How Can I Get My Dog To Stop Peeing In Her Crate?

We often get puppy questions through our blog, email, and social media channels and recently received similar crate training questions several times over the past month.  The basic questions was “How Can I Get My Dog To Stop Peeing In Her Crate?”

Before we brought home our first puppy we read several books about how to train puppies.  We wanted to learn as much as we could about puppies before diving into puppy ownership.  Now over 8 years later we continue to read books about puppies and dog training.

We rescued Linus from the shelter, fostered dozens of puppies and dogs, raised 4 guide dog puppies, and puppy sat countless dogs and puppies.  Maybe we’re not experts, but we do think we know a little more than the average bear.

We get hundreds of questions every month about puppies, dogs, and training.  Over the years we’ve kept the answers in the comment section, but starting this year (2013) we’re going to highlight questions and answer it right here on the blog!  Our hope is to build a resource section and help answer some of the most common puppy training questions.

So without further adieu…

How Can I Get My Dog To Stop Peeing In Her Crate?

Crate Training Dublin
Dublin didn’t have any potty problems during crate training

We hear this question several times a month in it’s different variations.  Maybe your dog is peeing in her crate or maybe your dog is pooping in her crate either way your question is probably what can I do to get my dog to stop having accidents in her crate.

The original crate training question we received this week is below:


“Hi I am crate training my 9 week boxer puppy. She is peeing and pooing in the crate overnight and then whines to be let out. what should I do if she doesn’t cry when she has to go?”


You have to remember that a puppy as young as yours (around 9 weeks of age) probably does not yet have full control of her bladder.  She may not always know when she has to potty, but there are some things you can do in your situation.

Your goal is to not allow your puppy to potty in the crate anymore.  At some point in time she learned that it was okay to potty in the crate.  If she’s having accidents in the crate during the day and at night you need to make sure you reduce the amount of time she spends in the crate and over time incrementally extend the amount of time she spends in her crate.

Lets start off by speculating as to why your puppy is peeing/pooping in her crate.  There could be several reasons why a puppy has an accident while in crate:

  • Crate size is too big.  If you’re crate is too big then your puppy will often times use one side to potty (her bathroom) and the other side to sleep (her bedroom).  A crate should only be large enough for your puppy to stand up and turn around any bigger than that and you might have a few potty accidents.
  • Before you brought home your puppy she learned to potty in her crate.  In general puppies will not potty where they sleep, but there could be reasons why your puppy learned to do this before you brought her home.  If you bought from a pet store (please don’t buy from pet stores as the majority of these puppies come from puppy mills) your puppy probably learned to potty where she sleeps.  The same could be true if you purchased from an irresponsible breeder.  Responsible breeders will often times start potty training their pups before they go home with their new families.  If you adopted your puppy may have learned to potty in there kennel or other sleeping area.  You never really know, but sometime in her past she may have learned to potty in her crate.
  • She has a bladder infection or some kind of health issue.  A trip to the veterinarian may be in order.  You might want to consider this as an option if your puppy is having unusual potty accidents.

Basic Crate And Potty Training

Make sure you read through these two articles:

Since your puppy is peeing/pooping in the crate overnight without any whining to alert you then you should consider setting your alarm clock 2-3 times spread out through the night, wake up, take your puppy to her potty spot, have her potty, then take her right back to bed.

Another thing you should do to help avoid future puppy potty accidents in crate is thoroughly wash your crate using an enzymatic cleaner like Nature’s Miracle (aff link).  Puppies like to potty in the same place where they went before.  If she can smell the urine in the crate then she might go there again.  Moving forward, anytime she has an accident make sure you thoroughly clean the crate again.

If you’re putting blankets or towels in the crate I would consider removing these.  Puppies usually like going potty on soft surfaces as opposed to hard surfaces.

As mentioned earlier make sure you have the right size crate.  If you bought a large crate to allow your puppy to grow into it I would either purchase a smaller, proper sized crate or use a divider to make the crate the correct size.

Keep your puppy on a consistent feeding schedule.  Try to make sure you feed your puppy at the same times every day.  You’ll notice a consistent feeding schedule = a consistent potty schedule.

You should start keeping a daily puppy potty schedule to keep track of every time your puppy pees, poops, eats, and drinks water.  You’ll notice that your puppy is very predictable as to when she potties in relation to the times she eats, drinks, plays, etc.

