Overnight Crate Training

If you have a pen and you got your puppy from us, my primary recommendation is to keep your puppy overnight in a pen that is no larger than 5 ft X 5 ft. for at least his first week with you. Put his crate in the pen with the door penned open. Also put a washable bed pad in the back corner of the pen as far away from the entrance as possible. Our puppies are mostly trained to use a washable bed pad overnight or a box of pine pelllets before leaving my house (certainly not perfectly trained at this age). Many will hold it all night before leaving our home. All are holding it for most of the night and all squat and pee first thing every morning when I take them outside. Because our puppies are used to living in a clean area, their instincts will tell them to hold it if they can. If you use a pen, there is no need to get up in the night. Within a few days or possibly as long as a couple of weeks, your puppy will be holding it all night. When his pad is dry for 7 nights in a row, you'll know that he is physically ready for the crate if you want to use it. (I prefer to continue using a pen until I've built more crate desire in my puppies, but some prefer to go ahead and move them to a crate as soon as possible). If you've been feeding your puppy, giving him high value bones, and gently encouraging him to sleep in his crate in the daytime, your puppy should willingly accept the crate for overnight. Most do. But, if yours is one of the few who cry, ignore him. You'll know that it is not because he needs to potty.

Some will argue that training a puppy to a pad is only training him to potty in the house. I agree with that. What I am suggesting is allowing a puppy to continue with what he is accustomed to until he is old enough to hold his potty overnight. Summer Brook puppies are trained to potty on a pad when they are too young to be trained to potty outside and they continue to potty on their pad overnight when they need it even when they are fairly consistent at pottying outside during the day as 7 week old puppies. Let them continue with that at night for a few more weeks while you build crate desire in your puppy. When he's able, he'll quit using the pad.

Here is what I recommend if you don't have a pen or just want to begin right away with the crate. Because changing homes is a very stressful event and because the first night alone without littermates is the most stressful part of that change, I suggest spoiling your puppy for the first 2 or 3 nights if you choose to begin using the crate overnight right away.  Get up with him every time he cries.  Take him outside.  Sit with him again in the night until he’s sleepy before putting him back in the crate.  Get up more than once if necessary. Some puppies can hold it all night. Most cannot and you must err on the side of caution when your puppy cries.

However, don’t let the spoiling continue for more than 2 or at the most 3 nights.  After your puppy has been in your home for a few days, it’s time to stop sitting with your puppy in the night.  If he cries, take him out to pee.  Tell him to go potty.  Give him a couple of minutes.  If he doesn’t go, put him immediately back in his crate and leave him…..even if he cries.  Within a few nights, he’ll decide that it’s not worth crying just to be taken out for a couple of minutes and then be put right back in the crate.  Most puppies can sleep for 8 hours by 9-10 weeks if they’ve gotten used to taking all naps during the day in their crates.  Most puppies can go for 6 hours without pottying at night as soon as they leave my home.  All of them should be able to go for 4 hours as long as water has been taken away before 7:00.

Make sure that you’ve taken your puppy’s water away from him several hours before you put him in his pen or crate for the night.  I take the water away at 7:00 and puppies at our home are taken out by my son at about 11:00 or 12:00.  Most will hold it until I get up before 6:00 a.m.