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?
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.