How to Train Your Dog to Not Poop in His Crate

Easy
1-3 Weeks
General

Introduction

You’ve brought the cutest little puppy into your home, he fits snugly in your hands and he forces even the grumpiest of individuals into a smile. While he is adorable and everything you imagined he would be, you don’t enjoy coming downstairs in the morning to the smell of excrement. It just isn’t the way you want to start your day! It might be manageable if it was just once in the morning, but when you’re regularly greeted by the sight of a stool when you open his crate, then well, something needs to be done.

Apart from the obvious offense to your eyes and your nose, having all that bacteria sit next to your puppy isn’t good for his health. Puppies immune systems are vulnerable and having excrement in the place where he sleeps only increases the chance of him contracting an illness.

Defining Tasks

Every puppy goes through a transitional stage when they move into a new home and get used to their crate, so going about his business in there isn’t uncommon. Thankfully, training him not to defecate in his crate is relatively straightforward. While you will need to use some straightforward obedience commands, training centers more around adjusting his environment and creating a routine.

Puppies are so receptive when they’re young that they quickly get the hang of training and many dogs stop going about their business in their crate in just a few days. Even if he does prove slightly stubborn, you can expect results in a matter of weeks. 

Getting this training right is essential for the health of your dog. You don’t want him picking up early illnesses and you definitely don’t want the hefty vet bills that come with medical problems.

Getting Started

Before your toilet campaign kicks off, there are several things you will need to get hold of. A leash will be essential as you introduce your dog to his new outdoor toilet. You will also need treats or his favorite food to incentivize and reward him.

A quiet place, free from distractions where he feels relatively comfortable will also be required. You may also need to invest in a new, better-sized crate for one of the methods below and some new bedding.

Once you have collected the above, set aside some time each day and just come with a can-do attitude and you’ll be ready to get to work!

The Crate Alterations Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
The right size
Head over to your crate and make sure it is the right size. If his crate is too big then your dog may feel there is enough space to defecate in the corner rather than going outside. The crate should be big enough for him to stand up and turn around in, but it shouldn’t be much bigger.
Step
2
A new crate
If your crate is too big, order a smaller one online or head to a local pet store to buy a new one. Measure the crate before you go and have an idea of what sized crate you need before you head out to make a purchase. Often a simple crate change can stop the habit on its tracks.
Step
3
Feed him his meals in the crate
This may seem odd at first, but dogs don’t want to go to the toilet in the same place they eat. So place his bowl in the crate and leave the door open. It usually takes just a day or two before he will associate his crate with an eating area and will look elsewhere to defecate.
Step
4
Change the crate bedding
Introduce some new blankets and bedding into the crate. Dogs don’t usually like going to the toilet in an area they enjoy sleeping in. If he currently poops and hides it under the bedding, remove the bedding altogether. Not having somewhere to hide it may well deter him from defecating there in future.
Step
5
Deal with accidents promptly
If he can smell previous stools, he will feel more comfortable going to the toilet there again. So quickly remove him and clean the area thoroughly with antibacterial spray. You don’t want him associating his crate with a suitable toilet area.
Recommend training method?

The Consistent Schedule Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Meal routine
Feed him meals at the same time each day. By creating a regular schedule, you will be able to predict when he will need to go to the toilet, enabling you to remove him from the crate before he gets a chance to go.
Step
2
Take him out regularly
This is particularly necessary for puppies who need to be let out every hour if they are under 12 weeks old. It is always worth taking him out within 20 minutes of him eating a meal as this is the time the bowels are stimulated.
Step
3
Head back home
If they do not go to the toilet as expected, take him in for 15 minutes and then head back out. If you know a number 2 is likely to be imminent, don’t be put off if he doesn’t go straight away, simply head back out again promptly. It is crucial you always have your dog outside when he needs to go, this will get him into a habit of only going outside.
Step
4
Timing
As your puppy gets older, increase the time between taking him out. When he is about 6 months old he will only need to go outside every 3-4 hours. Ensure this still ties in with taking him out after meals. This will slowly train his body clock to tie in with your toilet schedule and soon he won’t ever need a number 2 when he is in his crate anyway.
Step
5
Never punish
Don’t punish him when he does defecate in his crate. Dogs do not respond well when they are terrified. He may even start defecating in his crate out of fear, so simply take him out of the crate when he does have an accident, clean the mess up thoroughly and return him.
Recommend training method?

