Why does my puppy pees in the crate?


One of the most common situations among inexperienced dog owners that are unfamiliar with crate training is when the puppy pees in the crate.

So based on my experience observing my dogs, crate training them and the research I did; I can say that when the puppy pees in the crate he often does not consider it to be a den. and mostly take it as a potty corner.

This is essentially due to a poor job on the crate training or not getting the perfect size crate for your puppy.

In this article, we will be seeing why do puppies pee in the crate and how to stop them from doing that. We also going to see some special cases where the dog is actually crate trained but start doing it.

Is it normal for puppies to pee in their crate?

So the first question that comes to mind is if it is normal for young puppies to pee in their crate. You might be thinking that a small puppy of maybe 8 weeks won’t be able to control his bladder for long. you are right small puppies can’t hold it for long but if they do pee in the crate it’s mostly your fault.

Young puppies often wake up during the night to pee and the older they get the less they need to. So in the first few weeks if you are crate training your puppy you need to wake up and let them eliminate outside of the crate.

Dogs are fairly clean animals and if they not pee where they sleep unless they have no choice. That means two things make the puppy consider his crate as a den and place where he hangs; two let your puppy pee outside so he can get used to not doing it in the crate.

Potty incidents are normal though so you can expect to have some from time to time. But if your puppy turns it into a habit that should be a signal that something is wrong.

Young puppies can be crate trained at a young age, therefore, you can also potty train them from the start.

Can an 8-week old puppy be potty trained?

A puppy can be trained even at a young age, you can start with the basics and improve as he gets older. Any training that is based on building a habit and managing behavior can be done even at a young age.

All you do is make a habit and let your dog build a relationship with it. This works for potty training crate training and all basic training that is dependent on a behavior adaptation.

You can use props and tools to make this easier as there are a few things that will set you back. For instance, punishing your dog in the crate is wrong and associates bad feelings towards it; so it would be natural for the puppy to show resistance to crate training.

The same thing goes for potty training the age of the puppy is not really a problem. Furthermore, the younger you start potty training your puppy the better and sooner you succeed.

Young puppies are less resistant to training since they do not have old habits you need to break first. So if you think your puppy is too young to be potty trained you should reconsider.

I personally like to train my dogs at a very young age and as I mentioned before in my article about when to start crate training; I found it to be easier and faster to train young puppies than it is for older ones.

Puppy peeing in the crate at night

The puppy peeing in the crate at night is a very normal thing and an easier situation to deal with. It simply means that your dog is too young to go through the night and he does need to be let out once or twice at night depending on the age and the breed.

When crate training a new puppy I always suggest you keep the crate in your bedroom at night. This is specifically to deal with this situation before it turns into a habit.

However, this is nothing serious it could be dealt with simply by letting the puppy out to eliminate just before bed and stop giving him water two hours before that and letting him out when he wakes up at night.

It might be difficult for the first few weeks but the puppies are able to make it through the night after a few weeks.

This effort you make in the first few weeks will help you potty train your puppy efficiently. It will also limit any possible potty incidents and speed up the process.

Crate training is, in fact, the fastest and easier way to potty train a puppy.

If you do a great job making the crate feel like a den the puppy will do his best not to pee in it.

Should I leave water in my puppy’s crate?

I said in the precedent part of my article that you should stop giving water to your puppy two hours before bedtime. Now you are probably thinking this is cruel what if he gets trusty?

Your soft side is suggesting that you leave water for your dog in the crate. Spoiler alert! BAD IDEA.

usually, puppies play with their water in the crate and end up making a mess rather than drink it.

If you give your puppy enough water throughout the day he does not need any water at night. And do you really want your puppy to get used to having liquids in his crate? Isn’t this the whole idea of this article.

Dogs don’t need any water at night and you can stop two hours guilt-free it’s perfectly fine.

And in dog training, you should always think about how your dog feels and what he needs not how you feel. Or else there would be no crate training since we don’t like confined spaces but dogs really love it.

Should I wake my puppy up to pee at night?

Nope! that’s another bad idea; I know you are thinking if my puppy is peeing in the crate at night because he can’t control his bladder; why don’t I wake him up and get ahead of it.

