Puppy in crate

Key takeaway

Puppies have accidents, and that’s normal. However, with proper training, you can ensure your puppy learns where it’s appropriate to go potty. You can stop a puppy from peeing in their crate through training, seeing your vet, creating a potty schedule, and using the right crate size.

Getting a new puppy is one of the most exciting times in your life. Of course, becoming a pet parent to a puppy comes with several additional responsibilities, such as house and crate training. Unfortunately, it can be very frustrating if you’re trying to crate train your pet and they soil their crate. However, there’s no need to panic; these types of accidents are completely normal, especially during puppyhood. Luckily, there are ways to stop your puppy from peeing in their crate, including proper crate training, creating a potty schedule, and cleaning up after them. 

Remember, puppies are accident-prone, and because they can only hold their urine for a few hours, it’s typically not their fault that they’re having accidents in their crate. If your dog won’t stop soiling their crate, you’ve come to the right place. This article will discuss the reasons puppies pee in their crate and how you can prevent this behavior. 

How to Stop Puppy From Peeing in Crate

House training a puppy isn’t the easiest part of being a pet parent, but using a crate can make it easier by teaching your puppy when and where to go potty. Crates can also help you reduce puppy separation anxiety by giving your dog a comfortable, safe place to hang out when they want to get away from constant sound and movement around the house. However, you may not experience the full benefits of crate training if your puppy keeps peeing in their crate. That said, here are a few tips to stop your puppy from peeing in their crate. 

Ways to stop puppy from peeing in crate

Take them to the vet to rule out medical conditions

It’s completely normal for young dogs to pee in their crates, especially if you’re not home to take them out when they need to go. However, if you’re home and can’t seem to prevent accidents, it’s always best to rule out any medical conditions. There are many conditions that can cause your puppy to urinate more frequently, including urinary tract infections.1 Additionally, some medications can cause dogs to drink more water, so they may have to relieve themselves more often.1

Your dog may also have anxiety.2 Dogs peeing from anxiety is relatively common, especially in puppies who already have difficulty controlling their bladders. You may notice your dog pees in their crate more when suffering from separation anxiety or when you have loud guests over. If this is the case, you can discuss your dog’s symptoms with a veterinary professional who can provide a diagnosis. A vet may recommend anxiety dog training with a trainer to help your puppy with their behavioral issues.

Some dogs are also more prone to peeing in their crates. For example, intact males like to mark their belongings.2 Marking can be reduced by neutering your pet, but that may not be enough to get rid of this behavior. 

Properly crate train your puppy

Crate training your dog is the best way to potty train them and prevent accidents. Typically, dogs don’t like to go potty where they play and sleep.3 Crate training gives your pup one area where they can sleep, and since they don’t want to sleep where there’s urine, you can help them learn to go potty outside. Keep in mind that puppies should not be left in their crate for extended periods of time. If your puppy is urinating in their crate, it’s likely that they’re being left in there for too long.

When crate training, it’s vital to properly introduce your pet to their crate.4 Instead of forcing them into the crate, reward them every time they go into the crate so they can have a positive experience with it. Your dog’s crate will end up being their safe place when introduced correctly. Always be prepared to reward your pet for going into their crate, even if it’s just for a few seconds. Remember, a crate should be a happy place for your pup, not a scary one. 

Create a potty schedule

Dogs are creatures of habit, and they thrive on schedules, just like humans. Creating a potty schedule can teach your puppy when it’s time to go outside, which will make them less likely to pee in their crate. Your pup can typically hold their urine for a few hours, about the number of months in age plus one.1 For example, if your puppy is three months old, they can hold their urine for about four hours before they need to go outside.

Unfortunately, most people are gone for more than five hours a day at work, so you can expect some accidents when trying to potty train your puppy. If you have to go to work, consider hiring a pet sitter or asking a friend to walk your dog to ensure the pup doesn’t relieve themselves in their crate. However, by putting them on a schedule, you can teach a puppy when they can go outside and ensure they don’t have to hold their urine. To help your puppy understand what’s expected of them, take them outside to pee as soon as they come out of the crate. 

A lot of accidents in crates happen overnight. If this is the case, you should take your puppy outside right before bed and as soon as possible in the morning. Remember, young puppies won’t be able to hold their urine all night, so expect to wake up in the middle of the night to avoid accidents.1 

Ensure you have the right size crate

Crate size is an important aspect of crate training. Choosing the right size is necessary for proper house and crate training. If your dog’s crate is too large, they may choose to urinate or defecate in a corner since they won’t have to sleep next to it.4 If you want to get a crate that’ll grow with your puppy, you can get an adjustable one to ensure your dog always has the right size crate. 

Your dog’s crate should be large enough for them to stand and lie down. Your dog should also easily be able to turn around in it. However, it shouldn’t be too much bigger than that. Once your dog is house trained, you can get them a larger crate so they have more space and freedom while you’re gone. Since your puppy is still young, your main goal should be deterring them from urinating in their crate by ensuring it’s not too large. 

Your pet’s crate should not be too small either since it can be uncomfortable and even cause pain. Remember, the right size crate is just a house training tool; you can’t entirely eliminate accidents without proper training and regular potty breaks outside. 

Dog sleeping on floor in crate

Clean accidents thoroughly

Have you ever noticed that your dog likes to go potty in certain places? Dogs like to urinate and defecate in the same spots, even indoors.3 While you can clean stains, you’ll need to remove the underlying scents that your dog can smell. Cleaning accidents thoroughly can prevent them from urinating in the same spot to re-mark. Unfortunately, pet urine is hard to clean, especially on carpet. It’s typically best to use an enzymatic cleaner to remove all traces of urine, including stains and odors.4

Cleaning puppy accidents doesn’t have to be difficult as long as you have the right supplies. If your puppy has an accident, grab your enzymatic cleaner, a rag, and a paper towel. Then, soak up the urine with a paper towel. Once the urine has been soaked up, you’ll use your enzymatic cleaner on the carpet or flooring and cover the spot of the accident. Depending on the cleaner you use, you’ll need to let it sit for a specified amount of time. Once you’ve let it sit, you can soak up the solution with a towel. 

