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

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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 to 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.

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 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:


“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.

Let’s start off by speculating why your puppy is peeing/pooping in her crate.  There could be several reasons why a puppy has an accident while in the crate:

1. The crate size is too big

If your crate is too big then your puppy will often time 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.

2. 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 their kennel or another sleeping area.

You never really know, but sometime in her past, she may have learned to potty in her crate.

3. 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 than 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 time 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 of 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 and 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 use 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 stains 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.

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

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  1. Hello my name is Glenn and I have 5 month old Tri color American Bully, and since day one that I have had him he pees and poops in his kennel everyday no matter how many times in let him out. Also he doesn’t like to get out of his kennel, you basically have to drag him out of the kennel and if you try to take him out of his kennel he pees while doing so. I’d pick his up but he’s 50lbs and I have a terrible back condition so I can’t. I put his nose it and tell him no but he continues to do so…

    1. Congratulations on your new puppy! You might want to consider bringing in a certified professional dog trainer to work with you and your puppy. One thing you do want to avoid doing is putting your puppy’s nose in his accidents. This doesn’t help with potty training and it will have a negative impact on your relationship with your puppy. Here are a few articles that might help you with your training:

      Hopefully that helps. Good luck with your puppy.

  2. My 16 week boxer pup keeps peeing in her crate when we go out. She has no accidents at night. I wake up at 8 every morning to take her out and feed her and she’s great on that schedule. And for a while she was getting better and better at home. Having one or two or sometimes no accidents. And now the past week or so she’s getting worse. At first when I would leave her in her crate during the day when I had to go out for a few hours she wouldn’t pee. But now that I’m trying to potty train using the crate (i walk and play with her before putting her in there), she will always pee. She pees on all the blankets I put out for her. She pees in her crate during the day. Should I just never keep a blanket in there? I want her to be comfy. And she’s great at night. But during the day should I only leave her in her bare kennel? It also seems the older she gets the more active and the more she pees. So many accidents a day. And never any warning. She can just stop in the middle of playing and squat and pee. I’m getting exhausted. We’ve had her for 5 weeks now and it’s not getting better.

    1. Congratulations on your new puppy! How long is she staying in the crate during the day? Yes, if my puppy is having accidents on the blankets I will pull them all out. As one of our old trainers used to say: “Play Makes Pee!” We’ve noticed that when puppies are playing they sometimes pee about every 5 minutes. Most puppies will show signs before going potty, but it can happen so quickly that we miss it. If you’re puppy is playing you might try being proactive and getting her out before she has the accident by taking her out every 5-10 minutes. Hopefully that helps. Good luck with your puppy!

  3. My puppy is about 10 months old, a rescue. She will pee in her crate and lick it up. She loves water, almost as much as food. So i feel shes peeing just to drink something. Do you have any suggestions?

    1. Thank you for rescuing your puppy! Something you might try is shortening the time she spends in her crate so she doesn’t have a chance to have an accident. Over time slowly increment the amount of time she spends in her crate until she can successfully stay in her crate for a longer period of time. Good luck with your training!

  4. My dog is 2.5 years old, we rescued her a year ago so I have no idea what her past was. I have crate trained her and have had great success. However, recently she’s been on an allergy dry food diet for 2 weeks which has made her SO thirsty. She is outside during the day when we are at work then she comes in when we get home. I let her out several times before bed to pee and again right before I go to bed. She has been drinking after each pee and has been having accidents, which initially I thought was to be expected but now she is going twice a night. I have taken her off that food 2 days ago but still peeing. Do I need to be more patient, or is this a habit now? Have I not been thorough enough in cleaning?

    1. Hopefully your dog is doing better now. Sometimes it’s tough to tell. I had a similar story with Stetson. He was on prednisone for his allergies and started drinking more water and started having accidents in the house. When we took him off the prednisone he stopped having accidents so he didn’t get into any habits off peeing in the house. Hopefully you’re dog is doing better now too.

  5. My 9 week old terrier mix is a tiny girl. Tonight was the first night she’s slept in her crate (we just adopted her from the shelter). I was awake at 1 am and the second she whimpered I took her outside only when I picked her up, I noticed she had fresh pee all over her. Sure enough she had peed in her crate. Same thing just happened 2 hours later(now). She’s only 4 pounds. She doesn’t always give cues as to when she has to pee. She’ll just instantly go. She’s only 4 pounds. She’ll pee while you’re holding her. I am frustrated that I’m doing something wrong. I used your method with our 5 month old lab/hound. Now he’s seeing what she’s doing and he’s gone in the house too! Help!

    1. Smaller Dog = Smaller bladder. Generally it takes longer for smaller puppies to potty train. If she’s having accidents at night you might try setting your alarm to get her out at scheduled times until she gets better at holding it in. As for your other dog you might check to make sure you’re thoroughly cleaning up all accidents with an enzymatic cleaner like Rocco & Roxie Stain and Odor Eliminator. If your other dog can smell the accident there’s a good chance he will want to mark that spot. Good luck with your new puppy!

