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How Long Can Puppies Hold Their Pee

↯ Key takeaway points

  • Puppies can hold their pee "one hour for every month of age"
  • Other factors can affect how long a puppy can hold its pee, including size, liquid intake, diet, house training, and overall health
  • Potty training is necessary to teach puppies how to control their bladder
  • Puppies can hold their pee at night longer than during the day
  • It is important to establish a schedule for bathroom breaks and to restrict liquid intake before bed to avoid accidents at night
A pet lover passionate about educating readers about animal health and care. Love reading studies and recent research.
Zoo and wildlife doctor in veterinary medicine passionate about animal welfare and preventive medicine.
Published on
Thursday 26 January 2023
Last updated on
Friday 2 June 2023
How Long Can Puppies Hold Their Pee
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Puppy ownership comes with a lot of responsibilities. One of the pet owners’ responsibilities is to know about their puppies’ peeing behavior and training measures. Including how long can puppies hold their pee, how to potty train them, how long can puppies hold their pee at night, and how often should they pee.  

How Long Can a Puppy Hold Its Pee

Puppies can hold their pee “one hour for every month of age.” With that, a 5-month-old puppy can maintain its pee for five hours. Once it goes beyond that, peeing accidents can already occur. However, aside from the puppies’ age, other factors can affect the number of times puppies can go without peeing.

These factors include size, liquid intake, diet, house training, and overall health.


AgeHours They Can Hold Their Pee
1 to 3 months oldOne to three hours
4 to 6 months oldFour to six hours
6 months to 7 years oldAround six hours
7 to 12 years old Around four to six hours 
12 years old and aboveAround two to four hours
Estimated time (hour) puppies can hold their pee.

As mentioned, age is one of the main factors influencing how long a puppy can hold its pee. The basic rule of thumb is they can hold their pee depending on their month of age. Thus,  a 1-month-old puppy can hold its pee for 1 hour — and so on. 

Adult dogs or older puppies can hold their pee for an average of six hours. But, remember that this amount of time might not apply to every dog. There are still factors that can affect their ability to control their pee. Moreover, senior dogs (7 years old and above) tend to hold their pee in a shorter time due to old age. 


Yes, a dog’s size can also determine how long it can hold its pee! Since small or toy-sized dogs have smaller bladders compared to big-sized dogs, they tend to hold their pee less because their bladders can only hold a small amount of pee.

However, note that this does not mean the big dogs are guaranteed to hold their pee for longer. Proper potty training is still necessary to teach them how to do it. 

Liquid Intake

Like humans, your dog’s liquid intake also affects its bathroom behavior. The more liquid they take, the more they need to pee. Moreover, a large domestic dog’s bladder has a capacity of 1.4 liters, or nearly the same volume as a large bottle of soda (Arnold, 2013) – thus, if they have a lot of liquid intakes, their bladder can be full easily. 

But, this does not imply that you should limit your dog’s liquid intake to make them hold its pee longer. Water is a crucial factor for your dog’s overall health, and the lack of it can cause major health problems. But you still need to watch whether they appear thirstier than normal. 

Type of Food

Concerning liquid intake, the type of food your dog consumes also affects its peeing behavior. Food or treats with a lot of moisture (like wet and raw dog food) can make your dog pee more. But, you do not need to worry about this since moisture from their diet contributes to hydration. 

Furthermore, moisture-rich foods help with digestion and can wash out bacteria and toxins that accumulate in your dog’s body, even if they may make them urinate a little more frequently. Dogs on a purely dry diet, like kibble, may urinate less, but it does not necessarily imply better health.

House Training

As mentioned, house training is crucial in estimating the time your puppy can hold its pee. 

The more frequently you take your pet outdoors to pee, the fewer accidents they will have inside. A puppy that has responsible owners who can prevent accidents is more likely to become housetrained because of more bladder control. Continue reading this article as we will discuss how you can potty train your puppy properly!

Overall Health

More frequent urine in pets can result from various medical issues. Diabetes, kidney stone troubles, urinary tract disorders, and even weight concerns may be contributing factors. Medications also have an impact. Some drugs may have a diuretic effect, which stimulates urinating more often.

We advise seeing your veterinarian if you are worried that your pet is urinating more frequently than usual. It can signify a medical problem that needs to be treated. 

How to Train Your Dog to Hold Its Pee?

Even though there is a certain period on how puppies and dogs can hold their pee, potty training is still required. Most of them do not know how to control their bladder. With that, here is how pet owners can safely potty train their dogs: 

  • Establish a schedule: Establishing a schedule will help your dog be more acquainted with withholding their pee since they know the right time to do it. For example, after they wake up in the morning, take them for a walk to pee. The same goes after their naps, playtime, and before their bedtime. 
  • Gentle training: You cannot avoid potty accidents, especially during their training period. With that, if you see your puppy accidentally peeing in a place where it should not, it is better to avoid punishing them. 
  • Giving rewards: Giving your dog some treats, rewards, or praise after a successful potty training motivates them more. According to Gerencsér, et al. (2018), domestic dogs can process material and social rewards.

