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Why Has My Dog Started Pooping In The House At Night?

As dog owners, we quickly pick up on any changes in their behavior. This is especially true when something comes about all of a sudden or seems to be entirely out of the norm. Pooping in the house at night is one such example; but what does it mean, why does it happen and what can we do about it? Here is what you need to know.

So, why has my dog started pooping in the house at night? The most common reasons why a dog may start pooping in the house at night are in response to a change in diet, their schedule, or as part of the development of a medical issue. However, reasons can range from dog to dog and depends on their age, personality, and how often you have had them.

Some of the reasons for the night-time elimination can be reversed, some can be contained, and others will just have to be accepted.

At the end of the day, it will come down to the underlying cause.

Just remember, none of the reasons are your dog’s fault nor are they your dogs desire to offend and upset you.

So as hard as it may be, especially when we have a lot on our plates or that we may accidentally stand in some; we must do our best to stay composed and not to shout at our dog.

Besides, its already happened and there is little you can do about it there and then.

Let us now take a closer look at the main reasons why a dog may begin to poop during those sleeping hours, along with how you should approach the situation.

Be sure to keep reading if you want to know whether and how you can put a stop to this unfortunate recurring circumstance. It’s in you and your dogs interest!

Reasons For Pooping Inside During The Middle Of The Night

There are five main reasons why your dog may have started pooping inside your house during the middle of the night.

Not Fully Trained

You may think that your dog has been house trained if they have gone a week or two without any accidents, but really you need to go about a month without any accidents before you can claim your dog is fully house trained.

Now, this is obviously more common in puppies, but it can also happen in elder dogs whom have been adopted.

Equally, if you have made drastic changes to their environment, moved homes or relocated, re-training may be required!

Not Enough Breaks Through the Day

If your dog hasn’t had any or enough opportunities to go outside and poop throughout the day, they will likely hold it in.

This means that in the middle of the night, they are unable to hold it anymore and have to relieve themselves.

Anxiety and Stress

Dogs who suffer from anxiety and stress may not be able to control their bowels and will struggle not to go during the night.

You may find this is a problem if you have a rescue dog, until they become comfortable in your home and with you and your family.

Once the cause of the stress and anxiety are addressed generally the issue of pooping at night goes away.

Medical Issues

There are several medical issues that could cause your dog to go during this time.

The main conditions to be aware of, especially in aging dogs, include:

  1. Parasites
  2. Viral infections
  3. Inflammatory bowel diseases
  4. Food intolerances or allergies
  5. Kidney disease
  6. Bladder stones
  7. Diabetes
  8. Bowel cancer

In these cases, you will need to see your veterinarian and follow their recommendations, with each case having their own outcome.


As dogs age they develop issues like incontinence and joint pain, making it hard for them to walk far. Many dogs end up using the bathroom wherever they are.

Why Does My Dog Need To Poop In The Middle Of The Night?

There could be different reasons that your dog needs to poop specifically during the middle of the night, as we have outlined above.

If you are confident that your dog doesn’t have any medical issues and have ruled out those other factors, then the first place to look and usual culprit is to do with food.

Food plays a large role in many different aspects of your dogs mood, behavior, health and well-being and it must always be considered and prioritized .

Are you feeding your dog the right food? Have you recently switched foods?

If you have switched foods recently, did you do it slowly so that they could get used to it? What time do you feed your dog their last meal of the day?

Depending on the answers to these questions, they could all be causes for your dog needing to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, especially if they are not taken out one last time to go.

Should I Take My Dog Out In The Middle Of The Night?

For the first few weeks of getting a puppy you may need to get up in the middle of the night to take your puppy out, unless you know that you’re going to wake up to a mess and don’t mind cleaning it up.

Once your puppy is old enough to regularly hold their bowel and bladder overnight, you shouldn’t have to get up.

However, always make sure that you let them out one last time just before you head to bed. This will give you the best chance possible to make it through the night. Equally, it helps to set a schedule, which is very important for when you want your dog to go.

When you wake up in the morning, the first thing you should do is let your dog out to go to the toilet.

