13 Tips To Stop Your Puppy From Peeing In The Crate

Many new puppy parents use a crate to begin potty training their furbabies from day one. That’s usually the most successful method of training a puppy to relieve himself outside.  

However, what do you do if your puppy keeps peeing inside his crate? Should you allow your puppy to pee in his crate? And should you take your puppy’s water bowl away to stop him drinking before bedtime?

To help you solve the problem, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide, including 13 top tips to stop your puppy from peeing in his crate.

Don’t Punish Your Puppy!

Training a Goldendoodle puppy dog

First of all, you must know that punishing your puppy for peeing in his crate is never acceptable! 

Your pet is not peeing on his bed simply to annoy you. Usually, a puppy only resorts to peeing in his crate because he’s desperate to go and you’re not around the let him out. Also, accidents happen during the early days of crate training. That’s just one of the many joys of puppy ownership!

My Puppy Peed In His Crate – What Do I Do?!

The best way to deal with peeing accidents is not to make a big deal of it. Don’t yell at your puppy, or you’ll just frighten him and damage the bond you’re trying to build.

Clean up your puppy if necessary, wash his bed, and clean the crate. That’s important, as dogs like to pee in a spot that they’ve used before. So, you need to get rid of the smell of pee to discourage your puppy from peeing there again.

You can use that habit to your advantage, too. Designate a particular area in your backyard where you want your puppy to pee, and lead him there each time you take him outside for a potty break. 

Your puppy will quickly begin to adopt that spot as his regular toileting area, making it easy to keep your yard clean and tidy and helping to keep your dog off your flower beds and away from your kids’ sandbox!

13 Top Tips To Stop Your Puppy From Peeing In His Crate

It’s not pleasant to have to clean up after your puppy when he pees in his crate, and sleeping in a wet crate is not nice for your pet either. So, to save you and your furry friend from the misery of a smelly, soaking crate, here are our 13 top tips!

1. Potty Train Your Puppy!

Miniature Golden Doodle Puppy and Potty Training

You can’t expect your new puppy to know that he mustn’t pee in his crate, as if by magic! So, one of the first and most important lessons that your puppy must learn is not to use his crate as a potty spot.

Generally, dogs of all ages will not soil their sleeping area, so by providing systematic, sympathetic potty training, you can teach your puppy to wait to go outside to relieve himself.

If you’re struggling to properly crate train your puppy, always seek the advice and guidance of a professional dog trainer, especially if you’re new to dog ownership. You might also want to consider enrolling in puppy training classes where your puppy can learn some valuable lessons in socialization, too.

2. Make Sure The Crate Is Not Too Large

Crates are quite expensive to buy, so you don’t want to have to keep upsizing your puppy’s crate as he matures. For that reason, many newbies to dog-owning buy a large adult size crate that their puppy can grow into.

However, that approach is a recipe for disaster, and improper crate size can be one of the prime reasons for crate peeing in puppies.

If there’s too much space in the crate, your puppy might use one end of the crate for sleeping and the other end as a toilet area. So, invest in a large crate by all means, but make sure the crate you choose comes with a crate divider panel. That feature enables you to expand the crate as your puppy grows and can help with potty training, too.

3. Is The Crate The Correct Size?

Chocolate Labrador Puppy lying down in a wire crate 7 weeks old

As mentioned above, choosing the right crate size is a massive part of successful crate and potty training. Just as you don’t want a crate that’s too large, a crate that’s too small is equally unsuitable for your pet.

So, how big should your puppy’s crate be?

  • Your puppy must be able to stand up without bumping his ears or his head on the top of the crate.
  • Your puppy should be able to lie down flat out without his paws touching the sides of the crate.
  • Your puppy must be able to sit up without his ears or his head touching the top of the crate.
  • Your puppy should be able to turn around without getting stuck or bumping into the sides of the crate.

To be sure that the crate is large enough for your puppy, measure your pet. 

  • Measure your pup from the tip of his nose to the base of his tail and add 2 to 4 inches.
  • Measure your puppy from his paw on the ground to the top of his head or ears if upright. Add 2 to 4 inches to that measurement.