Make sure you feed your puppy at least a couple hours before you put her to bed for the night.

Make sure you take your puppy out to potty (and make sure she goes) right before you put her in her crate for the night.

Talk To Your Veterinarian And Local Dog Trainer

It’s always a good idea to speak with your local professionals.  If you don’t already have a local veterinarian or dog trainer then you should start doing some research to find some good ones in your area.  Having a good vet and trainer will be a great resource for you and your dog today and in the future.

You should also consider enrolling in a puppy kindergarten which will give you a chance to socialize your puppy, learn basic obedience, and have a professional dog trainer to ask questions.  Not only that, but you’ll find that you may be experiencing similar frustrations with your puppy as others in the group.  It always feels better when you realize that you are not the only one experiencing these puppy training and behavior problems

I hope this helps to answer your puppy training question.

What about everyone else out there?  Have you had any problems with your crate training?  Did your puppy used to potty in her crate?  If so, tell us what you did to solve the problem.


  1. Allison says

    I always thought having a big crate would be better for the dogs so they can run around and not be cramped, but it makes sense to have a smaller crate if they are only in there to sleep. I guess it’s the same as having a huge bedroom…not necessary if all you’re going to do in there is sleep. Thanks Colby!

    • says

      If you’re working on conventional crate training with your puppy then you want to make sure the size of your crate fits the size of your pup otherwise he may potty on one side and sleep on the other.

  2. says

    You won’t like this answer. :-)

    I heard puppies can only hold it an hour for every month old they are. (A 2 month old puppy can hold for up to 2 hours) when we got Sampson we knew he was going to be a big dog, so we bought a big crate. His blanket was in the back of the crate and I put newspaper for him to potty on in the front.

    As he got older, I put less and less newspaper in the crate, once he stopped pottying on the paper I took it out.

    That was the advice I was given at the time and it worked for us.

    • says

      Hi Jodi,

      I’ve heard the same thing about pups being able to hold their bladder about an hour for every month.

      If that method of crate training worked for you then I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. In my mind your method of crate training would be similar to using an X-Pen to contain your puppy in a specific area like the kitchen and put paper or potty pads down inside the X-Pen. Puppy will potty in one area and sleep/play in another.

      Every situation is different and my answer is definitely not the only one. I appreciate everyone sharing their experiences so we all have a better understanding of how to better raise and train our puppies and dogs.


    • Donna Theniger says

      Hi my obi is a springer special he will b 1 on the 21/01/2015 he still wees what is your advice on it x.

  3. says

    When I got my lab he had a couple of accidents in his crate the first few weeks and it was just as you mentioned – he was too young to hold it overnight. I got up in the middle of the night for a few weeks and took him out and the problem was solved. They grow fast and it didn’t take long before he could go all night with no accidents. It took until about 6 months before he would vocalize wanting to go out but I noticed that he would try to tell me by hovering or sitting by the door from as early as 9 weeks old. If your puppy isn’t vocal right away then you will definitely have to be extra vigilant overnight as you won’t see their physical cues to go out.

    • says

      Hi Melissa,

      Thank you for sharing your story. I usually notice my pup’s hovering around the front door at around the same age. Puppies are pretty smart and figure out where they are supposed to potty very quickly. The only problem is pups don’t have much bladder control at 9 weeks and if you don’t see their signal they will have an accident in the house.

      If you’re working on potty training your puppy it’s definitely a good idea to keep a close eye on your pup when he’s in the house.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Jessica Sala says

    We regulated the water and food and kept an eye on them after they would eat and/or drink. With such little bladders, they can only hold it for so long of a time. We’d wait about a half hour and take them outside. If they didn’t go at that point we’d take them out every 10 minutes until they went. They got the idea very quickly and accidents were few and far between.

    • Chrissy says

      We learned quickly that it was us, the humans, that needed the training. I always feel bad when Lily (2 mos old) has an accident because I either missed the signs or lost track of time. We too had to learn to be consistent and find the more diligent we are sticking to a schedule, the quicker she progresses. We ALWAYS take her out immediately when she wakes up including naps, and every 2 hours. She has an accident every once in awhile after playing with Levi, but we are learning her signs of sniffing but it takes constant observation. We never leave her out if our site. We also keep a bell hanging on the door and ring it every time we take her out. Eventually she will learn to ring the bell when she needs to go out as Levi does today. Good luck!!

