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Puppy's first days and nights - Sleeping

Updated: Sep 15, 2022

Puppies sleep a lot - a huge amount of their day is spent sleeping so it's not just about where are they going to sleep overnight but also where might they sleep during the day - is it the same place or different places?

Think also about where and how you are going to get the best sleep possible - if you are well rested then you can tackle just about anything your new pup throws at you!

What happens if you don't respond when a pup wakes and cries?

The pup will keep crying until whatever it is they are crying about is resolved:

  • The pup may be uncomfortable (too hot, too cold, caught up in the blankets, too much light in the room, need to go to the toilet, heard a scary noise).

  • The pup may think they have been abandoned.

Yes the crying may stop eventually if the pup is left alone but it is important to understand why the pup is crying in the first place.

  • You will learn more about your pup if you respond and then act responsibly.

How long does it take for a puppy to sleep through the night?

A pup of 7-8 weeks is capable of holding on from needing to go to the toilet throughout the night (6-8 hours); however every pup is different. If your pup doesn't wake up then there is no need to wake your pup up and take them outside - you could be setting your pup up to learn that he/she needs to wake up in the middle of the night to go to the toilet (I did this at 3am most nights for 14 years!).

  • My pups now sleep right through from the first night they arrive (8 weeks of age) and also go back to bed should they need to toilet first thing in the morning. I use a crate and then barrier system in the bedroom beside the bed.

However should your pup need to go to the toilet in the middle of the night then you need to be prepared to take your pup out so that he/she can eliminate where you want your pup to go.

  • Before your pup goes to bed make sure he/she gets the chance to go to the toilet outside in the appropriate spot.

  • Be weather ready - if it is going to be dark or raining then be prepared - have an umbrella, slip on shoes, a torch or lighting system by the door that the pup will go out of to toilet. You need to be prepared to go with him or her and you don't want to be mucking around trying to get comfortable yourself before taking the pup out - they would have toileted by then!

Where will your pup sleep initially and eventually?

In Your Room?

Even if your pup sleeps in your room for the first few nights or even weeks you will still be able to teach him or her to sleep in another place in the house.

  • This can be more easily achieved if you use a portable bed/restriction system that can be moved around.

If your pup is in your room and in a confined bed area then should he/she wake in the middle of the night you are more likely to be able to respond; sometimes a quiet gentle "I'm here" is enough to help the pup settle back to sleep.

And if the pup continues to cry and you know that the discomfort is due to your pup probably needing to go to the toilet; then this is a chance to continue the toilet training at night. Taking the pup out, praising your pup when he/she eliminates in the right place and then being able to put pup back to bed again; all of this is part of your pup's continued learning.

  • The above will help you achieve being able to go back to bed yourself rather than staying up to entertain the pup.

  • A pup will learn that you are around and is not being abandoned and will then settle into a routine. Once you learn your pup's routine then you can teach him/her to sleep whenever or wherever you want.

In Another Room?

If your pup is sleeping in another room then can you sleep near your pup to be able to first reassure that the pup hasn't been abandoned and also if needed to be able to take your pup out to the toilet? Or can you set up a camera or baby monitoring type of system so that you can respond when and if the pup cries or wakes?

In a confined space or with plenty of space to move around?

If the confinement is too small the pup will eventually toilet in the bed as toileting is a natural function of the body. If the pup is able to move out of the bed and toilet then that is what the pup will do; however this will also teach the pup that it is okay to eliminate in the house.

  • This is why it's important to find out why the pup is crying.


When you pup is asleep or about to fall asleep play some soft music and play the same music each time (you can have a medley of a few songs rather than just one but make sure the songs are the same type) - you are adding a cue to the behaviour of sleep.

Eventually you should be able to play the music and the pup will start to settle and go to sleep.

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Mar 01, 2023

This is a great article about how to make sure your puppy has a comfortable and safe sleeping arrangement. It provides helpful tips on how to create a safe and secure environment for your puppy, as well as how to help them adjust to their new home. It's a great resource for new puppy owners!

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