How Long Can a Puppy Hold Their Bladder For Overnight?

Puppy in the garden
Photo a Puppy by Angel Luciano on Unsplash

Puppies are very sweet and give lots of cuddles and kisses, but it’s not all smooth sailing, they can be a lot of work. One area you will need to consider when you’re thinking or purchasing a puppy is how long they can hold their bladder for overnight.

The answer will vary depending on a few factors, including your puppy’s age, size, and overall health, however with patience and training, your puppy will learn to hold their bladder overnight! At first you should expect lots of accidents, but this will improve over time.

How long can puppies hold their bladder for?

According to the Humane Society of the United States, most puppies are capable of holding their bladders for up to 7 hours before needing to relieve themselves.

So it’s certainly possible for puppies to go through the night without needing to wee, however, if they are stubborn and aren’t willing to wait, then you should expect accidents!

According to the Humane Society of the United States, most puppies are capable of holding their bladders for up to 7 hours before needing to relieve themselves
Infographic of How long a Puppy Can Hold Their Bladder for by Miniature Friends

The Short Answer

Puppies are notorious for not being able to hold their bladder for long periods. It’s not uncommon for puppies to have accidents on the carpet and in other places they can’t get out of quickly, like under the bed or in the closet.

Puppy weeing in garden
Photo of Puppy being taken for a wee by Pexels from Pixabay

A young puppy of four to eight weeks old can usually hold their bladder for about four hours, but this depends on age, size, and health. In puppies, the holding time of the bladder is directly proportional to their age. If your puppy is having accidents more than usual in their crate, it is essential to consult with a veterinarian to rule out any medical causes.

The Long Answer

Puppies are very resilient and can usually hold their bladders for at least a couple of hours. However, some factors can affect this and these are detailed below.


Puppies aged between six and twelve months old will be able to hold their bladders for longer than puppies between two and four months old. The general rule of thumb is that the younger the puppy, the weaker the bladder.


Puppies in summer drink more water, so they pee more than usual. While in winter, puppies can sometimes be kept indoors for longer periods without needing to go out. This is because they don’t need as much water than in summer.

Health Issues

Some health issues such as thyroid problems, diabetes, or kidney disease may make holding one’s bladder difficult, so it’s essential to get these checked out by a veterinarian if you notice any symptoms in your puppy


It’s not uncommon for dogs that are anxious about going outside or going potty to hold it in until they get used to their surroundings, or are in a place that they are familiar with.

This is why you may notice your puppy not wee or poop on a walk, but as soon as they get home, they relieve themselves in the garden. They like to do so in a safe environment where they feel relaxed.


A puppies bladder has a lower capacity than an adult’s, so a puppy will not be able to hold as much urine. Puppies should be taught to go outside to do their business regularly, and it’s easier for them to pee in the garden than squat in the corner of the house or on the floor.

If you live in a flat or an apartment, you will need to take your puppy outside every couple of hours, as they may not have direct access to a garden.


Puppies can wee themselves out of excitement, so if you come home from a day at work or from the supermarket, they could possibly wee themselves out of excitement in seeing you once again! It’s also common for adult dogs to do this too.

Why can’t my puppy hold their bladder overnight?

Below are some of the reasons why you puppy may struggle to hold their bladder overnight:

Less sphincter control

A sphincter is a muscle that controls when your puppies bladder is full. Puppies don’t have enough control over their sphincters, which can result in leakages throughout the day. Your puppy’s bladder isn’t as big as an adult dog’s, so they can’t hold their urine for long periods.

Anatomical issue

This can also be caused by ectopic ureter or tumours that cause muscle weakness and no control over urine. It means they need to drink more often than a healthy pup to prevent them from becoming dehydrated!

More drinking before bed

If your puppy drinks more water before bed than usual, they may be holding back on needing to go outside at night. Consider switching their diet over to higher quality food with less water content (e.g. dry kibble)

Large size crate and cosy bedding

A soft, cosy bed helps puppies sleep better and makes them feel safe and secure, which allows them to urinate more during sleep time! Similarly, a large size crate has more room for your pup to urinate on a corner of the crate.