But, we would like to remind you that always making your dog hold their pee for an extended period is not good for their health. It can cause future medical problems such as the following:

  • Incontinence: When a dog loses bladder control unintentionally, it is called urinary incontinence. Because of this psychological or medical condition, dogs cause small to large leaks indoors.
  • Urinary tract infections: When they go outside, dogs with urinary tract infections typically make frequent attempts to pee. Additionally, if having to pee hurts, they may struggle or scream out or complain.
  • Urinary cancer: You could notice that your dog urinates in little amounts, struggles to pee, or has potty accidents if they have bladder cancer. Urine that is stained or crimson and recurrent, treatment-resistant urinary tract infections are two additional signs and symptoms of bladder cancer.

How Long Can a Puppy Hold Its Pee at Night

It’s important to know how long puppies can hold their pee since they are often left unsupervised at night. Surprisingly, puppies can hold their pee longer at night than during the day! If your puppy has learned to sleep through the night, it won’t need as many potty breaks as it would during the day. This is because a puppy’s metabolism slows down, and it produces less urine at night. Typically, puppies can hold their bladder for 6 to 8 hours overnight.

However, this only applies to puppies who have learned to sleep through the night. To help your puppy hold its pee for longer at night, make sure to limit its liquid intake two hours before bedtime.

Additionally, it’s important to make sure your puppy has peed before going to bed.

How Often Should Puppies Pee

After learning about how long puppies can hold their pee and how to safely potty train them, let us now discuss the appropriate number of times a puppy should pee. Too much or too few bathroom breaks can signify medical problems. Thus, knowing about this topic will help you identify whether your puppy is healthy and well. 

After Meals

Take your puppy outside as soon as possible after eating, ideally between five to thirty minutes. As the puppy grows, it will develop bladder control and learn to hold it for greater periods every day. In addition, since puppies often have three to four meals a day, most will have bathroom breaks thereafter, so it is crucial to pay attention to this brief post-meal interval. 

Moreover, observe the puppy closely whenever it consumes water as well. Treat this like dinner, and then take them outside to use the restroom. Selecting a dog meal that digests smoothly and staying away from feeding two hours before night will assist.

After Playtime or Naps

A puppy will also need to pee after playing or taking a nap, among many other occasions. As soon as your puppy wakes up from their nap, ensure to take them outdoors. Similar to sleeping at night, their bladder might be full after napping. 

On the other hand, the stimulation of the digestive system while playtime may also make your dog feel the need to go pee. A puppy may give off apparently random cues that it needs to go outside, such as smelling the floor or carpet, racing to the door, or getting excited and dashing away from the family. Take your puppy outside to relieve himself as soon as you see any of these symptoms.

Before Bedtime

Lastly, a puppy should also urinate before its bedtime. With that, potty accidents at night can be avoided. Waking up your puppy in the middle of the night can also be avoided by practicing this peeing schedule. Moreover, along with this, you should also restrict liquid intake for around 2 hours before bedtime to ensure that they will be able to control their bladder while sleeping. 

How Long Can Puppies Hold Their Pee: FAQs 

Before we end this article, here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the topic “How long can puppies hold their pee?”:

How long can a 3-month-old puppy hold pee?

Since there is a general rule of thumb that puppies can hold their pee “one hour for every month of age”, a 3-month-old puppy can hold its pee for around three hours! However, you still need to train them how to hold it for that time because puppies initially do not know how to hold their pee. 

You can go back to our previous section about potty training your dog so you can be guided!

How long can 12 week old puppy hold pee at night?

Puppies that are under 5 months old are unable to contain their bladder overnight. They need to be awakened so they can go pee. Without it, they might result in their urinating against their will. An older puppy usually doesn’t need to be roused from sleep to go potty.

Should I wake my puppy up to pee at night?

You should not have to wake your puppy up at night to let them go potty or pee. Puppies can sleep through the night, as long as they had a pee break right before bed and were not given access to food or water more than two hours prior. 

However, there are certain instances for puppies aged 4 months and below when you might need to wake them up at least once a night to pee. With this, we recommend setting the alarm for 4 to 5 hours after your puppy’s bedtime.

Should I carry my puppy out to pee?

Yes, in some situations, carrying your puppy when they are out to pee is a good idea. Carrying them will help reinforce in your puppy’s mind that they need to go outside when peeing. Moreover, during the night, carrying them will help protect them from any stairs or steps. Especially since some puppies do not know how to use the stairs. You can also keep them away from dangerous areas and keep them safe while they are feeling sleepy. 

Should you put a puppy pad in a crate at night?

No, we do not recommend putting a pad in a crate at night. Never leave pee pads in your puppy’s kennel. In addition to being a chewing danger, it will begin to educate your puppy that it is okay to urinate in their crate. For your puppy’s long-term confinement spaces, pee pads can be utilized.

In conclusion, the time how long can puppies hold their pee varies on different factors such as age, size, liquid intake, diet, training, and overall health. However, even though there is an estimated time on how long can puppies go without peeing, pet owners still need to conduct proper potty training to teach their pets how to do it. Plus, we also do not recommend always making your puppy hold its pee for a long amount of time. It can cause future health problems and discomfort. 

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