Don’t be surprised if they only pee at first; they may not be ready to poop until they have eaten. This is okay and to be somewhat expected. Its also okay – at least you have given them the opportunity to go and prevented any indoor accidents.

Just be sure to let them out once they have eaten their breakfast, unless of course you intend on going for a walk, or otherwise they may catch you off guard!

How Do I Get My Dog To Stop Pooping In The House At Night?

How you stop your dog from pooping in the house at night depends on the reason they’re doing it in the first place.

Let’s go through those 5 main reasons for pooping in the house at night and how we can stop each one from happening.

Solution For Training

This one is simple however, it’s hard to put a timeline on it. Just like kids, dogs potty train at their own pace and there’s no real way to predict how long it will take, or to hurry it up.

The best thing we can do is to take our puppies/dogs out for plenty of bathroom breaks and praise them when they go, letting them know that that’s what we want from them.

Ultimately, the key to training is consistency and schedule. Go at the same times, and make the experience of going for your dog as relaxing and comfortable as possible.

Solution For House Breaks

If you leave your dog home all day while you’re at work, maybe you should think about getting someone to visit your home around lunchtime to let your dog out.

This will enable them to go to the loo and run around for a bit.

In addition, you’ll want to let your dog out at several other times a day, especially when you get home and just before you go to bed at night!

Solution for Anxiety and Stress

This can be the most difficult, and perhaps longest to break, out of all the ones on the list.

The first thing is to figure out what the cause of the stress or anxiety, and there could be more than one thing.

Once you know what the main issue is, you can go about working on eliminating those, which could take no time at all, or may take a long time. After that the nighttime pooping should stop.

You also might want to have your dog sleep in the same room as you. This way, they can see you and know that you are nearby.

Just having comfort and security of knowing that you are there could help solve the problem.

Solution For Medical Issues

Depending on what medical issue your dog has a brief course of antibiotics might be all you need to take care of the problem.

It might be a permanent issue, but you can always buy doggie diapers to at least prevent the issue from occurring throughout the house. Speak with your veterinarian for recommendations.

Solution for Aging

While you might not be able to do anything when it comes to aging, like some medical conditions above, you can use doggie diapers for your dog to make things easier to contain and clean up.

The simple solution diapers are some of the best on the market; being affordable, disposable and available in a number of different sizes for different breeds.

You can get them on Amazon for a great price:

Otherwise, you can look to contain your dog in one area overnight to limit where they go. This could be by closing a door, or keeping them in a certain room through the use of baby gates.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to your dog starting to poop in the house at night it’s hard not to overreact or get frustrated.

The first thing to remember is not to panic.

If your dog is showing any other symptoms that seem to be off, then you should contact your veterinarian right away. If they are not, then start troubleshooting to see what the issue could be.

While there are several potential causes and reasons, the most common include: a lack of sufficient training, not enough breaks outside, anxiety/stress, a medical condition, aging and an inappropriate food or change of diet.

One thing that you need to remember is not to lose your cool with your dog when they do have accidents at night, because that’s what they are, accidents. None of the reasons for it occurring in the first place are your dog’s fault.

In most cases there are solutions for getting your dog to stop pooping at night in the house. And, where there isn’t a solution or possibility of fixing the issue, there are solutions to make it easier and more manageable.

All we want as dog owners is for our pets to be happy and healthy. If they are pooping in the middle of the night then something is clearly wrong, or that they are not settled in some way.

We owe it to our dogs and our families to do all we can to address the underlying issue; whatever that may be!

Related Questions

What Do You Do If Your Dog Poops In The House?

There is little you can do once your dog has pooped in your house, outside of cleaning the poop up imminently.

Instead, you need to begin proactively training your dog not to do this in the future. To do so, you should teach your dog a ‘poop’ command by whispering this command when they go to the toilet.

Praise them when they do so, along with when they have successfully gone, with treats so that your dog associates the activity with the treat.

With consistency, your dog will learn the command and you can use this to help them go when you are outside, and during your routine breaks from the house.