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Hello everyone! I’m so happy to have discovered this helpful site. I’m raising a puppy for the first time (in my adult life) and am completely new to poodles. Our mini “Fuzzy” joined our family at 8 weeks, he is now 20 weeks. Most things are going well. He is sweet, affectionate, playful, friendly and very attached to our family (mom, dad, 7 year old boy) and healthy/growing well. He is a chewer, so has to be monitored or confined for safety. I’m posting because we have a unique set up and are having problems with potty training and sleeping and I’m hoping folks here can share some advice. We live in an elevated ranch home, so for ease/simplicity we have placed two artificial grass pads on our deck just outside a sliding door. For the past two weeks Fuzzy seems to have finally gotten it, and even rings a bell we have hanging to let us know he needs to go out. (The only challenge now is he also rings it just to take a quick walk around the deck and bark at some leaves 😄). For sleeping, he is in a bedroom by himself, in a soft crate with the door open and inside a pen. The crate/pen combo is what his breeder recommended and it was the only room we had the space for it (actually had to dissemble my son’s bed to make space). He also has two pee pads on trays in his pen that he had been using regularly at night, and even occasionally when the weather has been very bad outside. We leave the pen open during the day, so he has free access to those pads and his crate anytime. He had also been napping in there (I would place him there twice a day to ensure good naps). But in the last couple weeks, he has stopped sleeping there. He cries and howls if we place him there, and prefers to nap around the living room. He sleeps, but not for long stretches like before. The worst part is he now refuses to sleep at night in there. We put him down when everyone goes to sleep (as we always have) and anywhere from 10 minutes to 3 hours later he wakes up crying and howling. We’ve been getting up and tending to him, letting him out to the deck, but then he wants to play and cuddle for an hour or more before going back to sleep, and sometimes it happens 2/3 times per night. We were thinking/hoping it was a phase, but it’s gone on so long now and everyone goes back to school/work next week... I am a SAHM and my son is doing distance learning so Fuzzy is rarely alone during the day. I think part of it is he needs to go potty and no longer likes to poop in his pen (he still has 1-2 bowel movements per night, and they’ve gotten pretty stinky)) and part of it is he’s lonely (from everything I’ve read about having poodles sleep in the same room). But since we can’t fit the pen in our room, and he’s never slept with the crate door closed, we can’t figure out how to safely and comfortably let him sleep in our room. We’ve tried a couple set ups with him (just briefly, not overnight) and all he wants is to get in the bed with us, which is not an option (my son already sleeps with us, so the bed is already crowded). He also needs a larger crate as he’s gotten too tall for the one we have, which I will replace in the next couple days. So we’re struggling with trying to find a way for him to sleep in our room, but where/how does he go potty, and how do we confine him, and how do we deal with him wanting to be on the bed? Or, do we make some changes in his current room to make him comfortable there again? I’d love to get to the point where he could sleep in our room not contained, and he would just get up and go to a pad on his own in the other room (just next to ours) when he needs to. Remember that if he wakes me up while in the same room he’ll also wake up my son. Am I expecting too much? Any advice is much appreciated. TIA!
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He’s such a cute boy. Welcome. :)

Peggy would not like to sleep that close to her toilet. I would get Fuzzy on a proper outdoor potty schedule, preemptively waking him up in the middle of the night to go outside and then slowly pushing that time towards morning until he’s sleeping through the night.

I would also address his diet, as overly stinky poops can indicate digestive issues. And ensure he’s getting adequate exercise during the day to stimulate his bowels at appropriate times.

Most pressingly, I would get him a comfortable crate today. Every day that passes with a crate that doesn’t properly fit him, he’s learning not to like it in there.

With the new crate, you can hit a “reset button” and teach him to love it so he can sleep in your room with the crate door closed.
 

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He’s such a cute boy. Welcome. :)

Peggy would not like to sleep that close to her toilet. I would get Fuzzy on a proper outdoor potty schedule, preemptively waking him up in the middle of the night to go outside and then slowly pushing that time towards morning until he’s sleeping through the night.

I would also address his diet, as overly stinky poops can indicate digestive issues. And ensure he’s getting adequate exercise during the day to stimulate his bowels at appropriate times.

Most pressingly, I would get him a comfortable crate today. Every day that passes with a crate that doesn’t properly fit him, he’s learning not to like it in there.

With the new crate, you can hit a “reset button” and teach him to love it so he can sleep in your room with the crate door closed.
Thank you for your advice. Unfortunately the soonest I can get a new crate is Sunday. We can wing it till then I guess. But just to clarify, you suggest putting him in the new crate in our room with the crate door closed? And I preemptively wake him and take him out to potty? How long do you think till he’s “sleeping through the night”? And for how many hours would that be? We were resolved to using the potty pads long term since the breeder said he’d likely never last more 5-6 hours without needing to at least pee with his small bladder, so I don’t want to train him off of those if that will be the case long term.
 