Underlying medical condition

If your puppy has a urinary tract infection, diabetes, or other medical condition that affects the muscles in their urinary tract, they might have trouble controlling their bladder and bowels while sleeping at night.

How can I help my puppy improve holding their bladder?

Below are some of the ways to help improve your puppies bladder over time.

Check their diet

The first thing you need to do is check your puppies diet. It would help if you feed them good quality dry food containing lots of protein and vitamins. This will help minimise the amount of water in their bladder.

It’s important to not change your dog’s food straight away, as this can cause an upset stomach and diarrhoea, as their digestive tract needs time to adjust to the new food. You should mix the dry food in with their wet food and slowly increase the dry food portion size over a period of 7 days, until they are off the wet food completely.

Take them outside regularly

This is a fundamental step that needs to be followed in order to potty train your puppy effectively. You can’t expect your puppy to know where to relieve themselves without the direction of their owner.

You should take your puppy outside every 30 minutes during the first few months, this will help improve their understanding of where they should be relieving themselves and at the same time, build up a scent in the garden that they will be drawn to in the future.

Once they pee in the garden, reward them with praise and a treat. Don’t let them off the hook until they pee and over time, they will learn to hold their bladder until they are allowed outside. The same applies to pooping, as it’s normal for puppies to feel the need to poop up to 4 times per day.

Take them outside after every meal

Puppies will need to relieve themselves shortly after drinking or eating, so it’s important to take them outside as soon as they have finished their meal or consumed a lot of water. 

Take them to a vet

If you’re concerned about their excessive peeing, you could take them to a veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical conditions. There could be a urinary tract infection or other medical problems causing this problem. Also, the vet may recommend antibiotic treatment for the problem if required.

It’s important to note that potty training is a very tedious process, but with the correct training and patience, a puppy can be successfully trained. Just don’t give up! Some dog breeds are very stubborn, such as the Dachshund and it could take many months before they are potty trained.

At what age can puppies hold their bladder all night?

Puppies should be able to hold their bladder all night by six months. It is very common for puppies to have accidents in the house until they are 12 weeks old. The ideal time to crate train puppies is between six and seven weeks old.

Picture of puppy smiling
Photo of Puppy by Uladzislau Sinitsa from Pixabay

You shouldn’t discipline a puppy for peeing inside the home, and if you are planning to purchase a puppy, you should expect accidents to happen. In time, your dog will be able to hold their bladder for longer periods and will be effectively disciplined.

Tips to help reduce the frequency of bathroom breaks at night

  • Avoid giving your puppy too many treats or snacks after dinner. If you have to, limit the number of treats you give them at night to avoid unnecessary accidents.
  • Don’t allow them to drink to much water before bedtime. If your puppy drinks lots of water before bed, it may make it difficult for them to sleep because their bladder is already full. This will only increase the chances of accidents throughout the night.
  • Try to avoid overfeeding or over-exercising your puppy at night. This can both lead to increased urination and bowel movements during their precious sleep time.
  • Talk to your veterinarian. Your vet may suggest supplements that can help balance fluids in puppies that are prone to frequently urinate at night.

What happens if my dog holds their pee for too long?

If your dog is holding their pee for too long, there are a few things that could happen:

First, your dog will start to experience pain and discomfort and this could result in a urinary tract infection or kidney stone.

Secondly, they may begin to leak urine when sleeping or lying down.

Lastly, if they hold their pee for too long, they may lose control of their bladder and this could result in them urinating involuntarily in the future.

If you feel your dog is holding their pee on purpose, it’s important to speak to your veterinarian to devise a bathroom schedule that works for both you and your pet, and to rule out any potential health concerns.

Conclusion: How long can puppies hold their bladders?

According to the Humane Society of the United States, most puppies are capable of holding their bladders for up to 7 hours before needing to relieve themselves.

The length of time a puppy can hold their bladder overnight depends on several factors, including age, size, and health.

The most crucial factor is age, as puppies less than six months old generally need to go out more frequently than older puppies. If your puppy has accidents in the house, try taking them out more frequently or talk to your veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical conditions.

How long can a Puppy hold their bladder for?
How long can a Puppy hold their pee for by Miniature Friends
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