  5. Marjorie Ray says

    We never had this problem, although Abbey is vocal and would whine to wake me up to take her out. 2 or 3 times a night when she was little, got down to once a night and now is rare. (she is 7 months) No dawdling, no playing no loving. Just do your business and get back to bed.

  6. says

    Hi Colby

    Great advice!! I never wanted to pee in my crate, I just wanted to get out, it took me a while to convince Mum and Dad I didn’t need a crate, but I got there in the end – Tee Hee

    Hope you’re having a fun day :)

    Your pal Snoopy :)

    • says

      Hi Snoopy!

      Good job convincing Mum and Dad to let you out of the crate. All of our guide dog pups have to learn to use the crate and in the end they love it. Linus still goes in his crate just to hang out. I don’t think I’ve closed the door to his crate in several years.

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • says

      Hi Jessica!

      I get so many questions from my readers I’m not sure why I didn’t do this long ago. I’d have to agree with you on your assessment of Chester and his accidents in his crate.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  7. says

    As a pet sitter that specialized in pets with behavioral problems, medical needs & senior pets, ( ) I see crate training done improperly A LOT!! A crate is supposed to be a puppy/dogs safe haven. Not a form of punishment. I see many pet owners who are under the assumption that their dog can only hold it for 2-4 hours. REALLY!? they never give the dog a change to grow & Strengthen their bladder muscles. EXCELLENT article! Lots of great information!

    • says

      Thanks Shannon! We crate train all of our guide dog puppies. It’s definitely a great way to potty train. Even today my 6 and 8 year old dogs will go into their crate on their own just to take a nap.

  8. says

    Hi Colby,

    I used to have this problem with my dog, and just when I was about to throw in the towel out of frustration, a neighbor told me to take her to the vet. I found out that she had a bladder infection which got promptly treated by antibiotics and fluids. Sometimes, the problem isn’t behavioral so guys might want to pay attention to that. Great blog!


    • says

      Thanks Alana for sharing your experiences. Yep, every once in a while it isn’t a behavioral issue and your pup could just have a bladder infection. I’m glad yours is doing better now after getting treatment from your vet.

  9. Ashley says

    My pup just turned 10 weeks yesterday. He does go when ever I take him outside. I feed him twice a day as far as his feeding schedule goes. Maybe I’m still not taking him out enough because he still pees inside, without warning. He only sniffs around when he needs to go poop. I bought a potty patch to try to help catch those “accidents”. Do you think that’s hurting the situation?

  10. says

    If your dog is having accidents in your crate you should also consider a waterproof, washable crate pad so that you can eliminate any odors that may be triggering your dog’s urges. At Teton Dog we sell a crate pad that is 100% waterproof with a removable cover that you can wash in HOT water to eliminate any trace of urine, as well as allow you to sterilize the cover to help reduce infections

  11. Elizabeth says

    My eight year old Miniature Pinscher is driving me insane and to tears. About a year ago he started peeing in his crate, not a lot, just as if he were marking. I wouldn’t notice because the smell was never strong enough to sense and there weren’t signs because he was always going potty before and after being in his crate. Lately, he has been doing it so often I honestly feel like giving HIM up. I removed his blanket a couple weeks ago because he would soil it immediately. He receives more attention and affection than he has ever before, so I don’t think he is upset or jealous. I have had him since a pup, he has done this before, he stopped on his own up until this last year. My boyfriend is starting to think that he just likes one to two baths a day and an extremely clean crate. I’m at the highest level possible of frustration and really need help. He only does this when we leave, even for twenty minutes, or during the night he will whine- we let him out- he pees in the bathroom.

    • says

      We’ve had puppies with get bladder infections which makes it difficult for them to control their bladder. Also, as dogs get older they may have more difficulty holding it. Finally, we’ve also seen dogs have bladder problems when experiencing separation anxiety. Hopefully that helps. Good luck with your training!

