One of the greatest joys for dog lovers is bringing a new puppy home. However, although puppyhood is a period with many happy moments, the late-night crying from the crate can definitely ruin that joyful occasion.

Crate training is just as necessary as any other puppy training, so the initial crying is normal. However, don’t worry; your puppy will calm down with time and consistency, and the crying will subside.

The following article will present you with critical things you must know to get your puppy comfortable in the crate at night. It might take some patience and practice, but with love and persistence, you’ll build the foundation for a lifetime of peaceful nights together.

Dog jack russell terrier inside a travel carrier box for dogs.
Dog jack russell terrier inside a travel carrier box for dogs.

Understanding Why Puppies Cry at Night

Your puppy’s crate is supposed to be its happy and safe place, but your furry friend doesn’t realize that at first, as it instead considers it as a trap and a place where it feels trapped and lonely.

This is why the first step in solving this problem is understanding the reason behind the puppy crying in the crate at night.

Dogs are social animals, so being left alone in a crate during the night can lead to loneliness and anxiety. Some puppies can experience separation anxiety and cry due to stress from being apart from their owners.

In addition, your puppy may also want to go out for a bathroom break, which is why a consistent nighttime routine, like going out before bed, can be somewhat comforting for it.

Creating a Comfortable Crate Environment

You should focus on making your pup’s crate an appealing space for your and your puppy’s quality sleep throughout the night.

Firstly, focus on the size of the crate. To make it comfortable and cozy, ensure the one where your pet can stand up, lie down, and turn around. However, choose a manageable size since if the crate is too big, then your puppy might use the free space as a bathroom.

Next, place the crate close to where you sleep, meaning the bedroom or living room, or whenever your puppy can hear and see you.

Lastly, the crate should feature some cozy bedding, several safe chew toys, or interactive toys like a feeder, a ticking clock, or maybe a shirt or blanket with your scent. Or you can also leave a radio on to help your puppy feel less alone.

Managing separation anxiety in puppies isn’t easy, especially when you are feeling sad and having to listen to it crying from the crate. Nevertheless, you must ignore any initial crying because your response will only teach your puppy that crying gets its rewards.

Establishing a Nighttime Routine

Establishing nighttime routines for new puppies is the next step in creating a positive connection with the crate and nighttime. A consistent and calming pre-bedtime routine will help confused puppies calm down, and with a bit of time and, most importantly, consistency, they will get better at preparing for the night.

The first step involves taking your puppy out for a final potty break before bed. While you must avoid rewarding crying behavior by not giving extra attention, you should, nevertheless, always respond quickly if the new furry member of your family cries due to needing a potty break.

Puppies physically can’t hold their bladders for over a few hours. After you take them out to do what they need to, immediately return them to the crate to avoid stimulation.

Once in the crate, give them a toy or treat to help them wind down.

If you need to, you can also read a book to them or listen to calming music or some white noise, followed by gently petting and speaking in a calm, reassuring voice.

Lastly, say good night to your puppy, turn out the lights, and start ignoring any eventual crying. 

Dog traveling by airplane. Box with live animals at the airport.

Addressing Separation Anxiety

While whining in their crates is normal behavior, reducing nighttime anxiety in puppies is essential since they are not accustomed to confinement.

Apart from their need for a bathroom break, they often cry due to separation anxiety since they have already experienced leaving the safety of their littermates and being put in a whole new and unfamiliar environment. This leads to fear, boredom, loneliness, isolation, and distress.

Placing the crate next to you so your puppy can hear and see you is essential, but not enough since they still need to learn to be left in the crate all alone. Be patient and prepared to slowly progress through your little canine friend’s alone-time training.

These are some ways to try and manage separation anxiety in your puppy before going to bed:

Exercise: Before going to bed, give your puppy a lot of exercise when you take them out for a potty break. Playing with them will likely tire them out, which will help them fall asleep quickly after entering the crate.

Calming pre-bed routine: Every predictable routine instills confidence and security, so remember to be consistent and patient. This routine may also include a walk, followed by a chew toy once you put your puppy in the crate.

Give them a piece of clothing: Lay down your blanket or a shirt with your smell, or put a ticking clock or a heartbeat toy in the crate to calm down your puppy and help it not feel alone.

Don’t yell or punish your puppy: Harsh reactions will only worsen your pup’s anxiety, so keep calm and patient. Comforting a puppy in a crate is essential.

Praise and reward your puppy: Once your pup seizes crying and remains quiet in the crate, don’t hesitate to give positive reinforcement with treats and praise, as this will teach them that such behavior at night is perfect.

