If your puppy is peeing in their crate, it can be frustrating, but it’s also important to remain calm. Puppy accidents are common, and they should be treated as a learning experience, not a punishment. If you bring a puppy home, you need to be aware that potty training is a big part of training a young dog. Even if you use a crate, accidents could still occur.
Why Do Puppies Pee in Their Crate?
Most puppies have a difficult time controlling their bladder. The younger a puppy is, the harder it is to control when they have to go. Teaching your puppy not to pee in their crate starts with proper potty training. This involves taking your puppy out regularly and showing them their outdoor bathroom space. Puppies who are expected to hold their bladder for hours on end are more likely to pee in their crate.
There’s a common misconception that dogs won’t pee in their crate at all. After all, your dog should consider their crate a bed and a safe space, so they won’t want to sleep in a soiled bed. However, puppies can’t control themselves as much as adult dogs, and even adult dogs can have accidents if left alone for too long. Larger adult dogs often have bigger bladder capacities than small puppies, but they should still be given more than enough bathroom breaks.
Sometimes, a puppy peeing in their crate can be related to a behavioral problem. Puppies who experience separation anxiety are more likely to have an accident in their crate while you’re away. This is especially true if their crate is way too big for them. The more room your puppy has to move around and explore, the more likely they are to pee when they feel stressed or lonely.
If none of the other options seem plausible for your puppy’s accidents, then you might want to visit your vet. Medical conditions, such as bladder infections, can often cause your dog to pee in the house without meaning to. Especially as your dog ages, more problems could arise, causing them to lose control of their bladder, especially when they’re alone in a crate.
Steps to Prevent Your Puppy from Peeing in Their Crate
Luckily, preventing your puppy from peeing in their crate is an easy task as long as you’re patient and understanding. Puppies need lots of consistency and positive reinforcement for everything they do, so potty training is no different. Follow these simple steps to find the best way to prevent your puppy’s accidents.
Step 1: Make Sure It’s Not a Medical Problem
Before all else, you should make sure medical conditions aren’t to blame. This is especially important if these medical problems occurred suddenly or out of the blue. Pay close attention to how often your dog has accidents, the color and smell of the urine, and any changes in their diet or medications. If anything seems unusual, make sure you inform the vet.
Consult your vet about the problem before moving onto the following steps. They’ll likely ask you detailed questions about the event, which is why it’s important to pay attention to your dog’s behaviors before their appointment. The vet can also run some tests using your dog’s urine, which can help them determine whether or not a health problem is to blame.
Step 2: Make Sure the Crate is the Proper Size
Crate size is another common reason for dog accidents. It’s true that most dogs don’t want to pee on their own bed, but if the crate is too big, then they can easily have an accident in one corner while still being able to peacefully sleep in the other. The crate should only be big enough for your dog to stand up and turn around. Anything bigger than that is a concern.
Your crate should match the size your puppy is now, not the size they’ll grow up to be. With smaller dogs and puppies, it can be harder to find a crate small enough, but it’s not impossible. So, if you suspect that crate size is an issue, it might be time to downsize.
Step 3: Give Your Dog More Bathroom Breaks
When most dogs have accidents, they don’t mean to. They often try to hold it as long as they can, but eventually, they can’t hold it anymore. Therefore, it’s your job to ensure that they get enough bathroom breaks so that doesn’t happen. Most dogs should be taken out every couple hours, but as they age, you can leave them alone for longer periods of time.
Many people have to work for long hours on a daily basis, but that doesn’t excuse making your puppy hold it. If you get a puppy, you need to be aware that they can’t be left alone for too long until they’re full-grown. So, if you are unable to take your puppy out as much as they require, then you’ll likely need to have a friend or dog walker stop by to let them out. The more bathroom breaks your dog is given, the more comfortable they’ll be.
Step 4: Adjust Your Expectations According to Your Specific Puppy
Many dog parents expect too much from their puppy to begin with. They forget that young puppies can only be left alone for a couple hours at most. Plus, smaller dogs often have smaller bladders too. So, adjust your expectations based on your puppy’s specific needs. If your dog always has an accident after a given amount of time, then don’t expect them to hold it that long. Remember, most adult dogs can’t hold their bladders more than 6 hours on a regular basis. Instead of expecting more from them, you should make your expectations more reasonable.
Step 5: Use Positive Reinforcement
Praising your dog for good behaviors is always the best way to encourage them. If they’re peeing because they’re not fully potty trained, then always use positive reinforcement to teach them. Punishing them for accidents will only make them fear you, which could lead to additional accidents and less trust. So, make sure you reward your puppy with praise and training treats every time they successfully go to the bathroom outside.
You should always have treats on hand so you can reward them as soon as they go to the bathroom. If you ever wait to praise or scold your puppy, they won’t understand the correlation. So, make sure you use consistent praise immediately after they behave correctly.
Step 6: Look for Behavioral Concerns
You might still find your puppy peeing in their crate even with proper potty training. This is a sign that your puppy is suffering from a behavioral problem like separation anxiety. If your puppy barks, pees, and has destructive tendencies only when you’re away, then those are key signs of anxiety.
To stop the peeing, you’ll likely have to find a way to prevent your dog’s anxiety. This often means extra exercise and mental stimulation throughout the day to keep your dog more entertained on a regular basis. Plus, then your dog will be more tired when they go in their crate, which leads them to nap instead of pee. You can also try calming products like CBD or anxiety shirts to keep your puppy calmer on a regular basis. Oftentimes, anxious dogs just aren’t getting enough time to play and exercise with their loved ones.
Step 7: Consider Crate Alternatives
Crates aren’t ideal for every dog. Some dogs dislike crates or even fear them. This is common for dogs who were neglected and abused by former families. A crate should be treated as a safe space, never as a punishment. So, if your dog is often sent to their crate to be punished, then they might act out whenever they’re forced to go inside, which could include having accidents.
Doggy day care, dogsitters, and dog walkers are common alternatives to leaving your dog alone in a crate all day. It allows your dog to still interact with humans throughout the day, which should help keep them calm and happy. Plus, it gives them opportunities to use the bathroom even when you’re gone.
Some dogs are also more comfortable in a dog pen with pee pads on the floor. This can allow them more space with protection if they have accidents. However, if your dog has accidents often when you’re not home, they shouldn’t have free roam of the house. That will only lead to them peeing in places that you won’t be happy with.
A puppy peeing in their crate can be frustrating, but it’s not impossible to fix. Training a dog is hard work, but it’s an essential part of their care. So, if your dog has started having accidents whenever they’re alone in their crate, it’s important for you to take the time to find a cause and solution. It will help your puppy feel more comfortable and it will help you feel more at ease.