Adding a Chihuahua to your family is going to bring everyone a lot of fun. These dogs are smart, fun, and full of life. With this in mind, you might think it cruel to train your pup to stay in a crate. But, in reality, providing your dog with a place he can call his own can turn out to be a very good idea. Thing is, you can't look at the crate as a jail cell, your pup won't see it that way. What he will see is a private space that is all his, one that can become his den, if you are willing to put in the training time.
When you look at this way, you are using the crate to provide your pup a safe spot, not a place of punishment. You should never use his crate to punish him. This will only result in your pup thinking of his crate as a jail cell, making it even harder to crate train him.
Crate training your dog should be considered as a part of your Chi's general training. While you can use the crate as part of his potty training, you can also turn his crate into a den where he can go to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, to hang out when you are at work, or to sleep in at night. Keep in mind that you must keep the training sessions short at first as your pup will not be able to hold himself for very long at a young age.
Rather than teaching your Chi that a crate is a bad place he is sent to when he has done something wrong, you will be teaching him that his crate is his den, his private place to go to, his hotel room at night. With this in mind, you should do all you can to make his crate feel more "den-like." Carpet it so he has a soft surface to walk on or lay on, put a nice comfy doggy bed in there for him, and toss in a few of his favorite toys--anything to make him comfortable and feel like he is at home.
One of the most important steps in crate training your Chihuahua is to make sure you buy the right size crate. Too big and he may see one end as his den and the other as his personal toilet. Too small and he may not be able to stretch out or turn around. You will also need a few things to help make the training go further.
Much like any other type of training, you will need plenty of patience and time to work with your pup. Go slow and give him plenty of time to get used to the crate before you try to leave him in it for longer periods of time.