The Postive & Negative Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Be treat ready
Arm yourself with treats whenever you take him outside. To start with, you need to be prepared to shower him with praise and treats whenever he doesn’t go to the toilet in his crate.
Step
2
Reward promptly
When you’re outside, give him a treat within 3 seconds of finishing his business. It is important he gets the treat as quickly as possible otherwise he won’t associate the treat with going to the toilet. Also make sure you don’t stare at him waiting for him to go, puppies in particular will be nervous to start with and need to feel comfortable to go about their business.
Step
3
Lose the treats
As he starts to poop outside regularly, slowly reduce the frequency of treats. When you are confident he is getting the hang of the toilet training, it’s important you reduce the treats and praise, you don’t want him piling on the pounds!
Step
4
'NO'
When you see him about to poo in his crate, say ‘NO’ loudly and firmly. Use your body language and voice to convey your disapproval, but be careful not to overdo it, you don’t want to terrify him. Only do this if you catch him about to go to the toilet, if you tell him off hours after the deed he won’t make the connection between the behavior and your angry response.
Step
5
React swiftly
Take him out until he has have gone about his business. As soon as he has, be sure to praise and reward him as part of the positive reinforcement outlined in the steps above. Using a combination of both positive and negative reinforcements will quickly teach him where it is and isn’t acceptable to go to the toilet. His days of going to the toilet in his crate will soon be over!
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Denton
Husky
2 Years
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Question
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Denton
Husky
2 Years

Denton goes potty outside every morning and then I finish getting ready for work. He is then placed in the kennel I will normally get hone and try to let him out during lunch time. However, he has defecated in his kennel. And this happens even if I leave him in there for a 5 to 10 minutes. I think he suffer from separation anxiety. Cause when I’m home and he is in the kennel he is fine. It’s when I leave and he can’t hear me what should I do. Any advice

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
396 Dog owners recommended

Hello Elizabeth, First, make sure he is actually pooping after eating breakfast in the morning and not getting distracted while outside. Most dogs will need to go potty again 30-45 minutes after eating so plan his morning routine accordingly to make sure he has a change to poop first and hasn't learned to hold it until it's quiet in his crate. Take him potty on a leash and slowly walk him around outside on the leash to keep him focused. Tell him to "Go Potty" and give a treat for peeing. After he pees, tell him to "Go Potty" again and walk him around at least twice as long, and reward with several treats or pieces of dog food if he poops - to teach him to poop quickly when you tell him to go potty. If the issue still happens despite pooping outside before you leash, it could be separation anxiety. There are a couple of routes you can take with the separation anxiety. The first step is to work on building his independence and his confidence by adding a lot of structure and predictability into his routine. Things such as making him work for rewards like meals, walks, and pets. Working on "Stay" and "Place," commands while you move away or leave the room, and teaching him to remain inside a crate when the door is open. Change your routine surrounding leaving so that he does not anticipate alone time and build up his anxiety before you leave - which is hard for him to deescalate from, and be sure to give him something to do in the crate during the day (such as a food stuffed Kong to chew on); this is the general protocol for separation anxiety. It is gentle but can take a very long time for some dogs. Another protocol involves teaching the dog to cope with their own anxiety by making their current anxious go-to behaviors unpleasant, giving them an opportunity to stop those behaviors long enough to learn something new, then rewarding the correct, calmer behavior instead. This protocol can feel harsh because it involves careful correction, but it tends to work much quicker for many dogs. If you go this route, I suggest hiring a trainer who is very experienced using both positive reinforcement and fair correction. Who is extremely knowledgeable about e-collar training, and can follow the protocol listed below, to help you implement the training. Building his independence and structure in his life will still be an important part of this protocol too. First, check out this video from SolidK9Training on treating anxiety. It will give a brief over-view of treating separation anxiety more firmly. This trainer can be a bit abrupt with his teaching style with people but is very experienced working with highly aggressive, anxious, and reactive dogs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5GqzeLzysk Make sure you are implementing what he teaches there in other areas of his life too. Second, purchase a remote electronic collar, e-collar, with a wide range of levels. I recommend purchasing E-Collar Technologies Mini Educator for this. If you are not comfortable with an e-collar then you can use a vibration collar (the Mini Educator is also a vibration mode) or unscented air remote controlled air spray collar. DO NOT use a citronella collar, buy the additional unscented air canister if the collar comes with the citronella and make sure that you use the unscented air. (Citronella collars are actually very harsh). The vibration or spray collars are less likely to work though, so you may end up spending more money by not purchasing an e-collar first. The Mini Educator has very low levels of stimulation, that can be tailored specifically to your dog. It also has vibration and beep tones that you can try using first, without having to buy additional tools. Next, set up a camera to spy on him. If you have two smart devices, like tablets or smartphones, you can Skype or Facetime them to one another with your pup’s end on mute, so that you can see and hear him but he will not hear you. Video baby monitors, video security monitors with portable ways to view the video, GoPros with the phone Live App, or any other camera that will record and transmit the video to something portable that you can watch outside live will work. Next, put the e-collar on him while he is outside of the crate, standing, and relaxed. To learn how to put the collar on him, check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLxB6gYsliI Turn it to it's lowest level and push the stimulation button twice. See if he responds to the collar at all. Look for subtle signs such as turning his head, moving his ears, biting his fur, moving away from where he was, or changing his expression. If he does not respond at all, then go up one level on the collar and when he is standing and relaxed, push the stimulation button again twice. Look for a reaction again. Repeat going up one level at a time and then testing his reaction at that level until he indicates a little bit that he can feel the collar. Here is a video showing how to do this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cl3V8vYobM Once you have found the right stimulation level for him and have it correctly fitted on him, have him wear the collar around with it turned off or not being stimulated for several hours. Next, set up your camera to spy on him while he is in the crate. Put him into the crate while he is wearing the collar and leave the room. Spy on him from outside. Leave however you normally would. As soon as you hear him barking or see him start to try to escape or destroy the crate from the camera, push the stimulation button once. Every time he barks or tries to get out of the crate, stimulate him again. If he does not decrease his barking or escape attempts at least a little bit after being stimulated seven times in a row, then increase the stimulation level by one level. He may not feel the stimulation while excited so might need it just slightly higher. Do not go higher than three more levels on the mini-educator or one level on another collar with less levels right now though because he has not learned what he is supposed to be doing yet. The level you end up using on him on the mini educator collar should be low to medium, within the first forty levels of the one-hundred to one-hundred-and-twenty-five levels, depending on the model you purchase. If it is not, then have a professional evaluate whether you have the correct "working level" for him. If he continues to ignore the collar, then go up one more stimulation level and if that does not work, make sure that the collar is turned on, fitted correctly, and working. After five minutes to ten minutes, as soon as your dog stays quiet and is not trying to escape for five seconds straight, go back inside to the dog. Do not speak to him or pay attention to him for ten minutes while you walk around inside. When he is being calm, then you can let him out of the crate. When you let him out, do it the way Jeff does is in this video below. Opening and closing the door until your dog is not rushing out. You want him to be calm when he comes out of the crate and to stay calm when you get home. That is why you need to ignore him when you get home right away. Also, keep your good byes extremely boring and calm. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5GqzeLzysk Put a food stuffed Kong into the crate with him. Once he is less anxious he will likely enjoy it and that will help him to enjoy the crate more. First, he needs his anxious state of mind interrupted so that he is open to learning other ways to behave. Once it's interrupted, give him a food stuffed Kong in the crate for him to relieve his boredom instead, since he will need something to do at that point. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Ares
Husky Jack
8 Months
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Question
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Ares
Husky Jack
8 Months

