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

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How can I get my puppy to stop peeing in her crate?
How can I get my puppy to stop peeing in her crate?

We often get puppy questions through our blog, email, and social media channels and recently we’ve been receiving the same crate training questions over and over again.  The basic question we’ve been getting is “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.

One of our favorite books that we suggest for any new puppy parent read is Puppies for Dummies. In fact, Puppies for Dummies was the first book I read before bringing Linus home from the Carson Animal Shelter.

We wanted to learn as much as we could about puppies before diving into puppy ownership.

Now 10+ years later we continue to read books about puppies and dog training. It might be a good time to put together a list of our favorite puppy training books…stay tuned.

We rescued Linus from the shelter, fostered dozens of puppies and dogs, raised 11 guide and service 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 puppy dog training. 🙂

Over the years we’ve kept the answers in the comment section, but starting this year 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.

QUICK ACCESS: If you’re having puppy training problems then you should join our Puppy Training Tips email list and get instant access to our New Puppy Owner Checklist PDF. To get started CLICK HERE.

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 in one way or another:

“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:

Question

“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?”

Answer:

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. If you’re looking for a crate we recommend the MidWest Life Stages Double Door Crate which has a divider allowing you to adjust the size of your crate as your puppy grows.
  • 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 clean your crate using an enzymatic cleaner like Rocco & Roxie Stain and Odor Eliminator.

Your puppy’s nose is thousands of times more powerful then yours 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:

  • Consistent Feeding Schedule = 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.

By the way, we’ve had puppies potty outside then immediately potty again inside the house.  If you are having this problem check out this blog post.

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 into 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. What’s the saying? Misery loves company. 🙂

It always feels better when you realize that you are not the only one experiencing these puppy training and behavior problems.

QUICK RECOMMENDATION: Real world training like puppy kindergarten is invaluable, but if you’re looking for some solid puppy training foundations then check out Puppies for Dummies (I know we mentioned it earlier, but it’s worth repeating). It’s a good book for learning the basics of raising and training a puppy.

I hope this helps to answer your question: “how can I get my dog to stop peeing in her crate?”

What about everyone else out there?

Have you had any problems with crate training your puppy?

Did your puppy used to potty in her crate?

If so, tell us what you did to solve the problem.

A quick recap of three big takeaways if your puppy is having accidents in her crate:

  1. Don’t overuse your crate. – we are advised to not crate our puppies for more than 3 hours during the day. Overusing your crate can result in your puppy having a pee pee accident in the crate.
  2. Keep your crate clean – Make sure you thoroughly clean all pee and poop accidents. We recommend Rocco & Roxie for removing stain and urine odors.
  3. Keep a schedule – Keep a consistent feeding schedule and you’ll notice a consistent potty schedule. Make sure you write it down!

That’s it folks! Good luck with your puppy training. Let me know if you have any questions.

puppy sitting in his crate with colorful background
How to stop your puppy from peeing in her crate

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301 Comments

  1. I am fostering a 5 year old owner surrender rat terrier. During the day she poops and pees when put outside. But when putting her out before bedtime she will not pee. If put in her bed or a crate overnight by morning she has peeped in either. How do I train her not to peep overnight in bed or crate or on floor?

    1. If she’s having accidents in the crate you should first thoroughly clean the crate with an enzymatic cleaner to remove all smells. I’d remove any type of bedding you have in the crate too. Second, try working on leaving her in her crate for short periods of time so she’s successful without having an accident. Slowly start increasing the amount of time until she can spend the entire evening in the crate without having an accident. Third, it’s also possible she has a medical condition so you might want to have her get checked by your veterinarian.

  2. My puppy is a little over 3 months old. She is still peeing in her crate during the day while I’m at work. I have someone come over to take her out at noon, and she has already peed. I spoke to a trainer who told me to start feeding my puppy in the crate. Not in the bowl, but scatter it about, and let them eat with the door open. After you’ve taken them outside to do their business, put them in the crate, and leave. They will not pee where they are fed. AND, the trainer was right!! No pee in the crate for 2 days now!!
    Note: I have another crate in my bedroom, and she hasn’t peed in that one for days, so I really don’t know what the difference is from the one in the living room I leave her in during the day.