  6. I know this sound repetitive… But our 3 month old St. Bernard just can’t hold it…. I feed him same time every day. No water after 6 pm. We take him out every 15 minutes…. I am not kidding. We take him out at 9:30 -10:00 and put him in the crate for the night. 6 AM he starts barking, I get up to take him out and he has peed a river. He is wet and splattering pee all over me. I get him out side and he pees for at least 40 secs. another river. And then a bath for him. He has a small crate. no blanket, no toys. This isn’t every once in a while, this is every night. He is vet checked and nothing is wrong with him…. Do I put him in bed with me?? Do I try the belly band?? He is soooo cute and he is smart…..but this momma is tired…please help!!

    1. Congratulations on your new puppy! One thing we’ve one when we’ve had issues with our puppies having accidents in the crate at night is we set are alarm throughout the night to get him up and out before he has an accident. Then as he gets better at holding it increase the amount of time between wake ups. One of our friends was raising a German Shepherd for the Guide Dog program and was having such a problem with accidents at night that she started by setting her alarm clock every hour at night to let her puppy out. As her puppy was successful she reduced the number of alarms per night until her puppy could sleep through the night. Her’s was an extreme case, but it goes to show you that every puppy is different. Hopefully that helps. Good luck with your puppy!

  7. I have a 5 month old German Wirehaired Pointer puppy female. She is great in her kennel at night no accidents and if we run errands on the weekends no accidents. She is great in the house she is house trained and lets us know if she need to go out by whining. Our problem is when we leave for work we get up at 5am in the morning take her out then we feed her I walk her and let her out several times before I leave and every time she has a accident in the crate. What would you suggest we try she only does this when we work.?

  8. So, if we only have a new puppy in their crate for 3 hours per day, what else can we do with them if we’re busy with other tasks? I do use a leash at times, but we have 2- 11 1/2 week old puppies and it’s hard to get things done around the house if they aren’t in their crates because we can’t take our eyes off of them or they might pee and we’d miss it if we weren’t watching them. Our girl puppy is great in her crate until the evening. I set my timer after they go potty (right now, it’s set for 2 1/2 hours between potty breaks.), but she doesn’t do well after dinnertime, when I’m busy cleaning the kitchen. She’s peed in her crate a couple of times and it’s always at this time of day. She sleeps for awhile, then wakes up and pees.
    This is usually at about 1 1/2-2 hours after her last potty break.. Her crate isn’t too big and I don’t have a towel or bed in it at this time. I will once she’s completely housebroken. Help!

    1. Congratulations on your new puppies! It sounds like you’re keeping a good schedule with your puppies. I think the solution to your after dinnertime accidents is to shorten up your times so your puppy doesn’t have an accidents. The three things I use when managing my puppies are the leash, crate, and tie down. Containment and management are important at your puppies age, but it’s only for a short time until your puppies learn the rules of the house. Most of our puppies seem to have things figured out and we start giving them a lot more freedom around 4-6 months. Hopefully that helps. Good luck with your puppies!

  9. Hi!
    We have a 14 week old French mastiff and started crate training immediately at 7 weeks when we brought him home. He is quite good during the night and doesn’t go in his crate holds it all night but when we leave the house it seems he doesn’t even bother to hold it we could be gone for a short while or several hours and we always come back to a lot of pee in his cage. I’m going to try to make his cage smaller and take out his blanket but what other things can I try? He knows to go outside he rings a bell when he has to use the bathroom while we are home. He’s quite big compared to my 11 week old schnauzer who does not pee in her cage no matter how long we are gone during the day and her bladder is so small! So I get frustrated that he isn’t doing the same! Any help you can send my way would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

    1. It’s tough to tell without actually seeing what’s going on. How long are you leaving your puppy in the crate during the day? 14 weeks old is still very young to be crating a puppy for any long period of time. When we’re having troubles with crate training we try to make sure our puppies are always successful. Something we do that you might try is having your puppy stay in his crate for a very short period of time so he can be successful. It could be as short as 5 minutes as long as he’s successful. Then slowly increase the time he stays in his crate making sure he’s successful every step of the way. If he has an accident in his crate then step back to a time he can be successful again. Also, make sure your puppy’s crate is in a low distraction area. This will help him stay calmer throughout the day. Hopefully that helps. Good luck with your puppy!

  10. I have a 3 month old german shephard – Ive had him for 2 mnths now and hes pretty good at potty outside but at night time when i put him in the crate he tends to cry in the middle of the night when i go to let him out he has already pee in the crate. I take him out before putting him in the crate at night. I also work 3 days out of the week and keep him crate for those hours there are times when his crate is clean and then there are times where he has accident – what can i do to prevent this.

    1. One thing that has worked for us at night with young puppies is setting our alarm clock several times so we can get our puppy outside before accidents happen then as our puppy has better bladder control we start using the alarm clock less often until we don’t need it at all.

      During the day we recommend getting help from friends, family, neighbors, pet sitters to let dogs out if you work a full day. Here’s an article we wrote about working while you have a puppy:

      Hopefully that helps. Good luck with your puppy!

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