You really should not wake up a dog at night if you don’t want to deal with his whining in the crate.

Dogs are different when it comes to sleep they do sleep more than 12 hours a day. Young puppies could sleep up to 18 hours a day or else they’ll be lazy when they wake up.

Dogs don’t spend too much time in a deep sleep as we do; that’s why they need to compensate with more sleeping time.

It is never a good idea to wake up a dog at night for anything other than an emergency. Dogs even when awake, spend half their waking time inactive just relaxing.

Just be ready if the puppy wakes up, and keep him close by to be able to hear him when he does.

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

Potty pads are great for potty training a new puppy and they do a great job. Nonetheless, potty pads and crates don’t go together.

A puppy should never be thought to pee in his crate. Whatever you teach your puppy to do in his crate he will always do.

Puppy pads are great for playpen training and they are really essential if you have a playpen. But the crate is not for peeing.

And frankly, if you do crate train your puppy you will not need the potty pads.

Just so we can wrap up with what you can put in your dog crate; nothing other than the chew toys and only during the day and the meals, nothing goes in the crate.

Water potty pads and any other kind of toys are a no and should never be left in the crate.

Why does my puppy pees in the crate?

Before you can take action you need to be able to know why your puppy is peeing in his crate. This will allow you to take the right actions.

So we want to list here the most common reasons why a puppy would pee in his crate.

If you don’t let the puppy out to eliminate

This is very obvious but it is fairly the most common reason; people just forget about the puppy in his crate for too long and he can’t hold it anymore.

You need to do your best to prevent the puppy from urinating in his crate. You can do that simply by taking him out for a potty break just before he goes in the crate.

This way you are sure he won’t need another break for at least two to three hours.

The younger the puppy and the smaller the breed the more he needs to be let out to pee.

The puppy gets too much water before going in the crate

This is also a good reason why a puppy will need to pee in his crate if you give him too much water just before he gets in the crate. Usually, at night you need to stop watering your puppy two hours before bedtime.

As we said earlier in this article you should not put water in the crate at all.

Choosing the wrong size crate for your puppy

This is actually one of the top reasons a puppy will pee in his crate. When you read any crate training guide ( you can check out mine here) the number one advice you’ll get is to choose the right size for your puppy crate.

If you give your puppy too much space in his crate he will den up in one corner and use the other as a potty corner.

So you want your dog to have a perfect size crate one where he can stand up turn around and lay down comfortably and that’s it.

I suggest you read this guide on how big should your dog crate be.

Your new puppy has already a habit of peeing in his crate

Sometimes when you get a new puppy he could already have picked up a few bad habits. Peeing in his crate could be one of them.

Some dog shelters or dog breeders won’t bother letting the puppy out to pee and they’ll just use pads or let them do it in the crate.

A couple of weeks of doing that will make it a habit that you need to work on.

So you want to make sure it is not an accident and your new puppy is already used to peeing in his crate. You might as well ask the former owner or the guys at the shelter about his potty habits, it could be helpful to know what to expect.

Untreated potty accidents

Sometimes the puppy pees in his crate by accident or you just took too long to let him out.

But if this goes untreated he might make it into a habit and you will have a harder time getting him used not to do it.

Of course, by treating it I do not mean punishing the dog especially a young puppy. In fact, if you don’t catch him in the act there is really no point in reprimanding your puppy you only going to confuse him. Plus punishing your dog in his crate is the worst idea if you are crate training.

How do I stop my puppy from peeing in the crate?

Now that you actually know why your puppy pees in his crate you can stop it effectively. All you have to do is observe your dog’s behavior and identify why is he doing it then take the following actions.

Reasons related to his environment

If your puppy’s crate is too large you need to change it or at least limit his access to the whole crate.

This why I actually love metal crates they come with a divider that allows you to gradually increase the space while your puppy is getting larger.

The one I always recommend is the Midwest metal double door crate(Click here to check the actual price on Amazon).

It comes with the divider and has two doors which makes it easier when you are just introducing your puppy to the crate at first.

If the crate is the right size and your puppy is still peeing in his crate you should make sure you are letting him out to eliminate before going in the crate.

