You think parents of newborns don't get much sleep -- try housebreaking a puppy. Until your pup is older than 7 weeks, he doesn't have much bladder control, even at night. By the time he hits 12 weeks, he's ready to learn proper potty behavior using crate training.
Nighttime Crate Training
Just like you, your puppy can wait longer between potty breaks when he's deeply sleeping at night. Unlike you, however, he probably can't make it a full eight hours. At 12 weeks old, most puppies need to go outside at least once during the night to go potty. Set yourself a gentle alarm four to five hours after your pup goes to bed so you can take him out. Try to avoid loud, obnoxious alarms, which can upset your puppy and cause him to potty in the crate. An alarm often works better than waiting for your furry friend to let you know when he needs to go out -- by the time his whimpers wake you up, it will likely be too late.
If you love to sleep in on lazy Saturday mornings, resign yourself to early mornings instead until your pup is at least 6 months old. When the sun starts to wake up, so will your puppy, and he'll be more than ready to find that grassy spot that smells just right for marking. When the night is over, make a beeline for the outdoors so your puppy can take care of some potty business as soon as he gets up.
Daytime Crate Training
During the day, your pup can't wait as long between potty breaks. Although he doesn't need to go out every two hours like when he was younger, make sure he gets a bit of fresh air -- and a chance to find his favorite potty spot -- about every three hours.
If You're Gone
If you can't be around every few hours to let your puppy out of the crate during the day or at night, try a short-term solution to continue the house-training process. Put the crate in a bathroom, but leave the crate door open. Put some puppy pads as far away from the crate as possible in the room. This way, your pooch can relax in the comfort of his crate while still being able to exit to take of care No. 1 or No. 2. Remember, though, that your pup needs you and will get lonely if you're gone too long, so try not to leave him alone for any longer than necessary.