How to Train Your Dog to Not Pee in His Crate

Easy
3-14 Days
General

Introduction

You were eagerly awaiting his arrival for many weeks and you’ve loved welcoming this cute ball of fur into your home. He was so small when he first arrived you could fit him in your hands. He was soon growing quickly though and as advised, you keep him in a crate. However, he sees his crate as more than just his own space to escape to, he also uses it as a toilet. You can’t count how many times you have come down in the morning to the unpleasant odor of urine.

Training him not to pee in his crate will do more than save you from having to clean his bedding and cover his crate in anti-bacterial spray. Training him not to pee in his crate will also improve his quality of life. Nobody, including dogs, likes to sleep in the same space they go to the toilet.

Defining Tasks

Training a dog not pee in his crate is relatively straightforward. Firstly, you will have to look at why he might be peeing in his crate. It is highly likely you will have to take a look at his toilet routine and introduce some changes. You may also want to look at the crate itself. It may be that his current crate is not quite the right fit for him. Throw in some incentives for peeing outside instead and you’ll soon have a crate free of pee.

He’s probably a puppy if he’s peeing in a crate, which is good news from a training perspective. He should be a fast learner, so you could see results in just a few days. If he’s a bit older and slightly more stuck in his ways then you may need a couple of weeks. Get this training right and you won’t have to worry about your children or other pets coming into regular contact with potentially harmful bacteria.

Getting Started

Before your work can start you will need to gather a few bits. The first thing you may need is a new crate, of a different size. See the 'Environment Change' method below for details on what to look for. 

The main component in training though will be time. You, or somebody else, needs to be around enough to take him out regularly until he is in an established routine. Treats or his favorite food broken into small pieces will also be required.

Apart from that, you just need patience and some anti-bacterial spray, then work can begin!

The Environment Change Method

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Step
1
New crate
Take a look at his current crate. Does he have plenty of space in there? If so, his crate may be too big. He should be able to stand up and turn around, but he shouldn’t have too much more room than that. If he does, he may think he has space to go to the toilet too. So, change his crate if needs be.
Step
2
Water bowls & food
It’s also important you do not leave his water bowl or food bowl in his crate. He needs to think of his crate as just for sleeping. If you get him used to going about his life in there, then it may feel natural to him to go to the toilet in there too.
Step
3
Toys
Try leaving his toys in there in the day and at night time. Most dogs will not want to pee over their toys. So, simply putting them in there could deter him.
Step
4
Leaving the crate
Try and encourage him to leave the crate in the daytime. Again, if you show him the crate is just for sleeping, he won’t want to pee in there. Plus, the less time he spends in there, the less he will pee in there and the less frequent the habit will become.
Step
5
Never punish him
It is important you do not punish him if he does pee in there. Instead, calmly remove him and clean out the crate with anti-bacterial spray. Really try to totally remove the smell. If he can smell he has been for a pee in there before, he will be more likely to go again.
Recommend training method?

The Routine Method

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Step
1
Rise & shine
Once you have woken up and given him his breakfast, leave him a few minutes and then take him out to go to for a pee. If he knows he is going to go at roughly the same time each morning, he will be more likely to hold it at night.
Step
2
Lunch time
Take him out again at lunch time. If he knows he is going to get a chance to go each lunch, again he will find it easier to hold on.
Step
3
Before bed
Once he’s had his dinner and you have waited a few minutes, secure him to a leash and take him back out to go for a pee again. Enforce this routine every day and his bladder will eventually fall into place. Consistency is key if you want swift results.
Step
4
Same spot
Try and take him to the same location when you take him out for a pee. If he’s peed there before he will feel more relaxed and therefore more likely to go there again. You can even wipe some of yesterday’s pee there to make him feel more at ease.
Step
5
Reward
It’s important he gets a reward and praise each time he goes for a pee outside his crate. Make sure he gets the treat within three seconds though, otherwise he won’t associate the action with the reward.
Recommend training method?

