Second-half goals from Matt Connolly and Anthony Pilkington completed the turnaround to lift the Bluebirds out of the Sky Bet Championship drop zone.
They trailed at the break after Ben Amos’ howler gifted Wolves the lead in the second minute – the Cardiff stopper failing to beat away Matt Doherty’s ferocious drive from distance.
But a delighted Warnock said: “We felt a bit sorry for ourselves with the goal. We were behind because of a goalkeeping error.
“It took us 10, 15 minutes after that where we could’ve lost the game. I just said to them ‘stop feeling sorry for yourselves, they are there to be beaten and if we play in the second-half, we can win the game’. That was the message.”
Doherty’s early goal was his second in as many games after netting in Wolves’ dramatic 4-4 draw against Fulham on Saturday.
But an emphatic 68th-minute header from Connolly breathed new life into a Cardiff team low on confidence.
The home side were booed off at the break and Warnock made a double substitution, bringing on Craig Noone and Kenneth Zohore in place of Lex Immers and Kieran Richardson.
And it was Zohore who teed up Pilkington for the winner four minutes from time to give their manager a crucial win.
He added: “I asked Pilkington if he could score a goal for us and he did! We deserved the win.
“Zohore was surprised by his performance, not me! It was do or die for him. I told him at the end ‘that’s what I want to see from you'”.
Meanwhile, Wolves boss Paul Lambert has only won one of his five games in charge since arriving in the Midlands last month.
Connolly’s equalising header came from a Peter Whittingham corner that Lambert reckons should not have been awarded.
He said: “I don’t think we did enough in the second-half, whether or not we deserved to lose it, I’m not so sure.
“I’ve looked at the tape and it wasn’t a corner. We had been coping really well with the corners and long throw-ins.”
Wolves are 20th in the table, and just two points from safety, but Lambert insists his young team have enough to stay clear of trouble.
He said: “It’s been an occurrence since August, being near the bottom.
“We’ve absolutely got enough to stay up. We’re a really good attacking side that needs a bit of experience.
“We’re a young team who will make mistakes, but we’ve certainly got a threat.”