How to Stop Dog Pooping at Night? [Goodbye to Midnight Mop-ups]

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

I know, nights can be really “crappy” when your canine kid decides to turn your lovely carpet into a toilet.

Been there, survived that!

It’s a stinky surprise nobody appreciates in the wee hours, for sure.

Now, before you go pulling your hair out or consider gifting Fido to your annoying neighbor, take a deep breath (away from the mess, ideally).

How to stop your dog from pooping at night?

Don’t worry as I’ve got some tips (tried, tested, and approved!) to help stop your pooch’s midnight poop rally.

I promise you, by the end of this post, you’ll have more restful nights and a much cleaner home. Read on to win this ‘war of the poo-poo’!

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Why Does My Dog Poop in the House at Night? 10 Possible Reasons

Why Does My Dog Poop in the House at Night

Waking up early in the morning from a deep slumber only to find a gigantic dog poop is kinda a downer, right?

You might be wondering why your dog is leaving poops through the night, especially if he is already house-trained.

To tell you honestly, most dog parents encounter this scenario.

Even I had a fair share of experiences like that with my Frenchie and Yorkie.

It seems like there could be a bunch of different reasons behind this behavior.

To get to the bottom of it, you might need to do a bit of digging and detective work to know the specific thing that’s making your doggy poop at night.

I did my own little observation too, and I wanna share some things that might be causing your dog to poop.

1. Eating too late (and don’t leave food out)

Here’s the scoop: when your dog eats late in the evening, his digestive system keeps working throughout the night. 

This can sometimes lead to the urge to poop, even if he’s been potty trained.

If you unintentionally leave some of his food out at night, he’ll find it and eat it.

He’s got quite the nose for sniffing it out and having a late-night snack, even if you’ve already fed him before tucking him in.

From one fur-parent to another, I gotta say that leaving food out like that will only make your dog have more late-night snacks!

We definitely want to avoid that, right? So it’s best to be mindful and make sure to avoid leaving food out overnight. 

Your pup will appreciate it, and it’ll help keep his pooping on track!

2. Watch out for his diet

You know, sometimes, when you change your pup’s diet, it can affect his tummy and lead to unexpected bowel movements. 

Hence it might be worth considering if you’ve made any recent changes to his food. 

Maybe a new type of food or treat doesn’t quite agree with him and causes these nighttime poops.

It’s important to keep an eye on his diet and see if there’s any connection to his night accidents.

3. Avoid overfeeding

Overfeeding your pup actually disrupts their digestive system, causing them to have to go during the night, even if they’re already house-trained.

If you let your dog eat more than he ought to, his bowel movements increase.

It’s kind of like their tummy is working overtime to process all that excess food. 

So, when night rolls around, their digestive system keeps doing its thing, and voila—unwanted surprises in the house!

4. Too few or lack of breaks during the day

If your dog doesn’t get enough breaks during the day, he’ll have the urge to poop at night.

Your dog’s need to poop can only be suppressed for so long. 

When night rolls in, and he still doesn’t get to do his business, best expect to have a surprise waiting for you in the morning.

5. Lack of exercise

lack of exercise can lead to dog pooping at night

Dogs need to engage in regular exercises to keep their well-being healthy.

When they don’t get enough exercise and playtime during the day, it can affect their digestion too. 

Exercise helps boost your dog’s digestive tract and promotes regular bowel movements.

If your pup isn’t getting enough exercise, his tummy might not be behaving as smoothly as it should.

This could lead to them needing to go potty even during the night.

6. Incontinence

Incontinence happens to your dog when he can’t control his urges to pee or poop because his control over his bowel movements and bladder has gone astray.

Your dog’s age, health condition, and medications can all play a part, leading to nighttime accidents.

Even so, you gotta remember that your pup isn’t doing this on purpose. He just can’t really control his urges anymore.

This is particularly common in elderly dogs.

7. Trauma

Trauma is something that can affect your dog in ways you might not anticipate. 

When your dog experiences something traumatic, it can throw off its usual behavior and daily routines.

So, when you find your dog having nighttime accidents, it’s good to consider the effect of trauma. 

This emotional distress could be causing anxiety or fear, which may make it difficult for your dog to hold it until morning. 

It’s quite possible that the trauma they’ve been through has triggered a shift in their bathroom habits or it’s making them feel unsafe during the night

8. Environmental problems

Environmental problems are one of the many causes that disrupt routines and behaviors in dogs. 

It could be that something is causing your dog to feel anxious or unsettled, which might be leading to nighttime accidents.

Are there any changes in your home, such as loud noises, new smells, a new member, or even extreme temperatures? 

Because these can sometimes stress out doggies and affect their usual bathroom habits.

If there have been recent changes in your dog’s living arrangements, like new animals or unfamiliar people around, it could also add to the issue.

9. Separation anxiety

Separation anxiety can be a tricky thing for dogs, and it can sometimes lead to unexpected behaviors like pooping.