We got Ares when was 4-5 months from a shelter. Who knows what habits or where he was before then. When we first got him home he was super well behaved and things were looking up. After a month he seemed to get comfortable and started peeing and pooping in his crate. We thought maybe it had to do with the shelter or wherever he was before. We would take him out before we left anywhere and sometimes he’d still go. We take him out between every two hours but everything I’m reading says at 6 months it should be every 4 hours and he’s 8 months..
The habit of him going in there has never stopped. Most of the time he’ll even EAT his poop to dispose of evidence 😅 what is our problem you think?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
396 Dog owners recommended

Hello Sydney, First, just to rule a few things out....Make sure the crate is only big enough for him to stand up, lie down, and turn around and not so big he can potty in one end and stand in the opposite end to avoid it - too big won't encourage a dog's natural desire to hold it in a confined space. Second, make sure there is nothing absorbent in the crate like a soft bed or towel - that can also sabotage efforts - check out www.primopads.com if you need a non-absorbent type bed. If it's not either of those things, then it is very possible be has lots his natural desire to hold it in a confined space because he was kept in such a space too often and forced to potty there - he may even associate it with pottying and think he is supposed to go there. If that's the case you need to potty train a different way. Check out the tethering method from the article linked below and follow that method whenever someone is home: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside When you have to leave, unless he has a safe, cool space to stay outside, you will need to create a durable exercise pen or dog-proof room and train him to go potty on a real-grass pad in that room, using the Exercise Pen method from the article linked below. Set this area up somewhere that you can block off access to later when he is fully potty trained because eventually you will want to be able to just leave him in the main area of the house and because of the tethering method and the main area of the house not being associated with pottying - like the room with the pen or dog-proofed room is, he should hold his bladder while you are gone - this probably won't be an option until he is past the chewing phase too though....check out the Exercise Pen method below and use a real-grass pad instead of a litter box (or create your own out of sod and a shallow, plastic storage box), and don't phase the exercise pen away like the method mentions - since you will eventually just transition to him only going potty outside and getting rid of the grass pad entirely later. Exercise Pen method: https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Real grass pad - not astroturf: www.freshpatch.com www.doggielawn.com Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Lucy
Bulldog
5 Months
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Question
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Lucy
Bulldog
5 Months