    1. Thanks for sharing your tip. How large is your crate? Puppies usually don’t like to pee where they sleep so when a crate is too large they will potty on one side and sleep on the other.

  3. Hi my 9 week staffy puppy sleeps in his crate at night, put him to bed at 10 ish come down around 6.30/7.00? His blanket his wet where he has wee weed, is he being left too long? He is in a large crate with blankets us that too big ?

  4. I have an 3 year old australian terrier I’ve been trying to potty train her for 3 he she still less in her crate I need help…

  5. Hello,
    I just brought home a dog from an animal rescue yesterday. He is doing really well and has seemed like he has really warmed up to me. But despite me taking him out on multiple walks now he has not peed in front of me. He has gone 3 times now in his crate when he has only been left for a short time (2 hours or less). The foster mother told me that when she caught him peeing in her home she would put him in his crate and only took him out to go outside to pee or poop and put him back in until he learned that doing it inside is unacceptable. Which I feel like I’ve heard that that is the wrong thing to do. I have barley had him in his crate since I got him and have been with him all the time his is out. So it’s like the is holding it until he’s alone in his crate, so I can’t even reward him for doing it out side. Any suggestions on how to handle this?

    1. Congratulations on your new puppy! It does sound like your puppy may be waiting to potty in his crate. I would try starting over with his crate training. Try to make every interaction with his crate positive. Also, you want to make sure he’s always successful in his crate. To start out I’d thoroughly clean the crate with an enzymatic cleaner. Then try crating him for only 5 minutes without and accident, let him out, praise him and bring him to his potty spot. Try doing this and gradually increasing the time he’s in his crate. Here are a couple articles that might help you with crate training and potty training:

      https://puppyintraining.com/crate-training-puppies/
      https://puppyintraining.com/how-to-potty-train-a-puppy/

      Good luck with your training!

  6. I have an almost 6month old shihpoo. When we first got him (4 months old) he was doing great with crate training. But now he pees everyday almost in his crate. His feeding schedule hasnt changed or anything. His crate it small enough that he can just turn around and lay down but he still will pee so everyday he has to be washed up since he has long hair. Me and my husband both work 8hrs so he is in the crate for roughly 8hrs. He has done great before but idk what changed that he keeps peeing in there now. How can I get him to stop?

    1. Congratulations on your new puppy! We try not to crate our puppies for more then 2-3 hours during the day. You’re puppy could be experiencing these behavior problems because he’s spending too much time in his crate. If you can try getting some help from friends, family, neighbors, or a pet sitter to come over to walk your dog and play with him during the day. You could also look into bringing him in to a doggy daycare where he can interact and play with other dogs during the day. Here’s a post that might be helpful: https://puppyintraining.com/what-do-you-do-with-your-puppy-when-you-work-full-time/. Hopefully that helps. Good luck with your puppy.

  7. I bring my puppy who is now 6 months old, back in from outside and she pees in her crate, while no attempt to pee 2 minutes beforehand while outside. She has moved into a smaller crate as recommended. She is outside per her regular schedule and old enough to hold her bladder. What next?

    1. It’s tough to tell without actually being there to witness the behavior. You might want to consider bringing in a certified professional dog trainer for an in home training session to work with you and your puppy. That being said does she do this every time you take her out to potty? If so, then you may have inadvertently trained here to pee in her crate. A few things I would do. 1. Thoroughly clean the crate with an enzymatic cleaner like Rocco & Roxie and remove any absorbent items like blankets or beds. 2. Every time you take her outside to potty make sure she empties her bladder in the same spot every time. 3. Try to make her have small successes in her crate by only putting her in the crate after she’s relieved herself and monitor her to make sure she doesn’t have an accident. When she does well make sure to praise and reward her good behavior. Good luck with your training!

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