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Thank you for your advice. Unfortunately the soonest I can get a new crate is Sunday. We can wing it till then I guess. But just to clarify, you suggest putting him in the new crate in our room with the crate door closed? And I preemptively wake him and take him out to potty? How long do you think till he’s “sleeping through the night”? And for how many hours would that be? We were resolved to using the potty pads long term since the breeder said he’d likely never last more 5-6 hours without needing to at least pee with his small bladder, so I don’t want to train him off of those if that will be the case long term.
Fuzzy is a miniature poodle? I don’t want to undermine them, as I assume they know what they’re doing, but I’m a little confused by your breeder’s advice. Every individual is different, but I’ve never heard of a healthy adult dog that can’t hold their bladder and bowels through the night. My minipoo mix was 10.5 lbs at maturity and, aside from a few bad bouts of diarrhea, never soiled at night until she was well into her senior years. I used a dog walker if she had to be left a long time during the day, but that was only for her comfort. She would have held it if necessary.

Even if you do decide to use potty pads for the rest of Fuzzy’s life, he should still be able to sleep through the night (8-12 hours, depending on your routine/lifestyle). When a puppy reaches this stage will vary.

I like using the preemptive middle-of-the-night potty method because it teaches the puppy that the humans wake the puppy, not the other way around. The key is that he should always be quiet and sleepy when you take him from the crate for potty. If he’s already up and restless, you’ve waited too long.
 

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Hi and Welcome to you, your family and adorable Fuzzy!

I'm on miniature poodles numbers 6 and 7, tho my memories are a bit sketchy back any further than no's 3 and 4 :).

I agree with PTP and I have questions and comments for you. There may be a bunch as you're covering a lot of ground. This is good :).

the breeder said he’d likely never last more 5-6 hours without needing to at least pee with his small bladder
Did the breeder clarify what they meant by small bladder? Were they suggesting a health issue, possibly genetic? I also don't mean to sound disparaging but I can think of no other reason for a knowledgeable breeder to suggest to a family that a miniature poodle would not ever be able to go more than 5-6 hours without needing to urinate, especially overnight, as he matures.
Possibly this was a miscommunication? It's true that it's better for them to not have to wait any longer than 5-6 hours after they mature, but sleeping thru the night eventually is normal. My boys have slept from 11:30p til 9am without accidents since they were 6-7 months old.
6 months is pretty commonly given as the age their neuromuscular system is mature enough to not only recognize the urge to go but also to hold it, at least long enough to signal to their people that the time to go is now.

At his current age, he should be near to if not fully sleeping thru the night, depending on how long his night is.
He may just be used to getting up and going to the pads but I lean towards thinking that he's not sleeping comfortably which may cause him to wake easily.


Do you have him on a fairly regular schedule, sleep, meals, napping, playing, training, exercising?
Still pooping 1-2 times a night is unusual at his age. What time is his last meal, what time is his last out, what time does he go to sleep and wake up? It's not clear whether this is just habit or a possible health issue.

The crate and pen setup is wonderful for his age to keep him out of trouble in the living area but shouldn't both be needed for overnight at his age.

Does he have free rein during the daytime or is he either in his pen or under supervision?

Have you done crate training games with him? Crates are not necessarily natural for dogs, that's something of a misconception, but it is important for him to learn to be comfortable in it for reasons beyond sleeping.

Would there be room for just the crate in your bedroom, if he learns to be comfortable in it?
My boys each have their own condo, 24"l by 18"w by 17" high. What size crate is Fuzzy in now, and do you have an idea of his height at his shoulders? He may not need a taller crate since crates aren't intended for a standing dog, but does he have enough room to stretch out if he chooses? Mine actually curl up into little poodle balls when in their condos, and I have a heated dog pad under their condo's to keep the floor chill from seeping thru.

Poodles are definitely attached to their people. Not everyone does, but I've always preferred to have my pups sleep in the same room, for different reasons as they get older. They're in their condo's while DH and I are sleeping but after DH gets up, they stay with him a bit downstairs, then come and nap some more with me.

These immediate issues all seem to have a common element, sleep, but it's impossible to tell atm whether one factor is primary or they all play fairly equal parts.

He's not (yet) sleeping more than a few hours, or has stopped if he was.
He's getting up to poop usually 1-2 times a night.
He cries now when in his pen instead of going to sleep.
He tries very hard to keep his people with him once he does get up.

This might not be important but can you remember which of these behaviors started first?

I'm in a split level so I feel half your pain about taking a pup outside, especially at night when everybody is sleepy.

If it turns out that there's no reason not to, would you prefer at some point to have him eliminating outside in the daytime once he's sleeping thru the night?
 

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I would keep a diary for puppy - write down time when he wakes up, outside (for how long before he pottys), breakfast, train a bit, play, outside, lunch, dinner etc.etc. The diary will help you to understand his schedule - then you can adapt it to your schedule make changes and see if they work, etc. Don't expect too much for young puppy.
 

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At 20 weeks, he should be able to hold both his bowel and his bladder through the night. A hundred years ago (aka "in 2019") we stopped doing middle of the night potty runs several weeks before that. Our guy would be sleepy and reluctant to get up and then would want to play rather than pee, so it was obvious that he no longer needed the break. He never once peed in a crate and had his last (daytime) indoor accidents at just about exactly 20 weeks. If it were me, I would get him the full size crate and have him sleep in it with the door closed like a big boy.
 