This is really important since small puppies can’t hold it for too long and have to go as soon as they wake up.

Stop watering your puppy two hours before his bedtime and make sure you keep the crate next to you at night. When he wakes up you need to be able to hear him and let him out for a potty break.

You also want to remove water from his crate and have him eliminate in the same place all the time so he associates it with potty breaks.

Reasons related to his previous experiences

If you get a new puppy and he is already used to peeing in his crate you need to take a step back in crate training.

If a dog has been taught to pee in his crate it will be hard for you to break that up while crate training.

The first and most important thing you need to do is to associate potty breaks with another place. You need your dog to be thinking about somewhere else when he has to pee even if he is in a crate.

You can do that simply by avoiding the use of the crate and insisting on the same spot for his potty breaks.

If you do that while encouraging your dog with training treats and toys you can do some fast progress.

You can read this article about safe training treats and how to use them for crate training and home training.

How to deal with peeing in the crate incidents

As we said if you don’t deal with potting incidents your puppy may turn it into a habit.

So how can you deal with it without actually punishing your dog which is again a bad idea?

The first thing you should do is to start by cleaning the rate properly so there is no pee smell left in there.

If your puppy can still smell it he will be tempted to do it again when he has to go.

Cleaning dog pee from the crate

When you want to clean the puppy crate from pee stains especially dry ones as they are hard to detect and can be smelly; you’ll need some products to do it effectively.

I would suggest you get the Blacklight Flashlights Detector for Dry Pets Urine & Stains it will allow you to locate the dry pee stains.

Then you need to clean it with something safe like this urine remover ;but you’ll need something to remove the smell also so that your dog just can’t smell it in there again something like this Odor Eliminator; it actually works on pretty much any sort of surface so it will be handy if you have any incidents elsewhere.

Dog peeing in crate suddenly

If your puppy is already crate trained and potty trained and everything is fine; then all of a sudden he starts peeing in his crate.

The first thing you need to do is to take your puppy or dog if a grown dog to the vet. You need to rule out any medical issues before you start thinking about behavioral treatment.

Sometimes it could be a urinary tract infection that causes the puppy to pee in the crate.

If your vet confirms that no medical issue is causing this you can start to investigate behavioral issues. Sometimes dogs try to send messages by abnormal behavior.

It could be some sort of anxiety or just something wrong with where he usually pees.

You want to clean the crate as we saw earlier and then get your dog more attention over the following days to see if any other changes in his daily routine.

If you notice none then you want to refresh on potty training and use treats toys and affection to slowly encourage the puppy to go back to his potty area.

Puppy goes into crate to pee

If a dog urinates in his crate intentionally then it’s probably a problem in the crate training and potty training.

A problem in crate training since the dog is supposed to feel like his crate is his den. A den is a place where the dog feels safe, sleeps at night and hangs up to relax.

If he goes in the crate to pee it means he does not associate his crate with those feelings; and that’s a problem in crate training and you have to start working on it again.

But before you get back to the basics of crate training you should restart potty training.

Just like puppies that are used to pee in the crate you need to take it out for a few days or a couple of weeks; clean it up thoroughly with the products suggested before and sit it out for a while.

meanwhile, you need to really focus on the potty spot you want your dog to get used to. Use the training treats and toys and affection to reward your puppy and associate the place with treats.

When it’s done and the puppy is only doing his thing in the spot you chose you can go back to crate training again; slowly phase out on treats and focus more on toys and interaction.

Are puppy pads a good idea?

I am not really a big fan of puppy pads when it comes to potty training; unless you are using a playpen. Crates and pee pads don’t go together as they send mixed-up messages about what is allowed in the crate.

If you don’t want your puppy to pee in his crate you really should not encourage him with pads.

Puppies often have strong feelings about the places rather than things. meaning if you keep using the pads in the crate then place them elsewhere the puppy will keep peeing in his crate, not the pad.

Puppies associate places with specific things that’s how we can actually crate train a dog. Simply by making the crate a happy safe place. The same thing goes for potty training you just associate it with a specific place.

That’s why I kept focusing on choosing one spot for his potty breaks at least at the beginning.