Our new puppy was housed in a crate where it was OK for her to poop and pee. How to we break the cycle of this since she only will poop and pee in there? She thinks we are crazy when we take her outside. She will, literally, wait to go in her crate to pee and poop. She will step in it and be content. HELP!...please

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
396 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kristina, Unfortunately, you will need to use an exercise pen to contain her when you cannot supervise her while potty training, and use the "Tethering" method from the article linked below to teach her to go potty outside. When she gets older and is potty trained, you can then use a crate instead of an exercise pen so that it will take up less space. When you get to that point, I suggest a crate that does not resemble what she used the bathroom in - for instance if she was in a wire crate before use a plastic one. If she used a plastic enclosed one before use a wire one later. Ideally you would be home to take her outside every hour to potty train and tether her to yourself. If that's not an option, set up an exercise pen in an area that she will not have free access to later, like a heated basement or guest bathroom, and put a disposable real grass pad in there for her to go potty on. The real grass will be more consistent with the grass outside. I do NOT suggest using pee pads for this. Real grass pad: https://www.freshpatch.com Tethering Method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Angel
Mixed breed
1 Year
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Question
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Angel
Mixed breed
1 Year

I have a new dog and she is about a year old. She has recently began going going to the bathroom in her crate. She covers it with her blankets and lays down next to it. She does this while we are sleeping or away at work. She didn't do this before and we have had her for about 3 weeks. Is this something for concern? We live in an apartment and go on frequently bathroom walks but she has suddenly refused to go to the bathroom. Thanks for the help!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
396 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ally, First, remove anything absorbent from her crate and make sure that the crate is only big enough for her to lie down, stand up, and turn around, and not so big that she can have an accident in one end and stand in the other end to avoid it. The blankets alone may be the issue. Check out www.primopads.com Look for something non-absorbent to give padding for the next year. Pee and poop should sit on top of anything in the crate with her and not absorb or drain into anything at all, to motivate her to hold it. Second, it is possible that something happened that lead to her not wanting to go potty outside - pooping is vulnerable for a dog and if they feel afraid they may not want to go. She could also simply be distracted. If she isn't going potty outside, then she may be having the accident in the crate when she physically cannot hold it anymore. She also may have learned that she prefers going poop in her crate so she isn't going outside because she is holding it until she gets to her crate intentionally. Whichever one comes first, the crate needs to be adjusted to make it a less enticing place to poop and she needs to be encouraged to poop outside more. When you take her potty, bring a few small tasty treats with you. Tell her to "Go Potty" and when she goes potty, give her one treat for pee. After you tell her to go potty, walk her around again for a few minutes, tell her to "Go Potty" again, and if she goes, give her five treats, one at a time, for going poop. Pay attention to her environment, is it super distracting? Does she seem scared? See if taking her potty in a different area helps her focus or feel more secure. Be sure to take her on a leash to avoid her getting too distracted to go potty. Insist that she goes potty again after peeing every time by telling her to Go Potty again and walking her around slowly on the leash, encouraging her to sniff and taking her away from anything she gets too distracted by. Many young dogs will not go poop on their own when you take them because they are so distracted, and need for you to insist that they go potty again each time they are taken. They will not have to poop every time, but if she hasn't pooped recently, take the time to insist on it in case she does need to go - she will often surprise you by going sometimes when you insisted, even though you didn't really think she had to - making you glad to took the time. If she is pooping more than three times a day, seems in pain when she goes or is constipated - which can cause her to hold it until she isn't able to anymore, or doesn't seem to have control of when she poops, then visit your vet. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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London
Shih Tzu
7 Weeks
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Question
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London
Shih Tzu
7 Weeks

Poops in his crate in the middle of the night. I take him out every 2 hours but he seems to be going in between. He will only poop once a day. Help?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
396 Dog owners recommended

Hello Katrina, I suggest a trip to your vet first. Pooping more than three times in 24 hours could suggest a medical issue. Most puppies need to be dewormed several times before 10 weeks (I am not a vet). Check out the tethering method and Crate Training method from the article linked below and pay special attention to teaching the "Go Potty" command, taking pup potty on leash, keeping him moving and focused while outside to encourage the urge to poop, and rewarding after he goes potty to help him learn. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Also, make sure there is nothing absorbent in the crate, including a soft bed or towel - something soft in the crate will encourage pottying in the crate. Check out www.primopads.com for a non-abosorbent bed idea. Make sure the crate is not too big. It should only be big enough for him to stand up, turn around and lie down. If it's big enough he can potty in one end and stand in the opposite end to avoid it, it won't encourage potty training. A crate divider can make a bigger crate small enough without having to re-buy a crate. Rule out potential medical issues if he is pooping frequently though - because he won't be able to stop the pooping no matter what you do if there is a medical reason behind it that needs addressing. Don't give any food two hours before bed until time to wake up in the morning. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Bujee
French Bulldog
1 Year
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Bujee
French Bulldog
1 Year

I have had my dog since 4 months old and had her on schedule using the bathroom every 4 hours. She was doing great and not using the bathroom in her crate as much at the start. Forward to 6 months later. All of a sudden she number 1 and 2 inside her crate on a regular and seems to be nothing i can do to break her off that problem. She seemed to have been create trained where my other dog wasn't and now the other dog does not use the bathroom in crate but she does.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
396 Dog owners recommended

Hello Erick, First, take a look at her crate. The crate should only be big enough for her to lie down, stand up, and turn around, and not so big she can potty in one end and stand in the opposite end to avoid it - too big of a crate won't encourage her natural desire to hold it while in there. If you went up in crate size that could be to blame, or she may have just realized how big is was all of the sudden. There should also be nothing absorbent in the crate - including a soft dog bed or towel. If you need to give her a bed, check out something like www.primopads.com that is non-absorbent but still has a little firm padding. Second, if the crate smells like pee or poop that's confusing to her. Clean it thoroughly with a cleaner that contains enzymes. Only enzymes will fully remove the smell for a dog's sensitive nose - and any remaining smell will encourage a dog to go potty in there again. You may even need to buy a different type of crate at this point since she now associates it with pottying - if you have a plastic closed in viri-kennel then buy a wire one, and vice versus. If she is being left in crate for too long that could be to blame. If it's less than 8 hours and she is having accidents, then I would check with your vet for a medical condition that could make it so that she can't hold it for very long - forcing her to have an accident. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Baxter
Yorkshire Terrier
Eleven Months
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Question
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Baxter
Yorkshire Terrier
Eleven Months

My 11 month old yorkie is in a crate at night and during the day while at work. He will hold his bowel movements and urine during the night until morning. But he will not hold it during the day. I come home daily to him defecating in his crate. He walks around in it and lays in it. So daily bathes and crate cleaning are normal. What can I do to stop this behavior? His crate is doesn’t have much room for him to walk around in. It’s about as tall and long as him.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
396 Dog owners recommended

Hello Misty, A couple of things could be going on here: 1. He was left in the crate too long and forced to have multiple accidents in it so he lost his natural desire to hold it in a crate. At night most dog's digestive system shuts down so many dogs don't need to go potty during the day like the do at night. This can happen with puppy mill puppies, pet store puppies, rescue puppies that are crated too long, or if owners don't let them out frequently enough. 2. He is holding during the day due to a medical problem, distraction while outside, a lack of understanding that he should be pottying outside, or fear of pooping outside for some reason - pooping puts a dog in a vulnerable position so they often don't want to go if they feel unsafe. When a dog holds, at some point they can no longer hold and involuntarily poop wherever they are - even if they don't want to make the crate messy. After this happens enough they typically loose their instinct to keep the crate clean in some cases. I suggest doing the following: 1. When he take him potty, take him on a leash. Tell him to "Go Potty" and whenever he pees, give him one treat. Whenever he poops outside, give him five tiny, tasty treats, one treat at a time. Walk him around slowly, encouraging him to sniff and keeping him on task, tell him to "Go Potty" again after he pees and walk him around again for 5-10 minutes. Most dogs need to be kept focused to poop - pee is usually easier. The rewards and movement should help get his digestive system going, and the treats motivate him to go. 2. If he doesn't poop, he needs to be attached to you with a six foot leash to keep him from wandering off to poop while you are home, and taken out every hour until he poops. Always take him out within thirty minutes of him eating because most dogs need to poop after eating, even if he just peed before being fed. 3. If you have to leave him, place him in an exercise pen with a real grass pad (NOT pee pad) in a room that he does not normally have access to. Check out the "Exercise Pen" method from the article linked below. Practice that method while you are home until he will start going potty on the grass, then only have him use the grass pad while you are gone and need to put him into the exercise pen, and reward pottying outside so the focus is on outside potty training more than the grass pad. He will be learning to go potty on the grass pad AND in that location, which is why the exercise pen needs to be in an area that he normally won't be allowed so that he doesn't have accidents there later once you remove the exercise pen and have him go potty only outside. Do not phase the exercise pen out like the article mentions. You want to keep using it just to keep your home clean right now since you can't use a crate, then remove it completely and not let him into that area anymore when he is fully potty trained in the rest of the house and will hold it while you are gone. The article mentions litter box training, but use a real-grass pad instead - the steps are the same regardless of which you use. Exercise Pen method: https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy You won't be able to use a crate again until he is fully potty trained because right now he associates it with going potty. 4. Address any fear of being outside if he seems afraid while outside, or take him somewhere calmer is he seems too distracted and you are currently walking him somewhere with a lot of distractions. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Piper
cockapoo
16 Weeks
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Question
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Piper
cockapoo
16 Weeks

Our 16 week old puppy had been doing really well with not pooping in her crate from 10 weeks old. Then at around 14 weeks and continuing, she poops in her crate. Now, she poops in it every night and every time we leave. We give her plenty of opportunities to outside before we put her in the crate. Why is she going backwards with the potty training and what can we do to fix it?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
396 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jennifer, Some puppies will get more distracted when they get older. When you take her potty outside, take her on a leash, tell her to "Go Potty" then walk her around to find a place to pee. When she pees, give her one treat. After that tell her to "Go Potty" again and walk her around for another 10 minutes, keeping her focused on what she's doing and redirecting her attention back to sniffing if she starts to get distracted. When she poops, praise her enthusiastically and give her five treats - one treat at a time. Keep the treats by the door so that you will remember to grab them on your way out the door. Many puppies and some dogs will just quickly pee outside so that they can get back to exploring and playing, and they need to be kept focused and kept on task in order to poop too. is she is holding her poop outside, then eventually she will just be forced to hold it wherever she is - such as the crate at night or the middle of the day. If you are letting her into the yard by herself to go potty that is likely to blame. Just not keeping her focused enough or walking her around long enough after peeing could also be the issue. After she eats, make sure that you are taking her back outside to go potty because most puppies need to poop within 15-45 minutes of eating, even if they just went out right before eating. If her poop looks loose or she is having more than 3 poops a day, then I suggest visiting your vet. There may be a medical issue like an infection or parasites that is messing up her GI system and needs to be addressed. (I am not a vet though) Take a look at her crate. The crate should only be big enough for her to lie down, stand up, and turn around, and not so big she can poop in one end and stand in the opposite end to avoid it - too big of a crate won't encourage her natural desire to hold it while in there. If you went up in crate size that could be to blame, or she may have just realized how big is was all of the sudden. There should also be nothing absorbent in the crate - including a soft dog bed or towel. If you need to give her a bed, check out something like www.primopads.com that is non-absorbent but still has a little firm padding. Finally, if she is afraid of something outside, pooping puts a dog in a vulnerable position, so she may be refusing to go because she is nervous. If that is the case, she needs help overcoming her fear of whatever is making her nervous outside. Being distracted is a lot more common than fear though if you are only taking her potty in your own yard and she was previously fine. Watch her body language for signs that she is tense or nervous. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Denim
Shitzu
14 Weeks
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Denim
Shitzu
14 Weeks

Denim has been with us for 1 week . I have to work so I need to leave him in the crate for about 7 hours until I return home . I take him to potty and he does before I leave . When I get home from work he’s pooped his crate . Also when I leave him for short periods less than a hour he poops in his crate and cries the whole time . He doesn’t poop or Lee in his crate at night. What should I do ?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
396 Dog owners recommended

Hello Debra, A puppy can only physically hold their pee and poop for the number of months they are in age plus one - meaning that at about 3 months old he physically cannot hold it for longer than 4 hours and thus was forced to go potty in the crate. When this happens often enough a dog will loose their natural desire to keep a confined space clean and will simply learn to potty in that space - making it so that you cannot use a crate to potty train anymore. The above is likely what has happened after a couple of weeks. Puppies also often need to be taken potty 15-45 minutes after eating to poop, even if they just peed before being fed. The food gets their digestive system moving. Make sure you are taking him potty far enough ahead of time after you feed him before you leave to give him a chance to poop outside. At this point you will need to switch to another method besides crate training because he has learned to associate the crate with pottying. Set up an exercise pen in an area of your home where he normally doesn't have access to, like a spare bedroom or bathroom. Place a disposable real-grass pad on one end of the pen and use the Exercise Pen method from the article linked below to teach him to potty on the grass pad. Do not use pee pads for this or that could lead to peeing on carpet and rugs. You want him to only learn to pee in that one room on the grass-pad in the pen if your end goal is outside potty training. The method below mentions using a litter box, I suggest using a real-grass pad instead to more closely resemble outside, and not to phase the exercise pen out but keep it where it is until your pup is ready just to be free in the rest of your home and hold it all day - at which point you will just leave him out or confine him to another dog-proofed room, and not crate (you can try reintroducing the crate later once he is fully potty trained to have it as an option during travel). Exercise Pen: https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Real-grass pad options on amazon too: freshpatch.com doggielawn.com porchpotty.com Use the exercise pen while you are gone or cannot supervise him. When you are home, use the tethering method from the article linked below to teach him how to hold his bladder in the rest of the house so that you can eventually transition him to pottying only outside even while you are gone off when he is 8+ months old and can make it 7-8 hours without an accident by then. Tethering method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Bailey
Shihpoo
11 Weeks
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Bailey
Shihpoo
11 Weeks