When choosing a crate for your puppy, remember to include the thickness of any chew-proof crate mat or bed that you include in the crate.

4. Check Your Puppy’s Health

If your puppy is undergoing potty training and you’ve purchased the correct sized crate fo your pet, the next thing you must do is check that there’s no medical reason why your puppy keeps peeing in his crate.

That’s especially important if your puppy suddenly begins peeing in his crate when he wasn’t doing so before. In that case, a health condition could be to blame for your pet’s loss of bladder control, and you should arrange a vet visit for your furbaby as a matter of urgency. 

Symptoms to look out for that could indicate a health issue include:

  • How frequently your puppy pees in the crate
  • Any strange smells that are associated with your puppy’s pee
  • If the urine appears bloody or dark in color
  • If your puppy is taking any supplements or medication
  • Whether you’ve changed your puppy’s diet

Any or all of these symptoms could indicate that a bladder infection, a urinary tract infection, bladder stones or some other health problem is to blame for your puppy peeing in his crate. 

5. Temporarily Remove Crate Mats Or Crate Bedding

If the crate is too big, your dog might pee on one side of the bed and sleep on the dry side. Once that habit becomes ingrained, it can be hard to break. 

Often, temporarily removing the bedding can be effective in discouraging your puppy from peeing in the crate. Now, you might feel mean, leaving your pup with a hard floor to sleep on. However, many dogs will happily sleep on the floor without a bed and think nothing of doing so.

Once your pet has stopped peeing in his crate, you can replace the crate pad. Of course, you’ll need to wash the bed and clean the crate thoroughly first. If the whole area smells of pee, your puppy is more likely to use it as a toilet. So, keep the crate clean.

6. Give Your Puppy More Potty Breaks

A cute little Goldendoodle puppy.

Generally, the smaller the dog, the smaller its bladder will be. That means that more potty breaks will be required, especially when a small breed dog is a puppy. So, if you have a Pug, Beagle, or Bichon Frise, for example, your puppy will need more bathroom breaks than a larger breed, such as a Goldendoodle or a German Shepherd.

How Long Can Your Puppy Wait Between Pees?

The general rule of thumb for how long puppies can wait until they need to pee is worked out from the pup’s age in months, translated into hours. For example, a four-month-old puppy should be able to wait for around four hours before he needs to go, whereas adult dogs can wait for much longer.

So, you can see that very young puppies will need at least one chance to go to the bathroom during the night. If you don’t fancy the idea of getting up during the night to let your furbaby outside to relieve himself, perhaps taking on a puppy is something you need to reconsider.

That said, every dog is different, and some puppies need shorter periods of time between pee stops than others. So, in the case of the example above, you might want to try taking your puppy out every three hours instead of every four. In case you forget, try setting the alarm on your phone or invest in a cheap kitchen timer to remind you when it’s time to let your puppy out for a pee.

7. Change Your Expectations!

On a similar theme, you need to know what to expect from your puppy before you bring him home to begin his new life as a member of your family. 

For example, a tiny Chihuahua puppy won’t be able to hold it for as long as a mature Labrador retriever will. So, you mustn’t expect her to. 

However, whatever breed of dog you choose, you should never expect your dog to hold it for more than eight hours without a pee break.

8. Use Plenty Of Positive Rewards For Good Toilet Habits

Pet Goldendoodle puppy waits patiently for treat while being trained

If your crate training is to be successful, you need to use positive reinforcement methods when training your puppy not to pee in his crate. So, take your puppy outside regularly for pee breaks, and reward him with lots of his favorite treats and lavish praise as soon as he goes.

Dogs generally respond best to being given a reward for desirable behavior. The dog quickly learns that he will be given some of his favorite treats for waiting for that much-needed potty break rather than simply relieving himself in his crate.

9. Learn To Recognize The Signs!

Most dogs and puppies give very clear indicators of when they need to pee.

For example, if you see your puppy squatting, scratching at the crate door, sniffing around, or circling, that’s usually a sign that a potty break is required. As soon as you see your puppy exhibiting any of those behaviors, grab his leash, and take him outside, and reward your pet with a tasty treat and plenty of praise when he relieves himself.

