Can You Take Water & Food From a Puppy at Night?

Giving water too close to bedtime leads to middle-of-the-night urges.
i David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images

Not only can you take water and food from your pup at night, you should do so to housebreak your pet. He may whine, but don't cave: You're helping him progress along his natural development path. As an added bonus, good training can minimize your puppy's accidents -- and your cleanup.

When to Remove Water

While pups under 12 weeks may need a middle-of-the-night bathroom break, older puppies should be able to hold it through the night without peeing. Pick up your puppy's water dish 2 1/2 hours before bed to reduce the chance he'll need to pee in the night. For example, if lights out is 10:30 p.m., withhold water from 8 p.m. on.

Feeding Puppy

Puppies do best with small meals three to four times per day, served on a set schedule. Make the last meal of the day a late one -- such as 9 p.m. for the 10:30 bedtime -- then give your pup a bathroom break at least one hour after the meal so he can eliminate. By pushing back his evening mealtime and giving him a bathroom break, you minimize the chance he'll need to do "No. 2" in the night.

Bathroom Breaks

If your puppy does need a nighttime pee break, keep it quick. If you make a fuss about the bathroom trip, turn the lights on and engage your pup, he might think that it's time to play. After he pees, bring him inside and place him in his crate or other sleeping place. This way he gets the message that nighttime is for sleeping, not for playing.

Bathroom Behavior

Signs that your pup needs to go potty include whining, crying, circling, restless behavior and scratching or sitting by the door. When your pup starts acting like it's time to go out, take him outside so he can eliminate outdoors. Always praise outside bathroom behavior. If you find your pup having an accident, say a loud "no" and carry him outside. If he finishes the job there, bring him back inside and offer a treat. If your puppy peed in the home and you didn't catch him in the act, it's too late to discipline him.

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