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There’s nothing more frustrating than waking 3-hours ahead of your alarm clock to a high-pitched puppy crying. New puppies are an exciting adventure but waking up at 4am or 5am is something we can all live without.
Patience is key for any new dog, but especially for puppies who have faced a major life change and also have no idea how to “dog” the way we want them to. In this post we’ll give you the answer to getting your puppy to sleep in, without the crying!
Why a puppy cries in the morning
Puppies spend the first six-to-eight weeks of their lives living with mom and littermates, as well as a familiar human caretaker. The new smells and environments, as well as lack of littermates, causes a puppy to be unsettled, and leads to morning crying.
These are pretty extreme changes for a puppy to go through, and the transition takes time, as a puppy learns their new human caretaker, their home, and of course, the lack of their littermates and mom.
So it’s not unusual for puppies to be a little fearful and lonely. In fact, it’s expected.
Transitioning into the schedule of their new home could be difficult, too, with a variety of differing factors.
It might not be as warm and comfortable as the last place they lived.
They might not have somebody to snuggle with.
And their cries for help might go ignored, under a misguided assumption that they’re just being fussy or to let them “cry it out”.
Getting puppies adapted to your schedule (so that you can BOTH be happy) will take time, patience, and most importantly, positivity. And when done right, your puppy’s morning crying will be gone in no time.
How to get your puppy to stop crying in the morning
In order to resolve morning crying, you will first need to understand why they’re doing it. We’ve mentioned that there is a certain level of trauma leaving the environment they knew, but there are other factors that strongly relate to early morning crying.
Puppy cries because they need to use the bathroom.
Puppy cries because they’re hungry or thirsty
Puppy cries because they want to play
Puppy cries in the morning because they are scared and alone.
You may have heard advice saying let them “cry it out”. However, recent research has shown that a puppy is not so dissimilar to us humans, and there can be emotional trauma caused by letting them cry for long periods of time.
This emotional trauma can cause behavioral issues later on, especially in regard to separation anxiety, which you will want to avoid at all costs!
To remedy any feeling of separateness that is causing morning crying, ensure they are as close to you as possible – this is more important the newer they are to your home.
Have their crate beside your bed, or if they’re not using a crate, use a tie-down under one of the bed legs. Be in a position that you can easily reach down and give them a pet. If you’re wondering if you should sleep in the same bed as your puppy, be sure to read our post: Sleeping in bed with puppy: should you do it?
If you’re considering a crate right now, you should definitely take a look at the Diggs crate, which is just about the best on the market.
Use a soothing voice to give them some love and attention, and if this is enough to allow them to stop crying, you now know their main concern in the morning is loneliness.
You can also give them a T-shirt you wore the day before to sleep with, or a hot water bottle.
Puppy cries in the morning because they need to use the bathroom.
Puppies do not have the ability to fully control their bladder until they are 4-6 months old, and the younger your puppy, the shorter they can hold their bladder. Check out our post: When is a puppy’s bladder fully developed for more information.
This chart can provide you with a general reference for how long you can expect your puppy to go without using the bathroom. Which shows you that come morning time, they’ll be bursting to go to the toilet!
Expect to get up at least once in the night to take them out.
Avg. Time Puppy Can Hold Their Pee
7 months or older
Age of dog (weeks)
Frequency of urination (per day)
6 – 14
8 – 10
14 – 20
6 – 8
20 – 30
4 – 6
3 – 4
You don’t want to un-do your potty-training efforts by letting them mess in their kennels or crate in the morning, so it’s important that your puppy goes outside first thing in the morning for toileting.
The best thing to do is to address toileting before it becomes a morning crying issue. Drag yourself out of bed early and beat them to it by taking them out for a wee. Don’t talk to them during this process, and once done, immediately take them back to their crate and return to bed.
If you have done the above step of having them next to your bed, and you’ve addressed their toileting, and they’re still crying in the morning, then there’s still other possibilities to address.
They may have learned that crying will get your attention and they want to get up and play
Puppy crying in the morning because they’re hungry or thirsty
For your puppy’s health, it’s not recommended to limit or withhold food or water to reduce overnight or early morning eliminations.
You can give their last meal 2-3 hours before bedtime, and then take them out right before they sleep.
Meals are often great stimulators for bowel movements, and most puppies will urinate in the same potty trip as a defecation. If they poop right before bed, they’re less likely to need to go early in the morning, which will mean less chance of crack of dawn whining!
