Discussions

I have a 16-week-old Labrador puppy and he seems to have learned toilet training during the day. He even lets me know when he needs to go out and always uses the designated spot in the garden which I think is fantastic for a puppy of his age. HOWEVER, at night he does start using the paper area we have for him but ends up just going for a poo anywhere in the kitchen. There are always 2-3 poo's waiting for us in the morning. We did crate train him but he was just messing in there and sleeping in it, so we had to bath him every morning. Am I just being to eager and is his behavior normal for a puppy?

In response to the 16-week-old Lab puppy who has accidents in the evening:The first thing that needs to be changed with this puppy is the feeding time.  Your puppy needs to be fed twice daily now, and not fed between these times.  Allow your pup to eat his meals first thing in the morning and again at around 4:00 PM.  Your pup should need to relieve himself anywhere from 30-60 minutes after he eats.  DO NOT FEED HIM BETWEEN MEALS, and only allow him 10 minutes to finish his meal.  Whatever is left over after those 10 minutes needs to be disposed of. The next thing that needs to be changed is his "run of the house".  A puppy will not defecate in his sleeping quarters.  He never associated the crate with a sleep dwelling, therefore he felt it was OK to go potty in there.  If crate training is not going to work, then try putting a dog bed in your own bedroom next to your bed.  Leave a dog collar (NOT a training collar) with a small bell on your dog at night.  When you hear your puppy get up in the middle of the night, scold him and put him back into his bed, telling him to stay.  Praise him immediately after you put him in the bed.  This new puppy is like a newborn baby.  They need constant attention and must be trained to sleep and eat when Mom and Dad do.  Lastly, the only time you can scold your puppy for accidents in the house is when you catch him in the act of making poo poo.  He will never associate a scolding for anything you do not catch him doing. Dogs need constant praise and attention when they do something right, too.  So, when your puppy makes poo poo in the yard, as he is going, praise him and tell him what a good boy he is for doing it in the yard.  Baby talk works, and your puppy always accepts a higher pitched tone happily.  Good luck in your endeavors.  As I have found in the past, Labs are usually very easy to train.
Jennifer Sutherlan

First let me say... These round table questions are never complete enough and I always have many questions to the owner in order to give an informed answer. Questions like what time do your feed the pup? How much food at a time is it eating. What brands, canned or dry? Are normal stools well formed and firm or soft and mushy. This could indicate eating to much food or ingredient intolerance in the food. At 4 months old, it may just be to early for this pup to hold it all night. House breaking has to do with workable feeding times, correct amount of food, and potty schedules. The magic is to find out how long it takes for this pup to eat a meal and then need to poop. If you are free feeding or feeding the evening meal to late at night then the pup has no choice but to poop during the night some time. Try to feed earlier in the evening and get the pup to poop before bed time. No more food of any kind after the evening meal. Only a little water need be left for the pup in the kitchen at nighttime. Hopefully your pup will do much better the older it gets.
Mike Boston
Santa Claret, California

Puppies like babies need to eliminate more then adult dogs.  I would recommend feeding your dog around 5 PM and then walking the dog the last time at 11pm.  Do not give him access to food after that.  Also check with your vet on how much you are feeding your dog, it may be too much.  Then put pads down in the kitchen where your dog is defecating.  Some dogs like to be protected when defecating, so check if the places this is happening are more protected then where your pee pad is located.  Puppies usually have to eliminate every 4 hours, especially when they wake up. Your puppy is not sleeping all night yet and may be playing in the room he is in and then he needs to go to the bathroom.  This answer is for the person whose dog is poo pooing anywhere in the kitchen. I think the dog wants to be with you at night. I would try taking him into your bedroom and keeping him in the crate. Then you will hear when he gets up and starts to move around and then take him out in the backyard.  Sometimes they cannot hold it overnight when they are young.  I would also get a food (not Diamond) that does not have so much fibers in it so the stools are smaller. And feed him smaller amounts of food. Limit the water to only after you feed him and then take it up.
Joan Willner 

The 16wk old puppy "needs" to be contained in a crate...giving him no more room than to be able to stand up, walk in, turn around and lie down. Any excess room "will" give him the option to use it as a potty area.  Giving him an entire room at his young age is irresponsible and IS reinforcing his option to continue to potty in the house. Mind you, Puppies usually poop within 15 to 20 minutes after they eat.  Puppies that are pooping during the night tell us that you are probably "free" feeding this pup.  In other words, you are leaving food out all the time for the puppy.  Stop that immediately and start feeding him either 3 or 4 times a day, with the final meal being around 6 PM. This reorganizing his meals and back to crate training will most likely stop the nighttime accidents. Oh, and by the way, we find that most over weight dogs are "free fed" dogs.
Karen & the Hounds

