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Animal Medical & Surgical Center

Crate Training

The basic concept of crate training is to teach your puppy control.

Control that is learned as your puppy stays in a crate when you are not available- when you are sleeping, at work, or any other time you are not able to watch your pup. Puppies do not like to go to the bathroom where they sleep or where they are confined. When it is learned that you are giving them an option of going to the bathroom elsewhere then they start trying to hold their releases until taken out.

The most important aspects of house training are establishing a routine, being consistent, and anticipating your pup’s needs.

Pick a specific area outside to be the “bathroom spot”. The same area each and every time is recommended because it establishes the routine and your pup will realize that ‘spot’ is where business is done.

Use a leash so you have control of the puppy and this will help minimize the urge to wander. Do not play with or praise until after your puppy has urinated/defecated, as this is training time, not playtime. Afterwards, give abundant praise and a small treat. Be consistent and follow the same path using the same door to the area each time and your pup will eventually learn to go to that door to signal the need to go outside.

The biggest mistake doggie parents make is when the pup is taken out, does not use the bathroom and is brought back into the house and let go.

At this point your pup needs to be placed back in the crate, and in 30 minutes or so you try again. If you bring your puppy inside and start playing, they will go somewhere inside. If business is done then repeat again approximately 2 hours later. Anticipating your pup’s needs by realizing the length of time between visits to the spot helps with training. If you see your puppy sniffing or circling, take outside to the spot immediately.

If you catch your puppy going inside, in a loud, firm voice say “No!” Never hit the puppy or rub their nose in it. This only confuses the puppy. You cannot reprimand the puppy at all if you did not actually catch them in the act. They will not remember what they did, and will be confused as to why they are in trouble.

The younger the puppy the more often they need to go.

Therefore, there will be accidents in the crate. Do not punish, just clean it up. Be patient; your puppy will progressively be able to hold it longer and longer each week. Remember, potty training may be learned quickly, but sometimes the crate will still need to be used when you are sleeping or are away from home.

Do not put any newspapers, blankets, or towels in the crate – only toys. The reason for this is because the puppy will urinate/defecate on the paper, towels, etc and push it aside so that it will not bother him. Also, the puppy will associate any newspapers or towels around the home as a place where they can go to the bathroom.

Your puppy will need to go out after napping, isolation, exercising, and 30-45 minutes after eating.

Use the guidelines below for how often your dog will need to go outside each day.


  • 6 - 14 weeks: 8 - 10 times

  • 14 - 20 weeks: 6 - 8 times

  • 20 - 30 weeks: 4 - 6 times

  • 30 weeks to adult: 3 - 4 times

All puppies are different and some learn quicker than others. Be patient during this training period and you will have a true friend and companion for many years.

If you are having problems with training, we are more than willing to help. Do not hesitate to call us at (770) 479-0111!