you. The most important thing is to be able to hear them when they need to go potty.

Set up the crate for sleep

A white poodle terrier laying in front of her bed in a wire crate.

Once you have picked the perfect spot for your puppy’s crate, it is time to get it set up for sleep. 

Start by selecting a crate that is the right size for your puppy, allowing enough room to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably. 

Avoid crates that are too large, as this might encourage your puppy to use one end for sleeping and the other for eliminating waste.

Place the crate in a quiet corner in the room you choose to have it in to minimize distractions and disturbances.

To make the crate more cozy for your puppy you can place some soft bedding in the crate like a dog bed, a towel, or soft blanket. 

If you are concerned your puppy will chew the bedding or use it to potty on, it is also fine to skip the bedding. 

You can also experiment to see what your puppy prefers. Luna prefers to sleep on the cool plastic crate bottom to sleeping on a dog bed or blanket.

Morgan, on the other hand, likes to have the option of sleeping in a dog bed or on the crate bottom.

Avoid food & water before bedtime

It is important to avoid giving your puppy food or water right before bedtime, as this can cause them to need to go potty in the middle of the night. 

It’s best to feed your puppy at least 3 hours before bedtime and to remove water 2 to 2 1/2 hours before bedtime.

While your puppy shouldn’t have access to water the last couple of hours before bed, they should have unlimited access to water during the day. 

And once your puppy is fully crate trained and potty trained, you can start letting them have access to water later. 

Have a consistent bedtime routine

A poodle terrier laying in  a dog bed in a wire crate.

Once you have the crate set up and decide when to feed your puppy and when to remove water, it is time to establish a consistent bedtime routine. 

This should be done in the same order each night and include activities like taking your puppy out to potty and getting settled into the crate for sleep. 

Tire your puppy out

A good way to help your puppy get to sleep is to tire them out before bedtime. 

Give them plenty of playtime and exercise throughout the day and be sure to include some type of physical activity near bedtime. 

This could mean a walk around the block or a game of fetch in the backyard. This helps burn off energy and makes it easier for your puppy to settle down for the night.

Go outside immediately before bed

The last thing you should do before putting your puppy in their crate for sleep is to take them outside to potty one last time.

This trip out should be specifically to go potty and should not involve any play. 

Once your puppy has gone potty, it’s time to put them to bed. 

Encourage them to go into the crate and close the crate door. 

Then turn the lights down or off and exit the room so your puppy can go to sleep.

Nighttime potty breaks

If you have a young puppy you should expect to take them out to potty at least a few times each night. 

Young puppies can only hold their bladder for about an hour per month of age, so an 8-week-old puppy should be able to hold it for about 2 hours.  

The good news is most puppies can start holding it through the night around 4 to 6 months of age, though some puppies may take a little longer.

To reduce the risk of accidents you can try setting an alarm to wake you up a little before you think your puppy will need to potty. 

This way you can get them outside for a bathroom break before they have no choice other than going potty in their crate.

As your puppy gets older, they will be able to hold it longer and the nighttime potty breaks will decrease.

Don’t play with your puppy at night

It is important to remember not to play with your puppy at night when it comes time to take them out for a potty break. 

When you take your puppy outside, keep the lights off, and don’t engage in play or anything else that could make your puppy excited. 

It is best to say a quiet “Let’s go potty” and then use a leash to take your pup outside for their nighttime potty break. 

Once your puppy is done with their business give them some quiet verbal praise. Then, it’s time to go back to bed and try for another few hours of sleep. 

Handling whining and barking at night

A German Shepherd in a wire crate.

It’s not uncommon for puppies to whine and cry when first introduced to crate training at night, especially the first night in the crate.

Understand that this behavior is usually a result of unmet needs, such as needing to go potty or seeking reassurance from you. 

The key is to address these issues with patience and consistency.

First, ensure you create a comfortable environment inside the crate.