10. Set Up A Spy-Cam

Often, separation anxiety or isolation distress can be one of the prime causes of a puppy’s crate soiling, especially if the accidents occur while you’re not around and your pup is left home alone.

One way to determine if some kind of extreme anxiety problem is the cause of your dog’s crate peeing issues is to set up a camera to film him. You can use your phone, tablet, computer webcam, or a special CCTV camera to record your pup’s behavior.

So, what signs do you need to look out for that might indicate that your dog is suffering from separation anxiety or isolation distress?

  • Crying, whining, or barking constantly
  • Pacing
  • Excessive licking or grooming
  • Panting even in cool weather
  • Chewing or digging at the crate

If your puppy spends most of his time doing any of those things rather than playing with his toys or sleeping, then we recommend that you speak with a professional dog trainer. It’s highly likely that your dog is stressed because he has been left alone.

11. Bedtime Routine

If your dog’s accidents generally happen at night, get into a routine of taking your dog outside for a pee break right before you settle him down for the night. If your dog has an empty bladder when you go to bed, he will be able to last longer than if you took him out two hours before bedtime.

12. Put Your Dog’s Crate Next To Your Bed

Your puppy will almost certainly pee in his crate if he cries to go out or starts fidgeting around during the night because he needs to go and you don’t hear him.

The simplest solution to that problem is to put your puppy’s crate in your bedroom next to your bed. That way, you can immediately attend to your puppy’s needs when he wakes during the night.

13. Think Outside The Box

Some dogs just don’t settle well in a crate and will continue to have toileting accidents throughout their lives. Fortunately, there are quite a few alternatives to crating your dog for long periods, including: Doggy Daycare

Doggy daycare is an excellent option for dogs that can’t last for more than a few hours in a crate before needing to pee and for those that suffer badly from separation anxiety.

A good doggy daycare facility will offer 24/7 supervision for all its guests. The dogs receive lots of attention, enjoy playtimes and walks with the other dogs that are being cared for, can be fed if required, and will be allowed plenty of opportunities to relieve themselves somewhere appropriate. 

The main drawback to doggy daycare is that it does work out very expensive if you want to send your pet there every day. Also, if you have an aggressive dog, he won’t be welcome at a doggy daycare facility.

Use A Doggy Playpen And Potty Pads

Puppies In A Playpen

Another good option for those dogs that won’t tolerate being confined to a crate is to set up an exercise pen with a kennel inside is where your dog can catch a nap or seek some privacy if he wants to. 

Equip the pen with potty training pads where your dog can relieve himself if he needs to without soiling his kennel. Although that approach won’t solve the problem of your puppy peeing in his crate, it does make cleanup quick and easy and provides a much cheaper alternative to doggy daycare.

Hire A Dog Walker

These days, there are lots of dog walking services to choose from, ranging from enterprising High School kids trying to make a few bucks to professional, fully-insured businesses, including Wagwalking, HikeDoggie, and Rover.

Depending on what service would suit you and your dog the best, you can choose from a full-scale walk or visit the dog park for your pet to a simple call to let your dog outside in your backyard. You can generally find something to suit all budgets and pups, and many dog owners use one of these services to solve their puppy’s crate peeing accidents.

In Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed our tips on how to stop your puppy from peeing in his crate. If you found the article helpful, please remember to share it.

If your puppy keeps peeing in his crate, don’t despair! Crate accidents are very common, especially with a very young puppy that’s going through the process of potty and crate training. Make sure that your puppy has been given a chance to relieve himself right before you crate him, watch for and quickly act on signs that your puppy might need to relieve himself, ensure that your puppy’s crate is the right size, and be patient. 

How did you stop your furbaby from peeing in his crate? Tell us how you did it in the comments box below.

Meet our writer

Alison Page was brought up with dogs and various other pets! For a few years, Alison worked as a Practice Manager in a small animal veterinary clinic. Alison is now a full-time writer, specializing in creating articles on the care and training of dogs, cats, and fish.

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