I have a 16-week-old Labrador puppy and he seems to have learned toilet training during the day. He even lets me know when he needs to go out and always uses the designated spot in the garden which I think is fantastic for apuppy of his age. HOWEVER, at night he does start using the paper area we have for him but ends up just going for a poo anywhere in the kitchen. There are always 2-3 poo's waiting for us in the morning. We did crate train him but he was just messing in there and sleeping in it, so we had to bath him every morning. Am I just being to eager and is his behavior normal for a puppy? Yes, this sounds for me normal for a 16-week-old puppy. It takes at least 3 months until a puppy can control (more or less) his bladder. If not, go and see a veterinarian for a check. Try to house train him properly. Reward him for making his pee and poo at the right spot.  Don't scold him for mistakes. Just take him outside to the right spot. One suggestion: take him outside every time he wakes up, 1 hour or so after meal, after his nap in his crate, after play. Let him sleep besides your bed in the crate. You will hear him when he is moving or whimpering - take him outside, let him pee or poo, click and treat for having done it - go back to sleep. For cases of emergencies leave the paper he is has been using just behind the front door. If you can put enough time and attention to what your puppy is doing now, this problem should be solved with in a short time.
Doris Vaterlaus

I would not leave a 16-week-old puppy out all night.  I would make certain that this puppy eats no later than 6:00 p.m. and water no later than 8:00 p.m. (depending on when the owner retires for the night.)  Right before the owner goes to bed the puppy goes outside for the last potty of the night.  Make certain that the owner is going with the puppy to make certain the puppy is actually going potty and not getting distracted, forgetting to go.  Upon returning to the house, I would crate the puppy.  If necessary, for a few days, the owner could set an alarm, getting up once during the night to make certain the puppy does not have crate accidents.  It sounds as though perhaps this owner is leaving free choice food and water down for this puppy.  Most puppies will not be defecating 2 - 3 times during the night unless he is eating through the night.   
Renee Jones
Dothan, AL

A 16-week-old pup can sleep through the night, but it isn't unusual for some to take longer.  A couple of things come to mind here.  It sounds as though your pup is sleeping in the kitchen, too far removed from his humans to let them know he needs to relieve at night.  First, I would move the puppy into the bedroom of someone who will be willing to get up during night, if the need arises.  Since pup has already established that he will empty in his crate, I would opt for his sleeping on a bed tether at night.  Next to the human Bed, put down a sheet of plastic (perhaps an old shower curtain), then place a nice fluffy towel or easily laundered blanket atop the plastic. Attach a strong, lightweight, 3-foot metal length of chain to the human bed frame.  Metal is important so he won't be able to chew through it.  The chain should be long enough for puppy to sleep comfortably in his bed and turn around, but not long enough for him to move off the bed to empty.  Chances are he will whine a little if he needs to go and being close enough to his caretaker should be heard.  He can then be taken outside and rewarded for emptying appropriately.If you haven't already done so, be sure that he is getting neither food or water after 7PM.  If he seems thirsty, you can give him one or two ice cubes.  Be sure he is afforded the opportunity to go out as late as possible being heading off to bed.  Lastly, keeping him on a predictable feeding schedule will provide a predictable pattern for relieving.
Meg Irizarry
Pocono Pines, PA

When teaching a puppy to eliminate outdoors there are a few standards to always follow: 1. Avoid failure by setting the puppy up for success. Crate the puppies when you can not supervise it constantly or tether the puppy with a leash and have it accompany you so you can supervise its activity at all times. (this is important for the puppy's safety) 2.it is the handlers’ responsibility to set the elevation schedule during housebreaking by setting a frequent and predictable schedule of opportunities for the puppy to empty the bowels and bladder.  Routine helps the pup learn quickly when combined with praise during and after the outdoor elimination. 3. A puppy should not be required to hold its bladder or bowel contents more than 1 hour for each month of age.  Example: If crated or confined a 4 months old = take out to eliminate every 3 to 4 hours at least.  This means waking at night to allow for elevation opportunities.  4. When a puppy wakes up from a nap or is let out of a crate take out to eliminate immediately. 5. If a puppy is actively playing or has taken a drink or eaten...take the puppy out within 30 minutes to eliminate. 6.  Do not feed or water the dog 3 hours before retiring for the night. 7. Remember to verbally praise while the puppy is eliminating and physically and verbally praise after the elevations are complete.  The praise will help reinforce the behavior. It is important to understand that it is our responsibility as owner and handler to set a frequent routine of opportunities for the puppy to be successful.  If the puppy is in good health and it eliminates in the house do not punish or reprimand the puppy, it is your schedule or attention to the puppies needs that has to be adjusted. I hope this helps, I have great success with this process using the standards I have listed and the puppies learn their elimination manners quickly.
Diane & Raven