If you withhold food too close to bedtime, a late-night bowel movement is less likely to happen, and so at 4am or 5am you are more likely to wake up to a crying puppy.
Continue offering water up until bedtime or remove it no more than 1-hour beforehand. A dehydrated puppy will be just as cranky early in the morning, and it’s not healthy for them to become dehydrated. Puppies are especially sensitive to this.
Puppies grow fast and their food requirements increase rapidly over time. It’s OK to give them a little “snack” to hold them over until normal breakfast time.
Some puppies need to be fed 4-6 times per day!
Puppy cries in the morning because they want to play
So, you’ve got your puppy sleeping close to you… Check! You’ve gotten up and taken them to the toilet… Check! You’ve fed them before bed or given them a morning snack and drink… Check!And they’re still crying, eek!
You might have some luck killing two birds with one stone by giving your puppy a stuffed Kong puppy toy in the morning. This can give them a small snack and allow them a short play at the same time.
You might be thinking, but this will wake them up for the day! But puppies sleep a lot. 18 to 20 hours a day in fact. And so if your puppy wakes up early crying, you can take them outside for toileting, make them up a stuffed Kong, let them have at it for 15-minutes, and then bring them back to their bed beside you for settling.
If they’re in a crate, put their favorite one or two toys in the crate with them. Another good idea is to put a puppy blanket in the dryer for a little while and give it to them to curl up with.
It’s also important that you make sure their sleeping area and environment doesn’t encourage early morning crying, which we address in the next heading.
Puppy morning sleeping environment
If your puppy wakes suddenly in the morning crying and whining or cries and whines after you’ve addressed a puppy’s main concerns, consider left-field potential reasons why.
Startling noises or even other creatures moving about the house can make enough noise to disrupt sleep or frighten them. If they’re awakened suddenly, they’re more likely to react dramatically and wake you up, too.
Mitigate noise disturbance by placing your puppy’s nighttime home in a well sheltered space, with insulated walls and soft flooring that will be more likely to absorb noise.
Consider adding a sound machine of some kind that will muffle outside noises, too. There are some good videos on YouTube you can use such as this one:
If you or any family members tend to wake up in the middle of the night or extra early, decide whether you want to try to be really sneaky, or just wake the puppy for an early potty run before putting them back to bed.
Any noise at all can rouse a puppy, and we all know it’s hard to sneak around quietly when we’re in a sleep stupor.
If you wake the puppy, don’t ignore their cries, do what you can to get them comfortable (even doing an extra potty run if possible), and then get them ready for bed again.
If you have a cat, or a dog with nocturnal habits, make sure they don’t have access to the puppy’s quiet space, and definitely use a sound machine or noisy fan to muffle the noise (or the YouTube video above).
If you use a fan, use one that makes a decent low-frequency hum, but don’t point it at the puppy. A constant cool draft is not only uncomfortable, but since it’s a little puppy with no warm body to snuggle against, they can get too cold very quickly, and that can be dangerous.
Light blocking curtains or shutters is another good idea. You want their sleeping area to be as dark as possible. The sunlight in the morning will likely signal to them it’s time to get up and play.
Consider the temperature of the room in the morning as well. 72 degrees (22 Celsius) is an ideal room temperature for a puppy.
Another thing you can do is to set an alarm clock for the same time every morning. Your puppy will learn the queue of this being the time to get up.
Puppy wakes up at the same time crying every morning
Waking at the same time every morning could be because they naturally awaken when the sky gets lighter at dawn (even before actual sunrise). Puppies might also hear sounds of the world around them waking. To keep them slumbering longer, limit sunlight and muffle ambient noise.
Many people are the same way. In the morning their bodies naturally awaken. This is an evolutionary response to the world waking up, too. To delay waking, take steps to push their dawn and sunrise back a little later.
Drape a blanket over part of their kennel or crate (imagine making it a cozy cave-like enclosure).
While having a new puppy can be a rough transition for you, especially when it comes to morning crying, it’s important to remember it’s a rough transition for them, too.
Trade annoyance for patience and redirect your frustration into active efforts to help your little friend adapt to their new surroundings.
A well-handled puppyhood increases the likelihood that your puppy will be a well-adjusted adult. A successful puppy will have been given lots of love and attention, as well as large amounts of socialization.
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Marie started HoundGames with her husband, Geoff. She is a life long dog lover and always wanted to start a business around dogs, and she's finally living out her dream. They hope to launch more products in the future!