Besides giving your puppy a bed or blanket to sleep on you can try covering the crate with a sheet or blanket. This creates a den-like feeling and may be comforting to some puppies.

You can also work on daytime crate training to create a positive association with the crate. 

Do this by feeding your puppy in their crate and rewarding them when they go in by themselves.

At night, it’s important to assess the cause of the whining before you take action. 

If your puppy needs a potty break, calmly take them outside without giving them too much attention. 

For puppies whining due to anxiety or fear, avoid rewarding this behavior by immediately letting them out. 

Instead, go near the crate and wait until they calm down before opening it.

You can also implement some calming techniques to help your puppy settle. 

Soft background music, a warm hot water bottle wrapped in a towel, or a pheromone diffuser designed for dogs are options that can help create a soothing environment for your puppy.

Accidents will happen

Accidents will happen, especially in the beginning stages of crate training. 

It is important to remember that accidents are part of the process and not to scold your puppy if they have an accident in their crate. 

Instead, take them outside right away and make sure you give them lots of praise when they finish going potty outside. 

This will help them understand that the potty break is a positive thing and reinforce the good behavior of going to the bathroom outside.

Also, use a good enzyme cleaner to clean up the mess before putting your puppy back in their crate.

If they have bedding in their crate, you can try removing it to see if that reduces the number of accidents they have.

The only time Luna ever had an accident in her crate as a puppy was when we decided to give her a towel to sleep on. 

She had slept all night without accidents before we gave her the towel, then had an accident with it. 

We took the towel away again and no more accidents.

Be consistent & patient

A German Shephed looking out of a wire crate.

Learning to crate train your puppy at night will take patience and consistency. 

It is important to stick with the routine you have established, while also responding to your puppy’s needs. 

With a consistent bedtime routine and potty breaks at night, your puppy will eventually learn to sleep through the night in their crate. 

You may even find that it becomes their safe place and one of their favorite places to sleep. 

Just remember that adjusting to sleeping in a new place can take time, and don’t be discouraged if your puppy takes longer to get used to it than you had anticipated. 

With patience and consistency, your hard work will eventually pay off and you won’t have any more sleepless nights with your puppy. 


Should you cover your puppy’s crate?

Covering your puppy’s crate can be helpful if you have an anxious pup or one that needs a darker space to sleep. 

You should experiment with what works best for your puppy and how much privacy they prefer when going to sleep. 

Just be careful when covering the crate as some puppies will try to pull the cover into the crate and chew on it.

Should you put water in your puppy’s crate?

When potty training your puppy in the crate at night you should not have water in their crate.

Having water in the crate at night increases the risk of accidents and nighttime potty breaks. 

You should give your puppy unlimited access to water during the day.

Should you ignore a puppy that is barking in their crate at night?

Barking in the crate at night is normal for puppies as they adjust to sleeping in their crate. 

Try waiting a couple of minutes and see if your puppy can settle on their own before going to check on them. 

If you think they need to go potty, immediately get up and take them out. 

How long should you let your puppy bark in their crate?

If you believe all your puppy’s needs have been met you can let them bark for 5 to 15 minutes before checking on them.

If there is any possibility that they need to go potty or have anxiety, respond right away.

What should I have in my puppy’s crate at night?

What you put in your puppy’s crate is personal preference but should be limited to a bed or blanket and maybe a toy that they can’t damage.

You want the crate to be a place your puppy associates with sleep and safety, and having too much stuff in the crate can make sleep less likely.

How long will it take for a puppy to stop barking in their crate at night?

It can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks for your puppy to stop barking in the crate at night. 

The best way to speed this process up is to be consistent with your nighttime routine and wait out any barking unless they need to go potty. 

Related Articles

How To Potty Train Your New Puppy

How To Crate Train Your New Puppy

What To Do When Your Puppy Won’t Stop Whining In His Crate

Pin image of a white poodle terrier in a wire crate with a text overlay that reads tips for crate training your puppy at night so you can get some sleep.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *