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.
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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.
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The Verbal Cue Method

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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.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

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