  12. Kirsty Stubley says

    We have an 11 week old Golden Retriever who we’ve had for 5 days now. We’ve been trying to crate train her, which has been going well at night time. However, the day time is going badly when she is being left on her own. It seems her natural response when she’s anxious is to poop and wee, and then because she gets so worked up, she tramples it everywhere and gets completely covered. This is usually within the first 5-10 minutes of being shut in her crate. Instead, I’ve had to allow her roam of the kitchen with her crate to go to sleep in, but she still poops and wee’s when she’s left alone – though less trampling occurs because she’s evacuating on the puppy pads on the other side of the kitchen. She’s only left on her own for a max of 2-2.5 hours at at a time

    I don’t know what else we can do to try and encourage her to go before we have to shut her away. We take her outside as soon as she’s awake, we take her outside before we leave her, we take her outside after she’s had a play, we take her outside shortly after she’s eaten, and we take her outside whenever we think it might have been a little while since she went outside. Sometimes she poops and wee’s outside, and we shower her with praise for doing it, but sometimes she decides she doesn’t want to do it outside, will come inside and then promptly do her business in the house!

    I read the part of your blog that said “Make sure you take your puppy out to potty (and make sure she goes) right before you put her in her crate for the night.”
    But how do I make sure she goes? I’ve spent up to an hour outside with her, and sometimes she just refuses to do anything but nibble on grass and deweed the patio, but then as soon as I take her indoors, she poops or wee’s in there instead!

    Any suggestions?!

  13. says

    Hi Colby! I have a 6 month old boxer still peeing in its crate. We’ve not done most of this stuff but some. His name is tucker. He’s good in the house; not in the crate. We have 2 of them, 1 of them Is to big for him. The other is to small, what would we do with a puppy in a to small of a cage?

  14. Diva says

    Hello, my boys are 7 and 5 years old. Their. Names are Bronx and Harlem. Bronx is doing well with not soiling his kennel but Harlem is doing it daily. And has from day one. I have had them both since they were 8 weeks old. Should I make his space smaller in the kennel? I would love to leave them out at night or even when we work but they both would not only chew up everything in site Bronx would poop in the house.
    Thanks Diva

  15. Twana says

    I have a boxer that is 18 weeks old now. I’ve had her since she was 6 weeks old. I am handicap & in basic training right now. She has just been registered for Emotional Support Dog. I can’t get her to stop peeing & popping in her cage. she had a bladder infection, I have her on antibiotics, but this was happening well before. HELP!!

  16. ashley says

    We just got an 8 wk goldendoodle male about a week ago. He doesnt seem to mind his crate, but consistently has potty accidents in the crate. I bring him out at regular intervals, I set the time for 20min after he eats, plats, etc. He will go potty and poo almost everytime he goes outside which is great. However, 5-10 min later or at random intervals, he will piddle again. One time, he piddled 3 times in a 20 min time. Is he marking his territory. Theres no warning when he has piddle accidents, and he hasnt pooped in the house yet.

    • says

      Congratulations on your new puppy! 8 week old puppies don’t have the best bladder control. It’s not uncommon for them to potty several times in a short time frame or to potty once outside then come right back in the house and potty again. Good luck with your training!

  17. says

    Hello, We have a 10 month old Viszla who is trained to go potty outside however, our problem is while he is crated during the day. After an 8 hour day – as we approach the kennel to let him out – he starts to urinate. We have tried everything and just don’t get it.

    We do not speak while approaching, we try to move the kennel near the door so when we open the door – out he goes. And he still manages to urinate on the way.

    Do you have any suggestions, or is this a common behavior? We’ve raised Weimaraner’s, and small dogs and never experienced this before.

    We are tired of always having to face the big clean up upon arrival and always having to launder the towel that resides in his kennel.

    Signed, frustrated Mom ;-)

    • says

      Eight hours in the crate during the day is a long time for a lot of puppies/dogs. For instance, my dog Linus can easily last 8 hours without having an accident in the house. In fact I don’t think Linus would have an accident in 24+ hours. On the other hand 8 hours for my other dog, Stetson is stretching it. If I leave him for more than 8 hours I’m definitely risking an accident. The point is every dog will be different. Some have rock solid bladders while others do not.