We adopted Bailey at 9 weeks. Potty training during the day is going well, but at night, he will poop in his crate. We set alarms & take him out every 3 hours overnight. He will have one completely successful night, then the next night will have pooped every time we go to take him out. We've made the crate small, then he poops in his bed. We took away the bedding, then he cries all night. We do know he loves his bed, he likes his crate & will voluntarily go in during the day to nap & have a snack in there while we eat. We leave his door open all day & only close the door when he's there for bed or for us to run out. He's had no accidents when we have left him during the day. We keep the crate in our family room away from the bedrooms. He does not cry at all, except if he does not have his bed. Could it be separation anxiety? Or is he just young & we just need to be patient? Currently: we are exhausted with getting up only to find he's pooped.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
396 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kara, The issue is most likely the bed (for the crate to work there needs to be nothing absorbent in it until fully potty trained) and his daytime routine. Pooping at night is not typical digestion-wise. Is he also pooping outside during the day? How often is he pooping total during 24 hours? You want to get all of the poops "Out" during the day so that his digestive system sleeps at night too. Many puppies get distracted while outside. Follow one of the methods from the article linked below to focus more on getting him to poop 2-3 times during the day when you take him out. Make sure you are teaching him "Go Potty" - which will help him learn to focus better, giving treats for pottying, taking him out on a leash to minimize distractions, and walking him around and keeping him focused well on pooping ("Go Potty" again) after he pees each time. Most puppies just quickly pee, then move onto playing or going back inside and don't stop to poop; you have to insist that he stay focused longer and try in case he needs to. Also, most puppies need to poop 15-45 minutes after eating so be especially vigilant at those times. Movement can help get things going, as can poop scent or attractant sprays. Make sure you are feeding dinner at least two hours before bedtime - you can try moving the meal even a little earlier if it tends to help you. Pooping outside article: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside If he is pooping more than 3-4 times in 24 hours, I suggest a trip to your vet to get things checked out. 2-3 times is typical for a puppy. After every meal is also pretty common. For the bed, check out primopads.com. It won't be soft but it's not absorbent and offers a little padding still so can be the in-between of soft and nothing until older. I don't suspect separation anxiety this young - just adjusting still. It shouldn't hurt him to cry. Let him work it out as long as you know other needs are met. When he cries and you know he is just adjusting and doesn't need to go potty, don't let him out until he gets quiet. If you let him out, he won't learn to adjust and will be rewarded for crying so will continue to do so. If you are really consistent expect it to take him up to two weeks to adjust, with 3 days being the normal. Another good reason to remove the bed is most puppies will go through an additional more destructive chewing phase around 6-8 months - this phase is when bedding and toys are often ripped to shreds and pieces can be swallowed because jaws are getting strong by then. If he starts to destroy things at that age, then you will end up having to remove the bed then anyways for safety and training, and it will be harder to do so then than now once he is really used to it. I generally withhold all soft bedding until after fully potty trained and past all the destructive chewing phases. To get him used to being in the crate with the door closed, you can also practice the methods from the article linked below some during the day - especially focusing on the Surprise method. Do not give food at night though because that can lead to more wakefulness and pooping. Crate Training: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Pebbles
Shihpoo
4 Years
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Pebbles
Shihpoo
4 Years

Pebbles is 4 years old, and I just got her from a home where she was trained to go potty using puppy pads. I am transitioning her to going potty outside and she has been mostly successful peeing outside, but not pooping. Her old family left her in her crate for a while during the day I believe, and today I went out for a few hours and left her and my other dog in their crates (after taking both of them out this morning). When I came back, she had pooped in her crate. This was her first time in her crate here for that long during the day while I was gone so maybe that is part of the problem. All of that to say that I want to know how to train her not to poop in the crate (or in the house at all).

