Puppy Crate Toilet Training

So you have a new puppy, congratulations!

There is a lot to take in between socialisation, worming, vaccinations and correct feeding, but here we have a very useful step by step guide on the biggie toilet training

Dog in Training CrateUse a crate

Crate training your pup has multiple benefits, it means that your puppy has a great place to hide if he is uncomfortable or needs to relax, sleep in safely when you are not around and he can be fed in a secure place away from children. Crates are always positive places for your puppy, they should never be used as a punishment. Your puppy should not be locked in his crate for more than two hours at a time during the day and three hours at a time during the night initially. These periods will lengthen as your puppy grows.

Take your puppy out to toilet during the night e.g at 12am 3 am and 6am. You may need to shorten these intervals if you have a very small pup or your pup is soiling in the cage between these times, and then gradually extend them as your pup grows so that they will go all night through eventually. This takes a bit of effort but it means a super fast toilet training (sometimes as quick as two weeks for your pup to be 90% trained). If you cannot get up at night time or you don’t want to , you may use puppy pads on all available floor space and leave the crate door open. Do not shut the pup in the crate overnight allowing them to soil in it, as this will go against the pups instincts and make toilet training a long and stressful process.

Two things to be aware of with puppy pads:

  • They make toilet training your pup a longer process of 5-6 weeks instead of 2 -3 weeks.
  • Puppies can and sometimes do eat the puppy pad, and on some occasions this can cause a blockage, they are not 100% pup proof, very few items are.

Ensure the crate is the correct size for your puppy otherwise they may be more inclined to toilet in it.

Bring your puppy out during the day at the following times – after feeding, after playing, after waking up from a nap, after being in the crate for a while, as soon as you come home from being out, and every 90 minutes. Basically bring them out a lot.

Bringing your pup to toilet

When you bring your puppy out to toilet lift and carry or let them follow you to the place where you would like them to go, eg a corner of the garden or sandpit, rather than shoving them out the back door, and then wondering why you are stepping in poop on your back door for the rest of the dogs life!

Stay outside with your puppy. Ignore your puppy while they sniff around, only giving attention when they are peeing or pooing. Stay outside for 2- 3 minutes .Do not play or make eye contact, watch them carefully out of the corner of your eye. Bring your pup out regularly and for short intervals rather than less often and staying outside for hours waiting for a wee!

Good tips while outside:

  • Sprinkle some crushed kibble on the area you wish the puppy to toilet on. This will encourage them to move to that area and sniff the ground, which triggers the urination reflex.
  • Give calm low key verbal rewards during the toileting act. “good dog to pee pee” or whatever word you wish to use. When they are older your dog will associate this word with toileting and so you can command them to toilet which is handy before a long journey or before you are going out for the day.
  • If there is no toileting bring your pup back inside while giving them as little attention as possible, do not speak or look at them or pat them. If you need to carry them back in that is ok but do not speak or make eye contact. Go back outside again three to four times during the next 20 minutes if your first trips are unproductive, until your puppy does toilet. The key is to keep the trips outside short and non-interactive, no playing, this is toilet time.

Remember NEVER punish your puppy for toileting inside. This is always your fault for not reading their signs or presenting them with enough opportunities to go outside. It is too late when you find a puddle. You may pick your puppy up in the act of toileting and bring them outside, but only if they are in the act there is no point afterwards.

Do be patient! Puppies have small bladders and weak muscles to hold the urine in, there is physical as well as mental training required and it can take 4-6 weeks to be complete depending on the size and breed of your puppy. If you are getting frustrated just remember that dogs are remarkable creatures and are quicker and easier to toilet train than people!

Have fun getting to know your new family member!