  18. Letynjay says


    We have a 9 week old goldendoodle and love him to pieces. His name is Buddy. I’m not sure why he is having accidents in the crate during the day. We believe it was the blanket that he pee on so we removed it. Thought it worked but we felt the hard surface in crate was not homie so we put a tee shirt in there. Well he pee on the shirt. During the night we take him out every two hours and he does a good job with going in the yard. Could it also be that he doesn’t like us leaving?? seperation anxiety?? Oh no, does my puppy need a psychologist?? Any advise would be appreciated. :-)

    • says

      Congratulations on your new puppy! I would try keeping the blanket/shirt out of the kennel when you leave your puppy home alone and make sure you have the proper sized crate. Also, make sure you’re not leaving your puppy in the crate too long during the day. A 9 week old puppy shouldn’t be in the crate more than 2-3 hours during the day time. Hopefully that helps. Good luck with your training!

  19. JacquI Miranda says

    Hi thanks for your article. We have a 5 month male dachshund puppy. After over a month of having him we have finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel with getting him to pee and poop outside -he now waits by the door if he needs to go. But we still have accidents when there’s chaos in the house (we have 3 toddlers).

    My question is how to stop him peeing in his bed at night. I think he just does it while he sleeps. As I don’t hear anything -he sleeps in his bed by our bed.

    We didn’t have this problem before started leaving him in his crate when we would leave for errands and such and he would stay home. Sometimes for a good 5 hours. Of course he couldn’t hold and would pee in there. We had to do that because the little pen area we would leave him in would turn into the most horrible mess to come back to to clean because he would go and run around frantic in it. Keeping him in the crate solved the mess issue and he’s a lot calmer.

    BUT now he pees at night. Because he sleeps in the crate too. I recently changed him sleeping in his bed in the crate at night to just his bed in the hopes it would stop the habit but it hasn’t. I know his bladder is small but he used to hold it for a good portion of the night before so I know he can. I also know he hasnt been getting up at night because I can hear him. I’ve been waking up to take him out throughout the night but it’s not helping.

    It appears he just pees while he sleeps. The bottom of his bed is all wet underneath while the top where he is is all warm and dry and again he’s not getting up.

    Thoughts? The washing and cleaning is getting very frustrating.

    • says

      If he’s peeing in his sleep then he may have a bladder infection. You might want to take him in for examination with your veterinarian.

  20. Ed says

    Hi, I just got two shih tzu/daschund mix puppies(14 weeks old) and we have them share a 36 inch crate. Both of them are about 9lbs. Is this crate sharing ok or do you think is better to keep them separate?

  21. kathy smith says

    I have a 6 month old Brittany, Hannah, who doesn’t potty in her crate. I now took over caring for her sister, Lilly, since her owner works 12 hour shifts. I am trying with no success, to get Lilly to not potty in her crate. I have tried everything mentioned in above posts and more, nothing works. She potties in her crate soon after I bring her in and she has pottied outside minutes before. I have had her at the vet to make sure it’s not medical. Vet said yesterday, maybe it’s anxiety… I need help!! Lilly’s a great little dog, just like her Hannah, who isn’t perfect. Hannah potties mostly outside but if she does inside, it’s on the puppy pad. Did I mention Lilly also potties on the rug and or floor if she’s not in her crate? HELP!!!!!!!

  22. Honeybear's Mum says

    Hi, my 5 month old puppy Honeybear is very slowly getting the hang of toilet training, but she always poops and pees on the puppy pads I have laid down by the door in the night. I put her to bed at about 10:30pm, and take her out in the morning between 8:30am and 9:30 am – is that too long?

    How do I get her to hold it in throughout the night without going back to locking her in her crate all night?? I feel terrible doing that to her.

    I don’t want to leave her doggy flap open all night because there are dog nappers in the area and possums that can be quite aggressive.

    Thanks so much for any help!!

    • says

      Every puppy is going to be a little different, but we usually wait until our puppies are closer to a year old before we gradually start allowing them to sleep outside of the crate at night. Good luck with your training!

  23. says

    @Ed, we keep our puppies in separate crates when crate training. Good luck with your training!

    @kathy smith, it is possible that Lily is having anxiety. You might consider having a professional dog trainer coming by for an in-home evaluation. Our Linus has some anxiety and we’ve had some success with the Thundershirt.

    You also might try taking a step back and start working on potty training from the very beginning:

    Best of luck with your training!

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