In your dog’s language, separation anxiety is equal to feeling stressed and anxious when he’s left alone.

We all know that doggies are very friendly and social animals, and they love it when they’re surrounded by those they adore.

But at night, when you’re in your room sleeping, and your dog is alone in the living room or his crate, he’d feel so alone.

Separation anxiety will then kick in. The stress your dog might feel can affect their bowel movements.

The anxiety can manifest in various ways, and for some dogs, it may result in changes in their bathroom habits.

10. Medical issue

When your pup has medical issues, accidents really do happen at night. What says more when he’s already a senior doggy?

Sometimes, your dog can experience tummy troubles or discomfort in their digestive system, which might lead to nighttime accidents. 

Diarrhea and other gastrointestinal tract infections are some of the common medical issues that cause nighttime accidents among doggies.

And as dogs get older, they might face challenges like decreased muscle control or bladder issues, which can affect their ability to hold it in during the night.

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Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: Common Cavapoo Behavior Problems

How to Stop Dog Pooping at Night?

How to Stop Dog Pooping at Night

Go for a health check-up

Going for a health check-up is something you should quickly consider as a fur-parent whose pup is having nighttime accidents.

Once you take your doggy to his vet for a check-up, he’ll get to be medically checked for possible health issues.

The vet will soon find out if any underlying medical conditions could be causing the nighttime pooping. 

Once you know your dog’s health condition, you’ll get to determine ways that can improve your dog’s bowel control.

For example, if the vet has found out that your pup is suffering from gastrointestinal discomfort, the vet can give you the right medication or dietary advice for your pup.

If your dog’s nighttime accidents are due to age-related factors, the vet may propose ways or treatments to manage the effects of aging, such as medication, exercise, or diet changes.

Train or retrain your dog

Training or retraining your dog to help prevent nighttime pooping is a wise thing to do when accidents are becoming more frequent.

I’ve seen two helpful training methods you can use; tether and crate training.

Tether training lets you keep your dog close to you on a leash, mostly during times when they’re likely to need to poop. 

This lets you closely keep an eye on their urges to potty so you can take them outside when needed. 

Meanwhile, crate training relies on dogs’ habits to make sure that their den is clean.

By giving your dog a crate to sleep on, you provide a cozy and safe area where they’re less likely to have accidents.

Dog diapers

Dogs are quite clean animals if you ask me.

Wearing dog diapers and pooping in them will make your doggy hesitate since it’ll mean he’ll be soiling himself.

Your dog won’t like the idea of having to sit and walk around the whole night in dirty nappies.

Hence, he’ll be able to control his urges to poop and just wait until the morning comes.

Dog diapers are also convenient backups in case your dog can really no longer hold it anymore. 

They won’t create a huge mess in your home, and they’ll be much easier to clean up.

Relieve their anxiety

If the cause of your dog’s nighttime accidents is due to anxiety, it’s best to relieve his anxiety immediately before it worsens.

You can relieve your dog’s anxiety by simply giving him a comfy place to sleep through the night. 

Playing soothing music and doing aromatherapy is also quite a trick to keep your pup’s nerves calm.

Shower him with affection and treats during playtime, too, so he’ll be more at ease.

Ensure routine is followed

Create a routine for your dog, including when to feed and go potty. 

Once you’ve created such a routine, ensure that it’s followed and stick to it at all times.

Developing a consistent routine for your doggy will help prevent nighttime accidents.

When you feed your dog as per schedule every day, their digestion and bowel movement will be regulated.

Through this, your dog will familiarize his body to expect regular pooping breaks during the daytime. 

When darkness comes around, accidents will no longer happen, and a good night’s sleep will be assured.

Do not change their diet abruptly

Your dog’s tummy is very sensitive, no matter how big his appetite may be. An abrupt change to his diet can definitely cause problems.

Your dog’s digestive system takes time to adjust to his new diet, so if you’re planning to change it, you better do it gradually.

Slowly add the new food in small amounts by adding some of it to his current dog food. 

By seven days, you can already give your dog an equal portion of his new dog food and his old one.

By the second week, you can feed your dog his completely new diet.

This way, your dog’s tummy becomes accustomed to the new food first, so you can check whether it does or doesn’t upset his stomach.

Clean up properly

Cleaning up properly can make a difference in stopping your dog from pooping at night. 

Here’s why it works: dogs have super sniffers, and even a tiny hint of their previous accidents can give them the green light to keep using that spot. 

By doing a thorough cleanup and getting rid of any leftover smells, you’re telling them loud and clear that this area is a no-go zone for doing their business.

I’ve found that an enzyme cleaner does the job best.

Also, dogs are creatures of habit, just like us. If they’ve had a few accidents in one spot, they can get into a routine of going there. 

It becomes their poop headquarters if you will.

But by consistently cleaning up accidents and redirecting them to their assigned potty area, you’re helping them break that routine and learn where the right place is.