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
396 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jasmine, First, make sure there is nothing absorbent in the crate - including a soft bed, towel, or stuffed toys. Use something non-absorbent like www.primopads.com if you want to give a bed in the crate and need something else. Second, make sure the crate is the right size. It should be big enough to turn around, lie down, and stand up, but not so big she can go potty in one end and stand in the opposite end to avoid it. Companies make crate dividers for wire crate if you need to size down without buying a new crate. Third, work on getting her to go potty outside. Check out the crate training article linked below and specifically the tips about using an attractant spray, teaching the "Go Potty" command, walking around again after she pees. Scent, movement, and helping her stay focused can help her poop outside. Be sure to take her outside 15-45 minutes after she eats also, even if she just went out before eating, because many dogs need to poop after being fed. Crate Training method - since she is older she can hold her pee for longer. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Work on the above the help her poop outside. If she consistently poops only in the crate despite doing the above well, then she may have lost her natural desire to hold it in a confined space because of how she was raised. Once a dog looses that, they don't get it back, so you will need to take another approach to potty training. When you are home, use the Tethering method from the article linked below: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside When you have to leave the house, have an exercise pen set up in a room that she doesn't have access to normally - like a guest bathroom, room in the basement, laundry room, ect...One one end of the exercise pen put a real grass pad and use the Exercise Pen method from the article linked below to train her to potty on the real grass pad. Use a grass pad because it more closely resembles grass outside, put the exercise pen somewhere away from the rest of the house that you can block off access to when she isn't in the pen - so that she only learns to potty in that room and not other areas of the house, and adjust the exercise pen method to use a grass pad instead of the mentioned litter box, and not to phase out the exercise pen even since your goal is outside potty training and not inside pottying. When she is completely potty trained in the rest of the house, then you will simply keep her in the rest of the house while you are home instead of crating or confining in an exercise pen - you can use baby gates to confine to the kitchen or somewhere to prevent chewing. Exercise Pen method: https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Real grass pad brands - use real grass, not astroturf to help transfer to outside: www.doggielawn.com www.freshpatch.com www.porchpotty.com Once you are a year past crate issues and she is fully potty trained, you can try reintroducing the crate to see if she will hold it in there now. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Millie
Labradoodle
4 Months
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Millie
Labradoodle
4 Months

Millie is pretty far along in her potty training, but very recently she began pooping at night and in her cage when we leave, even for short errands. I am not sure what more to do. The cage is the right size, I’m consistent with feeding, she’s up to date on vacs and was just at the vet with a good bill of health. Help!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
396 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jody, At four month of age she may be getting more distracted and excited while outside - this can be normal. If she is overly distracted then she might be holding it and not pooping outside when she needs to, then when she comes inside and things are calm she poops in her crate. First, make sure there is nothing absorbent in the crate with her, including a soft bed or towel - that can cause issues. Use something like www.primopads.com if you need a non-absorbent bed for her. Second, whenever you take her potty outside, tell her to "Go Potty" and give one treat if she pees, then tell her to "Go Potty" again after she pees and slowly walk her around for twice as long as you did for peeing, encouraging her to sniff and redirecting her attention away from anything that begins to distract her. When she goes poop, give four small treats and praise. Work extra hard on this 15-45 minutes after meals, after she is running around a lot, and before crating her or putting her to bed. This has to be done on a leash - she won't be ready to stay focused enough to poop off leash yet, that comes later if you have a fence. Expect to take extra time outside for this. I know you probably don't want to walk around for longer to make sure, but when in doubt make sure you are giving her a really good chance to poop outside. If you can consistently get her to poop outside with the extra effort, then as she matures and focuses better it should eventually get quicker again with age. Pay attention to how many times she is pooping in 24 hours, 2-3 is normal at this age. If its more than that, something like a change in food, probiotic, or re-visit to your vet may need to happen, especially if it is 5+ times. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Nova
Chocolate lab
2 Months
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Question
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Nova
Chocolate lab
2 Months

Hey there! We just picked up our puppy a week ago. During the day she doesn’t have accidents inside and lets us know when she needs to use the bathroom, usually by going to the door and barking. My problem lies when she is crated for the night. I’m not sure if it is possible, but I feel like she poops in her crate on purpose. Never any pee. She will poop up to 8 times in one night, and the consistency isn’t the same as during the day, it is usually solid, whereas at night it’s more or less diarrhea. Looking for pointers on what I might do to nip this in the bud fast? I’ve tried getting up every two hrs, making the crate smaller, putting a little bed in there for her, etc all with no luck. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
396 Dog owners recommended

Hello Zach, This doesn't sound behavioral unless she has other signs of extreme anxiety (not the normal puppy crying but shaking, drooling, trying to escape to the point of injury, totally shutting down, ect...). I would consults your vet, there could be something with digestion going on that's worse at night, a hormonal issue that fluctuates then and effects things, or something she is eating at night or a few hours before bed that's causing it. Try keeping her in an exercise pen at night and taking her potty still (expect accidents in the pen like what happens in the crate - this is just an experiment and not what I recommend long term). If her pooping habits are completely fine in the exercise pen at night, in contrast to how they are in the crate, then it could be anxiety related to the crate. If things are still diarrhea in the pen then I would look for a medical cause that has a connection to her evening routine or the changes in her body that happen at night. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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