Why does my dog poop in the middle of the night?

I have a two year old yellow lab. He was sleeping through the night up until he was about 8 months old. Then suddenly he started needing to go out to poop in the middle of the night. He wakes us, immediately poops and goes right back to bed. I don’t want to ignore him, he clearly had to go out. He doesn’t have accidents in the house. I am wondering how to get him to make it through the night? We feed him breakfast at 7:30 am and dinner at 6 pm. He gets an evening walk around 7 pm and we take him out before bed at about 11 pm every night. Every once in a while he doesn’t need to go out and sleeps through the night – probably about 3 times a month, I haven’t noticed any difference about those days from the others. ~Susan

Well, the first thing you want to do is to develop a set schedule. You said this began at 8 months, so it has been over a year? Your lab is probably already very accustomed to going to the bathroom at night, so it may take some time to adjust, but adhere to your schedule. By gradually moving that nighttime break later towards the morning, little by little every night, your dog will adjust.

At eight months, your puppy was still growing and his bladder hadn’t fully developed. At two years old, your boy should be able to hold his bladder throughout the night. Again, he may just be accustomed to this schedule that allowed nighttime breaks and take time to adjust.

If you decide to begin feeding your pet once a day, do it in the mornings. If you feed twice a day, try mornings and afternoons, maybe as soon as you get home from work, or earlier in the afternoon if you can. You can also consider a smaller amount in the evenings. Remember to stick to your feeding and bathroom schedules!

Labs have a tendency to overeat, and eat quickly, which is why two feedings is a better idea. You can purchase special sectioned off bowls at most pet stores that make it impossible for a dog to consume their food rapidly.

Consider crating at night. Dogs will try not to eliminate in confined places, or where they sleep, making the dog crate a very useful potty training tool! 

Finally, take your boy in for a checkup, and explain the situation to your veterinarian. I’m about 90% confident you aren’t dealing with a medical issue, but it’s always wise to be positive.

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Junior Watson

Junior is the DogTrainingBasics.com resident "Top Dog". He enjoys walks in the park, chasing invisible cats, and of course... bacon strips!

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