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Comprises natural enzymes that trigger upon contacting stains and odors, eliminating ammonia crystals and organic materials thoroughly.

Get a professional trainer

Having a professional trainer by your side can be really helpful when it comes to tackling the nighttime pooping issue with your dog. 

They can lend a hand in enhancing your dog’s potty-training skills and teach them the right bathroom behaviors. 

On top of that, trainers can give you great tips on how to create a cozy and peaceful sleeping environment for your pup. 

They might suggest comfy bedding and show you how to make their sleeping area feel safe and secure.

While it’s important to remember that a trainer won’t directly fix any underlying medical issues causing the problem, they can definitely assist you in managing the situation effectively.

What Are the Best Ways to Clean the Dog Poop Up?

Plastic bags

Let’s talk about the trusty plastic bags for cleaning up dog poop! They’re super handy and widely available. 

If you have some plastic grocery bags lying around, you can definitely reuse them for cleaning poop.

Another cool option is using biodegradable bags. 

It’s like having a poop-cleaning superhero by your side wherever you go! So convenient and hassle-free!

Using plastic bags is a simple and practical way to keep our surroundings clean and make sure that doggy doo-doo doesn’t become a bother for others.

So grab a bag, get your superhero mode on, and let’s keep your home poop-free!

Pooper scooper

Ah, the famous pooper scooper! It’s a common tool among dog parents. 

The beauty of these nifty contraptions is that they save you from any unfortunate squishing incidents that may happen with plastic bags.

Yuck! 

And cleaning them up? Super easy-peasy since you’ll just have to wash it with water!

Now, let me tell you, pooper scoopers come in all sorts of varieties.

You’ve got your handheld scoopers for a hands-on approach, long-handled rakes to keep you at a comfortable distance, and even some high-tech ones that work like magic vacuums!

It’s all about finding the scooper that suits you and your pup’s needs.

What Will Happen if a Dog Pooping at Night is Not Corrected?

What Will Happen if a Dog Pooping at Night is Not Corrected

Unclean surrounding

Unsanitary living conditions are no fun for anyone involved. 

Those nighttime accidents can lead to unpleasant odors, attract pesky pests, and increase the risk of bacterial contamination. 

We definitely want a clean and fresh environment for both you and your adorable furry friend!

Sleepless nights

Constantly waking up to clean up those nighttime accidents can really mess with your sleep patterns, leaving you feeling tired and cranky.

And let’s not forget that your pup’s sleep can also be disrupted if they’re uncomfortable due to accidents or a soiled sleeping area.

Health problems

Now, health concerns are something we should always take seriously. 

Ignoring the problem could mean missing potential underlying health issues that are causing the nighttime pooping. 

It’s important to know and deal with any medical conditions or dietary concerns that might be causing this behavior. 

After all, I know you only want your doggy to be happy, healthy, and thriving!

How to Re-house Train a Dog With Anxiety?

  1. Create a safe space: Create a cozy spot where your dog feels safe and comfy.
  2. Stick to a consistent routine: Set regular schedules for feeding, pooping, and playtime to lessen anxiety.
  3. Involve positive reinforcement: Give your dog some of his favorite treats or praise him when he shows desired potty behaviors outside.
  4. Manage anxiety: Use techniques like calming aids or engaging in soothing activities to help alleviate your dog’s anxiety.
  5. Be patient and consistent: Allow time for progress, reinforce good behavior consistently, and show understanding of your dog’s anxiety.
  6. Ask for professional help: If needed, consult a professional dog trainer for expert guidance and support.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why won’t my dog poop outside?

Your dog might not poop outside because of health problems that make it hard for them to walk. This is even more common among senior dogs who have arthritis. It could also be that your dog actually wants to poop outside, but incontinence makes him lose control over his bowel movement indoors.

Why did my dog poop on my bed?

Your dog has many reasons why he pooped on your dog. It could be due to health issues like gastrointestinal tract infection or incontinence. Or it could be his way of marking his territory.

Why would my dog be pooping in his crate suddenly?

The reasons why your dog would be pooping in his crate are either because of separation anxiety or health issues. Your dog might feel sad and stressed alone in his crate, and his anxiety triggers irregular bowel movements. Or perhaps your dog has eaten something that upset his stomach before bedtime.

In Conclusion: How to Stop Dog Pooping at Night

The struggle is real, I’ve been through the midnight cleanup brigade myself.

It’s frustrating, tiring, and, yes, quite smelly.

Knowing you’re not alone in this can sometimes be the best comfort of all.

Remember, with patience, consistency, and the tips I’ve shared, you can indeed guide your 4-legged friend toward better habits.

You’ve got this!

Check out these dog behavior articles too:

You’ve made it to the end, but I hope it’s not the end of our journey. We want to hear your voice! Share your thoughts, problems, suggestions, or anything related to your dog in the comments section. And don’t forget to join our newsletter today too.

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Daily Dog Drama!

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