Place the crate a bit further from you: Over days or weeks, start to gradually and slowly move the crate further from your bed to help your puppy become more independent.

Dog in the airport hall before the flight, near luggage suitcase baggage, concept of traveling with pets, a small black dog sitting in the pet carrier before the trip at the terminal station

Training Techniques for Crate Comfort

Training puppies to sleep through the night, as well as initially training them to love spending their nighttime in the crate, takes a lot of patience and positive reinforcement. Avoid scolding your puppy for crying, and instead, your training should revolve around praising and rewarding them when they are soothed and quiet.

To do so, give them treats and play with them before entering the crate for them to associate it with pleasant experiences. Also, put some treats or a toy to chew inside the crate during the day for your puppy to find them on their own. If they manage to go inside the crate to fetch the toy or treat it willingly, immediately praise them!

Remember to refrain from responding to crying since that will only teach your puppy to continue crying for attention. However, when your puppy settles down for a couple of minutes, give it a reward and gentle praise.

Lastly, start making the treats less frequent and gradually stop using them. This will teach your small furry friend to experience its crate as a safe place for sleeping.

Dealing with Nighttime Bathroom Needs

In the first few months of their lives, puppies can’t hold their bladders during the night, so they need several bathroom breaks. To minimize disruptions, avoid giving your puppy water a few hours before bedtime, and always take the puppy out for a final potty break right before putting it into the crate for the night.

If you hear your puppy crying throughout the night for a potty, take them out of the crate immediately and carry them outside to their established potty area. Don’t turn on bright lights, and avoid initiating any play activity with the puppy. You should be calm and unemotional and just focus on taking your furry friend to the bathroom.

Once the puppy goes to the bathroom, promptly return them to the crate without rewards or praise. These nighttime breaks shouldn’t be fun, so keep them boring and official.

Limiting the simulation that could make your puppy quite awake is necessary, which will lessen the chance for it to settle back to sleep. After repeating this several times, your puppy will only learn to cry when it needs to go out.

As the puppy’s bladder control improves, the breaks can be spaced further apart in time. After a few months, your puppy’s sleep training is over, and you will notice your puppy sleeps through the night without needing to go out. Remember that the essential thing is to avoid rewarding that crying behavior while also meeting the puppy’s basic needs.

When to Respond to Crying

While you have learned by now that you should only respond to your puppy’s crying for the bathroom, the question is how to know when it calls for this reason and not just because of loneliness and anxiety. While you want your puppy to learn to self-soothe, you also want it to feel comforted.

The general rule is to stay quiet and not reward your puppy’s behavior for loneliness and attention. Although you should respond to nighttime potty cries, never do that the moment you put it in the crate because your little furry pup will then learn that crying always gets its attention.

Regarding anxiety, puppies are social animals who hate being left alone. Still, although you might feel sorry for them, responding to their cries can only reinforce this behavior and anxiety. Instead, use treats, play, and praise during the day and make the crate a positive place.

However, avoid stimulation by not turning on lights or playing at night. Reassure your puppy calmly and briefly before leaving the room.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Soothing a crying puppy at night at all costs is a common mistake that many puppy lovers make as they give in to those puppy dog eyes and cry. While this is indeed hurtful, patience and consistency will lead to a lifetime of good habits and security for your dog.

While ignoring those cries is hard, giving in will only teach them that crying means freedom and playtime. Instead, once they quiet down for a few minutes, you can quickly reassure them that all is well to help them settle back to sleep.

If you don’t avoid taking your puppy out of the crate or giving extra attention when they cry at night, you will only prolong the behavior by teaching them that crying rewards them.

Sticking to a consistent bedtime routine is essential to help your pup feel secure at night. Before you place them in the crate, provide them a potty break, some playtime, and a treat while speaking calmly and reassuringly.

Another mistake is giving them stimulation that could rile them up again. Keep the TV off, dim the lights, and avoid rough play. Give the crate positive reinforcement with a treat, but avoid direct eye contact, talking, or petting, which may stimulate crying for attention.

lady placing cute dog in crate in a car


Just like babies, puppies also don’t like being left alone as they feel scared and anxious, which leads to crying. Leaving puppies in the crate for the first time is not easy, and it will take some patience and training to make the crate a place where they feel safe and not anxious, even when alone during the night.

The above-mentioned crate training tips for puppies will help you train your pup successfully and teach it boundaries, potty training, and the ability to take the separation from you calmly and naturally.

Crying will decrease as your dog builds confidence and learns to self-soothe due to consistency and routine. It’s essential to stay strong and not always reward its behavior but also work on this during the day by showing your furry friend lots of affection and love.

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