So you got a new puppy and you need to begin house training. Today, we are going to talk about crate training your new puppy as it is the fastest and easiest way to go about it.
Me being a dog, I really didn’t understand what the heck she was talking about when I made a mistake on the floor. But, I had enough sense to know – not to “use it” in my bed!
I don’t remember a whole lot about my doggie mama, but I do know she nudged us out of our bed to do that business!
I guess she didn’t like cleaning it up either! WOOF!
I will let my Lady tell you how to go about crate training your new puppy!
Purchase a crate for your new puppy!
Crate size matters. The crate must be large enough for the puppy to lie down and turn around, but not too big.
Puppies are taught by their dog moms not to pee or poop in their beds.
She does this by gently pushing them out of the bed.
So, if the crate is too big, they will simply get off their bed and eliminate at the other end. It kind of defeats the purpose, now doesn’t it?!
If you do opt to purchase a larger crate, it can be made to work with potty training with a simple fix.
You can section it off. Think outside the box by using clothes baskets, large shoe or boot boxes – anything that will take up the extra space and then remove as they grow.
Crates become their special safe space!
Crates are wonderful in more ways than one.
All of my pups loved their crates and I actually have two that still sleep in their crates.
I no longer close the door, but they love hanging out in them.
Their crate becomes their special space to sleep and enjoy quiet time.
When Sallie finished potty training, now over 11 years ago, I tried taking her crate from her.
She would bark and chase the crate. She refused to be happy without it.
Over time and as she grew, I had to purchase a larger crate.
To this day, she still loves sleeping in her special place! I leave the door open and she can come and go as she pleases.
Start the Process of Crate Training
To begin the crate training, your puppy needs to get familiar with his new crate.
Show them their new den.
To make crate time more enticing and make your puppy comfortable, give them a cozy blanket and a couple of toys to play with.
You can also work on getting them to go in on their own by placing a couple of treats in there.
Remember, you want it to be a fun, safe and comfortable place for them.
NEVER use the crate for punishment!
This will only create confusion for your new puppy!
You want the crate to be a safe haven, not a dreaded place.
Therefore, if you use it for punishment, it becomes the opposite, and crate training will not work.
You want them to associate it with being their very own special place in the household.
Set a Puppy Schedule!
One of the most important things is to set up a schedule or routine for food, water, naps, exercise, and playtime.
Dogs are creatures of habit.
They literally thrive when living on a routine.
They come to know and expect, certain things at certain times. Use this to your advantage!
I often joke that mine have built-in alarm clocks!
You also need to keep in mind that small puppies can’t control their bladders or bowels for lengths of time.
So, don’t expect miracles, and keep this in mind when creating your schedule.
Remember, small puppies are like babies – if you give them water, they will pee!
If you give them food, they will poop!
If they play hard, they will pee!
And, if they nap, they will immediately pee on waking up!
Be prepared to get them outside!
This is the opportune time to give out praise and start establishing a good habit!
Time to Begin the Potty Training Process!
Once they are familiar and comfortable with their crate, you can now begin the potty training.
Your puppy will be spending unsupervised time in their crate.
You only allow them to come out, according to your schedule, for a drink, food, exercise, and playtime.
- First thing in the morning – take them outside! DO NOT WASTE ANY TIME GETTING THEM THERE! As in – don’t stop for coffee! Throw your shoes on and GO!
- Give them food and water – take them back outside for a period of time.
- Allow playtime. Let them run and romp and of course, give snuggles!
- Take them out again, before going back into the crate!
- Nap time (your rest time too! Puppies are hard work 🙂 )! After a short amount of playtime, small puppies will be ready for a nap.
- Once they wake up – take them back outside!
- Repeat all the above steps and remember taking outside before and after each meal is important!
- Try not to give food after 6-7 pm. Take them back outside immediately before bedtime. Be careful not to let them get excited again or they will need to pee yet again!
- When your puppy pees and poops outside, it is very important to give them LOTS of praise!
Have all family members use the same ‘word(s)’ for Potty Time!
When taking them outside and to help them understand, say “outside”, “out”, or potty.
Puppies are quick learners and will catch on.
As your puppy gets older, you can start increasing the times in between trips outside or slowly eliminate some of the trips.
After a while, their ingrained instinct of not going potty in their bed and in their home will kick in.
Again, depending on age, please have reasonable expectations with the crate training process! Just remember, when your puppy is out of the crate, keep a constant eye on them!
If you cannot keep your eye on them, allow them to play quietly in their crate until you can.
What to do if your puppy has an accident:
If your new puppy has an accident in the house, please DON’T rub their nose in it or make them smell of it!
Rubbing their nose in a potty accident will only serve to make them run from you or hide.
Seriously, would you want someone bigger than you rubbing your nose in your accident?!
If it has been a while since the accident, they are not going to have any idea what you are talking about anyway.
And, no! Shoving their nose in it to remind them is not going to make a difference!
Simply clean up the accident with an odor neutralizer made for pet accidents – like Nature’s Miracle (our favorite) available at pet stores or online at Amazon.
You can also find others in the pet section of most stores.
DO NOT use ammonia-based products! Ammonia-based products will not get rid of the smell and they will return to the spot and go again.
Also, ammonia can be harmful to their sense of smell.
How long does Crate Training take?
Done properly, crate training shouldn’t take long.
Each dog is different and their age and size will make a difference.
However, there are exceptions to this. If a puppy is too young, then it is too soon to try and crate train.
They will not be able to hold it at will.
Also, puppies purchased from a pet store, or any place, where they have been allowed to lie in their own waste will be more difficult to train.
So, keep this in mind, along with being patient!
What if your puppy continues to potty in the crate?
If your puppy is eliminating in the crate, they may need more exercise and decrease the time between trips.
Puppies purchased from pet stores are notorious for this and you may be fighting a losing battle.
If your puppy continues to potty in the crate after adjusting the schedule and exercise, then you will need to discontinue crate training and try a different method.
Patience, Love, and Positive Reinforcement – You’ll Get There!
Keep in mind when crate training your new puppy, they don’t have accidents just to upset you.
They don’t poop on your favorite rug because you wouldn’t give in on the extra treat.
Puppies are not spiteful!
They want to learn and will benefit from your patience, understanding, positive reinforcement, and lots of love!
Someday, you will look back at all the craziness of potty training and smile – I promise!