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There certainly is a lot to cover, and some good answers here already. My answer will be long. I’m also very tired so it will be less organized than I’d like, haha.

The first thing I want to mention. You’ve noticed a change in his bowel movements. Twice during the night seems to be a lot to me. Has he always pooped twice a night? Besides being stinky, are the poops less formed and more mushy? If so, it might be worth a call to the vet to ask about dropping off a poop sample for testing.


I think having him sleep in a properly sized crate with the door closed is best. No potty pads in it. The goal is to get him sleeping through the night, and he can!

When you get a bigger crate, follow this measurement guide. Fuzzy still has growing to do, so you’ll have to add more than the recommended measurements below. Do you know how much the breeder thinks he’ll weigh as an adult? Don’t buy a crate based on weight since poodles have long, skinny proportions, but it will help give an idea. You’d be surprised how much crate you need, you want to buy one big enough for his adult size. I’d like to help you find one! Getting him comfortable with sleeping in a closed crate is a great skill for dogs to have, it also makes trips to the vet and groomers less stressful.

to measure for the crate minimum size:

To make things easier for you, you can have your dog stand against a wall. This way, you can mark the measurements and get out the measuring tape after. To make the marks, be sure to use something that rubs off after, like chalk or lightly mark with a pencil. Or just have your partner hold him semi still/feed treats and use a stiff measuring tape.

length: standing on all four paws, measure from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail. If his tail is docked, add a couple inches.

height: in a sitting position, measure from the floor to the tallest point of the head or ears, whichever is tallest. Then add 4 inches.

the width isn’t important as it will be proportional to the height and length you need.

The biggest size that fits your space is always better if youre choosing between sizes. A wire crate with a divider is best to customize his sleeping space as he grows. If he doesn’t have any accidents in his crate then he can have all the extra space.


If you’re not already, use a simple fleece blanket or a towel to provide cushioning in the crate. I like fleece better because it’s not stringy if chewed. Provides softness and cushion but no dangerous filling if he chews it up. Easy to launder.

Get a bowl that you can attach to the inside of the wire crate so Fuzzy can have water available during the night but won’t get spilled or take up floor space. It is miserable for dogs (and humans) to try and sleep when they’re thirsty! Mine has always taken her biggest drink right at bedtime. He needs 24/7 access to fresh water for his physical and mental well being. Breeders and vets will suggest otherwise, but they’re wrong.

You could certainly try keeping the crate in your bedroom. I would do that if possible. It’s a reassurance for him, even if it doesn’t seem like it at first. Be aware that there will be a retraining period that will likely be weeks before he’s not crying and sleeping all night. He’s learned that crying means he gets to come out of his crate and get attention from his humans. It’s going to take both persistence and firmness.

Like PeggyTheParti mentioned, try setting an alarm to get him up before he wakes you up and then setting the time back later as time goes on. Put a leash on him, carry him to his potty spot on the deck(if you can carry him), give him time to do any business, then immediately back to the crate. No talking to him, cuddles or play.
He should only need 1 time out to potty during the night while you get him trained, assuming he’s not having mushy pops/diarrhea. physically, as long as he doesn’t have any illness going on, he should be able to hold his pee and poop for 8 hours now. But needs time to be trained not to wake you up.
Ignore any barking or whining. He has to settle in the crate, especially that first hour. The crate door doesn’t open if he’s fussing. He will learn that crying doesn’t mean he gets to leave his crate. I wouldn’t expect him to be able to be reliably loose in the bedroom until he’s closer to a year old. Otherwise you run the risk of him pottying on the floor or chewing things he shouldn’t be. He might also develop the habit of jumping up on the bed.



as far as him crying when you try to put him in the pen for naps during the day, I can’t much speak to that. He may just be getting more attached to you now so he cries. I’m not sure.
He’s also a little older so he’s going to be more resistant to naps because he has more energy than he did before. He still needs those naps :) More naps of shorter duration if he’s not sleeping for long stretches. I wonder if having his ex pen in the main living area in your line of sight would help him nap?

A mix of a little tough love and positive reinforcement training with treats is good. tough love meaning not giving into his demands if he’s throwing a tantrum.
Also, knowing that the training progress wouldn’t be linear. Sometimes he will go 2 steps backwards during training, and that’s totally normal.

I kept my ex pen (with attached crate, open) in the main living area, where I completely ignored my Lacey if she whined/barked at me. Eventually she’d just have to nap. At bedtime after pottying I’d close her in the crate and go sleep upstairs in the bedroom. She’d cry for the first 15-30 minutes for 10 days. But the first 7 days I had slept in her sight on the living room couch.
Once I could fully trust her not to pee on my mattress (6 months old) I started letting her sleep with me in bed most nights. Only because I have the bed space and she doesn’t disturb me.
I still put her in her crate to sleep sometimes because I don’t want her to lose that skill.

Ok, I’ll stop now. Welcome to poodle forum. Fuzzy is such a cutie! I hope more pics are to come.
 
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