First you need to make sure there is nothing underlying this condition by taking him to a vet for an exam. If the vet clears everything, do the following: Make sure you are feeding at real regular intervals so you know how long it takes for food to pass. You can time this during the day to get a handle on it.  This will help you get in sync with his bathroom habits. You are probably feeding 2 to 3 times a day or should be at that age. Make sure you take him out about 45 minutes or so after eating. A young puppy like that can only go so long. My guess is about 4 hours is his limit for the excrement rates you are describing at night. You need to set an alarm and take the puppy out at regular intervals at night like you do during the day. I usually carry them directly to their bathroom spot that I am training for. I would start with every four hours get up and take him out and adjust as he gets older. More than likely this is why he is messing in his crate as well. He just can't hold it. If you catch him in the act, scold him and take him outside to the spot where he goes. If he goes on his own when he goes outside, make a really big deal of it and praise him lavishly. Make sure you have a key phrase so he knows what you are wanting him to do for example "do you business" etc. This will let him know why he is out there.
Mark Wadsworth

Papers are a bad idea and only teach the dog to soil in the house. Messing in crate? 2 to 3 BMs overnight? Not good...something is wrong. Dog maybe getting too much to eat the wrong diet or may have parasites, See your veterinarian about this. After vet fixes dog...go back to the crate. Give last feeding at 6 PM and be sure dog has a BM after eating and is given the opportunity to go bathroom outside just before he is crated Crate should be in your bedroom and floor of crate should be bare of paper or bedding. Be sure dog is put out the last thing before you go to sleep.
Bob Maid
Falls Church, VA

I have a response to Round Table question #2 that is similar to a client I provided behavioral work to for her lab puppy. Labs are very social puppies.  Their bladders and ability to hold it might not reach it's physical potential until 4 months of age.  Your puppy is right at that age.  The fact that he messed in his crate is indicating he is having separation anxiety when he is alone at night.  The pooping in the kitchen also indicates it is a stress relief, not bad housebreaking manners. Two potential solutions: 1) Ensure the puppy is not alone at night.  If you have another pet, confine them in the same area (do not put them in a crate together - a crate cannot be used to treat this sweet dog).  Put some soft classical music on and see what the morning brings. 2) If you don't have another pet, tether him on a leash to your bedpost or somewhere near you at night where he can see you.  If he has to truly eliminate, he will wake you up.  Your presence will be reassuring to him and help build his confidence. Believe me, dogs don't like to mess in inappropriate areas.  They are not spiteful, just letting you know something is wrong in their emotional life.  If he has free roam of the house at night, it may be too much scary for him since during the day, the rest of the house if a more active place.  At night, it is very quiet. Also, to relieve nighttime stress for a lot of pets I have counseled, I recommend a short 20-minute walk or run before they go to bed.  Massage is also good.
Teresa Okay

I would tether the puppy by the owner's bedside at night. When the puppy needs to go out in the middle of the night, he will whine and move around and the owner will be alerted to take him out.  As it is now, the puppy isolated in the kitchen and the owner can't hear him.  Having the pup right next to the owner's bed will provide the pup with a sense of security and teach him to come to the owner for his needs, a very good thing. This owner made a big mistake by crating a young puppy overnight and expecting him to "hold it" overnight. Many, of not most, puppies are sleeping though the night by 16 wk., so I am guessing that the owner may need to take up food and water earlier in the evening as well.  It goes without saying that the pup should be on a quality food.
Helen Cariotis
Texas

It is normal for a puppy to have potty issues. I suggest, go back to using the crate! He is dirtying the crate because he is not out enough during the night or he is not able to eliminate fully before he goes to bed. SO, 1- take him out during the night at least 3 times. Sorry, as unpleasant as it sounds it is needed. Then reduce the frequency to 2 times a night after 2 months, then 1 after a month, then no outings. If there are mistakes go back one step and extend a month. The other suggestion is to feed him less in the evening giving him less food means less on the stomach, also check with your vet you may be feeding him to much anyway.  Then finally be sure you take him for a long walk before you go to bed giving the pup time to relieve him self fully be fore he goes to bed.
Larry J. Somerstorfer

Sounds like your Lab pup is more than capable of becoming potty trained by the progress you have made already during the day.  However the evening mishaps need to be stopped.  I believe that you need to change his schedule and get him back in the crate.  The idea being that we want hi as close to an "Empty Tank" as we can get we crate him up at night. I would suggest removing all food opportunities from him by 4 PM, and water by 6 PM (assuming he is going in the crate at 10 PM).  I would ascertain that he is having ample opportunities to go to his "spot" during the day -- at 4 months of age that is 6 - 8 times.  I would take him out and encourage vigorous exercise late in the evening -- in the 7:30 - 8:00 PM range.  Being a retriever, several fetches of a tennis ball could do just the trick.  We hope for is to get him to BM.  I would give him one more trip outside just before crating him up. This kind of strict schedule may be necessary for several weeks to month until maturity and understanding catches up with the pup.
He's definitely a normal puppy, just make some changes in his environment. For one thing, make sure he isn't being free fed, scheduled meals only, and only the recommend amount of food per meal. Be sure he’s getting enough exercise, especially before bed. Dogs are stimulated by walking and exercise to move their bowels. At Nighttime, confine him to a smaller room, which is gated off. Paper the entire floor with newspaper, covering it completely. Leave him in this room whenever he will not be supervised, or during the night. A gated bathroom or kitchen would be fine when he soils a sheet of paper, remove the soiled one and replace it with a fresh piece of paper. After every week, take away a slice of paper permanently, starting at one end of the room. As time goes by, the papered area will become smaller and smaller. But as the time goes by, the puppy is becoming fixated on eliminating on the paper. Soon he will seek the paper out to eliminate on.The puppy over time is also maturing and his movements will reduce, and his meals will soon become less frequent. If he’s still being housetrained and being praised for eliminating outside, he will have greater success.
Susanne Frederiksen

