Dog Waking You Up at Night To Poop? 10 Possible Explanations! (2024)

A Jack Russell terrier trying to wake up a young boy in bed.

Is your dog waking up to poop? It’s actually not that uncommon, though it’s quite annoying!

Either your dog will try and wake you up so they can go potty or you wake up early in the morning only to be greeted with a pile of poop. Neither is an appealing scenario. 

Why is my dog waking me up at night to poop? A dog may wake you at night to poop because of an upset stomach, eating too late at night, anxiety, a poor diet, old age, not given the chance to eliminate before bed, an inconsistent daily routine or a medical issue. Young puppies may also need to go at night as their systems are not yet mature.

If your puppy or adult dog is waking up during the night to go to the bathroom, before you can break the habit, you need to determine the cause.

That’s exactly what we’ll discuss in the following.

10 Reasons Why Your Dog Needs To Poop During the Night

There are a few reasons why your pooch might be pooping during the night. The best way to remedy that is to understand the underlying cause of this habit. 

1. Upset Stomach

An upset stomach happens to dogs for various reasons, like eating too much dog food or having a food allergy.

They could have eaten something from outside that has made them sick. A virus could also lead to upset tummies that need relief during the night.

2. Eating Evening Meal Too Late

Eating meals too late in the evening, whether you forgot to feed on time or your pup always has access to food, can result in dogs wanting to relieve themselves at night.

Overfeeding your dog is another reason for a dog waking up to poop.

3. Anxiety

Stress, fear, and anxiety can take both a physical and mental toll on your dog.

This can be due to any major change, such as a new home or a new pet. Separation anxiety can also be another factor. 

Dogs experiencing bouts of anxiety could be the reason why they need to “go” during the night.

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4. Poor-Quality Diet

A dog pooping at night could be a result of gastrointestinal problems due to cheap dog food – think low-cost dog food with high contents of corn and wheat.

This high-fiber but low-quality dog food increases your dog’s stool volume. Hence, he might need to defecate more often or even at night.

5. Old Age

As dogs get older, they tend to have health changes, and that can include being able to hold their bowels and bladder for a shorter amount of time.

Senior dogs will likely have less control over when and where they go than when they are in their younger dog years. 

6. Young Puppies Need To Go Often

If your dog is still a puppy, then expect him to not be able to hold his bladder and bowels as long as an adult dog.

Puppies need to relieve themselves often, and that could be the reason why your pup has to poop at night. 

7. Not Taken Outside Before Bed

According to most vets, dogs have their bowel movements around 15 to 30 minutes after a meal.

So, feeding them dinner just before bedtime and forgetting to take them outside will likely result in late-night pooping.

8. Not Given Sufficient Time To “Go”

Sometimes you are in a hurry and don’t want to wait 20 minutes while your dog finds just the right spot to go. 

Perhaps you send him outside to the back yard and don’t make sure he goes before letting him back inside.

Various similar scenarios are all too common, especially during the winter time when it’s miserable outside. but not giving them enough time to get it all out before bedtime can lead to pooping accidents at night.

9. Medical Issue

Dogs with medical issues or an illness might have less control over their pooping than normal. Parasites are a very common issue in dogs that can cause sudden poop problems.

Bacteria and viruses can also cause gastrointestinal symptoms.

Other medical problems that can cause your pup to experience urgency that can lead to nighttime accidents include:

  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Orthopedic conditions like arthritis
  • Liver disease
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Kidney stones

Generally, if your dog is pooping at night because of these issues, they are also likely to have accidents during the day. 

10. Poor or Inconsistent Daily Routine

Without proper and consistent house training and a well-established daily routine, it may take some time for your pup to stop the habit of pooping at night.

If this is the reason for late-night pooping, it is easily corrected. Decide upon a schedule for trips outside, mealtimes, playtimes, walks, and bedtimes, and then stick to it.

You’ll be amazed how quickly your dog adjusts and how much easier life is. 

When To Be Concerned About Your Dog Pooping at Night

A brindle French bulldog lying on a mat by the door with his leash.

If late-night pooping has suddenly started without any discernable reason or if your dog is having sudden diarrhea, it’s time to head to the vet.

Also, if this behavior is accompanied by any health symptoms or changes in behavior, it’s wise to have him checked by a vet.

How To Break the Habit

Now that you know the possible causes of your dog’s nighttime pooping habit, here are some tips on how to bring your dog’s potty schedule back to normal.

  • Establish Good Daily RoutineIntroduce a strict feeding/exercise/bathroom, and resist giving any nighttime snacks.
  • Have Vet Rule Out Medical IssuesIt’s always best to err on the side of caution, and finding any issues early can lead to a faster recovery.
  • Feed a High-Quality DietDry dog food should have at least 22% crude protein, and consider adding digestive boosters to help regulate their system.
  • Take Dog Out After Each Meal and Before BedA walk after each meal, especially after dinner, and before bedtime is often enough to resolve the issue.
  • Consider Crate TrainingIt will take some patience and time, but dogs won’t likely “go” where they enjoy sleeping.

Related Question:

Why Is My Dog Scared To Poop at Night?

One common cause of dogs getting scared to go potty outside at night is loud noises.

A previous frightening experience after dark could also make a dog hesitant to venture outdoors at night, even if he really needs to go.


You know your dog better than anyone else. Take the time to thoroughly evaluate your dog’s behavior and carefully consider his daily routine.

Chances are you’ll be able to quickly pinpoint the reason behind your dog waking up to poop so that you can take action to correct the issue.

Last update on 2024-06-23 at 10:40 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API