The Verbal Cue Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Head out regularly
Secure him to a leash and take him out several times each day. It’s important he gets into a routine of heading for the same spot. He will soon start thinking of that as his toilet. Make sure you have some treats in your pocket. You are going to teach him to go for a pee where you want with a verbal command.
Step
2
‘Toilet time’
Whenever you see him about to go for a pee, issue a ‘toilet time’ command. Give it in a clear but upbeat voice. If you do this every time, he will soon start associating your command with needing to go for a pee.
Step
3
Reward
Give him some privacy when he is actually peeing, then quickly go over and give him a treat. Over time, the command will signal to him that he gets a treat if he goes for a pee. You can also give him some high-pitched verbal praise. Dogs learn best when they think they are playing a big game.
Step
4
Bring forward the command
After several days of giving the command just as he is peeing, you can then start giving it when you want to take him out for a pee. Simply grab a leash, issue the command and he will run to you so you can both head out.
Step
5
Lose the treats
After a couple of weeks of using the command, without any accidents in his crate, you can slowly start to phase out the treats. By this point he will have broken his habit of peeing in the crate and he will be used to his new routine.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers and Success Stories

Question
Hobbs
Mixed
3 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Hobbs
Mixed
3 Months

A puppy... crate is not too big just pees on blanket and then licks it up and lays back down. How often to get up overnight to let him go potty

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
123 Dog owners recommended

Hi! Here is some information on potty training. At this age, he may have to get up twice in the middle of the night to go potty. Hello! She is really cute! Here is some information that will help you with potty training. Potty training: Know Your Pup. As you spend time with your puppy, learn your puppy’s love language. Just as some people prefer gifts, touch, or time spent together, puppies can be the same way. Some puppies love praise or pets, while others prefer treats. As you get to know your puppy, consider what reward your puppy loves the most. Create a Daily Schedule. It is best to have a routine for your puppy. A schedule helps them understand when to eat, play, and “go to the bathroom.” Your puppy should go out frequently and the routine should be the same every time. When? Start the day by taking your puppy outside, and repeating based on age and ability. They should also go out after napping, chewing, playing, and within 10 to 15 minutes of eating. Although some puppies can sleep for seven hours, it is important to set an alarm and take your pup out during the night. When you do, don’t make a fuss about it. Quietly take them outside with minimal stimulation and light. Praise them if they go to the bathroom and gently return them to their bed or crate. You don’t want them to get stimulated and ready to play in the middle of the night! As you get to know your puppy, you will become aware of their individual habits. Click here to learn more about house training schedules for puppies. Where? Take your puppy to a specific area to urinate or defecate. Be consistent. You can create an area by using urine-soaked paper or bowel movements to help create an aroma to stimulate your puppy. How? Take your puppy out on a leash so they can focus on the desired activity. This will help prevent them from wandering off to play. Once your puppy is in the selected area, use your verbal cue, such as “Hurry Up,” “Poopies,” “Go tinkle,” or any phrase your puppy responds to. What? Know the signs that your puppy has to go to the bathroom. Every animal may have a different “I gotta go” gesture, which often include restlessness, sniffing around, circling, scratching at the door, barking, and, eventually, squatting. At the first sign that your pup has to go, calmly and quickly take them outside to their bathroom spot. Deal with Accidents. Accidents are a normal part of house training a puppy. What to Do If you see your puppy in the process of urinating or defecating inappropriately, calmly and quickly interrupt them in the act. Tell them to stop (either by a jarring sound or command), and immediately take them to an appropriate location for elimination. After your puppy goes to the bathroom, lavishly praise them and offer a treat. Thoroughly clean up accidents, so your puppy is not attracted to this area again. Create a consistent feeding and watering schedule. Depending on the age of your puppy, they will eat three to four times a day. A consistent feeding routine can create a regular bathroom schedule. Take away water about 2 hours before bedtime. Learn more about ideal dog schedules here. What NOT to Do Don’t punish your puppy when they have an accident. At that point, it is too late. When a puppy has an accident in the house and they walk away, within seconds they have already forgotten about what they did. Taking them to the scene of the crime and yelling and/or rubbing their nose in it does not help and, in fact, can harm your puppy! Supervise. The best thing you can do is to prevent accidents and the best way to do this is to supervise your puppy at all times. You can tether your puppy to your waist with a five or six-foot leash and carefully observe them for signs that they need to go to the bathroom. If you can’t supervise, then crate or confine your puppy. The more accidents your puppy has in the house, the more confusing it will be for them and this can delay house training. Reward, Reward, Reward. It is important to give your puppy a reward for their good behavior. This can be for commands such as sitting and coming to you, or for appropriately eliminating outside. In a puppy, a reward can be a couple kibbles of puppy food or a treat, such as a small piece of meat. The treat should be exciting for them and only available as a result of good behavior.

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