You might need to adjust your puppy's feeding schedule.  How many times a day does you feed your puppy?  If you are free-feeding him, put him on a two or three meals per day schedule instead.  Then, keep a record of when he goes. If you feed him earlier in the day, he will poop earlier. If he still goes too late at night, you can adjust the feeding times again.  It sounds like he understands what you want him to do, but he just can't hold it.
Kathie Compton
Marfa, TX

They should try not to feed late in the day, maybe after 3:00 or 4:00 PM, and keep last meal smaller that morning feeding.  They could feed three small meals, instead of two larger meals.   They should be sure to take puppy out before bed and WATCH to make sure he has done his business.   Crating is still the answer.  They might have to get up during the night, or at least very early in the morning to take puppy out.

Congratulations on your new puppy.  At 16 weeks, he is still very young so it is encouraging that you are seeing progress with housebreaking.  One thing in your letter did strike me as a clue to what's going on.  If he is letting you know when he needs to go out, then he has way too much autonomy for such a youngster. Where did he get the impression that he can make demand of you (open the door) and you will obey? When and where he goes should be up to you, not him. He may be "letting you know" at night, you just aren't there to hold up your end of the deal.  How confusing that what works in the daytime doesn't work at night!  There are bound to be times you will be unavailable in the daytime, too. Maybe you'll be on an important phone call, or there will be a blizzard, or there will be a skunk or a strange dog in the yard and you won't want to let him out. Instead, he should become accustomed to going on your command.  The puppies of wild dogs such as wolves don't come a and go as they please--they learn bladder and sphincter control by going when their mothers bring them out of the den. Also, you state that he was crate trained but no longer uses the crate.  I keep my dogs crated at night until they are at least six months of age, and often up to a year--not strictly because of potty training, but to reinforce the idea that they can't just wander around wherever and whenever they please--they're still very much puppies and I am controlling the territory even when I'm not there.  I suggest a lot more crate time--when you're home, when you're out, for brief periods off and on throughout the day and definitely all night.  The crate should not be much bigger than your dog--if he can move away from his waste then it's not likely to bother him much. Establish that YOU are in charge of all that matters in his life, including his bathroom habits. Give him access to the kitchen when you are there to supervise and only after he has taken care of business in the appropriate spot.  Otherwise, it's back in the crate for Poopsie  
Rita Balducci
Trumbull, CT

To best answer your questions, I would need to ask a couple of my own. When does the puppy eat and drink? I would stop all food and water after 4-5PM.additionally, food throughout the day should be at set times, not freely available. Second, I would want to know the puppy's exercise routine. Be sure to take that last walk of the night.  If at all possible, I would have the crate in the bedroom with you at night. A puppy at that age may very well need to go out at least once during the night. Do not worry! It does not last for long.Most puppies sleep better when not isolated and you will hear when they need to go out. It is excellent that he already communicates his needs to you during the day, continuing this pattern at night will just solidify your super relationship!
Vicki Wooters,
Malvern, Pa

The pup who is so well trained during the day but cannot make it through the night. Something is not right here for a 4-month-old puppy. I would recommend feeding him his dinner at five p.m. and allow lots of opportunity for him to relieve himself before bedtime. Go back to using the crate but take him out to the spot right before putting him in it for the night. Withhold all water and food beginning at 6 p.m. If necessary, set the alarm and take him out once during the night to get him out of the habit of relieving himself in the kennel. Do not put any papers in the kennel. I think he is probably getting too much food and water in the evening.
Christy Powers
Arizona

You aren't being too eager, but it seems you may be confusing the dog. He is old enough to make it through the night with no potty breaks. Tighten up his feeding/outside schedule so that his last meal of the day is no later than 6:30-7:00 and he gets out to use the bathroom at least 2 more times before you go to bed (assuming it's around 11:00).  The last trip out in the evening should be moments before you go to sleep to ensure he's totally empty.  He should be having meals, no free feeding (when there is a bowl of food down all day). If you know when it goes in, you'll be able to predict when it comes out.  It is an absolute necessity that he goes #2 before he is crated for the night.  Be sure he is being watched and praised for every single outdoor elimination.    Crate him in your bedroom with you overnight, it there's an emergency, he'll let you know. There should be no accidents if he is empty. Don’t give him a large area and plenty of opportunities to go in the house like you have been.  Housebreaking "mistakes" are always human error. You must set him up for success, not failure. Empty bowels and bladder + crate overnight = no accidents and a clean dog in.
Jennifer Collins