Reinforce good behavior

You should never yell at your puppy for having an accident, as this can lead to behavioral issues and anxiety. If you catch your dog in the act, rush them outside as soon as possible. When your dog goes potty outside, reinforce their good behavior with treats within 1 to 2 seconds of them eliminating outside. 

Don’t scold your dog for soiling their crate

Yelling at your puppy, scolding them, or rubbing their nose in their urine isn’t going to solve the problem.Instead, simply clean up any accidents in the house and take them outside. Once they’ve done their business, always give them a treat to reinforce the behavior. 

Discuss your pup’s behavior with a professional

House training your dog can be difficult if you’re doing it alone. If you need support with this task, take your pup to the vet. A veterinarian can create a treatment plan for your dog and discuss whether a trainer is the best course of action based on their behavior. Some dogs may urinate in their crates because of behavioral issues, so a behavioral pet trainer can help you learn about underlying issues that can contribute to accidents in the house. Working with a trainer can also help you learn the basics of house training so that you can improve your dog’s chances of success. 

Why Do Puppies Pee in Their Crate? 

While you may believe your puppy is being devious by peeing in their crate, puppies can soil their crates for a variety of reasons.

puppy peeing in crate reasons

Puppy doesn’t have control of their bladder

Young puppies can’t always control their bladder, and they can only hold their urine for a few hours. Having a consistent schedule will train your dog’s bladder to know when and where it’s appropriate to go potty. Remember, young dogs cannot hold their urine all night, so plan to wake up in the middle of the night to take your dog outside. 

Health issues 

Health issues, such as UTIs and anxiety, can cause your dog to pee in their crate. UTIs, in particular, make it difficult for your dog to hold their urine, and urinating is often painful. If you believe your dog has a medical illness that’s causing them to urinate inside, talk to your vet immediately. 

Crate is too big for them

If your puppy’s crate is too large, they may think it’s acceptable to urinate in the corner since they don’t have to lay in it. Instead, ensure you have the proper size crate for your pet to deter accidents. 

Dirty crate

Puppies have accidents, and that’s normal. However, your dog can smell their old urine even if you can’t. Cleaning your dog’s crate well can help deter accidents since dogs like to urinate in the same spots. 

Stress and anxiety

Stress and anxiety can occur during crate training if a crate isn’t introduced properly. If your dog has a negative experience with their crate, they may be afraid of it and associate it with punishment. Instead, make crate training a positive experience and reward your pet every time they’re in it. 

Puppy Peeing in Crate: Frequently Asked Questions

Is it normal for my puppy to pee their crate? 

It’s normal for puppies to have accidents in their crates, especially during the training process. However, if your puppy continues to have accidents after months of training, you should talk to a vet or a trainer who can help you learn why your dog is peeing in their crate and what to do about it. 

What do I do if my puppy pees in their crate?

If your puppy pees in their crate, always clean the urine with an enzymatic cleaner to remove any lingering odor. You should always clean up their messes immediately to make cleaning easier and ensure stains don’t set in. It’s also important to remain calm since getting upset can increase the likelihood of them not eliminating in front of you. 

Should I put a pee pad in my puppy’s crate?

No, you shouldn't put pee pads in your dog’s crate unless you’re trying to train them to eliminate on pee pads. Pee pads train your dog to go potty on the pad, and they’ll associate it with somewhere they’re allowed to do their business. 

Do puppies pee in their crate when they’re mad?

While dogs are smart, they don’t pee inside their crate out of spite. Even though your dog may seem mad at you, they’re not. Instead, they can pee in their crates because of behavioral and physical illnesses. 

Are small dogs harder to house train than large dogs?

Some dogs can be house trained quickly, while others may require more time. In fact, one study suggests that small dogs are more difficult to house train when compared to larger dogs.2 

Final Notes

If your puppy is peeing in their crate, try not to panic. While your dog can have accidents due to medical conditions, they most likely need proper training. House training can take a few weeks to several months to master, so it’s important to remain patient. Remember, never scold your dog; instead, reward them for good behavior. 

Of course, sometimes your dog’s accidents can be caused by behavioral issues. If you believe your dog has a behavioral disorder that’s causing them to urinate inside, consult a trusted vet. Dutch offers remote veterinary services from the comfort of your own home, so there’s no reason to take them in person when you don’t have to. Instead, you can receive treatment and expert advice while at home to keep your pet happy and healthy.

References

  1. Meyers, Harriet. “Puppy Pees & Poops in Crate: What to Do If Puppy Goes Potty in Crate.” American Kennel Club, American Kennel Club, 20 Apr. 2021, https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/training/puppy-keeps-going-potty-in-crate/.  

  2. Yeon, Seong C., Hollis N. Erb, and Katherine A. Houpt. "A retrospective study of canine house soiling: diagnosis and treatment." Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 35.2 (1999): 101-106.

  3. “Housetraining Puppies & Dogs.” American Humane, 5 Feb. 2020, https://www.americanhumane.org/fact-sheet/housetraining-puppies-dogs/

  4. Bovsun, Mara. “How to Potty Train a Puppy.” American Kennel Club, American Kennel Club, 4 Mar. 2022, https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/training/how-to-potty-train-a-puppy/