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Alright, have a roughly 5 month-old puppy, got her about 3 months ago. Gets crated at night and whenever we're out, does fine with that, and although we usually have to lead her to the crate still (she's a little slow at learning commands...), she walks in on her own, we don't force her in (its funny, she sometimes tries to share our other dog's crate, instead of using her own.) Wonderfully, she is already capable of holding her pee overnight (most of the time, sometimes we get wake-up calls in the middle of the night). She always goes outside right before bed, runs right to the door in the morning (although that might be more because she has figured out she has to do that before she gets breakfast lol). But that's not the problem... she has recently decided that wake-up time is 5 to 5:30 in the morning, regardless of whether she got a mid-night potty break or not. My alarm goes off at 6AM everyday, we go to bed the same time every night. So I don't appreciate the half hour early puppy alarm clock ruining that last bit of my sleep.

I want her to learn that it's okay to let me know if she needs to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, but that it's not okay to whine if she just wants to play in the middle of the night, and that she doesn't get to decide wake-up time. But, I know that around that time she really does have to go to the bathroom, so I feel it would be cruel to ignore her when I get up at 6. I'm afraid I'm starting to teach her the routine of "I whine for 30 minutes, and then Mom comes and takes me outside and gives me breakfast".
So, I'm looking for advice on how to teach her that the whining part isn't necessary, that I will still come let her out, but that the day starts at 6, not 5 or 5:30. Is ignoring her really the best method in this case? Again, it really is time for her to pee, so I don't want to make her hold it too long. And if ignoring her is the answer, how long do I wait after she gets quiet before I let her out? As it is, as soon as she hears the bedroom door open, she shuts up and the only noise is just her tail banging the crate in excitement of saying good morning to me (more realistically, probably excitement for breakfast haha). I don't open her crate until she stands nicely and stops attacking the door. I can't just not open the bedroom door until she shuts up, because I have to start getting ready for class. (she's crated in the living room, btw)

Random unrelated observation... we used to have issues with our other dog with separation anxiety. Whenever we'd leave, he'd go into his crate, but then throw a royal fit (barking, whining, baying) as soon as the door shut behind us. Not a problem at night when we'd go to bed. He hasn't done that once since we brought the new one home. It's fantastic, a lot of our motivation for getting a second dog was for him to have a playmate for the times when we're really busy, and so far it seems to be working like a dream. He also hated being outside longer than necessary to pee/poop, because he wanted to be inside with us. The two of them now love playing in the (fenced) backyard, and sometimes don't want to even come back in! :)
 

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I know, even a 1/2 hour more of sleep seems so important! :)
What time do you feed her dinner? Do you limit her water in the evening? It's possible that you might be able to adjust her last feeding and water so that she doesn't need to go to the bathroom at 5 or 5:30, but can hold it til 6.

The other thing you can do, if you find it easy to go back to sleep: let her out when she needs it at 5, but then put her back in the crate, maybe with a favorite chew toy. My puppies will quietly chew on bully sticks for as long as we'd let them, so if we wanted to sleep longer than them, we would just put them back in the crates, with bully sticks.
:)
 
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