It sounds like this little pup just has too much freedom too quickly.  I am not sure how much room he has but I'd suggest keeping him in a small room at night.  A small laundry room or bathroom.  The kennel is my choice but life's messy in the kennel that's tough.  Is the kennel area too big for him?The old rule of big enough to stand up, lay down and turn around has always been my rule of thumb when kennel training. I'd take a close look at his feeding schedule too.  It sounds like he needs to eat earlier so his system is clear before you go to bed.  2-3 poos, like you say, indicates a big meal at some point and maybe it just needs to be fed earlier.  Maybe his big meal needs to be in the morning and a smaller meal at night.  Does he eat in the kitchen?  Dogs tend to keep their eating area clean.  Maybe consider switching his feedings to that kitchen.  I'd make sure to really clean the floor too with a safe cleaner.  Get his puppy poo smell out of there.  Even though we cannot smell it, remember that they can.  I've had lots of puppies here over the years and I always find the owner's with trouble just need to reduce the freedom, do a better job on scheduled potty breaks and adjust feeding times.  In no time at all, the puppies know exactly what to do!
Tiffany Huebner
Princeton, MN

He may be too young to go so long.  Put his crate near your bed so that you can hear him if he gets restless and take him out as soon as he needs to go.  Gradually ask him to wait a little longer until he is making it through a reasonable night's sleep.  His crate should be small enough so that he can just sleep comfortably in it.  If it is bigger put a box or something in it to decrease the area.  Don't use papers inside if you don't want him to learn to relieve himself inside (and I assume you won't want that with a dog that will be that big when he grows up!)
Ann Mandelbaum,
Gooddog, Woodbury, CT.

Seems to me your feeding him too much and too late at night with out giving him times to go to the bathroom outside. His system should not be producing all of this poo.  He might be anxious too. SO I personally would bring him upstairs with you for a few weeks and then gradually put him back into the kitchen area with a radio left on set your alarm for four hours get up and take him out. If you aren't using a crate then you might want to get one .Decrease his food and feed him earlier and make sure you take him out at as late as possible. Start by tethering him to your bed at night a place some scrunched up newspaper in and around the area so if he gets up you will hear him. Take him out. IF he is eliminating and Pooping then decrease his food a bit more. Teach him to ring a bell to go out this way you will have a better Communication system .You're feeding your puppy too late at night for him to get his bowel movements regulated for relief before bedtime. Make sure he is receiving some roughage in his meals so the food doesn't stay too long in his gastric-intestinal track.  When you take him out just before bed, stay out with him until he has a BM, and Praise, Praise, Praise.  Try to take him into the same area each time.  Take the next pile from the kitchen and place in the area outside you wish him to use.  Also, make sure you get an enzymatic cleaner for those places he has gone on in the kitchen.  If he smells it, then he will go again.  
Pam Parrish,
Huntsville, AL

I would examine what time of the evening am I feeding this puppy supper?Perhaps I am feeding too late and he also is not getting the physic stimulation needed to move the bowels earlier.  Or is the owner free feeding, which I would not recommend at all.  What food is the puppy on? Perhaps a change of food may produce fewer, but more effective, poop control.  These questions I would look at first, before going further. A 16week old Lab puppy may quite easily, still need to go out during the night once or twice, on schedule, as we teach the dog bladder/bowel control.
Gina Lyn
Hayes Dennisport, Ma.

My question to the owner would be if the puppy were eating on a set schedule? What goes in on schedule - tends to go out on schedule - I would feed my puppy's last meal early in the evening - and then encourage to potty before bed.
Leigh Dvarishkis

You are headed for trouble with your crate training. Although a lot of literature states don't use too large of a crate, few references tell the danger of too small of a crate. Too large of a crate is deemed as a bad idea because the dog may learn to eliminate in one corner. The crate needs to be mess-free. Too small of a crate will force a dog that has an accident to lay in its own mess. This can destroy the natural instinct for a dog to remove Itself from its own mess. That natural instinct is the foundation that allows a dog to be housebroken.  From what you have said, this dog isn't completely housebroken as opposed to regressing. Here is one solution. Put the crate in a small pen. Put your newspapers inside the pen and bedding inside the crate. For a while, expect to clean messes from the crate. Do so immediately so the sleeping area stays clean. Leave a little of the dog‚s poop in one corner of the pen to encourage the puppy to go there. Keeping the sleeping area clean will help the puppy learn to re-establish that instinct. Once the puppy learns to keep the sleeping area clean, you can work to move the whole process outside.
Peggy Swagger

First, be sure parasites aren't contributing to frequency of defecation. Then be sure you are not overfeeding. Then upgrade to meat based food that will crate fewer stools. Be careful because name brand foods are almost all grain based. It's nutritious for sure but while you are potty training you don't need so many stools every day. Finally, change the feeding schedule so that the puppy has plenty of time to empty out before bed. Now you can gradually accustom the puppy to sleeping inside an appropriate sized crate. I prefer to have my puppies sleep in the crate in my room so that when they shuffle around at night I can whisk them outside for a potty break. But it will still work in the kitchen if you are willing to gradually introduce the crate so that your puppy does not cry all night. Finally, you absolutely must escort your puppy outside, each and every time, and give the puppy a treat for defecating outside. This will not only reward him for the appropriate behavior, but it also encourages him to get your attention, get you outside and hold his bladder and bowels when he's working on those two criteria for earning the treat.
Ddi Clement

I would still crate him at night and he will learn not to poop where he sleeps.  Or you can cage off an area in the house where he will sleep and put the kennel there and let him do his mess in that area. Georgetown, Mass
Congratulations on your success during the day!  Good job!  I would not Consider this an abnormal behavior.  Remember, your puppy is only 16weeks old and although he is potty training nicely during the day, accidents may happen at night.  As a general rule, a 4 month old puppy can "hold it" for 5 hours (Number of months he is old + 1).  Some suggestions: If not already, put your puppy on a set feeding schedule (plus or minus 1 hour), this way you know when he last ate.  Super premium foods take about 2 hours or so less to digest than non-premium (this is good).  Have the last outside time as late as you can and observe to see if he poops.  If your puppy has loose stool, have him checked out by your veterinarian to rule out any medical issues .I would do away with the "paper area".  He is learning that it is OKAY to potty inside the house.  Your puppy may be showing symptoms of separation anxiety sleeping in the kitchen "away" from everyone.  Go get his crate and try moving his it into a room with a family member or your room.  If he wakes up and whines at night, you can hear him and let him out.  It may be difficult, but getting up a little earlier in the morning to let him out before he poops may also help.   I hope these tips begin to help you and your precious puppy.  If he continues to have his issues, please consult your local trainer,Behavior specialist or veterinarians for further assistance. 
Jean-Paul "JP" 

Bonnelly, Labs are very social puppies.  Their bladders and ability to hold it might not reach it's physical potential until 4 months of age.  Your puppy is right at that age.  The fact that he messed in his crate is indicating he is having separation anxiety when he is alone at night.  The pooping in the kitchen also indicates it is a stress relief, not bad housebreaking manners. Two potential solutions: 1) Ensure the puppy is not alone at night.  If you have another pet, confine them in the same area (do not put them in a crate together - a crate cannot be used to treat this sweet dog).  Put some soft classical music on and see what the morning brings. 2) If you don't have another pet, tether him on a leash to your bedpost or somewhere near you at night where he can see you.  If he has to truly eliminate, he will wake you up.  Your presence will be reassuring to him and help build his confidence. Believe me, dogs don't like to mess in inappropriate areas.  They are not spiteful, just letting you know something is wrong in their emotional life.  If he has free roam of the house at night, it may be too much scary for him since during the day, the rest of the house if a more active place.  At night, it is very quiet. Also, to relieve nighttime stress for a lot of pets I have counseled, I recommend a short 20-minute walk or run before they go to bed.  Massage is also good.
Teresa Okay

How big is the lab puppy and what size is the crate? The problem might be as simple as making the crate smaller.  You can do this by either buying a divider for the crate or making one out of cardboard.  If the pupster has less room to lay around in than he is more likely not to soil where he sleeps.
Deb Bracco
Buffalo, NY

I would like to comment on the use of a crate for training.... Big Kudos' for that aspect of the dogs training. I would check the size of the puppy in relationship to the crate. He might be too small for the crate size, so that is why he is soiling the crate at night. The other step is to get up and take him out every four hours during the night. I know this is going back to square one but in doing baby steps with a young dog. You need to back up and start over again. Please take his food dish and water away from him by 6 p.m. at night. Just remember consistency and structure will put the nighttime toilet training into place. This process may take a few weeks. but in the end it is more than worth it for the training of an excellent dog ! Have patience and be consistent. 
K Weaver
Half Moon Bay California

This puppy should be in a crate at night and taken outside at some point during the night. Also feed at least 4 hours before bedtime and take him out before bed. Take up all water at least 3 hours before bed. If they are feeding dry food the dog will have to go to the bathroom a lot more often. My rule of thumb during the day is that puppies go out every 30 minutes if they are awake and can sleep 1 hour for every month they are old before they need to go out. So at 16 weeks I would only expect him to go 4 hours or so after he is put to bed before he needs to go outside. So if he goes down at 11pm for the night be prepared to get up around 3 or 4 am. I would set the alarm and get up at least once during the night with this puppy. The crate could be in their room and when you here him stir get him up and outside ASAP. Might have to do this for a couple of weeks but in the long term it is better than a dog that soils his crate and house at night!
Kim Collins
Prince George, BC

I wonder if the Lab puppy has sufficient time to relieve himself before bedtime.  I would recommend spending a bit more time encouraging him to move his bowels after dinner and before bedtime.  Be sure to accompany him outdoors, and give him lots of praise for eliminating outdoors. Of course, you will be more successful if he eats dinner in the late afternoon or earl evening.  The later he eats, the later he will need to eliminate. Consider using more than one "Wee Wee" pad in the kitchen so you will have less floor space to clean in the morning.  Also try leaving ice cubes instead of a bowl of fresh water at bedtime.  He will have the opportunity to quench his thirst, while having less opportunity to fill his bladder, which puts pressure on his bowels.  If his bowel movements are loose, contain rice-like particles, mucous or blood, he will need veterinary care to get him back on track.
Barbara Cohl, Ph.D.
Laurel, Maryland 20707

By 4 months old your Labrador should be doing a better job than this of holding it during the night.  One of the first questions I would ask you is where you got him?  Pet shop raised puppies have a hard time not going in their kennel because they were "taught" to eat, sleep and poop in an area usually no larger than 2 x 2.  Something that is not natural for dogs to do.  The next question I would ask is what kind of food are you feeding him? Grocery store foods, especially cheap brands, are mostly fillers, which the dog’s body does not readily absorb and therefore, they need to go poop more often.  If they are fed a high quality food, their bodies absorb more nutrients and have fewer bowel movements.  Do not confuse the dog by using papers on the floor at night and yet expecting him to go outside during the day. The longer this goes on the more it becomes a learned behavior.  You will need to get up frequently during the night to take your dog outside until you find he can last longer and longer through the night without a bathroom break.  Also be sure there is no food available after say 7pm. One other thing to check is that your Labrador does not have worms, which would make him feel as if he has to relieve himself more often.
Kathie's Canine Communications

Your little lab pup has learned that it is okay to relieve him self in the house when the paper is around.  You must teach him that it is never okay to go inside the house, anywhere.  Get your crate out and start using it again at night.  As well as at night, us e it during the day for short periods of time so it becomes his little den area.  Make sure to give him his last meal with plenty of time for him to empty out before bedtime.  And be sure that your crate is the appropriate size, meaning he should be able to stand up and turn around comfortably but that’s it.  Any bigger and he will have the option of pooping at one end and sleeping at the other.  You may also want to try feeding him in his crate occasionally so he associates his crate with eating.  Dogs don't like to poop where they eat.
Sherri
Southern California

I think you're doing a fantastic job with your puppy house training! As for him having bowel movements during the night, I would suggest feeding him his last meal no later than 5 or 6 PM and make sure he goes out for the last time around 10 or so.  Also, pick up his water after 8 PM, this should cut down on the necessity of taking him out, but a 16 week old puppy may need to go out once during the night. Certainly adjust this schedule so it coincides with your hours, but he could just be eating too late in the evening. 
Marjean Krech
Mifflinburg, PA

First thing you should do is get rid of the paper area.  You are house training your puppy twice.  Not only are you teaching him to go on paper but also go outside.  This can be confusing.  Make sure he is on a consistent feeding schedule and elimination schedule.  Do not free feed.  Take him out to potty as late as possible at night.  If he does not go, bring him in the house, wait a few minutes and take him right back outside again.  Use a key word like "go potty" or "go poo".  When he does go, give him lots and lots of praise!  Make sure he is always on leash when it is potty time, even if you have a fenced in yard.  At 16 weeks of age, he is still a baby.  Start using the crate again but every few hours get up and take him outside during the night.  Most importantly, do not scold or punish him for accidents in the house.  Remember that there is no set age a puppy should be housebroken by.  Just be patient and above all else, be consistent!
Sharon Wood and Jen Scortico
Limerick, PA

Several things to consider with the Labrador puppy that can't seem to "hold It" at night.  For your puppy, it may be that he needs patience until he learns what is to happen at night. What time are you feeding him at night?Remember, what goes in, goes out.  If he is getting a heavy meal too late and not getting a long exercise session before bedtime, then he needs to be fed earlier so that he can digest his food and eliminate during his last run of the evening.  You can withdraw his water at least two hours before his last run of the night, which will help with urination issues. Also, I recommend sleeping dogs in a kennel IN THE OWNER’S ROOM until such time as you know the schedule that your dog operates on.  As a breeder of Welsh Corgis, I always sleep puppies from 8 weeks in crates in my room so that when they are uncomfortable, which goes along with a need to "go out", they will become restless and generally whimper or whine.   That is my cue to take them out to potty. There is nothing better than a crate for preventing accidents and destructive chewing at night in adolescent dogs!  Don't rush him, he is a puppy! The key is making sure that you have him close enough to your room so that you hear him when he is telling you about his needs!
Joan B. Guertin
Mabank, Texas

This situation begs a number of questions.  If he is having 2-3 bowel movements at night in addition to what he does during the day, what on earth are you feeding him?  Get a high-quality puppy food that is high in digestion, thus less waste.  Are you on a feeding schedule?  Don't feed him in the evenings - he'll survive.  Beginning crate training, ending it, and topping it off with paper training just confuses him.  Dogs cannot assume anything and they sure can't figure out that the paper substitutes the grass that substitutes the crate.  How long is he in the crate at night?  Puppies can't hold it in all night.  A good friend of mine who owns a lab had her alarm set for 3am for about two weeks!  Gets back to crate training but get your variables more organized.  A strict feeding schedule, better food, and shorter periods in the crate should put you back on track for successful housebreaking.
Beth Fisher Franklin,
West Virginia

From the information given it sounds as if this is more of a management problem than a training problem.  What time are you giving him his evening meal?  What time are you taking him out for “last call” before bedtime?  Your pup should eliminate shortly after eating his meal.  Also two or three poops sounds like a lot. Are they loose?   It could very well be his diet; the food itself, the amount of food or some treat or chew item such as rawhide you are giving him at night before bed.  This could be why he was soiling his crate.  He just couldn't “hold it”.   At sixteen weeks he should be able to sleep through the night if he is taken out just before bedtime and first thing in the morning.   Most Labs are easily house trained; I would concentrate on his diet and schedule to begin with.  
Rich Valentine
Wyckoff, NJ

I would suggest that the dog be kept in a crate at night. The crate you were using was probably too large for the dog which gave him room to use the bathroom in it. I would also suggest that you not feed the dog prior to bedtime and take him outside right before you plan to put him to bed. Also, make sure you are not putting him to bed to early. If he does not potty when you take him out you will have to wait until he does before you go to bed.
Catie Wightman
Sheffield Lake, OH

Your puppy is not able to hold it for long periods of time just yet. When you are sleeping he feels that no one is paying attention to him and has not learned that he needs to wake you up at bedside. Place the crate in your bedroom next to your bed. Wake up every two to three hours and take him outside to the bathroom. Each time he does his job..Offer him just a small treat. After he stops having accidents in his crate...try leaving him loose in your bedroom but, with the door shut as to not escape to soil the entire house. Continue to take him out every three hours and offer treats for a job well done. Your puppy will learn quickly what he is to do, when and where. I just recently trained two boxers this way and now they put their paw on the side of my bed each and every time they have to go out during the night. I find that larger breeds learn more quickly (my opinion, I have owned several different breeds). It is like having a baby in the house for the first two to three months. It takes a lot of patience, repetitive praise on your part to teach your puppy good manners.  Like a child does better on schedule..so will you and your puppy.
Kristy

Try to not give him any food or water after 7pm in the evening, and make sure to take him outside several times after his p.m. feeding and right before everyone goes to bed.  If he is getting along well during the day there is really no reason for him not to get along during the night either, however he is only 16 weeks and he will not be totally potty trained (this means that he can go for a long period of time without an accident) until he is at least 6 months old.  Try not to make a big fuss over his accidents either, if you do he will take it as attention and that’s something you don't want (puppies love attention, any attention negative or positive) always praise the good behavior.  Puppies and adult dogs alike have short memories and if you scold for bad behavior too long after the deed is done they won' t remember what it was for and that’s where the negative/positive attention catch comes in, they have to be caught in the act of the bad deed or the "scolding" hasn’t any effect.
Natalie Taylor
Calgary Alberta Canada

You do not mention when the puppy's last meal is for the day, but I suspect this needs to be adjusted.   Try out a couple of options such as feeding the last meal earlier in the day and of course, having a potty run before bed or even feeding just before you go to bed, having a poo run, and then setting your alarm for about six hours after.  Also, I would go back to using the crate so that puppy does not have free choice bathroom privileges.  Third, go out with your puppy during the day so that he correlates that doing his business outside is a safe, approved choice. Puppy should never have a large, unsupervised area in your home until he is consistently proving that he understands the house is not a bathroom.
Paula Everett
Marion Ohio

It sounds like your puppy has good instincts, but is not being set up for success overnight.  Since bad habits get harder to break the longer they go on, I would advise taking immediate action to nip this one in the bud.  First, reintroduce the crate and move it into (or very near to) your bedroom.  Puppies can experience considerable anxiety if they are isolated from the rest of their "pack" at night, and anxiety can certainly contribute to accidents.  Moreover, by keeping your puppy close, you will be giving him the opportunity to alert you (just as he has learned to do during the day) should he really needs to go out.  You may get a bit less sleep the first few nights, but in the long run a crate will better encourage your puppy's good instincts than papers in the kitchen. That said, I suspect your puppy's diet and/or feeding schedule may also be thwarting his success. Two to three poops overnight is a lot, especially if he is having more bowel movements during the day.  Look to getting him on a more efficient diet, meaning one that provides more nutrition per serving while producing less waste.  A diet higher in animal protein and lower in fillers like cornmeal will produce fewer stools and be healthier as well.  Of course, the best quality foods may not be available at your local pet store, so look around and be prepared to spend a little more. Finally. Reexamine your puppy's meal schedule.  Try feeding his last meal significantly earlier in the evening, so he'll have more opportunity to expel it before bedtime.  Never leave food or water down overnight, and remember that the more strictly you keep to a regular feeding schedule, the more predictable and manageable your puppy's bathroom habits will become.
Ruth Anne Crisler
Chicago

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